by Sam Lum, CTS-D
Whether we are providing the design only for the audio visual systems, or delivering a design-build solution, we get the opportunity to work with many people in different roles all over the country as we deploy workplace technology solutions for project specific projects and our national clients. And while there are certainly differences in AV system requirements, there are also some things that remain really consistent.
When we meet with clients, the first part of the meeting is quite often a lengthy discussion of previous AV installations that did not go well. Rarely do we hear, “the sales person didn’t know what they were talking about”, “the installation ran behind”, or any other issues related to the actual project integration. The number one complaint we hear is that after the system is installed, it’s either hard to connect to the system, and/or it is hard to control.
Meeting organizers want to be able to walk into a room, turn the system on and connect their device easily without a lot of hassle. And they surely do not want hassles to delay the start of the meeting. They will get really frustrated if they walk into the room at 9:57 for their 10:00 meeting and it takes them until 10:05 or to get up and running, or worse yet, are unable to get connected at all. It’s pretty awkward to have a room full of people watching you trying to get your computer up on the screen for several minutes before you finally have to call IT to come in and help you out.
So how do you make your AV work for you instead of against you? Here are a few easy things you can do to connect quickly and give simple control.
- Decrease the number of inputs and outputs. The more inputs you have and the more displays you have, the more buttons you are going to push get going. Most of the time the presenter is in the same place at the table. Give them a single, easy to see connection in a place that works for them. This will simplify the necessary control system by decreasing the steps required to select inputs and outputs to get on the screen.
- Set defaults for the most common set ups. Sure you may have multiple inputs and outputs, but do they really get used? Typically there are common and consistent uses of the room. Go ahead and make those options the default that just happen when the system is turned on instead of having to push buttons to get there.
- Use a little automaton. Control systems are getting easier and less expensive to install. An occupancy sensor that turns the display on and switches to the most commonly used input in the room can really save some time and trouble. A more simplistic “one touch” solution or “power on when connected” is another good option.
- Limit the type of connections to the system. In years past we had to be able to able to accommodate analog and digital sources, multiple operating systems, wired and wireless connections. The trend we are seeing now is that the company would rather roll out standard devices and tell users how to connect than deal with all the options. Again, this limits the steps necessary to connect.
In summary, sometimes less is more. Simplify the system. Let technology work for you. Standardize the technology and you’ll find it much ease and faster to start your meeting.