Over the past decade as technology has continued to become more simplified, the role of the integrator has in many ways become more complex.
This is because technology in itself has not become simpler, but the user experience has and with the expectation that operating an integrated system should be easy, it has added pressure to the integrator to accommodate.
In order to truly make systems easier, there are practices from the beginning of a project through final sign off and delivery that need to be followed. Really what these practices amount to are standards. From the engineering, to the wiring to the way items are mounted, consistency is key.
The problem as I see it is far too many integrators don’t have standards and this makes it hard for businesses to grow and even harder to assure consistent delivery to your clients.
Why Most Fields Have Tightly Managed Standards
Try to imagine for a moment walking into your doctor’s office for a procedure only to find out they don’t really follow any sort of standards. You find out that each doctor just kind of does their own thing, how would you feel about that?
What about a building engineer reviewing the support structure of a new tower, what if they did what they thought probably made the most sense, but with no real standard operating procedure. Sure hope that beam can handle the load…
Perhaps these examples are a bit extreme in comparison to your average Audio Visual project, but when you think about it, part of the reason we trust doctors (for the most part) and we don’t get nervous stepping off the elevator onto the 40th floor is because we know that these professionals are bound to a standard of quality.
It is that standard that sets expectations for those who perform surgery or build skyscrapers to do so in a way that keeps people safe and buildings standing tall.
The AV Industry Lacks Standards, Integrators Need Their Own
For many years the AV industry has looked to the trade associations to create standards for installation projects and the good news is there has been some progress made.
Having said that, there is a still a long way to go in both the adoption of these standards by integrators and in seeing these standards reach a place where they
really solve the requirements for integrators to be able to consistently deliver better than expected results for their customers.
I have come to believe that integrators need to develop their own standards for installation projects. Such standards will allow them to scale their business so that no matter who is handling the various phases of the project there is a certain amount of consistency in the work performed.
Separate Your Business By Delivering More Consistent Results
After doing hundreds of projects for different integrators around the country, I feel very safe in saying that integrators that develop a well documented set of standards for their entire installation process will set themselves apart from the rest.
By in large, we have found that very few integrators employ standards that assure quality and while some claim to follow the standards of associations such as Infocomm, that claim has been more rhetoric than practice. As an outside installation services company, this lack of consistency makes it hard for us to always meet the expectations that may have been set in the past. However, if we knew specifically what was done via a set of standards we could easily replicate projects from site to site with different installers without a problem.
Moving into the future I believe standards are needed for every part of the process from the way drawings are done to the location of specific buttons on the touch panel. This way your business can grow with consistency and when people move up, out or over the results will be much more similar.
There is no doubt that there is tremendous value for businesses, customers and our industry to start delivering more consistent quality in our trade, leaving the question…
Is it time for businesses to stop waiting for someone else to determine what should be standard, and start setting the standard for our businesses? Think about it,
I’m sure the answer is right in front of you.