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The CEO Goes Back to School…
The CEO Goes Back to School…

October 30, 2018 – Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY: Gerry Abualy, CEO of Captus Systems, LLC, got a chance to pay it forward. At the request of Professor Steven Kent, PhD, of the Molloy College Business school, Mr. Abualy was asked to speak to a group which included business students who are members of Molloy’s Entrepreneurial Club. The well-attended intimate “Fireside Chat” setting provided the unique opportunity for Professor Kent, Mr. Abualy, and the students to have an in-depth conversation about the benefits and challenges of entrepreneurship. After Professor Kent’s introduction of Mr. Abualy, the presentation grew out of an informal “Q&A” format, with Professor Kent asking Gerry specifics about his career experiences. The floor was also opened-up to the students, who were encouraged to ask questions of Gerry. Some of the topics covered at the event were…best business practices, the importance of putting processes into place, controlling one’s destiny in the workplace, infrastructure and distribution, the pros and cons of “owning” vs. “leasing” business tools, the Cloud-based technology available to today’s companies, the advantage of predicting future trends, and of course - sales. When asked by one of the students about what NOT to do when embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, Gerry gave this sage advice: “Never be afraid to try new things early in your career. “Mistakes” should not define a person as a failure, but instead, they should be considered a valuable learning experience from where one can grow.” Another very significant tidbit shared by Gerry, was that “One should always understand the customer’s experience from their point of view. This is an important cornerstone upon which any successful business is built.” All in all, this experience was beneficial to everyone in attendance. The students gained invaluable knowledge culled from Gerry’s years of business expertise – and in turn, Gerry was excited to mentor young entrepreneurs at the beginning of their careers. Thank you, Professor Kent, Dean Mackenzie (Molly College’s Business School Director and MBA Program Professor), and of course, Mr. Abualy. For more info about Molloy College please visit their website

The Fundamentals of Good AV Room Design

Architects and designers of AV spaces focus on the aesthetics and optimization of room usage and space. At Captus Systems, we focus on the principles of AV project optimization, with the technical aspects of our clients’ needs in the forefront. Below are some fundamental best practices that we at Captus Systems always adhere to, in order to ensure the success of our clients’ AV projects: The Placement of Screens – Big & Small A positive AV experience is driven by the visuals of the room – and that includes the placement and size of the screen(s). When a screen is too small or too high on a wall, its effectiveness is lost because screens are obviously the focal point of any AV-enabled room. Products from company’s like Planar LED Displays can be set-up in either single-screen or video wall applications, which can then be used in conjunction with Peerless-AV or Chief mounts - and tools such as Chief PAC 525-AV boxes - to create world-class, impressive visual displays. When video screen placement is done correctly, the audience can’t help but be immersed in the experience. This is true for large or small rooms. More specifically - for a large room display, products like RP Visual’s Custom Mounts can be utilized. These types of mounts make it easy to move screens into their proper position, which ultimately makes the viewing experience a more comfortable one for the audience. Modern Tools Optimize the AV Experience Cloud-based video conferencing is a huge component of today’s AV business, so designing rooms that are able to connect easily to Cloud-based applications is essential to the modern meeting space. For optimum functionality, it’s best to use the most updated technology - like Cisco Webex - to deliver video conferencing between users across the globe. Products from Polycom, Starleaf, Cisco, and Zoom also offer great flexibility - and when the right tools from these manufacturers are chosen, it makes for the very best AV results. Audio is of Vital Importance Because Cloud-based video conferencing is integral to today’s AV industry, it is imperative to not only get the video part of the equation right - but the audio quality has to be outstanding as well. The audio component cannot be overlooked, so it is of vital importance that the right DSP technology is in place for the best possible sound outcome. Sound technology from BiAmp, QSC, or Clearone are all equally good choices when planning for optimum audio solutions for AV-enabled conference rooms. When the very best audio tools are used, they are sure to deliver crisp and crystal-clear audio in concert with vibrant and vivid visuals – and that makes for a winning combination every time! We at Captus Systems know that all of these points may seem obvious to industry insiders, but sadly, that’s not always the case. We take great pride in making sure that the AV solutions we design for our clients consistently hit on all of these fundamental best practices – which are essential to making every Captus Systems project a great success. For more information about Captus Systems, or for inquiries about how we can help with your next AV project - please fill-out the form to the right, and we’ll get back to you asap. Thank you.

Critical Collaboration Trends

Today’s modern workplace has changed dramatically from the days of 9-5, when button-down shirts and ties were the norm, and your manager’s office was just steps away from your desk. Today’s workplace is more casual and flexible, and the work/life balance is an important part of the equation. These days, the workforce is made up of mix of freelancers, contract workers, stay-at-home parents, and full-time staff – many of whom are working remotely. Millennials are willing to forego the traditional security and benefits of a full-time job for more freelance opportunities, allowing for complete control over their schedules. According to Forbes Magazine, (from January 26, 2016), freelancers will make up 50% of the workforce by the year 2020. As a result of the changing workforce dynamic, companies have no choice but to collaborate on a higher, more innovative and intuitive level, in order to compete in the global economy. Collaboration Technology is making that possible. Innovative business collaboration techniques can vastly improve your company’s productivity, as was recently sited by the global management and consultant company – McKinsey. They worked with a multinational software company, whose challenge was to collaborate effectively with team members in different time zones and continents. A key finding in this particular case was that the group had too few tools to competently engage in this type of knowledge-sharing. This problem was resolved after implementing innovative business collaboration tools and processes, which allowed the company to eliminate up to 30 percent of wasted time. Technology companies are continuing to develop cutting-edge Collaboration Tools to meet the demanding needs of today’s business environment. Cisco’s WebEx Teams (formerly Cisco Spark) can make working remotely more intuitive with easy-to-use collaboration tools. It unifies voice, video, data, and mobile - allowing people to work from virtually anywhere. Meetings can be conducted with teammates, partners, vendors, and customers - in various locations via video conferencing, real time messaging, and file-sharing. Companies may require cross-functional collaboration where disparate groups need to come together in order to react to real-time information, requiring a command/control center environment. To that end, system integration technology can be designed, which may include conference rooms linked to a primary LED display or video wall, featuring Planar screens and Peerless-AV or RP Visuals’ custom mounts. This type of technology promotes integration, collaboration, and streamlined communication between departments and groups. Cloud video conferencing is one of the fastest-growing areas in collaboration and unified communication, and comes in several configurations. Meeting-room video conferencing, AV enabled rooms, desktop conferencing, and mobile connectivity are primary examples. Hallmarks of a well-engineered audio video conference room – such as no visible wires, perfect camera angles, and flawless audio – are key, so that all of the meeting participants appear to have a seat at the same table. With these elements correctly in place, every person on the call can be heard with crystal clarity. To further the ease of operation - calls can even be scheduled to connect based on a calendar invitation. Whether implementing a standard video codec, (using cisco, Polycom, LifeSize), or a PC-based solution, (using Skype for Business “S4B” – soon to be Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Vidyo), or just calling-in to an audio bridge – every user experience should be the same. Global manufacturer, StarLeaf, provides an affordable, easy-to-use, and reliable video and voice communication system. Its messaging, video conferencing, and video calling services allow organizations to communicate and collaborate easily, seamlessly, and with zero interoperability issues. StarLeaf’s business collaboration products enable people to message, meet, and call anyone on any device - at any time. For example, their Group Telepresence 3351 – Enterprise Room System, is specifically designed to facilitate rich, immersive, and engaging meetings in larger conference rooms and auditoriums. Designed for professional AV integration, this system supports multiple screens, microphones, and cameras, so that your attendees can experience every single detail - just as if they were literally in the room. There are an infinite number of options available. Fill-out a request now, for a free quote to determine your Collaboration Technology needs. Bring your business into the dynamic new world of connectivity!

Audio, Lighting, HD Video, and AV Control Systems Design

Audio, Lighting, HD Video, and AV Control Systems Design A common characteristic of the modern economy is disruption. Disruption is defined as “the taking of an established industry with its inherent advantages, and breaking-down barriers for the masses.” While we’ve all seen the effects of this when we hail a ride from Uber or make a purchase from Amazon, it is also very true in the way which technology has been made available for all organizations. Small, Medium, Large, and Enterprise organizations now have many of the same tools available for them to both compete with, and grow their businesses. Many of these commercial tools - like their consumer counterparts - invite collaboration, promote ease of use, and typically use audio and video systems to increase their adoption. Networking companies like Cisco use WebEx Team and compete with Zoom and StarLeaf for the best of breed cloud performance. Audio Visual equipment from industries leaders like BiAmp and Shure have turned the corner to integrate Audio and the Network, using standards like DANTE (Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet), in order to provide for the next generation of connected devices. This new age of technology exponentially expands the performance and reduces cost for those experts on both audio and networking. While complexity seemingly may grow when you scale-up your solutions, audio and visual systems no longer need to be difficult to manage. Ease of use is now the primary objective and requirement. Creating Scalable Solutions Let’s say you’re a small startup that’s looking to grow and improve your office in preparation for client visits: One of the first things you’ll need is a meeting or conference room where you can present your latest projects to your investors and clients. Doing so often requires a very capable LCD projector from a reputable company like Christie Digital. However, the products they offer can vary in both price and use, which is why it is so important to create scalable solutions. As you add more AV devices to your business - be they audio interfaces in a studio, touchscreens for classrooms, or even a building-wide PA system - Captus Systems can help you design and build the perfect solution for your needs. What’s even more important than simply using the system, is the ability to CONTROL IT. That’s where companies like Extron come-in handy with their audio and visual control interfaces, switches, and other user-friendly systems. Enterprise Presentation Rooms Our specialties are in both conference and presentation rooms. Not only can we help you design a smart and comfortable room in which to hold your meetings, but we can also provide you with the correct AV control systems and technologies in order to make it practical as well. We know the importance of making that good first impression to your clients, because you don’t get many opportunities to do so in the world of business. We work together with industry leaders such as Planar Systems, Extron, and QSC in order to deliver high-quality digital AV control system solutions. From all-in-one tabletop solutions such as the Crestron Mercury, to systems like the Crestron NVX that can manage and distribute digital AV and control signals across your entire office - we’ve got scalable solutions to meet your exact needs no, matter how large or small your operation is. We specialize in offering high-end solutions for architects and designers, facility managers, general contractors, and also IT and media services managers. We serve several different types of industries, including those in the corporate, legal, financial, healthcare-related, and educational fields. With all that said - whether you’re in need of a service to help you to renovate existing lecture halls at your college or university, to create a brand-new AV control system to assist patients in your healthcare facility, or you’d like to design a luxury conference room to impress your clients - we’ve got the perfect solution for you!

Meridiam Audio Visual and IT Build Out Success Story

The Audio-Visual & IT engagement of Captus Systems, at build-out, consists of a variety of manufacturers including Crestron, Extron, Barco, Cisco, Starleaf, Apple, Clock Audio, Draper, NEC, LG, Chief, Atlona, Etc. The Boardroom features Crestron control via Apple iPad utilizing a Crestron app GUI residing in a LuxePort base station on the conference table. The room is outfitted with a Draper projector lift and screen that includes a separate lift for the front camera that is deployed only when StarLeaf Video Conference is needed. Chief, a division of Milestone AV Technologies, was selected for the mounting of all displays throughout the floor as well as PAC526 In-Wall Back Boxes. Vaddio cameras are integrated with the Starleaf Group Telepresence 3351 codec providing feed to the front projector when the room has maximum occupancy or the side displays when a smaller group is gathered based on presenter preference for room configuration. The Telepresence room utilizes the latest Cisco WebEx Team Room / Spark Room 70 System for its sleek design. Captus Systems then registered this Cisco WebEx Team Room / Spark Room 70 Systems with the StarLeaf Cloud for seamless StarLeaf control and integration through the Cisco Touch10 panel. The Small Conference Room, for simple presentation, utilizes an Extron MediaLink Controller (MLC 63) Decora Wallplate for control of the Barco Clickshare, AppleTV, table inputs & Cable Receiver. An Executive Office, Café & Reception Area all consist of LG Commercial Grade Displays equipped with AppleTV’s & Barco Clickshare setups. The IT infrastructure includes all Superior Essex Category 6 UTP Plenum Cabling with Ortronic faceplates, TracJacks & patch panels with Chatsworth Products (CPI) ladder racks for cable management.

Inspire your audience with a sophisticated, top-notch technology enabled Auditorium with Multimedia Presentations

The Modern Auditorium Inspire your audience with a sophisticated, state of the art technology enabled Auditorium that’s capable of delivering any Multimedia Presentation with power and ease. Capturing the attention of people in an auditorium has never been easy. By definition the auditorium is a large space where the presenter and the audience are separated, by design. Challenge 1: draw everyone's attention to the front of the house. Often you have only one person taking control and commanding the attention of the entire room. Other events are driven by several presenters; sometimes from a dais. Whether your auditorium is in an educational institution or a corporate facility, the goal is to get people to listen and participate. Often this has as much to do with the technology and tools, as the content and delivery. Auditorium technology has come a long way in recent years, and sophisticated technology can do a lot to transform your space and events. The modern presentation is multimedia by definition and incorporates lots of different techniques for a captivating experience. The Modern Multimedia Experience With an auditorium enabled with the latest technology, you can conduct more than just an effective event for your audience; now your event will be memorable. The very least that many people will expect from a presentation today is a PowerPoint slideshow projected on a large screen, perhaps with the help of an interactive board. But with a fully equipped auditorium, the event and presentation will be transformed in ways that was just dreamt about a few years ago and no longer requires deep pockets. Easily bring the multitude of visual content, together with crystal clear audio to captivate and engage the audience. With conferencing capabilities, quality has never been better, nor has the ability ever been easier, to conduct a state-of-the-art interactive presentation, remotely, from anywhere in the world. So whether you're trying to engage donors, get students to pay more attention, or simply to inspire the audience, now the tools are readily available and cost effective. Interactive Experience People don’t want to just sit and be lectured to. Just watching a presentation can be a daunting task in some organizations. The modern experience wants to bring people in. Engagement is becoming more of a priority every day. The connected, modern auditorium enables people to contribute from their seats, adding to the experience of all attendees. Lecturers, presenters and now anyone else can be a presenter and broadcast their information (or opinion) to the wider audience. BYOD / Personal devices, such as phones (IOS, Android) laptops and tablets can all be managed to become part of the event. Microphone technology is now an IP network discipline; allowing for greater flexibility, and clarity with fewer touch points. Dante Audio (digital audio through ethernet) is a combination of hardware and software protocols has changed the game for those professionals trained to deploy its benefits. Participants are able to make contributions, speak up and join in with conversations (sometimes from apps on their own devises) that are heard in the room and on the far-side. Audience engagement available to everyone with ease. Unshackle your auditorium from the confines of the 19th and 20th century’s footprint into a shared collaborative space; where the format, presenters and content is as varied as the topics. Assisted Listening - Audio Induction Loop System - ADA Mandated People with a hearing disability are increasingly using hearing aides capable of a T-coil (Telecoil) setting. Spaces available to the public are required by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) to have access to the audio systems within the public space. While many spaces make assisted listening headsets available by request, the modern experience allows the user to be in control. Spaces designed and engineered, early with induction loop systems, taking into account the physical infrastructure (walls, steel beams, reinforced concrete, wireless interference etc.) can include everyone in the space without unsolicited attention or stigma sometimes associated with having to ask for assistance. Control - Video, Light, Sound & Experience Control is King. Ease of use is paramount. Control is available to every aspect of the technological experience: Video and audio systems, lighting, emergency systems, HVAC, window treatments, acoustical wall coverings, occupancy sensors, all of it. While the control of all of the assets may feel like you’ve been bestowed with power of the wizard behind the curtain, the purpose is to your remove distractions, focus attention, and enable engagement. Captivate, inspire and make it memorable more easily with preset control scripts that perform dozens of commands with a single button push, triggered from an occupancy sensor or by schedule. Captus Systems provides electronic window treatments and shading control which is especially important in a room with an abundance of natural light. Depending on the final architectural layout, Sound masking can be added. Sound masking allows the people in rooms adjacent to an auditorium (or loud space) to focus on the task at hand. Connected Spaces Making your auditorium as connected as possible allows your audience to interact with you and each other. It also ensures that they have access to essential information that they might require while attending a lecture, lesson, talk or presentation. Ensuring that IT and AV elements are smoothly connected is essential for a modern technological auditorium. The tools are available, the technology is sophisticated and scalable and Captus Systems Design and Engineering Team are prepared to design the best solution for you and your auditorium within your budget confines. Captus Systems designs ensures that the technology will work well and the experience will exceed expectation for years to come. Captus Systems brings you technology from Cisco, Crestron, Christie Digital, Planar, Extron, BiAmp, and QSC.

Enterprise Audio Visual Design and Consulting

Enterprise Audio Visual Design Large and small enterprises have a lot on their hands when it comes to implementing and maintaining the environments responsible for the modern meeting space. The perfect audio-visual experience is now required everywhere. Whether new construction or refresh it all begins with flawless design. As an architect, designer, facilities manager and IT Specialist or someone tasked with those responsibilities it’s essential that you get everything right. The right choice of camera and its placement means everyone is seen, correct microphone choices and placement means those who are supposed to be heard are heard. The right cooling on the rack means maximum life expectancy of the deployed rack components. The goal is to have it go according to plan AND budget. So first you need a plan. Captus Systems, is an award-winning designer and provider of AV and IT solutions to Corporate and Academic Clients. Our clients industries are a microcosm of international & US based business, higher education and not-for-profit organizations providing diversity in use-case and design. While there are similarities between the needs and systems of a New York based international cancer institute and the multi-national publishing leader it’s the approach and selection of standards that marks the difference and in many ways the success. The enterprise audio visual design services we offer can be split into three different categories: Design & Consulting The initial consultation is completely free. This is where our experienced team will consult with you and your team to exchange information, ideas and best practice in audio, video, network and lighting designs. Our consultative approach is designed to ensure that the intended goals of the project are learned and shared with all concerned parties. Is there equipment that is to be redeployed? Has the end of life road map of redeployed equipment been shared? The Captus Design Process (CDP) will determine all the relevant details. The end result is a design that exceeds expectation of designers, IT professionals, users, executive team and finance. Our solutions are custom designed around our client’s needs. A defining characteristic of the CDP is that every design will be unique. You will not find a recycled design that has a discontinued product. System Delivery and Support Service We have delivered and serviced hundreds of enterprise AV systems and consequently, we offer support and service for all types of systems; Cisco, AMX, Crestron, Digital Signage, Cloud Services (WebEx teams, Zoom, StarLeaf etc. Service is designed to make life easier with fewer things to worry about; “like if the microphones in the 24th floor Large Conference Room are functioning for the Monday call” AV Managed Services Captus Systems offers comprehensive AV managed services that can be monitored by your team or ours. Today’s modern enterprise includes hundreds of integrated rooms and environments that are in almost constant use. A single room being down can cause havoc to the schedules of dozens of individuals costing thousands of dollars in lost productivity. Partnering with Captus Systems means maximum uptime & productivity. Audio Visual Design for Many Different Enterprises We’ve worked alongside numerous clients in very different settings. Some of the work we’ve done includes setting up enterprise AV systems in churches, museums, corporate environments, educational premises, and performance venues. Our teams experience spans the years of explosive industry growth, from analog to digital, from digital to network. At Captus we are ready to prepare you and your team with what’s coming next. Welcome to AV2.0

Why Captus and Cisco?

Spark Meetings are dead. Long live Webex meetings. Prior to this convergence, we had Cisco Spark with its own type of meeting – the Spark meeting, but we still had Webex with its own Webex meetings. Users could join Cisco Spark meetings only from the Cisco Spark app, and Webex meetings from the Webex app. Users could join Webex meetings from Cisco Spark if they were clever, but they did not get any of the critical meetings features. With this convergence – it’s all simplified. Everything is a Webex meeting, with a common set of features – roster, meeting controls, PSTN connectivity, and so on. All Webex meetings are joinable from either the Webex Meetings application or the Webex Teams application. Webex Teams supports a new type of meeting, called a Webex team meeting, which takes advantage of the participants in a space to provide a highly secure easy to use new type of Webex meeting – the team meeting. The Webex backbone network now powers all meetings. Prior to this convergence work, both Webex and Cisco Spark had meetings capabilities, but they were quite disparate. Even in the back end, Webex meetings were supported by servers sitting in the Webex data centers, and interconnected with the powerful Webex backbone IP network. This IP network provides global transport between customer ISPs and our meeting servers, optimizing for video quality. Cisco Spark meetings were powered by servers in public clouds, and weren’t making use of the Webex backbone. Now, with this convergence, the Webex backbone is used for all meetings, regardless of whether they are joined from the Webex Meetings app or the Webex Teams app. We have meeting servers in both public clouds and in our own data centers. The Webex backbone interconnects with both of them. This means that customers get the best quality, lowest latency experience possible. This is particularly important for video, since the Webex backbone was purpose built for video meetings. Control Hub gains powerful features for Webex analytics and troubleshooting. Prior to this convergence, the Cisco Spark management tool – Control Hub – provided some basic analytics for Cisco Spark. Webex customers used a different tool – the site admin – and had a good set of analytics capabilities there. With this platform convergence, the Control Hub now supports customers using both Webex Meetings and Webex Teams, and its analytics functions for Webex Meetings have taken a significant jump forward. Hybrid Media Services is now called Video Mesh – and works for all Webex meetings. Prior to this convergence work, Cisco Spark had an amazing capability called hybrid media service. This service allowed a customer to deploy servers on premise which could be used for the audio, video and content share streams for Cisco Spark meetings. But, they worked only for Cisco Spark meetings. With this convergence, these hybrid media nodes can now be used for any Webex meeting type – regular Webex meetings, PMR meetings, and Team meetings. Users joining those meetings from SIP endpoints, our cloud connected video endpoints, or the Webex Teams app, will connect to these media nodes when joining any of those meetings. With this convergence, we’re also renaming hybrid media services to video mesh, in recognition of the truly disruptive and now broad applicability of this capability. The industry’s first secure multi-company Collaboration solution. Specific to Webex Teams, the backend convergence has enabled us to deliver this industry first. It is increasingly common to work outside the boundaries of your company, and our competitors solve for this by allowing guest accounts to be created on their team collaboration instance in the cloud. End users need to ask for administrator intervention to create guest accounts, they need to maintain multiple accounts, and they need to log in and out of the app when they want to collaborate outside of their company. This is a huge pain, but it also creates a huge security risk. Guest accounts enable users to share information outside of their company in a way that cannot be tracked by compliance tools. This means that an employee can accidentally – or purposefully – share confidential information outside the company, and the company won’t be aware of it, and won’t be able to take steps to remove the leak. We have solved this problem with Webex Teams. All Webex Teams users reside in a single, shared cloud instance – each with just a single account. There are no guest accounts. B2B collaboration is built in so users can work with everyone, both inside and outside of the company, from the same application, without asking their IT guy for help. In addition, this means that each company can make sure that their employees don’t share confidential information outside of the company, and if they do, it can be detected and remediated. Webex is the industry’s first Team Collaboration solution to deliver secure multicompany collaboration. As you can see, the convergence of Cisco Spark and Webex is not just skin deep – it goes to the platform level and brings an amazing set of benefits to our customers.

Captus in the Community

On June 16th, Captus Systems, will joining Adelphi University in supporting and celebrating student success at the 18th Annual President's Gala. SATURDAY • JUNE 16, 2018 6:00 PM - 11:00 PM Garden City Hotel | 45 7th Street, NY Adelphi’s annual President’s Gala, the University’s largest fundraising event, supports student scholarships at Adelphi. Each year, the University provides more than $50 million in scholarship assistance to its students, including more than 5,000 undergraduates from across the country. At the President’s Gala, individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the University and the larger community are recognized. This event draws the region’s top civic, business, and community leaders, as well as Adelphi trustees, alumni and friends, students, administrators, faculty and staff, to celebrate our honorees and the University. Link to Libraries 2018 President’s Gala please click here For more information about Adelphi’s President Gala, please visit here Receive updates and connect with us on Facebook

How to choose the best Audio-Visual Design and Build Integration company

All AV companies are not created the same. Selecting the right Audio-Visual Design & Build Firm will be one of the most important decisions you and your team will make. And while it may seem challenging, it doesn’t need to be that way. Not anymore. The need for Audio Visual technology has grown to become one of the most important disciplines within the commercial, healthcare and higher education industries. How important is AV to you and your organization? The answer can be found by determining how much distress your organization has when PowerPoints don’t display correctly on the Samsung 4K LED, when people can’t be heard on a Cisco SX80 video or audio call or when users call to say “…Crestron is not working” and I need someone here “NOW”. Odds are your organization uses technology everywhere, has a younger and dispersed work force comprised of employees and 3rd parties, requires agility, communication across many time zones and platforms including, Skype for Business, On-Premises, Cloud, mobile, PC, rooms etc. Security, once the responsibility of a 3rd party vendor who provided a uniformed presence at the perimeter, has felt its effects to every device and RJ45 jack in the organization. If you are still reading, you and your organization are one of the many organizations who have concluded that to be effective and competitive you need a coherent Audio-Visual technology strategy and partner to help you to implement that strategy. Step 2, How do you find the best team to bring the most value to your strategy and your projects? There are many considerations to take into account, some of them incredibly hard to pinpoint, all with the goal of clearing the fog. Thankfully, we have outlined some best practices you can use to identify the right team & fit that will suit your company’s and project needs. Team Expertise and Knowledge A firm is as good as its team. This is even more true for the Audio-Visual Industry where the technological envelope is constantly being pushed to new limits of: More, Faster, Cheaper, Now. Deep Knowledge is the ability to gain a variety of information on a variety of topics, or going in deep on a certain subject or topic. Used commonly in the study of the universe, its definition applies directly the Audio-Visual Industry. An expert Audio-Visual Engineering team includes individuals with the knowledge of audio and video signal flow and now requires the added deep knowledge of systems, equipment, networking and security, previously only found in the best firms of the IT world. (Think Cisco) Knowledge is basis of a strong team; finding a team that disseminates the unnecessary from the business critical, as it applies to your strategy, is essential to clearing the fog. Professional Audio-Visual systems strategy teams require the ability to continue to gather knowledge in multiple areas, organize that knowledge to allow for it to be distributed to the relevant team members through the company’s internal best practice and process to educate and promote individuals into leadership positions that promote more knowledge transfer. Work with a team that is a deep as it is wide, in knowledge and understanding. Best practice includes, best hire practices, best employee retainage practices and best training practices and understanding ideas that challenge the status quo. If the AV Company staff is thoroughly vetted, reliable and possesses a long-standing reputation of integrity in the industry, then that company is certainly the one to focus on. Technical certifications are important. The Audio-Visual Company that is either a direct dealer or approved distributor means the Audio-Visual company’s staff has most likely already met each manufactures criterion to represent their brand & therefore may help you identify which one is better for you. Certifications help an AV Company provide long term value, on-time delivery, quality installations in addition to a solid career path for their employees. Here are a few certifications from the leading manufactures of Audio-Visual Components and industry associations to look for: AVIXA: (formerly InfoComm International): CTS, CTS-D, CTS-I Creston: DMC-E-4K, DMC-T-4K, DMC-S, CTI-P-101, CTI-P-201, CTI-P-301, CTI-FUSION-P, CTI-CSD, DM-NVX Extron: Extron Control Professional, Extron Control Specialist, Extron XTP Systems Design Engineer, Extron XTP Systems Technician BiAmp: Tesira SERVER/SERVER I-O, TesiraFORTÉ, TesiraLUX, Vocia, VoIP, Audia for Technicians QSC: Q-SYS Level 1, Q-SYS Level 2 Cisco: CCNA Collaboration, CCNP Collaboration Reputation Reputation is important. It is also the right way to see whether a company’s style, approach, ethics and philosophy is a good fit for you and your team. Read the reviews, talk with people that worked with the companies previously and, if possible, visit the sites of their completed projects and ask questions. If they are established in the industry, they should be proud to show off their work, providing the confidence to move to the next step. Technical Compatibility, Interdependency and Operability Many companies rely on “cookie-cutter” templates, that lack additional knowledge needed to provide a comprehensive solution. Cookie cutter will not pass the bar for the modern AV / IT systems which is integrated at many levels of the organization. In the Audio-Visual industry, Compatibility, Interdependency and Operability include the Electronics and Infrastructure, Solutions within the installed space, legacy systems and user groups. Every piece of equipment doesn’t work in every application. Every application is not correct for every organization. Knowing what works and what doesn’t in unique circumstances is obviously critical and now is added to the Audio Visual / Unified Communication discipline. It’s a higher bar that many unqualified integrators can’t reach. Examples of this higher criterion are everywhere. (1) the impact to the network when audio and video is distributed over segments of the infrastructure. (Dante and AES67 requires a higher level and degree of compatibility between devices, switches, and clients’ infrastructure). (2) Securing devices and the individual users to what can be shared on the Unified Communications platform. Deploying a robust SSH layer has become increasingly important and should not be overlooked in an AV system. Room and Space Compatibility This is where AV has an opportunity to work with the architects and designers. Simply said, after the equipment has been pre-confirmed for the application, then the AV Designer and AV Engineer must work to make sure that the actual equipment is compatible in the room, space and furniture. Sure the rack will “fit in the credenza” but does the Shure MXA910 Ceiling Array fit into the optimal position of the Reflected Ceiling Plan? Is there a HVAC vent effecting the performance of the microphone? Is credenza properly ventilated for the rack components? Will the microphones that are being drilled into the table be obstructed by the doors on the cable cubbies? These are few of the questions that require the attention of a qualified Audio-Visual Engineer and Project team. Most importantly, as it relates to compatibility, is the proposed solution compatible for the actual end-user of the space? If the Audio-Visual team has taken the time to ask the right questions of the user community, they will find out if there is a preference for wireless lavalier or wired microphones, room schedulers to keep the peace, a white board solution that is able to record the presentation and so on. Compatibility is important! Process – Process- Process - Final Deliverables and the Closeout Process Is there a documented process throughout the delivery of the system? How well does the AV company provide and respond to the multiple RFI’s and RFQ’s that are common across many departments (Facilities, IT, Security, Executive Committee, etc.) in the Audio-Visual Industry? How is the final deliverable shared & what is included in the “Final Deliverable Submittal”? Are the Final Deliverables provided on a CD AND huge binder, (still a common practice) or has the AV company employed the best practices of using a shared a portal which remains transparent throughout the project and final delivery process? Is the closeout process straightforward and process driven providing meaningful information or is it a document dump (also an all too common practice)? Does the AV company provide a serialized equipment list with MAC addresses, complete sets of as-built drawings & editable programming and DSP code? It is obvious that the answer should be resounding YES! Don’t let your End-Game process of the project close out be marginalized. A great End-of Project system is a terrific indicator that your post installation service experience will be as well. Pricing and Warranty Everything come down to price. No revelation there. However, Best & Final may not always reflect all the criteria of a thoughtful and thorough selection process. And while staff expertise, compatibility, pricing, certifications and a long-term partner relationship take longer to asses on the front end, an informed decision maker and team will make better decisions with higher successes every time. The AV firm that possess the qualities outlined below is an asset especially when considering the alternatives of using an unqualified firm without the knowledge and expertise to design, deliver and support your Audio-Visual Systems and Environments. Warranty, while secondary to many, is another important part to consider. While each manufacturer warranty on the hardware may vary (Crestron 3 – 5 years depending on vertical), the AV Company Warranty on the system, the wiring, the programming, the operation and usability, reflects how confident they are in their staff workmanship & the overall finished product. Service Service Service We have saved the best for last. It all comes down to service. It’s as true for Audio Visual as it is for any project you’re planning to undertake. If the team you are assembling is unresponsive, unprepared or otherwise incapable of resolving the issues at hand for lack or attention then that is the experience you will remember. Proving a positive exemplary service experience in a modern commercial Audio Visual unified communication environment is truly a team effort.

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