The key to great AV user experience: people
Let’s Discuss Human Solutions to AV/IT Problems
Technology offers us the tools to deliver amazing—and manageable—user experiences at scale, but ultimately, it’s people who design, connect, configure, and operate these complex systems. Listen in as Justin Kennington, President, SDVoE Alliance and Tom Norton, Manager AV Services, Boston Children’s hospital discuss managing AV at a large institution and how collaboration between AV and IT professionals enables state-of-the art installations and seamless end-user support.
Two of the key areas for successful installations and providing great user experience that Tom and Justin reviewed include:
- How should the IT and AV teams be structured to design, implement, and maintain these systems as well as provide end-user support?
- What has changed in the last 10 years regarding the intersection of AV and IT?
AV/IT Team Org Structure
Tom mentioned that the AV team sits within the larger Information Services or IT organization at Boston Children’s Hospital; and this organizational structure has been in place for more than 15 years. The hospital is a large organization with 13,000 to 14,000 employees, and 19 physical locations distributed across the Boston metro and suburban areas. The AV team manages 250 conference rooms/spaces; provides event support, collaboration support, employee training, tier 1 and 2 support for the Zoom conferencing; acts as the Zoom administrator; and manages the inhouse TV network as well as all content and digital signage systems. In addition, Tom acts as the project manager for AV for renovations and new installations at the hospital.
The success of new AV installations—and the ongoing management of these systems—is supported by the fact that the hospital has specialists within the IT department that can help the AV team design, launch, and support those systems. Tom gave an example: “in a complex room where we are integrating VoIP dial in, we have VoIP engineers and protocols in place to bring those systems online.” There is a great collaborative environment where AV and IT reach out in both direction supporting each other to roll out systems. In fact, almost everything we deploy in AV needs support from IT. One of the keys to this successful collaboration is the ability of the AV team to document the requirements of the AV installation and articulate what that system needs from the network and other IT support. Tom noted that an important aspect of systems—particularly in an environment such as healthcare and Boston Children’s Hospital—is security concerns. This “brings up all kinds of conversations around how we can be secure sharing information both internally and externally.”
Intersection of AV and IT
There has been a dramatic and complete change over the last 10-15 years in the AV industry. The single most important evolution and transition in the AV industry was happening during that time span: the evolution from analog to digital formats. Tom notes, “in that shift to digital, everything changed in regard to how we deliver, control, and manage AV systems.” That shift drove the requirement for a very close collaboration between IT and AV. Justin observed that end users becoming savvier with technology they use at home drove the requests to bring digital capabilities to the office. Tom agreed that with the advancement and sophistication of systems there is not much AV can’t do. End users are recognizing what the digital world enables them to do. For example, “look at the amount of remote learning and remote working we are doing in all types of different environments. It has opened the doors for things we never even imagined 10 years ago.”
What is a success factor for new AV installations? BCGH has established comprehensive AV standards that are shared with all parties involved in the new construction or renovations: the architect, electrical, contractors, low voltage, data, and AV integrators, who quote and build to the AV standards. This approach allows for continuity within environments and ensures equipment works when we turn it on because it was built to the standard.
AV and IT Convergence in the news
Check out these related news article which can be found on the on-demand episode page here:
- “Videoconferencing Platforms Are Leading To More Support Tickets”
- ”AV and IT Must Collaborate for Successful IP Network Convergence”
- “State of the AV Industry 2022: The Bounce Back”
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