If you’re considering working with an AV company, you’ve probably come across the terms “integration” and “installation.” Some companies brand themselves as one or the other (an AV integrator or an AV installer). It’s slightly confusing.
So, is there a difference?
Yes – kind of.
Many people use these two terms synonymously. Buyers often don’t really distinguish between them as service offerings, and companies that offer one nearly always offer the other.
However, technically, the difference is that integration involves the deployment of AV systems so that they work with other systems. Colloquially, integration and installation are also used to refer to services in different markets.
Let’s unpack it all so that you’re clear on what you’re looking for.
In this article, we’ll provide a definition of each term, an example of an integration or installation service, and a review of market connotations.
Ready? Read on.
The definition: AV integration, as we’ve noted above, involves the deployment of AV systems so that they work with other systems. Obviously, an Audiovisual system that is integrated must have been installed at some point. Often, installation and integration happen together, but additional integration may also take place after installation.
An example of AV integration: Let’s say that your conference room has an audio system (with mics, cabling, and software) that is working well, but you want to upgrade the video component of the solution. The video upgrade would be AV integration – deployment of a system meant to work in tandem with the room’s existing systems.
The market connotation of AV integration: Because it involves multiple systems, AV integration usually connotes work that’s done in non-residential environments (think commercial offices, educational facilities, churches, and so on).
This isn’t to say that you couldn’t do AV integration in a home, but it is to say that AV integration is most often thought of in organizational contexts.
The definition: Installation simply means setting up a system so that it works. Again, most often, systems are installed and integrated, but you may be able to install an Audio/Video system and not integrate it with other systems.
An example of AV installation: If you’re setting up a kiosk, it may work as a stand-alone installation. For instance, some temperature-checking kiosks (a common installation during the pandemic) weren’t integrated with other systems; they simply displayed data on-screen in a standalone system.
Most systems (especially in commercial environments) are integrated as they’re installed. If you’re setting up a video conferencing system, for example, you would install the screens, control panels, microphones, and any other equipment while integrating it with existing systems.
The market connotation of AV installation: Most often, AV installation refers to work done in residential environments. If you Google “AV installer,” for example, most of the results you’ll see will be for things like home audio setups or home cinema installation.
Again, this isn’t to say that AV installation isn’t done in a corporate context – it definitely is – but the term is most often used in residential contexts.
The bottom line is that the details of the AV service matter more than what it’s called.
While there are subtle differences to AV integration and AV installation, the truth is that most of the time the terms are used interchangeably.
So, if you’re looking to work with an AV company, don’t get overly caught up in whether the company markets itself as an installer or an integrator.
Instead, dig in to find out what services are actually being offered. Check references. Ask about processes. Ask for case studies. That kind of information will be more relevant than what a company calls its offering.
Looking for AV integration or AV installation?
Every industry has its jargon, and the Audiovisual industry seems to have more jargon than most. Hopefully, the information above has helped you to clarify AV installation and AV integration as you consider your own needs.
And, if you’re looking for a commercial AV solution – whether integration or installation – we can help.
At High Country, we’ve been serving the Audio/Video needs of Denver organizations for over 15 years. Our service portfolio includes the City of Denver, Alteryx (an NYSE-listed software company), MSU of Denver, and Jefferson County Public Schools, among many other clients.
From design to installation and integration, to maintenance and support, we can help you to bring your AV vision to life. Our solutions include CTS Designer Certified audio systems, video systems, digital signage, security systems, network systems, and more.
And we do all of our installation and integration work in-house – meaning that we never use third-party contractors.