In today’s ever changing world of technology, decision makers are more budget conscious than ever.  Choosing the right A/V system is no exception.  A/V systems have become very commonplace.  Unlike life safety systems which must meet codes and regulations when choosing device locations, there is no cookie-cutter approach when it comes to installing an A/V system.

A/V systems are critical for many establishments, including houses of worship, offices, schools, and stadiums. Every facility has unique architectural and acoustic properties which must be considered.  Facility managers, take note – here are some tips for successfully implementing A/V systems for your buildings.

Be Certain to Plan the Project with Realistic Expectations and a Realistic Budget

In order to avoid roadblocks during the project it is important to involve potential integrator early in the planning stages. An Integrator  can ensure that everyone’s ideas and expectations are realistic and viable.  Whether the customer is “tech savvy” or non-technical, bringing in the integrator from the onset can lay the proper groundwork on details about budget, equipment, bandwidth, electrical issues and other key components facility managers need to consider. Early involvement with your systems integrator will save time by setting realistic expectations for your project.

Make sure There is a Clear Understanding of the Systems that are Being Installed and   Exactly What the Systems Can and Can’s Do for the End User

Giving the customer a good understanding of the technology that will be installed and how it functions is an important part of the process. Many integrators go into detail on the bill-of-material and what will actually be needed to complete the project, but not on how to use the new technology and how the technology can benefit the owner’s business.   Providing the owner with clear performance expectations should prevent unexpected surprises when the project is completed.  Also, demonstrating how the new technology will work, and how the system may integrate with others, will save both parties time in the future.  This will help guarantee that the end user’s expectations will be met and will also identify modifications that need to be made to the design.

Consider All Cable Pathways Required – Especially Between the Input Sources and the Video Display Device

Some existing facilities may have limited options regarding the ability to conceal the A/V cabling that runs between a conference table and the flat screen TV or projector.  These options include core drilling floors, trenching floors, or installing under-carpet or surface mounted cable raceways.  New technology allows for some signals to be transmitted wirelessly, thus avoiding potentially costly building modifications.  A thorough integrator can provide helpful insight into these options.

Be Sure to Consider All Electrical Needs 

Whether moving to a new facility, undergoing a new construction, or renovating a century-old building; it is crucial to do an assessment on all electrical needs.  Involving an electrical professional will help determine whether or not there are enough electrical power circuits in the room, if they are in the proper locations, and if there is enough power to support the systems.  Involving an electrical professional will help address these issues, and may prevent interference from other devices that might be sharing circuits with your A/V equipment. When implementing a Video Teleconferencing System (VTC), work with IT facility people to ensure adequate bandwidth and the ability to traverse firewalls. When installing a VTC system to a new conference room or adding it to a current conference room, the amount of bandwidth available in the owner’s network is an extremely important element to consider and can be a “show-stopper” if not verified.  Also, given the current emphasis on network security, a VTC system needs to be set-up properly and in conjunction with the owner’s IT staff to avoid blocked transmissions due to firewalls.

Even though A/V systems have become very commonplace, if the facility manager does not carefully addressing the five items mentioned above there can be major roadblocks to successfully implementing a new A/V system.  These guidelines can help expectations become a reality; thus allowing A/V system users to count on the stability of their system.