How do AV integrators provide audio visual management?
Proper audio visual management ensures a prescribed AV solution is planned, executed and maintained correctly. Given the complexities involved in most AV systems, that level of management is essential. In fact, without experienced AV management, the solution often falls short of expectations.
AV designers, engineers and installers have an enormous impact on the project’s outcome. However, many people outside of the industry don’t recognize the human, creative and technical resources that must be brought to bear during a project. Organizing those resources and ensuring they are all operating at expected capacity is the AV project manager’s job. The importance of this role should put to rest the idea that AV is just about selling or installing equipment. AV solutions encompass much more than equipment.
What traits are important for audio visual management?
Audio visual management is a demanding task, and the best integrators approach it with a collection of talent. A manager with only technical or communication skills wouldn’t be enough for most AV solutions, so it’s difficult to find an integrator with strong management abilities. That’s the goal, though, for companies, schools and organizations looking for an AV solution. That being the case, this is what qualities to look for in AV management:
1. Strong organization – AV solutions include several steps, and each one requires a unique skillset to execute. If an integrator offers excellent technical personnel, but lacks on the communication side, for example, it will be tough for the integrator to have an effective consultation.
An integrator that is also a capable project organizer will leverage their team’s best skills in the right spots. The designers survey the space, account for lighting and acoustics and provide a clear picture of where everything should be placed. The installers perform the practical work of getting the technology into the space and configuring it. Both teams work together to ensure every piece of equipment has power, cooling and networking available. IT specialists work with the client’s IT team to verify that the technology is properly networked and shielded from attack.
It’s also common for AV integrators to have their engineers hand off work to other team members as the project develops. Installation and programming, for example, are often accomplished by different professionals. It is up to the project’s management to efficiently transition their teams from one step to the next.
It takes a talented team to tackle AV projects. It takes efficient management to get the most out of a team.
2. Transparent, prompt communication – Much of AV management comes down to communication. It should be clear from the outset how much the project will cost, how long it will take to execute and how the project will proceed. That’s the bare minimum, though. An AV project’s success relies on communication because the integrator must fully understand the client’s needs and goals. Communication is especially important during the project’s initial steps, as the consultation and site survey will set the tone for how the rest of the project will proceed. If the client and integrator are on the same page from the beginning, it will be easier for the two to work out any concerns or adapt to unforeseen changes.
3. Education and training – As AV management requires the team to understand the client’s goals precisely, management must verify that a project’s design is feasible and achieves those goals. Management must also understand the technical challenges involved with the project and head off any issues before they stall out the project.
Education and training are critical to imparting the skills necessary for the job. It’s wise to select an integrator that prioritizes training among all of its team members. Project managers should be among the most knowledgeable and well-rounded professionals that an integrator employs.
Many AV project managers have years of experience under their belt, and this provides a strong foundation to work from. With the technical and design demands placed on integrators, though, additional training is needed to ensure management is up to date on the industry.
The AV industry’s primary training agency is the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, or AVIXA. AVIXA enjoys universal support from the AV integration industry, and its training is considered a must among most professionals. The integrator you select should have plenty of AVIXA-trained experts on staff, including management.
4. Natural leadership qualities – Leadership is difficult to quantify, but no project is possible without it. Leadership is important when rounding together several teams, each with their own talents and workloads. A strong leader gets the most out of designers and engineers, ensuring they do not turn in substandard work.
What may be more meaningful, though, is a leader that inspires confidence among their team members and facilitates internal communication. The most effective AV solutions are those that are created through collaboration.
Leadership in the AV industry starts at the top, and the integrator’s senior management should emphasize it. Ideally, an integrator should practice this in all of its processes.
5. A long-term focus – AV management doesn’t end once the system is up and running, as the system’s continued operation relies on the integrator’s expertise and responsiveness. An integrator serves as a partner and should offer ongoing support options once the system is in place. Extended support ensures the technology operates at peak performance and also protects the equipment in the event of a failure.
An integrator’s capacity to perform this support is largely dependent on its management quality. Organization, across the board technical aptitude and excellent communication are all essential for effective support.
Audio visual managers have some of the most difficult jobs in all of AV. If, though, audio visual management is technically skilled, well organized and communicative, they will provide immense value to the project and the client.