I still remember how excited my dad was to get the perfect “surround sound” system for the TV in our basement.
He spent hours (probably days) researching receivers, speakers, and wiring. He flipped through catalogs, logged onto AV gear sites, and dragged our family to Best Buy to test out the equipment in person.
Finally, he settled on the right system, then ordered and installed it himself – four speakers, positioned strategically around the couch, plus subwoofers to pump out the bass from grand cinematic soundtracks.
The first thing we watched with the sound system hooked up was Lord of the Rings. It was epic. And for the whole three-and-a-half-hour movie, my dad couldn’t stop grinning.
That’s the feeling I want you to have when AV equipment is installed at your business.
Obviously, planning and implementing commercial AV is much different than choosing equipment for a personal Audio/Video setup. But a good Audio/Video project should always create a delightful experience.
Excellent AV should lead to a feeling of satisfaction. And (as my dad knew), to get that feeling, you need to get the right equipment.
Here’s how you can ensure that you do.
1. Understand your ideal outcome.
As you consider AV equipment, you may find that it’s easier to focus on the details of a solution without fully stepping back to consider your business’s needs.
For instance, you can get caught up in debating which microphone captures the clearest sound quality, or which digital display has the highest resolution, or which control system has the best features.
Those things are well and good, but the problem with focusing on feature sets instead of outcomes is that you may purchase a great system that isn’t actually optimized for your requirements.
To understand your ideal outcome, ask questions like:
- What will this AV equipment be used for?
- Who will be using this equipment?
- What are the key features that users will need?
- How will this equipment need to be integrated with existing systems?
You should establish the criteria that will make a piece of equipment a good fit before getting caught up in the details of features. You need to know your needs before you know what features will matter.
2. Visualize the future.
While it’s important to know your current requirements, selecting the right AV equipment also requires that you have some vision for the future.
You don’t want to invest in a solution only to have it go out-of-date within a year or two – think of all the corporations that paid top dollar for in-office phone systems a few years before mobile became the standard. Choosing the right AV equipment means accounting for current needs, but it also means that, when technology changes or business needs shift, your systems still work and add value.
It’s worthwhile to create a roadmap for how you expect to use your AV equipment over the next five years. You won’t be able to predict everything. But considering the future will give you a better chance at getting the right solutions.
3. Know your budget.
The right AV equipment is had at the right price point.
Budget should not be the primary factor in shaping a solution; you’ll notice that it’s the third factor we’ve listed so far. That’s because scoping out your needs will give you an idea of what your budget must be. If you need a high-fidelity audio system with a certain number of inputs and outputs, you’re looking at a certain price range.
However, budget will invariably be a factor. That’s a good thing, because it introduces another constraint that will lead you to the right solution. You could spend an unlimited amount on an AV system, but it’s easier to consider costs when you can weigh them against your needs.
4. Research the equipment options.
Finally, with the constraints of your current needs, future vision, and budget, you’ll be ready to research AV equipment.
This part can be fun, but if you aren’t familiar with the Audiovisual space, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Regardless of what solution you’re looking for, you’ll nearly always have a ton of options to choose from.
I recommend going with trusted brands and being willing to pay a bit more for quality, rather than trying to dig for deals with generic vendors or workaround solutions. In the long run, you’ll nearly always save time and money.
Want to ensure you get the right AV equipment?
Here’s the truth: The best way to get the right AV equipment for your business is to work with an AV company that you trust.
You can select your own residential equipment – my dad definitely enjoyed finding his surround sound system – but in commercial AV integration, the stakes are higher and the integration is more complex.
To ensure you get the right equipment, it’s worthwhile to work with experts who can:
- Properly specify your needs
- Help you cast a vision
- Provide you with expertise on the solutions available to you
At High Country, we can help. We partner with leading Audio/Video equipment vendors like Crestron, Poly, Extron, Zoom, and many more, and we have expertise in installing solutions in commercial, educational, and government environments.
When you have new AV equipment installed at your business, I want you to have the same satisfied feeling my dad had as he listened to his new sound system.