Just because something can be DIY’ed doesn’t mean it should be, and that can be especially true of your AV system. While there are a few scenarios when a do-it-yourself approach might meet your needs, there are also times when an expert AV integrator is absolutely critical. The success of your AV integration and implementation depends on knowing the difference.
WHEN YOU NEED AN AV INTEGRATOR
As a general rule, an integrator can help any project stay on time, on budget, and on task. But the following are three scenarios when an integrator is crucial to your success—and possibly your career.
When security is a concern. While you might be tempted to opt for consumer-grade AV equipment that is easy for just about anyone to install and operate, most of those tools and applications will not provide the level of security many companies require. AV equipment that meets corporate or military security standards, on the other hand, requires an expert to install and integrate it. If your organization will be sharing secure data across collaboration platforms, an expert AV integrator is a must.
When the application is mission-critical. Is your AV system the main way you interface with existing and potential clients? Do your company executives use your integrated AV system to facilitate corporate communication? Does your AV system need to support real-time decision-making and responses? If so, you know that quality and reliability can’t be compromised. Poor audio and video quality and a system that’s difficult to understand and operate will waste valuable time and negatively impact important outcomes. An AV integrator will ensure your system is ready and able to deliver the results you need and want any—and every—time.
When the project is large. The more complex your project is, the more chances it has to fail. An AV integrator can help you identify and mitigate potential risks in the planning and design process, so your final result is in line with your initial project requirements. According to Robby Turner, Executive Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Data Projections, “Integrators are experts integrating various technologies together and with the client’s existing infrastructure. Any project that involves merging new equipment or solutions with existing equipment demands an integrator’s expertise. Any project that may pose compatibility or user experience issues should also be handled by an integrator. If technology needs to be mounted seamlessly into one or more rooms, this is another project for the integrator.”
WHEN YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and there are times when you can probably get by without an AV integrator. Here are three scenarios when a DIY approach can get the job done.
When the project doesn’t require integration. If you are using a plug-and-play or off-the-shelf solution that has minimal connection points and doesn’t need to integrate with any existing equipment or solutions, chances are you can do it yourself. The low risk and low complexity of these solutions mean they are likely to meet your requirements whether you use an AV integrator or not.
When the solution is user-friendly. Some AV solutions require not only an expert to install them, but an expert to run and support them. Other tools are simple and intuitive enough that anyone can walk in and use them without creating or encountering a lot of problems. If you have a solution easy enough for anyone in your company to use, you probably don’t need an AV integrator to install or support it.
When you know AV. If you are, yourself, an AV expert with the requisite certifications and qualifications then you can probably install your own system. But remember, having the technical skills and being able to successfully execute an AV project can be two different things. And making mistakes that negatively impact your company’s executives—or the bottom line—could cost you your job. Before you commit to taking on an AV project on your own, you also need to ensure you can procure the necessary equipment. Many manufacturers don’t sell directly to customers and that might limit your ability to get what you need.