2016 – A year of changes within the AV world
As technology penetrates into every area of life, construction is no exception. With smart buildings gaining popularity in the region, the increased role of audiovisual (AV) solutions will be pivotal to the construction industry in Qatar just as anywhere else in the world, writes D.S. Krishnamurthy – general manager, Almoe AV Solutions, Qatar.
The professional audiovisual (AV) industry, as we all know, has come into its own. Because of its pivotal role in delivery of modern information communications, it has become an integral part of virtually all major construction projects.
Fundamentally, AV design and integration for any construction project combines four basic but essential elements – the hardware, or the physical electronics that are connected together; the software, or programmes that are loaded into the electronics to perform various AV tasks; the environment, or the space and infrastructure within which the hardware and software work; and the content, which includes video, audio and data material created and presented using the software and hardware available.
Each one of these elements has specific and unique requirements that must be addressed during project design and implementation, and their ultimate interaction with one another will produce the desired solutions. Critical to successful project integration is the careful monitoring and balancing of the systems hardware, the software and the environments, with the nature of content presentation in mind. Proper integration will ensure that the human aspects of AV, that includes the ability to clearly see and hear the presentation, are fully and successfully solved.
Contemporary AV integration is really more about project management and procedure than it is about audio and video or design and construction.
On the other end of the spectrum, the mission of any AV equipment and services supplier is to create audiovisual environments that work – and work well. This is more difficult today than ever before, as AV is no longer an add-on to the building project. AV communications systems are increasingly a part of today’s building types, and are critical to the workflow and success of the environments.
In pro-AV integration construction projects of today, people from different disciplines are involved – many of whom are unfamiliar with AV ‘techies’. In addition to AV consultants, integrators, manufacturers and technicians, an AV project also combines the skills of architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, building facility managers and a variety of specialty consultants. The AV professional should have direct involvement in all aspects of building design and construction, including space planning, sightlines, lighting, acoustics, electrical and mechanical systems.
Quite simply, it means that the AV professional needs to relate to almost everyone who works on a construction project that involves an AV system.
In many ways, contemporary AV integration is really more about project management and procedure than it is about audio and video or design and construction. It is about ways in which a project is handled, and how each of the various professionals performs a critical role in the implementation of an AV system. Most, in fact, are there from start to finish and, despite their various job functions, are members of the same team.
Be it hotels, offices and business centres, airports, or schools, we believe every AV project demands critical consideration. Every project is usually assigned a dedicated project team and project manager that work to meet project expectations and requirements.
When it comes to bids, it still happens too often that projects are awarded based on price. The results of this are all quite obvious to see: poorly executed systems, liquidated damages, an unhappy client, and a bad reputation – not just for the firm that submitted an undervalued bid, but also for the consultant and the industry in general. Weeding out low bidders starts with a Request for Proposal (RFP). In this regard, fully engineered drawings have been proven to work: drawings created by project owner that show all of the power connections, connectors, back panels, counts for the linear footage of wire that is required, and so on – as much information as possible so that bidders are not required to do guesswork. All they have to do is literally go down the list and enter in a price. Such level of detail on the front end helps weed out low bidders.
Furthermore, large projects necessitate hosting mandatory walkthroughs; the logic being that if you are willing to invest time and money to get on a plane and review the site, you are probably pretty serious about the project. And, if you do not show up, you are not going to qualify for the bid. In some cases, it helps to ask for a tour of one of the integrator’s previous projects.
The mission of any AV equipment and services supplier is to create audiovisual environments that work – and work well.
Looking into the future, we predict 2016 to be a year of big changes within the AV world, many of which are already happening. The AV market is a vast world – video and sound, hardware and software, and the trends will touch upon all these aspects. We expect the worlds of AV and IT to converge further, with AV becoming more IT centric. We also see a growing trend for video walls, which is already the fastest growing sub-segment of AV. Lastly, we anticipate an upswing in the area of interactive displays.