- It is a mildly entertaining mid-90s movie starring two of my favorite actors, Hugh Grant and Robin Williams.
- It is how long it generally takes to make a human.
- And it is how long I’ve been at The Chariot Group.
The AudioVisual (AV) Industry
- It is the industry in which The Chariot Group excels.
- It interfaces with other industries to create, transport, present and share information.
- And it is complicated…so much so that even after nine months, I still get glossy eyed.
That, dear reader, is the challenge!
People like me don’t easily understand the AV Industry!
Because we don’t understand it, we often don’t appreciate it.
Rick Thomas, CEO and President of The Chariot Group, understands that if his business is to be successful, he and his team need to “accelerate the ah-ha moment,” that moment when you understand what is possible and how it will change the way you work and compete!
To that end, I thought I’d attempt to explain the AV Industry in 700 words or less.
First and foremost, let me first separate the AV industry into two categories: Residential and Professional. The Chariot Group services the “Professional AV” market, also referred to as the Pro-AV market; this is the category of AV I will focus on in this post.
Most people think of AV from the residential perspective because this is the segment for which they are most familiar. (For instance, I used to think of AV as connecting my TV to my DVD player or…totally old school…I thought of connecting my equalizer to my turntable and speakers!) For the most part, residential AV is less complex than Pro-AV. While there are some complex residential systems bordering on or in the Pro-AV category, one can typically design, purchase and install residential AV on their own.
The Pro-AV market is further broken down into three segments: production & broadcasting, rental & staging, and commercial. The Chariot Group, which is an AV integrator operating in the commercial segment, services organizations including but not limited to commercial, government, education, religious, utilities, transportation industries.
Pro-AV utilizes mostly commercial grade equipment but also incorporates “prosumer” components that are made to be used in both residential and professional situations. Because the design, installation and in some cases, service, are typically too complex to be handled in-house, most Pro-AV components are purchased through a third-party reseller, distributor or integrator like The Chariot Group.
“Box sales” (Pro-AV equipment sold without the need for design or installation) used to be very prevalent in the Pro-AV market but these sales have decreased over time due to the complex nature of the software and/or interactivity needed within the space.
Pro-AV includes four separate components:
- Hardware: the components that get connected (via cable or wirelessly) in the space.
- Software: the programs or codes that get the components to talk to each other and/or perform various tasks.
- Environment: the space and/or infrastructure in which the hardware and software will be working. This would include issues regarding how the user(s) move about and/or work within the space.
- Content: the audio, video, and data created and presented via the hardware and software.
Obviously, hardware, software, environment and content have to be thoughtfully integrated in order for communication, engagement and collaboration to happen effectively.
For example, a room that is utilizing wireless capabilities would need an environment free from “interference” of the wireless signal. An environment designed for training and educational events should have sufficient wall space to incorporate displays as well as appropriate lighting to ensure users can work and see data/content effectively. As a final example, hardware that includes innovative and cutting edge capabilities will be minimized if control systems and code are not designed to support the newer components.
Pro-AV integration strives to ensure work can be done well or better. To ensure this happens, The Chariot Group performs mindful analysis and alignment of the following processes and activities:
- identification and analysis of the goals for the space or room;
- system design and engineering;
- component specification;
- component acquisition;
- interface programming/coding;
- training; and
- technical support
Pro-AV integration is about building environments that support better communication, engagement and collaboration. As such, The Chariot Group has to incorporate the above processes with:
- facility architecture and structure;
- interior design;
- electrical systems; and
- HVAC systems (temperature control, air quality, noise reduction issues, etc.)
Pro-AV integration should not be done in a vacuum. Likewise, to ensure the environment does what it was intended to do, The Chariot Group often finds itself working collaboratively on project teams with the following professionals:
- Training & Development
Pro-AV integration is complicated! As I wrote earlier, I have been here nine months and my “ah-ha” moments are still few and far between, but I’m getting more informed each day!
I’m over my promised 700 words but hopefully, you’re a bit closer to understanding the Pro-AV space. “From Here to Epiphany” is a compilation of my weekly posts – perhaps you’ll find some enlightenment with both past and future pieces!