At the Cisco dealer meeting on Monday before the show floor opening at InfoComm, Paul Depperschmidt, Global Business Development Manager, AV Integration Market, announced a major change to the Cisco Developer Network (CDN) System. “The CDN system will be used to manage the AV Integrator list, and will give the best visibility and manageability for the AV Integrator program. There will be three levels of accreditation in the AV Integrator program: Registered Developer, Solution Developer, and Preferred Solution Developer.”
Requirements for the Preferred Solution Developer are drawing the most attention. After registering and acceptance into the program the integrator will be required to “implement auditable quality management system (QMS) on all projects with Cisco TelePresence Products."
In my previous blog I outlined the new proposed ANSI standard, AV9000:2011, from AQAV (www.aqav.org). One of the requirements for the Preferred Solution Developer will be to “assure best practices AV9000: 2011 have been followed.”
They will have to use AV test gear per the AV9000 specifications and have CTS-D, CTS-I or the proposed DIPBA sign-off on any Cisco project per an AV9000 checklist.
The goal is for Cisco to have a database of “accredited” AV integrators across the world, allowing Cisco to “promote the use of these partners in projects involving Cisco solutions.”
Reaction to the program has been mostly positive. Jack Calderon, Director of Technology for Commercial Sound & Video told me, “I’m very impressed with what I have heard so far. I’m really excited to see standards set up for the installers qualifications. The industry has been sort of the wild, wild west, so I like the idea of having qualifications for membership. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to submit what we already do to Paul and have him look at it and evaluate it from the outside. We can see whether or not what we are doing is right.”
The President of Commercial Sound & Video, Bill Tenneson, inserted, “The discussion of standards is a must for this industry to be deployable and configurable and interactive across all sorts of different applications. Delighted to see Cisco step in and turning up the standards mechanism. That’s a great way to see things elevated.”
I think Jack summed it up by saying, “It looks from the outside like it is costing you money to implement standards, it actually saves you money. If you spend the time to get it right the first time, then you just do it over and over again. You turn it into a production line, sticking to the same basic format all the way through, you will actually save money.”
Howard Barnett from Visionality in Dallas expressed the concern that the smaller integration firms across the country might be at a disadvantage in competing for the more profitable jobs.
Paul says that integrators should just “open up the InfoComm Best Practices book and check off all the things they are already doing in their installations. They might be surprised that they are already doing most things right, just make a few tweaks to their processes and they qualify!”
“This is not a certification program; it’s an accreditation program. Cisco is telling their IT partners that AV is important, so they should employ an AV contractor from the 'list' to ensure that the AV is done as well as the IT. The goal is to make the client happy with the entire installation.”