How important is it to secure long term audio/visual support for my A/V system?Modern A/V technology is changing the way we communicate and collaborate, but it’s not immune to the occasional glitch or quirk, making audio visual support invaluable. No technology is infallible, so companies that rely on their A/V systems should also have an A/V expert they can rely on as well. The consequences of going without are obvious. If the system is running slow or experiences a fault, it can mean downtime for a business. And downtime means money lost. It goes further than that, though. If an A/V system is underperforming, then it’s highly likely that the company’s employees will ignore it altogether. Professionals are an adaptive bunch that don’t tolerate finicky technology for long. If it’s acting up, they’ll get the job done with something else. And regardless of how much a company has spent on its A/V infrastructure, that’s a situation to avoid altogether. Fortunately, this is a scenario that companies can easily avoid. Reputable A/V integrators know the intricacies involved in setting up, operating, and maintaining an A/V system. They know that things can eventually experience issues, and regular maintenance is essential for keeping the system running optimally. As such, a reputable A/V integrator does more than sell or install systems. They look to become a long-term partner with their clients, providing ongoing audio/visual support for their A/V solutions. This is an opportunity that no business should pass up on.
What usually comes with an A/V support package?Reputable A/V integrators provide solutions for their clients. And solutions are meant to solve long range issues, like maintaining an A/V system’s efficiency. For this reason, integrators will recommend their clients opt for a support contract following the system’s installation and configuration. These contracts may even be customized so the client is sure to get just what they need. Here are some of the common things that audio/visual support contracts will include:
1. Extra protection for critical hardware – It’s a pain when any equipment goes down, but it’s a money-burning nightmare when mission critical hardware experiences a failure. Extended downtime costs more than money. It represents lost man hours and can negatively affect the company’s reputation.
A service agreement will often make special accommodations for hardware that must be up all the time, without exception. If such hardware does experience issues, the service agreement should guarantee 24/7/365 response availability.
2. Guaranteed response times – But how quickly will the A/V expert respond? This should also be specified in the service agreement. Typically, the integrator will first attempt to solve the problem via phone or e-mail, as these can often deliver a quick solution. If the problem is not immediately resolved, the integrator will send a technician to inspect and maintain the equipment directly.
3. Frequent preventative maintenance – Technology works best when it is regularly maintained, so any service agreement should allow for periodic checkups. Ideally, this would take place every few months.
A/V technology can be affected up by reconfiguration, inefficient use, or even damage. Age will take its toll as well. During a preventative maintenance checkup, the technician inspects the equipment and verifies that it is still properly configured and running smoothly. If any issues are discovered, the technician will resolve them if possible, and call for additional support if not. The goal here is optimization, guaranteeing that clients continue to get a return on their investment. Further, preventative maintenance assures clients that their A/V technology is working reliably and efficiently.
4. Dealing with warranties – Warranties may provide added value, but they are a pain to deal with, especially for companies that don’t know how to properly take advantage of them. The service agreement should specify that the A/V integrator will handle warranties for their client, filling out any necessary paperwork and processing the warranty when needed.
5. Interfacing with manufacturers – Every now and then, the manufacturer needs to get involved with a technical issue. If the issue has been elevated to this level, then it’s likely that an extended back and forth between the manufacturer and technician is inevitable. The client’s technical personnel don’t have time to waste on a problem with their A/V technology, and they may not be equipped to handle the issue anyway.
As part of the service agreement, the integrator will communicate with the manufacturer directly on their client’s behalf. The A/V technician’s expert knowledge will ensure the problem is communicated clearly and a solution worked out quickly. And meanwhile, the company doesn’t have to dedicate any of their time or manpower to the problem.
6. A big picture approach to troubleshooting – No piece of technology operates in a vacuum. As part of a larger network, A/V equipment will only function as well as the infrastructure around it. In other words, when the A/V technology experiences a hiccup, it may be related to something else, like the client’s network.
An experienced integrator has seen it all, so if issues with the A/V system are ongoing, then the integrator may choose to check the company’s other systems to see if they are affecting how the equipment is functioning. The integrator will work with the company’s IT personnel to fix the issue if it is not confined to A/V system.And, of course, a service agreement means the company can use their A/V integrator partner as a source of advice and insight, especially when it comes time to make upgrades. Audio/visual support is just one part of a successful A/V solution strategy, but it may be the most important one. Don’t underestimate its utility, and work with your integrator to come up with an optimal service agreement. It will pay for itself many times over.