The Truth About Powering Off by Christopher Maione -

The Truth About Powering Off by Christopher Maione

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Did you know when you turn off most AV systems via a touch panel, very little actually goes “off?"

That’s right, the touch screen says “System Powering Off,” but behind the scenes it’s not likely very much of the AV equipment is actually going Off. For decades, AV tech managers have felt it “safer” to leave system components “on” for a variety of reasons, including:

· Turning amplifiers on/off frequently increased the mean time before failure (MTBF)
· “Hard off” could damage AV equipment
· ISDN and LAN connections could be “lost” by routine IT security measures if a live connection was not detected
· CODECs and other devices took too long to reboot
· Leaving everything “on” was just safer

Well, this is all about to change.

EnergyStar started looking at commercial AV equipment a few years ago to see what if anything could be done to conserve energy.

In response, AV industry professionals joined together on several committees and tasks forces to see how power / energy management could reduce energy. Under the direction of Infocomm International they have been tasked to develop the first green AV ANSI standard, Audiovisual Systems Power Management. The goal is to develop standards that can be applied universally to audiovisual systems in terms of product selection, design approaches, system management and operations. Such standards would apply to the overall AV system and not the performance or efficiency of any individual components. Key factors include the control and use of electrical power whereby power is conserved whenever possible through the use of selected components, design principals, operational management and design fundamentals.

What’s this all mean?

For AV managers and end users, it means understanding the new energy management standards, how to utilize and configure the AV energy management systems appropriately, how to utilize the monitoring and usage capabilities; and the possible impact of AV systems readiness.

For AV designers, it means the need to review equipment specifications closely to see how energy management and control can be included in their design.

For AV manufacturers, it means they are going to have to design equipment with energy reducing “Standby” modes.

For AV control programmers, it means added control code and programming modes to trigger, monitor and “wake” AV equipment

For AV system integrators, it means understanding the standards and ensuring the systems are properly configured, installed and tested in conformance to the energy management standards.

This is a good move and proper direction for the AV industry. With all the green and sustainability efforts taking place across all areas of construction and renovation, it seems fitting the AV industry develop applicable standards for energy conservation in AV systems.

Christopher Maione, CTS-D, is president of Christopher Maione Associates, a firm specializing in all aspects of AV business, technologies, and marketing strategy. He also serves as an Infocomm Adjunct Faculty member and frequent speaker at global AV industry events. Reach him at


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