Audio Visual contractors and integrators are technology experts, able to bring together a room full of AV equipment and ensure it works properly. Businesses, schools and other institutions expect that from their AV integrator, but an integrator can do much more. In addition to planning, procuring and installing AV technology, integrators can also provide long term maintenance for the system, and long term service for its owner.
Any organization that relies on AV technology should consider what an integrator can do for their system, long term. Organizations with extensive conferencing and collaboration solutions, though, shouldn’t go without an integrator partner.
AV integrators provide essential maintenance
According to the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), a single hour of downtime will cost most companies $100,000 or more. More than 80 percent of responding companies stated that an hour of downtime would cost $300,000 or more. A third of companies would lose more than a million. Downtime may not have the same economic impact in schools, but what’s lost is arguably more valuable – learning opportunities.
Companies and educational institutions go to great lengths to avoid downtime, and partnering with an AV integrator is one way to do this. Integrators offer troubleshooting and remote technical assistance as a first line of support, in most cases. If this doesn’t resolve the issue quickly, integrators can send a technician to the site to diagnose and correct the problem.
Maintenance is more effective, though, when it helps companies and schools avoid downtime in the first place. That’s why integrators can also package preventative maintenance into their maintenance agreements. During preventative maintenance, a technician will assess the system on-site and verify that it is in proper working condition. If there are any issues with the system’s configuration or health, the technician can provide a fix, or escalate the issue if necessary. Preventative maintenance is highly recommended for any organization that cannot tolerate downtime, and needs to get every last bit of performance from its technology. The more often preventative maintenance is performed, the better, but it should be done quarterly at a minimum.
Integrators offer on-site managed services
Periodic maintenance isn’t enough for some organizations, though. A business or school that doesn’t have room for an in-house AV specialist still needs day-to-day advice, assistance and the occasional quick fix. Many organizations rely on their IT personnel to shoulder the load, but this may result in inefficient manpower allocation.
Fortunately, some audio and visual contractors offer managed services. With managed services or on-site staffing, a company or school always has an AV expert on hand and ready to respond to any issues or questions.
Even if an organization only needs an on-site technician and nothing more, it’s still a good idea to work with an AV integrator. That’s because an integrator can vet prospective AV technicians or assign one of their own experts to the site. As integrators have experience screening and hiring technicians, companies have access to more talented AV professionals when they work with an audio and visual contractor.
Audio visual contractors will update technology, too
When decision-makers first see their new AV solution in action, it may seem like it will never need replacement. It’s fast, streamlined, intuitive and just perfect for the organization’s needs. Even without an integrator partner, that feeling may last for a while. However, even well-planned, well-installed and well-configured AV solutions need to be refreshed occasionally.
Organizations update their technology at different rates, and it depends on the industry, the size of the organization and its reliance on that technology. However, the general consensus is that businesses refresh their technology every three to five years, while schools will wait between three and 10 years to update. Some system components, like desktops or laptops, should be replaced every few years, while network and AV equipment may last two to three times longer. There’s also the cabling to consider, which should be pulled and replaced every couple decades, and don’t forget the servers, which need to be replaced about twice a decade.
If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is to most organizations. The confusion is multiplied with every additional conference room and every additional solution, too, so large organizations may be many years behind.
AV integrators, as part of their maintenance agreements, will put together a tech refresh timeline for their clients. This ensures organizations can plan their AV investments well in advance and ensure they are always operating with the most cost effective technology available. A major challenge with AV in the corporate world is budgeting for new equipment, but when an integrator plans out tech refreshes, organizations know in advance when they will be expected to make an upgrade. This brings budgetary certainty.
Audio and visual contractors can guide AV solutions from conception to execution, ensuring every step of the process is handled properly. Reputable contractors and integrators can also provide post-installation support and maintenance plans that ensure the system is optimized for years after it is installed. This is the best way to ensure your new solution provides a strong ROI long after other systems have failed.