Page 26

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Do-It-Yourself AV Systems Then what will we do?

By Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD

T

hanks to ever yone who participated in my “Who Owns The Code?” series of articles from a few months ago. It turned out that—just as I expected—most feel the end user is entitled to get what they’ve paid for and have the flexibility that comes from that. As regular readers of this column already know, I’ve also started a series about working remotely—a subject near and dear to me. If you have the time, please give the first part a read and let me know if you’d like to contribute your thoughts. This month, I’m exploring something new. A few weeks ago, I participated in a three-day training from Crestron. It was a great experience, as usual, but, wow, things have changed! There were two days on the company’s NVX product, with a targeted network training applied to the NVX product on the third day, along with a certification test. So, what is the “wow” for? Well, all this had little to do with the traditional AV we all know. Ouch! Sure, by having taken courses like this, I now have the foundation to talk intelligently to an IT department for a project on which such products are being used, but, still, wow! I can only imagine where the AV/IT convergence will eventually end up. The landscape of our industr y is radically changing, and I fear that IT will come to overshadow AV in a big way—that we, as AV professionals, might even be replaced by non-AV (IT) folks. I saw an old friend of mine, Geoff

26 Sound & Communications May 2019

from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at that NVX class. We have been in training classes together for 10-some years. Geoff is an embedded audiovisual engineer for the organization. (I say “embedded” because he is a subcontractor, but he’s worked at the CDC full time for many years.) In the past, I’ve written about some of our industr y’s challenges: for example, how young we are as an industr y and how AV professionals don’t get the respect we deser ve. As I’ve discussed before, no one goes to the doctor, gets an estimate for a $30,000 surger y and then tries to negotiate by saying, “I can get that same surger y for $25,000 from Dr. X down the road.” Doctors are trusted—not only because they are trustworthy, but also because they are licensed by a respected medical board. Doctors who don’t live up to their role can lose their license and be barred from practicing medicine. In our industr y, meanwhile, many end users have been burned over the years. While employed by an integrator, I spent a good deal of time as the project engineer for many renovations undertaken by the CDC. And, truth be told, I enjoyed working with the CDC’s AV team immensely. The team was serious about training and knowledge, and it was always looking out to make sure the CDC got its money’s worth from its partners. But then something new transpired: the organization started to hire installers to do installations, design its own systems and just buy the equipment from the integrator. Can you imagine that?! What we do is complicated, and, with technology constantly changing, it’s something of a moving target. It’s often difficult for end users to have a sufficient understanding to know whether a system is “right” for their current and future needs. For that reason, it isn’t always clear whether users have gotten what they paid for. I would imagine, then, that, over the years, organizations like the CDC often didn’t get what they paid for! So, now, they and many other corporations and organizations of like size have decided to fend for themselves. This situation is a disaster! AV professionals are being trivialized and compartmentalized by IT, and, in many cases, large organizations now seem to look at us as an AV grocer y store from (continued on page 110)

Profile for Sound & Communications

Sound & Communications May 2019, Vol 65 No 5  

AV innovation and application has affected the education experience in more ways than in any other vertical market these days. Each May, So...

Sound & Communications May 2019, Vol 65 No 5  

AV innovation and application has affected the education experience in more ways than in any other vertical market these days. Each May, So...