Published in February 2008

In the AV World, Educating Architects Benefits Everyone
By Jerilyin Snider, CTS, and Aland High

Even when we do our best, the results could be even better.

Telaid is committed to following Audio Visual Best Practices. One of the frustrations in striving for the best is realizing that, even when we do our best, the results could be even better. In order to achieve the best out of an integrated AV system, it has to be installed into an environment that was designed for AV.

• Did you ever get to the final two weeks of a new construction job and realize that, even though your design package clearly specified the height of the racks, the racks weren’t going to fit in the credenza provided?

• How many times have you asked for an RCP to locate a projector and found HVAC or sprinkler systems running through the middle of the room? Have you ever found a bank of can lights shining down directly in front of your projection screen?

• How many times have you had to explain why we require a certain size conduit?

These are just a few of the items about which architects need to be educated. The only way to make spaces more AV friendly is to teach architects how to design rooms to be AV ready.

In a perfect world, an AV designer would be a part of the team that does the initial design for a space. Long before the first architectural drawing was created, we’d be there discussing options with the client and making sure that the space would be suitable for AV integrated systems.

Call us pragmatists, but perfect worlds seldom get that way without help. We believe that we can make progress toward that perfect world by educating architects about the world of AV. Architects don’t know what we do. They don’t realize the impact their design decisions have on AV systems. It’s up to us to teach them.

Telaid has undertaken a new initiative to create partnerships with architects. We believe that creating a partnership between architects and AV designers will be beneficial to all, and will present a better solution to the client. To this end, Telaid has become an AIA Registered Provider and has developed seminars that give architects the information they need to prepare AV ready environments successfully.

As a Registered Provider of seminars, Telaid can provide the Learning Units architects need to maintain their industry certifications. Because architects need these learning units, it is easy to gain an audience for the seminars, if you are willing to teach them in their own conference room.

Now that we have the (captive) audience, what do we want them to know? The first impulse is try to solve every problem that we have ever had with an architect. We want to go in there with guns blazing and teach them a thing or two. Luckily, reason prevails and we stop and think before we act. The real problem is that they don’t know what they don’t know.

We have created a total of seven 60-minute seminars, which teach architects how they can make our lives easier and, in the process, provide a better solution to the customer. We want them to learn that they need us, not how to live without us. Architects routinely rely on lighting experts, acousticians and mill workers. We want them to think of us as part of their extended team. What we have learned is that architects are hungry for this information. They ask great questions based on situations they have encountered and are open to learning new things.

If we had the luxury of working exclusively with one architect for a long period of time, we would learn from each other eventually and, together, would provide the very best that the AV world has to offer.

We have started to cultivate and nurture the architectural firms that consistently deal with our biggest clients. We are providing them with Lunch and Learn seminars and our phone numbers, so they will call before they set pen to paper.

You’ve heard it before: Don’t be a part of the problem; be a part of the solution. If you are frustrated by the architects that you have to deal with, get out there and do something about it. They’ll never learn unless we teach them.

Jerilyn Snider, CTS, was one of the first Certified Distance Learner Instructors. While with PictureTel, she helped the newly formed Integration Services, and was a room design consultant when the company was purchased by Polycom. She then started her own training and consulting company, followed by a period with Telaid, most recently writing and delivering training to architects about the AV world. Snider is currently with bkm in East Hartford CT.

Alan High has been with Telaid Industries since 1998, and was promoted to operations production manger when the company moved into AV integration. High doubles as the training coordinator for Telaid’s Multi-Media division.

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