In our September issue we discussed the processes by which an organization may identify the need for a technology initiative and how that need is developed into the concept that they would like executed. In the following paragraphs we will look at some of the ways in which those concepts can be advanced on their journey into a fully developed AV Design.
As we discussed in our previous article, there are a number of ways an organization can develop the concept for their technology project. They can leverage experienced in-house staff, lean on an architect or design professional who is engaged in the project for support, or work with a technology consultant or design build integrator. Regardless of what path was taken to develop the concept, when it comes down to developing a design, all three parties must be involved. A successful design requires consideration of a number of factors including:
I often tell my clients that the room itself is as much a part of the AV or communication system as the technology we install in it. This is not a sales tool, it is a fact. When the physical space is designed properly, the technology functions better. Proper coordination of these details can elevate the user experience from acceptable to exceptional. An exceptional technology experience drives an organization towards its goals. When meeting participants, both local and remote, can see and hear each other clearly, meetings are more effective. When technology is easy to use and reliable, meetings start on time and are more productive. If the technology concept is sound, and built around your organizations culture and the way a space is (actually) used, efficiency is gained.
If a quality technology design requires consideration of all of these factors, it clearly requires that all parties who are invested in these factors work together. All too often technology designers are brought in to work with an organization only to be placed in a silo, isolated from other consultants, designers and architects. They work with a project liaison, often from IT, but not with the architect or interior designer. This isolation can negatively impact the overall project in a number of ways.
In order to make your concept a reality, the AV Designer will not only develop a list of equipment that is required, but also develop a detailed set of coordination drawings that identify:
The sooner these details are integrated into a project drawing set, the more accurate the construction budget can be. When these drawings don’t make it onto construction drawings, they result in additional labor costs, unanticipated construction costs, and often, a compromise on the design. When the design is compromised, the resulting system often does not have the impact on the organizational goals that the concept intended.
While the big picture details of the construction have a major impact on a system design, it is important to remember the small details as well. Once the major architectural considerations have been coordinated by the designer, they should focus on the design and finish details. The interiors and finish design is just as important to the effectiveness of the system. Some of things that can impact the user experience include:
While these details may seem small in the overall process of a finishes plan or technology design, they do significantly impact the end result.
The design phase of the project is likely one of the only times you will have to coordinate the technology system with the space in which it will be installed. This is critical to successfully making your concept a reality. The System design has traditionally been referred to as the roadmap of a project. In more modern parlance, it is the GPS. What is the difference you may ask? A good GPS not only tells you how to get to your destination, it helps avoid delays, and prepare for alternatives more effectively. Turn on your GPS; let your technology designer out of their silo and get them engaged with the entire design team.