The plan should include system design considerations, procedural factors for site work, documentation around safety issues, and reporting methods. The plan may only be a verbal discussion followed up with some e-mails or it may be a physical document for more complex builds, but it does need to be understood and agreed to by the team prior to commencing the project.
The following are some considerations to help get the right components for the project:
• Functionality—does the component provide the right technology to meet the needs of the project? Putting square pegs in round holes never works.
• Manageability—does the component provide an easy-to-use interface for the end user? This is a particular concern in the case of software components, interactive devices such as touch screens, and control devices that interface with end users. The skill-level of the end user(s) using the component should also be kept in mind.
• Availability—can the component be sourced for the intended site? Having seen a solution in Paris does not mean the components are available in Anchorage, AK.
• Affordability—consider not only the initial cost for the component, but the long-term operability and ongoing maintenance. As an example, discreet light-emitting diode (LED) displays—both indoor and outdoor—are initially considered by many customers as “expensive,” until looking at the long-term operability of the technology.
• Warranty—what is the warranty and what type is it? Many AV components come with either a “manufacturer’s depot warranty” or an “on-site warranty.” By definition, they are both warranties, but their implementation is very different. There are financial as well as esthetic implications when servicing is required. Having a black screen because parts are on order does not usually go over well at any presentation.
Selecting the right components
Component selection usually falls under the responsibility of the AV reseller but is commonly influenced by the customer. This discussion often starts with the line, “I saw this perfect installation when I was on a business trip. Can you build that?”