Audio and visual support is what keeps an AV solution running at peak capacity, long after it has been installed. It’s the goal of every reputable AV integrator to serve as their clients’ AV technology partner, for several reasons. Most importantly, AV solutions aren’t the kind of solutions that are installed, configured and forgotten about. With time, network issues, aging equipment and tinkering with the system’s settings will cause a decline in performance.
Audio and visual support can prevent this decline, prevent downtime and prevent unexpected technical issues. Further, an AV integrator will serve as the client’s go-to expert on all things AV, which ensures the company or school can develop a long range technology plan. With long range planning, organizations have budget certainty and can make smarter decisions on which technologies to use and how to use them.
What does an audio and visual support plan offer?
An AV maintenance agreement safeguards your new AV solution from extended downtime, and in many cases, can prevent downtime altogether.
Some integrators tier their maintenance agreement options so organizations can commit to the level of support they need. Whether the technology is of secondary importance or mission critical, there’s a maintenance plan that will fit the situation perfectly. Every maintenance agreement, though, should have the following elements:
1. Remote technical assistance – If possible, technical issues will first be met with a remote response. Ideally, every technical fault would be remotely solvable, as this speeds up the process and minimizes any disruption to the system. Remote assistance is usually available by phone and e-mail, and handled during normal business hours. Reputable integrators can provide an immediate technical response, which is like having an AV help desk during the day. If 24/7 support is needed, however, a maintenance plan can be customized to account for it.
2. Troubleshooting – Experienced integrators will set up AV technology so that it fits seamlessly into the client’s network. With time, though, changes to network or device configuration can cause problems with AV equipment. If there are network-related issues with the AV system, an integrator can provide troubleshooting with the client’s IT department in order to reach a solution. An integrator may also be able to work with the client’s internet provider if need be, and the focus will be to optimize audio and video quality, as well as reliability.
3. On-site technical response – If a technical issue cannot be resolved remotely within a reasonable timeframe, then a technician should be dispatched to the client’s facility to deal with it in person. Prior to sending out a technician, the integrator will request some diagnostic information. This information may be enough to fix the problem before sending out a technician, but if it’s not, a technician will be sent out promptly to resolve it.
If it seems like technical assistance will be required with some frequency, it’s wise to pick an integrator close to the organization’s facilities. This ensures the fastest response possible. On-site technical assistance should be available 27/7/365 and is something to prioritize in a maintenance agreement. It should cover the worst possible scenario, like a critical piece of hardware going down over an extended holiday and bringing the company’s operations to a halt. Even in this situation, a maintenance agreement should provide a needed fix.
4. Training – For an AV integrator, the job isn’t over once the system is installed and configured. The technology must also be adopted by the organization’s workforce, and to do this, an integrator should provide training to all relevant personnel.
Reputable integrators know that whether a solution succeeds or not depends on how company employees or educators are transitioned to the technology. Integrators make this transition an easy one for professionals, offering hands-on training sessions that are designed for the group’s technical aptitude. The goal is to ensure everyone in the room is comfortable with the training, so it can be taken as quickly or as slowly as needed. Fortunately, some of the best AV solutions are also some of the easiest to operate, so training is usually brief, but it does help users access advanced features and perform their job duties with the system right out of the gate.
5. Warranties and shipping – Manufacturer warranties can provide companies and schools with considerable savings and reliability, assuming they are properly processed. When it comes to AV technology, the integrator should handle this processing for their client and ship out any equipment that needs to be handled at a manufacturer facility. Integrators can often get a better deal on parts and labor than other parties, which provides another financial advantage to the client.
The Value of Preventative Maintenance
Most standard maintenance agreements come with the above, but organizations should consider adding preventative maintenance onto their agreement. During preventative maintenance, a technician will inspect the client’s AV equipment at its facilities, assessing the system’s performance and checking for any technical issues. If issues are spotted, the technician will provide a solution or escalate it so that it is dealt with promptly.
Preventative maintenance avoids downtime, and every time a technician catches something, that’s money the company has saved. Preventative maintenance also optimizes system performance, and every extra bit of performance means more productivity. It provides value in multiple ways.
The more often preventative maintenance is provided, the better. At the minimum, it should be a quarterly appointment, and monthly if possible. Preventative maintenance is critical for the AV system’s continued smooth operation, and it’s a standard addition to most maintenance agreements.
AV integrators still play a valuable role for their clients after an AV solution is implemented. With a maintenance agreement, businesses, schools and other organizations will get the most out of their AV investment, ensure it works well with the client’s network and protect it from costly downtime.