CONTI Evolution in the Media

BLOG: 9 Quick Tips to Ensure AV Project Success

Colby Harder - Friday, January 23, 2015

I've been working in the AV industry for nearly 15 years.  In that time, I've worked on hundreds of projects as small as $20,000 and as large as $5M.  I've worked on projects in corporate meeting spaces, and in restaurants and retail.  Here's 9 Quick Tips to help you find success.


1. Make it Important - Too often, audio video is an afterthought in project planning.  The reality is that audio visual systems will impact almost all other aspects of your project and require slick coordination to ensure things go according to plan and to ensure you get the value you require.  We live in the 21st century and the ability to communicate with audio video is no luxury in the workplace, it is a workplace essential.  The world's most engaged companies know this and plan for it. 

2. Clearly Define your Business Goals- Audio visual systems are often considered to be "technology".  I contest this assertion.  The most innovative and effective projects I've worked on were driven by clients who considered audio visual to be essential business systems.   Start by clearly defining your business goals.  What do you want to empower your business to accomplish, and how will your meeting spaces support this need.  Once this is defined, you're prepared for the next step in the process.

3. Invest in System Design-  A properly executed audio visual systems design will convert your business needs into functional and technical requirements in the simplest and most cost effective manner.  This is a foundation to success, and will save you time and money on your project.  Too often, this important step is completely skipped.   You would never build a house without an architect's plans.  A detailed system design will provide clear direction to other trades and will empower you to compare competitive bids and obtain best value.  This critical step puts you in the driver's seat. 

4. Interview Proponents - After you've completed and distributed your detailed design to potential suppliers, and received their proposals in response, you should plan to interview each proponent in person to thoroughly understand their proposal, their team, and their approach to business.  The best companies in the world always do this. 

5. Schedule for Success - Our experience in more than 75% of the projects we're engaged on, Audio visual is never included in construction schedules, and often added very late in the project.  A recent project we began didn't even have audio visual on the construction schedule, despite the fact that music and video were foundational components of the client's overall project and the AV project required more than 1200 man hours of work to complete the audio visual systems.  Ensure audio visual systems are called out and included in your construction project schedule.

6. Plan for Formal Commissioning - Upon completion, plan on a formal commissioning process to walk through and ensure delivery of systems to specification.   This will ensure accuracy to design and will bring clear closure to the project.  It will save you money and time on ongoing support costs. Ask any potential suppliers or AV integrators to articulate their commissioning process.  Be confident they have one in place.  We are often engaged to provide 3rd party commissioning of other integrator's work. This provides an impartial 3rd party review.

7. Define Ongoing Support at the Beginning - Audio visual systems, like most business systems, will require ongoing technical and user support.  User support is especially critical.  Many organizations invest in audio visual without any plans to address their ongoing support needs.  Leading companies understand their support requirements and always define their ongoing support requirements ahead of the project and they ensure they've allocated budget to provide for ongoing support, most often through a managed support contact. 

8. Bring an Open Mind - The audio visual industry is changing quickly and there are new ways to approach the fulfillment of a client's business needs.  Cost + Pricing, AV Managed Services, and Lifecycle management programs can deliver real value to clients like you.  Some companies are bound by purchasing or business processes, stuck to traditional standards, and are unable to take advantage of changing service trends.  Innovative companies bring an open mind to their projects that can allow them to achieve greater value at lower cost. 

9. Get Real about Lifecycle Management - I recently worked with a large Seattle based software company.  They manage a very significant number of audio visual equipped meeting rooms.  One of the things that really struck me was their very realistic approach to Lifecycle management.  AV systems in an office environment should be expected to have a reliable service life of 4-5 years.  To anticipate more than this is to count on luck over reliability.  We always suggest that our clients bring realistic expectations about Lifecycle management, and plan for upgrades accordingly.  This will ensure optimal workplace productivity.

CONTI Evolution is a boutique audio video advisory services firm that supports projects across North America, for small, medium, and large enterprise.  We provide value to clients by helping you define your needs thoroughly, design and document requirements accurately, and implement and support systems consistently and reliably across your enterprise.  Our proven process will deliver better results and save you money.