Today’s audiovisual systems go beyond a connection in the wall or table, a projector and screen (or large TV), and microphones and speakers in a room. Product offerings have expanded greatly, and many are network integrated. This shift to network-based audiovisual systems has allowed the AV industry to follow suit with IT in exploring the capabilities of monitoring and maintaining system functionality. AV as a Service (AVaaS) is one of the fastest emerging markets in the audiovisual industry. It allows you as the technology or facilities manager to manage your company’s network and offer support to users in ways not possible before now.
This kind of efficient support is increasingly important as workplaces adopt smaller and more numerous meeting rooms where employees can collaborate. The desire for these spaces has expanded AV technology beyond the executive boardroom and larger meeting spaces. This means a lot more systems that need to be supported to ensure availability on a daily basis. It also means that more people are going to seek out these spaces, multiplying potential productivity lost to hunting for available rooms.
Room Service Not Required
We’ll get to that second issue shortly, but let’s start with the first. In the old days, AV support involved sending someone to the room to see if everything was working as it should, troubleshooting any issues that came up, and coordinating extended repair time with room availability. With the evolution of AVaaS systems, though, the majority of issues can be resolved by someone connected to the network and running the proper software.
The latest software solutions in the AV industry provide a duplicate control panel on an administrator’s computer that allows them to take over the room if something goes wrong. These software suites offer full monitoring capabilities to let the support staff know the status of any connected device. Is the projector or TV on or off? Are the microphones muted? Did someone forget to turn the system off at the end of the day? All of these can be easily managed with software platforms, decreasing the need for on-site personnel and increasing support response time because work can be managed without having to do anything more than connecting to the network.
Connectivity Improves Efficiency
Looking back to that second issue of discovering room availability, this is where the AV industry has helped increase workplace efficiency through room scheduling software platforms that integrate with Outlook, Gmail, and other mail calendar platforms, allowing employees to quickly schedule the space and invite other attendees. And for spontaneous, unscheduled meetings, user groups can simply glance at touch panels positioned outside rooms to see if they’re green (available) or red (occupied) to find a home for their brainstorming session.
How effective can room scheduling be for your business? Start by estimating your employees’ average salary. Now assume that each of them will spend at least 15 minutes per week trying to find a location to collaborate with their co-workers. That’s one hour a month. Doesn’t seem like much until you consider that you may have 100 employees. That’s 100 hours of lost time a month. Now what about when you have 300 employees? How about 5,000 employees?
The larger your company grows, the more managed services like room scheduling and remote systems improve efficiency of operations and client relationships.
These AV solutions aren’t just better for your internal staff. They also improve the support that you can get with your AV systems vendor. Having devices connected to a network allows vendors to be automatically emailed if a piece of hardware fails. If a complex system experiences problems that exceed the troubleshooting abilities of your onsite support, the vendor can remotely log in and see if there is a bug in the programming that needs to be patched, as well as to manage system and security updates. With this same connectivity, you can determine the schedule for when your AV systems receive remote support based on when you choose to make your network available to the vendor remotely connecting.
Managed AV solutions are certainly not necessary for every project. Your technology needs should be discussed with an engineer or system designer to determine the best technology roadmap for your company. The more you grow, the more AV systems can bring your company together through video and audio conferencing, improve efficiency, and increase collaboration.
Your company is going to grow and evolve. The technology that you use today should take that into account and be able to grow with you. If you’d like to know more about how AVaaS can help your business or would like to explore a roadmap for your company’s technological roll outs, reach out to TEECOM. We would be happy to help.