For the third year in a row, SCN has partnered with SYMCO to present technology user panels at the manufacturer rep’s Regional Technology Showcases in Boston and New York City during October. Details and registration are available here.
On October 20, the tech showcase lands in Boston. Let’s catch up with one of the panelists.
Jerilyn Snider is an audiovisual engineer advisor for Aetna. She has worn many hats in her AV career over the last 25 years. She is currently part of a team that manages all AV Standards and installations for Aetna worldwide.
Her AV career began as an early adapter of computers in education. She was one of the first K-12 Computer Coordinators in the nation and helped installed one of the earliest distance learning classrooms. Partnering with AV industry experts to build these facilities, she made the jump to work for PictureTel, learning every aspect of the industry. Jerilyn soon became a room design expert and consulted on many large, complex installations.
She has been heavily involved with InfoComm, serving on many committees, helping to write the certification exams.
All of her experiences gave her the opportunity to start an AV division from scratch, based on industry best practices and integrity. While leading this AV integration team, she landed Aetna as an account and built a lasting relationship. When her company was purchased, Aetna offered her a position to manage all of their AV.
What is your current role within your organization?
My team manages all AV installations for Aetna, worldwide. We develop and maintain AV standards, manage a team of AV venders, and provide training and support. Most of the time we are managing between 45 and 60 AV projects, which vary in scope from a single digital signage implementation to million dollar AV projects in new facilities. We are constantly striving to improve the process and our relationships. We have to look at the big picture and manage the details.
What has been the most surprising shift in technology since your career began?
The move from hardware to software. Having come from videoconferencing roots in distant learning and then working for PictureTel and Polycom, I am most surprised at how all of that marvelous technology is being replaced by software. For such a long time videoconferencing was the most impressive (and expensive) tool in our toolbox. Now what impresses me the is ease of use and having the tools you need to collaborate from anywhere. That is a huge paradigm shift and forces us to think differently about where and how we invest in technology.
What is the biggest change you’re seeing in the workflow within your organization?
At Aetna, we are still working through the AV/IT merger. Things like Lync Room Systems cross boundaries and require a teamwork approach. For such a long time, AV was the forgotten child, and then we moved to being the step child of IT. We are just now coming into our own and being valued for our unique skillsets. The Lync Room Systems taught both silos some valuable lessons. To implement them, both skillssets are equally necessary.
What do you think of when you think of “AV technology”?
Creative solutions that enhance communication and collaboration. One of the things I love about the AV industry is the ‘can do’ attitude. If you can think it up, we find a way to do it. The fact that we can have face-to-face conversations with anyone, anywhere is amazing. Our contributions have made it possible for more and more people to work from home, saving valuable resources.
What technology is the next “must have” within your organization?
There are two things that drive the adaption of new technologies for us. What we are looking for is technology that is as easy to use as your phone or tablet AND can securely access our network. These two are not mutually exclusive, quite the opposite. The need for impenetrable networks is mandatory. All new ‘toys’ must be thoroughly tested and have tight network security built in; if it isn’t, we can’t even look at it. Ease of use is now mandatory. No one has time to use a tool that isn’t intuitive.