Setting AV Standards

It’s tough to imagine a world where AV obstacles are a thing of the past. It seems we are confronted with the same issues year after year—meetings not starting on time due to technology challenges. The result? A loss in productivity.  

In 2019, the technology we use shouldn’t be an inhibitor—it should be an enhancement.

Many organizations are trying to solve their meeting room challenges by looking for the easy room-in-a-box solution, thereby reducing variables.  I understand the why behind this logic, yet, this idea falls short when meetings move to larger rooms to accommodate a department of team members or a company-wide meeting.  In this scenario, the room-in-a-box concept often falls short. The need for these larger rooms to have a consistent user experience and easy to support is often overlooked, or perhaps just assumed, which is why AV/IT teams need to work to meet the expectations of users by creating AV technology standards.  

With AV technology standards, it is possible to ensure these rooms are easy to use, support, and manage—but, first, we have to build the track. AV standard development is a broad topic whose specifics are unique to each. A university doesn’t require the same AV capabilities or needs as a law firm. AV systems must be customizable based on company culture and needs.   

The goal of standards creation is to deliver a consistent user experience. The room-in a-box does not fit all rooms. However, the concept of all rooms having a standard and common user interface to the users is ideal.  We need to have the ability to deliver a full user experience with consistency regardless of room type. Rather than a one-size-fits-all, the AV/IT team can work to focus on the technology best-suited for the room without the risk of changing the user’s experience.   

There are many resources willing and able to help you as you consider the development of AV technology standards. As you begin to think about the process, there is no better resource to pull from than your existing partnerships. Through partnerships, your suppliers can introduce you to others who have been through the standards process. Why reinvent the wheel, when you can learn from others as you move through the standards development process?  

At InfoComm 2019, I moderated two panels on this topic, with teams who focus on global AV deployments for their organizations. The presenters were generous in sharing how they developed their standards, and the lessons they learned along the way. Our industry is rich with those who learned their way through the development of standards and who are willing to help you.  

Here are the top three recommendations for those standards.

1. When you begin the development of standards, focus on the supportability first. Think through remote monitoring and management and critical system components. 

2. Create a standard for a "simple" user interface—just one or two buttons to get meetings started.

3. Create partnerships. Work closely with key component manufacturers and your integration partners throughout your process.

With some hard work in the beginning—on top of a fruitful relationship between other organizations who have developed standards—there may still be a day where we look at the AV of the past and laugh. Today, however, we still have a considerable amount of distance to traverse. 

Just think...with a standardized AV system, you stroll into the office, and the AV problem that occurred 10 minutes ago is unknown to you thanks to the remote monitoring and troubleshooting team who proactively implemented a fix. All of this can be a reality with the implementation of AV standards.