Opinion

AV integrators Challenges

The growth of the audiovisual industry in recent years in Latin America, has allowed the emergence of many integrators faced great challenges.

Felipe Vargas *

We know that there are many companies audiovisual formats integration in Latin America; from small to medium, there are in large formats, as well as divisions within a larger organization, and even family businesses; there are in all possible formats.

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However, for all the main challenge it is always the same: The Personal.

Achieve and maintain long-term staff trained, reliable, responsible, high-performance, well presented, satisfied with their work; They are real challenges that are presented to all managers or owners in companies of audiovisual integration in Latin America.

In most cases, when we find responsible and trustworthy personnel do not necessarily have the training or knowledge level necessary to achieve proper performance within the functions required for your job.

That is why we would like to mention a number of important aspects that must be taken seriously into account when considering the necessary positions in a company of audiovisual integration and profile of each job, and the job description of each position.

First let's look at three basic areas requiring a typical audiovisual company:

1. Sales (Commercial Area)
2. Engineering and Facilities (Technical Area)
3. Administration and Finance (Administrative Area)

1. Commercial Area:

The commercial area is undoubtedly the primary area of ​​the company, often called the battle area; because this is where not only sales but all technical and administrative needs of the company are generated.

It is the business area responsible for generating sales and developing projects to bring new customers, and mainly to keep current and former customers. In other words, business executives are the face of the company.

That is why it is essential that the commercial area maintain a strong and comprehensive database of all customers, all projects developed with each client, and are only contacts.

In many projects there is more than an important contact, since besides the project owner, there are very important contacts as you can be the architect, the resident engineer of the work, in charge of shopping, and why not, to the storekeeper .

Other important contacts that should be included in the database of a project are all directly or indirectly related to our audiovisual project: the construction, the electric company, electro-mechanics, business and especially important the company responsible for the supervision of the work, which in most cases are those we receive the system at the end of the project.

It is practically the sole responsibility of the commercial area to feed, maintain and update the database, but above all to maintain good business relations with each of those involved in a project; before, during and after treatment.

scheduled daily, weekly or monthly basis as calls, visits or informative emails, activities are an integral part of the functions of the commercial area; making effective use of the database. The best customer is a satisfied customer, this certainly will bring new projects in the near future or in the distant future.

Do not forget a very important type of sales for all audiovisual company, is selling maintenance contracts; which often they are negotiated when the installation warranty expires, or the product warranty.

Maintenance contracts generate significant revenue for media companies, generating a fixed monthly income from existing customers, thereby preventing other companies in the industry can rob us of that customer that cost us so much to develop.

2. Technical area:
The technical area is for many a mystery, and that is why I would like to emphasize the various components thereof, as can be divided into four basic groups:

to. Design (Pre-Sale)
b. Programming (After Sales)
c. Project Managers (After Sales)
d. Facilities (After Sales)

to. Design:
Audiovisual Designers play a primary role in audiovisual projects, as these must be able to set up and prepare solutions to the commercial area it requires, according to the needs of each client and each specific project; considering that many of the designs and proposals will not come to be implemented, so this is a full time job.

Designers in audiovisual integration company must have extensive knowledge in audio solutions, with extensive knowledge in Acoustics and Electro-Acoustic; and master all the concepts related to video (resolutions, formats, aspect ratio, image size, etc.). But they must also have extensive knowledge in automation and control systems, lighting control and curtains, and especially master all concepts related to ethernet networks; pillar of any audiovisual system today.

Usually more is required of a designer to develop a proposal, since each of the required areas: audio, video, control and networking; They are different specializations, and rarely a designer can be considered an expert in these four categories. If you have an expert designer in these four categories, consider offering an economic bonus for each project resulted in a sale; It is undoubtedly the greatest asset of your company.

In many companies it is considered to be the commercial area which should prepare designs and proposals, but remember that the Commercial have another set of important activities, and they do not necessarily have to be experts on all topics related to audio, video, control and networks.

One of the important requirements for all designers is the domain of drawing programs such as AutoCad, as all diagrams, designs and others should be documented in digital and print templates files in AutoCAD. If the volume of drawings in AutoCAD in your company is high enough, it is advisable to hire one or more experienced artists.

b. Programming:
Today all audiovisual integration project, two basic types of programmers are required; the programmer control system and the audio system programmer.

The control system programmer usually is an Electronic Engineer or in many cases is a Systems Engineer. Preferably I suggest an engineer, or at least one technician with advanced training in a technical institute.

Its main functions focus on programming the control processor and user interfaces, which in most cases is to set up processes and system logic functions and routing switching system video sources.

The audio system programmer must be a Sound Engineer with extensive knowledge in acoustics and electro-acoustics, but mainly with hearing and taste developed over the years; as this will be responsible for the resulting sound quality and acoustic performance of the audio system.

Importantly, rarely a programmer control system has the expertise to tune an audio system; common mistake many companies of audiovisual integration in Latin America.

c. Project Managers
Often known as Project Managers or Project Managers; these usually develop more functions related to typical processes of a work, as coordination in work with other specialties present in a work: Electrical, Mechanical, Architecture, Air Conditioning and even aesthetic factors.

Supervision and internal coordination and delivery of As-Built drawings in a project, are its main functions; as well as internal coordination with the various areas of audiovisual integration company for the effective implementation of a project: Design, Programming, Facilities, Logistics, and very important to the administrative area of ​​the company.

d. Facilities
The fitters are responsible for the quality of the final work of each project installed; usually are the least valued within the company; often considered as simple workers; serious mistake made by many companies of audiovisual integration in Latin America.

The fitters are the greatest asset that any audiovisual company can have its greatest asset, your best business partner; these are the lifeblood of any project, are what make the difference between a good project, implemented with order and discipline, and make the difference with the client; since they are the ones who remain longer in contact with the client during the implementation process; in one way or another should become the darlings of the company.

They must have all kinds of knowledge, basics of audio, video knowledge, control and networks; must memorize routes all cables, and be able to understand the basic operation of the entire system. Usually when testing the entire system, the main problems are presented by wiring errors or wrong connections.

Technicians facilities designers should receive the connecting line diagrams, drawings and wiring diagram construction equipment racks; and they must have the training necessary to follow instructions to the letter; to guarantee a perfect implementation of the complete audiovisual system.

Without proper installation of the system, developers can not operate the system according to the control program and audio program.

They are undoubtedly the greatest value of the company.

3. Administrative area:
Administrative Area staff is not very different from all company personnel, including a logistics area, an accounting area and an area in charge of credit, charging and billing of projects.

Among the most important aspects it is to remember that the Administrative Area is an area of ​​support Commercial Area and Technical Area; and not the reverse, as usually happens in companies of audiovisual integration in Latin America, where administrative usually they forget that their work can be done any other administrator, accountant or logistics manager.

No longer vital and important part in the process of implementing any project, but their functions are merely operational support to the project, which in the end all together form a synergistic symbiosis of the project.

Remember that if the administrative area does not make orders to suppliers on time, installers will not have to install, and programmers will not have to be programmed.

In short, and in broad strokes, I wanted to detail the importance of each of the functional areas of a company of audiovisual integration in future editions, I will be commenting on other great challenges of companies audiovisual integration in Latin America.

* Felipe Vargas is the founder of AV Consulting Group and audiovisual consultant for Crestron Latin America. You can contact him via e info@avcgroupla.com

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