Universities and colleges of all sizes are continually investing in audio/visual technology as a means of delivering information to students more cost effectively and by means that instill greater interest and retention. An unfortunate reality, however, is that many schools make AV system purchase decisions only to discover they have paid too much, the selected systems prove more costly to implement than planned, and these systems fail to meet the needs of faculty, students, administration and other users. Such problems can be avoided if decision-makers approach the situation more systematically, following a few recommendations that have proven successful in numerous AV implementations in the university setting.
Partner With Experts
No set of recommendations would be complete were it to exclude comments on the importance of credentials of the AV system integrator partner. So at the very least, a school's short list of AV system providers must include firms that have higher education experience, and experience in deployments on campuses of similar size and with similar types of system needs.
An important measure of a firm's capability and suitability is the certifications it and its employees hold. Top notch firms today maintain and keep current, their certifications with standards bodies such as the International Communications Industries Association (ICIA) and the Custom Electronic Design and installation Association (CEDIA). Further, most local jurisdictions are moving towards using licensed contractors to do all work, and limited energy electricians where stringent continuing education, insurance and bonding endorsements are required. Lastly, given the technology convergence we're in the midst of today, IT knowledge is paramount. Today's AV integrator has to understand and have a working "data center" knowledge-- that is, experience with everything interoperable, from hardware and software to communications and networking.