STEP – Should we step lightly at first? by Christopher Maione

Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

The Sustainable Technology Environments Program was launched by InfoComm earlier this year with efforts to develop a “comprehensive program” with an AV sustainability rating system.

I want to start by saying I fully support InfoComm’s efforts and the work of the committee under the leadership of my esteemed colleague and chair, Scott Walker.

Our industry as a whole needs to develop "green" and environmentally proper methods of doing business, from a project’s concept through completion, and all front/back office operations which accompany it.

The committee is a cast of very smart and AV-savvy people representing consultants, system integrators, manufacturers, and control system programmers. As the STEP program and rating system was being developed (and it’s still being developed) it became clear the methods and rating systems could apply to just about any low voltage technology, not just AV. The similarities and overlap in the AV industry and other IT / low voltage technologies would (in theory) make the STEP program applicable to more than just the AV world. At present there are nearly 70 “credits” and only one specific to AV. Each credit defines a specific project requirement in order to earn the credit. The more credits achieved, the higher the rating score.

I have reviewed each of the public drafts and I see a very complicated program developing. Perhaps too complicated and too cumbersome (and costly) to easily implement (especially in this economy).

I’m also not sure this AV group represents enough of “any low voltage technologies” to develop a non-specific to AV rating system. I think more non-AV industry participation would be required and if so, will opening the program to industries beyond AV make it even more complicated?

The proposed STEP program presently defines five phases, including:
· Planning
· Architecture & Infrastructure Design
· System Design
· System Testing
· Operations

Implementing all aspects will be time consuming and potentially costly with the bill ultimately paid by the client. Will the ROI make these efforts worthwhile – I hope so – but I think the verdict is still out until we get some good data on the time (and fees) required to fully implement the STEP program and the short / long term financial savings. Will the AV projects be able to “afford” a new breed of “STEP consultants” who oversee, manage and document the STEP processes? I’m not sure. (Again, not in this economy.)

As LEED developed, architects and project management firms started charging premiums on their fees for all the additional work and coordination. A new business of “LEED Consultants” emerged who specialized in keeping track and tally of the various LEED credits during the course of a (construction) project. Can the AV industry support similar efforts?

Since this is the first pass (I will call it Version 1) of STEP, shouldn’t we start with something effective yet simple —so we can gain acceptance and momentum?

My suggestion to the STEP group – keep it simple. Baby STEPs (pun intended) before we climb the mountain. This type of program needs to be eased into and continually updated (version 2 etc.) as it develops, gains acceptance and succeeds in not only the AV industry, but also amongst our clients.

For more info: www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/10902.htm

Christopher Maione, CTS-D, is president of Christopher Maione Associates, a firm specializing in all aspects of AV business, technologies, emerging trends and marketing strategy. Serving as an Infocomm Adjunct Faculty member since as well as on several standards committees, he continues to promote the betterment of the AV industry. Reach him at info@chrismaione.com

Related

Where are We Going in AV in 2012? by Christopher Maione

If I could predict the future I assure you I would be picking lottery numbers, not forecasting the ever changing trends in technology and business - however when it comes to AV I’m probably a reasonable source to peek into what this year may bring.  So let me shake up MY crystal ball and see what appears. First, the

As AV and IT Collide, What Are We Worth? by Christopher Maione

Throughout my career, I have strived to increase my value and the value of my firm to clients.  I continually ask myself – what is my skill set and the skill set of my staff worth. Let’s say that that I am an experienced AV “expert” with over 25 years in the industry and that my team includes AV project managers, eng

Best in Class by Christopher Maione

So we are back from InfoComm, playing catch-up to the week’s worth of work that slipped by while scouring the floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We searched for new knowledge, new technologies, and made time to meet up with colleagues and old friends. As a whole, the show was a resounding success—and despite th

Vegas – Here We Come! by Christopher Maione

It’s that time of year again and the approximately 32,000 AV professionals from over 80 countries get ready for our yearly trek to the industry's preeminent trade show, InfoComm. Yup, it’s a Geek-fest.   “ InfoComm International is the leading nonprofit association serving the professional AV communications industry

InfoComm 2011, Here We Come by Christopher Maione

Well, it is that time again – just 6 weeks away and the AV industry makes our yearly trek to InfoComm , this year being held in Orlando, FL. Florida in June, just lovely. I’ve been attending InfoComm now for many years – as an AV professional it is a required ritual to attend this geek-fest.  InfoComm brings togethe

Analog Sunset – Did We Forget About Audio? by Christopher Maione

We are hearing and reading so much about the analog sunset and most of the information is focused on video, HD video and HDCP compliance of devices such as BluRay DVD players, flat panels and video projectors.  When the full analog sunset sets we will be in a digital world where only HDCP compliant equipment will func

Impressive #WomeninAV by Christopher Maione

This blog is not one of my usual technical blogs – instead the focus will be around Women in AV and in particular about an individual who I have known for over 7 years.  Yet the blog isn’t really just about HER, or her accomplishments, but rather it is about what she stands for and how she has made an impressive mark o

AV Touch Panels are Out of Control by Christopher Maione

At their origin, control systems were, for the most part, custom designed and engineered electronics. They were combinations that included lots of detailed wiring, punch blocks, switches, lamps, and relays. A typical lectern “control panel” was made from about 40 EAO momentary switches with a lamp in each one. Wirin