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What To Know Before Investing In Technology For Your School or Organization

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Consider Your Options Before Committing To An AV Solution

School districts, businesses and other organizations are prioritizing technology like never before, for improved safety and student engagement. AV solutions can provide both, and more, but before committing to a particular solution, there are several questions that every organization should be able to answer. Here’s why:[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/2"][vc_column_text]

AV solutions are a significant investment -

AV solutions are cost effective, but like any worthwhile technology, they require a considerable upfront investment. Further, AV solutions are expected to provide excellent performance for years following installation, so it’s not just an investment - it’s a long-term investment.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width="1/2"][vc_column_text]

AV solutions can be scaled up to almost any degree -

Chances are, AV can do things that your organization likely hasn’t considered yet. It can also operate at a scale that is surprising to many when they see it in action. Further, AV solutions can be customized when handled by a certified integrator, so no matter what your organization’s communication or educational needs are, an AV system can be developed to meet them.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text css=".vc_custom_1637348794692{padding-right: 55px !important;padding-left: 55px !important;}"]

AV solutions are difficult to manage in inexperienced hands -

A lot of AV hardware is designed for ease of installation, and much of it is plug-and-play. Still, as simple as the technology seems, your organization will require the expertise of an AV integrator to optimize its performance. Some organizations turn to their IT personnel for this purpose, but IT alone may not have the industry and vendor knowledge required to run the system properly.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]There are a lot of decisions to make when embarking on an AV initiative, and not just on the hardware side. What role the system will serve, how to integrate it into the organization, how to maintain it over time - these are the kind of concerns that an experienced integrator can help their clients work through.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Four Things To Know Before Investing In Technology For Your School or Organization

The more information your organization can gather on potential AV solutions, the better. At the minimum, here are four questions your organization’s leaders should be able to answer before embarking on any AV solution:

1. What does the organization need from the AV technology? There’s no denying the impact that AV can have, and it’s impressive to see in operation, but before selecting any technology, it’s important for the organization to outline what it needs from an AV solution.

Does your school need to engage students more effectively? Are your remote teams having trouble communicating efficiently? Does your organization need to try something new with its branding? Could your business use more foot traffic? Does it need to convert more foot traffic into sales? The first thing to do is establish a high-level idea of what the AV solution should accomplish, as an integrator will use this as a starting point for the system’s design. This is one reason why experienced integrators prefer to consult with their clients at the outset.

2. What kind of budget and timeline must the AV project adhere to? No matter the industry, time and budget are always going to be chief concerns. No surprise, the longer the timeline and the larger the budget, the more technology your organization will be able to acquire. In general, then, these are central concerns for an organization and their integrator partner.

However, certified integrators can get creative with how they meet their clients’ needs. They can target specific features in the hardware they consider, they can start small and scale the system up as resources become available, they can utilize refurbished equipment, they can offer an OpEx payment model instead of a CapEx - there are plenty of ways to fit AV into your organization’s budget.

3. Who will use the technology? Where the technology meets the user - that’s where an AV solution either succeeds or fails. It’s important that organizations remember that, in the end, the technology must fit the teams that will use it. If the solution is feature-laden but difficult to control, then people may not bother learning the system in the first place. Also, there may be critical features that users may not be aware of until they see them demonstrated. Finally, it’s likely that your teams will differ greatly in their technical expertise and comfort. Students, for example, can usually take on new technologies without difficulty, while teachers may need more guidance.

Sorting out training and allowing users to get comfortable with the solution is extremely important. This is why certified integrators will package training with system installation and configuration. Training improves the likelihood that the system will be adopted, and it also increases the likelihood that users will be able to access all needed features.

4. How will the solution be monitored and maintained? AV solutions are designed to be simple and effective, with minimal maintenance required. When maintenance is required, though, or when a piece of equipment needs to be replaced, who is going to oversee those tasks? If they aren’t handled in a prompt manner, the result could be costly downtime or slowdowns.

Whether your organization relies on in-house expertise or a certified AV integrator to provide maintenance, it should be designated to someone so that it’s properly taken care of.

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An Integrator Can Answer Your AV-Related Questions

It’s clear that AV projects are complex undertakings, even if the technology itself isn’t. Every AV solution implemented by a reputable AV integrator should include the following:
  • Surveying the installation site for conditions
  • Removing any obsolete, unusable technology
  • Selecting the new system’s hardware
  • Acquiring that hardware
  • Designing the solution
  • Installing the hardware
  • Configuring the hardware
  • Integrating this hardware into the client’s network
  • Training users on the new solution
  • Providing ongoing maintenance
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It can be overwhelming for schools and organizations to keep up with all of those tasks, but they are standard parts of the process for AV integrators. In this way, a certified integrator can serve in a technology partnership role for their clients, by providing expert insight, overseeing the project’s execution, ensuring users are comfortable with it, and maintaining it as needed.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]