Two ways to Identify an “Expert”


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What is an expert? How do you define who an expert is and who is not? Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines an expert as, “having or showing special skill or knowledge because of what you have been taught or what you have experienced.”

With so many self-proclaimed experts advertising themselves as such, it could save you money and headache understanding exactly what an expert is… or is not. Keeping with our definition above, an expert should be able to show that a particular governing body has recognized a particular expertise. Secondly, many like to use the term specialize or specialization when advertising their services. In the case of “specializations” the question should be are the “experts” certified or do they carry a certification? Why is this important, you might ask? The answer to this question is simply that when someone is representing themselves or their business as a bonafide expert, there is usually a Code of Professional Conduct to which the person or group must adhere.

For example, SpaceCoast AV Communications engineering staff holds a CTS certification…Certified Technology Specialist. Not only that; but our AV technicians are continually expanding their industry and technical knowledge through specialized training on the latest AV equipment through our manufacture and vendor relationships. Infocomm and CEDIA are two of the governing bodies for the Audio Visual Technology Integration Industry. Infocomm defines the CTS certification as one who performs general technology solution tasks by creating, operating and servicing AV solutions, while conducting AV management activities which provide for the best audiovisual resolutions of the client’s needs, both on time and within budget.

So the next time you are faced with an expert, either in AV or any other field, you might want to double check if they are a self-proclaimed expert or an expert in their field that has been recognized by a governing body and if indeed they are specialized in their specializations!

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Trust–Don’t let it cost you.


Puma_Thinkstock_HomeRemember that big home project you were doing that turned out to be a disaster? Remember, the always faithful and trust worthy, “trusted advisor”? Was it the friend…mom…dad…or maybe the neighbor? It’s OK we’ve all done it and experienced the result.  If you don’t know much about cars, you ask a friend who does know a lot what his opinion is after you hear from the mechanic. It’s smart to get second opinions from people you trust, and it happens to us all of the time.

Miscommunication between you and the contractor can spell disaster for your home AV project. It usually surfaces late in the project where the client gets an idea or input from their “trusted advisor” and then presents it to the contractor. While a client may ask for a second opinion from a trusted advisor, SpaceCoast AV knows the products and processes better than anyone else and so, we assert and leverage our knowledge and expertise on your behalf.

A few great examples might look something like this:

You might insist on using some Amazon deal speaker your brother-in-law insists in the best thing since sliced bread, but when paired with the amp you’ve carefully selected and calibrated, it sounds like crap (maybe because it’s a crap speaker or maybe because it doesn’t pair well with the rest of the equipment). or you could purchase your own AVR, but it doesn’t play well with the HDBaseT extender you plan to use and a reliable signal becomes an issue. Maybe the neighbor has a Harmony remote and is ridiculing you for spending thousands on a universal remote, so now you’re insisting on a Harmony, with all of the risks of reliability and lack of discrete control that entails. Or the client is adamant about using an Apple Airport Extreme as their router. There goes the managed network and  remote access to troubleshoot. In the short term any of these things could save you a lot of money, but in the long run, it will cost you in service calls that didn’t need to happen.

SpaceCoast AV has been a trusted, knowledgeable and professional Audio Visual for residents, businesses and houses of worship in Brevard since 2008. When it comes to your money and time, turn to the AV integration company who knows the products and processes better than anyone else and leverage our knowledge and expertise for your next AV project.

5 Steps for Organized AV Wiring


 

When it comes to AV wiring, the old axiom “out of sight, out of mind” wireapplies. We tend to forget about what we don’t wiresee. Take the “infrastructure” of your entertainment system.

 

When was the last time you thought twice about the cables that run between your TV, DVD/Blu-ray player, AV receiver, cable/satellite box, and whatever other components you may have? For most of us, it’s the last thing we think about – as long as everything is working properly. But the minute there’s a problem, all those wires suddenly take on a life of their own.

When faced with a glitch that requires you (or a professional) to check, replace, or upgrade a component and/or the cables connected to it, the last thing you want to see when you get on your knees and peer into the bowels of your AV cabinet, or crawl behind your AV rack, is a rat’s nest of tangled wires. Yet, for most of us, that’s exactly what we find – and it’s enough to make you scream.

Get Organized
Pros take a number of steps to avoid the panic that cable chaos can cause, starting with organization.

1. Choose the right AV furniture (and location).
When setting up (or overhauling) an entertainment system, the first step is to choose an AV cabinet or rack that makes it easy to access the “business end” of your gear as well as a location that lends itself to accessibility; if you can’t position the cabinet or rack so there’s some room behind it, you at least want to be able to pull it away from the wall without too much trouble.

It’s also worth looking for AV furniture that offers built-in cable management; things like cutouts and channels for cabling and built-in power strips can come in handy. And while you’re at it, choose a cabinet or rack that takes ventilation into account (not all do). Bottom line: You want to be able to get behind your gear without becoming a contortionist.

2. Create a plan.
Take the time to map out the best position for your components and, more important, where the cables protruding from them will go. For example, it doesn’t make sense to put your primary disc player on a bottom shelf. Put it where it’s easy to get to! Next, take the time to neatly arrange all cables and use stickers (or tape) to label where each one goes.

3. Keep cables tidy.
In addition to avoiding tangles (a.k.a. “black spaghetti”) use tie wraps or wire clamps to bundle cables (not too tight).
Each of these steps requires a little foresight and patience but the payoff will be huge when it’s time for a system upgrade or maintenance.

Cable Type and Integrity
Looking beyond the physical location of your component stack, here are a few other things to keep in mind.

4. Integrity of wire runs.
Snaking wires haphazardly through walls, ceilings and crawl spaces can lead to frayed cables, which can degrade or, worse yet, cut off signal transmission. A professional installer will make sure that holes drilled in joists and studs are not only large enough to accommodate the cable(s) passing through, but also smooth. Pulling wire through ragged holes can damage a cable’s protective outer jacket or the insulation that separates the conductors within.

5. Quality and type of wire.
It’s important to select the cables and connectors that are best suited for the task at hand. This means using cables that are sufficiently flexible and rugged, especially if they run through crawl spaces or exposed/semi-exposed areas; poor cable construction can lead to wear and tear that hinders signal transmission.

It also means using cables that have the appropriate insulation and electrical characteristics for the intended application. For example, for long speaker runs – say, from one side of a large room to the other – it’s important to use wire that’s thick enough to ensure signal integrity. Using too thin of a cable – the higher the “gauge,” the thinner the wire – can degrade the quality (and volume) of the sound; professional installers consider a variety of factors, including component type, speaker impedance, and more.

To learn more about the ins and outs of audio/video installation, consult a SpaceCoast AV professional. Click here to contact SpaceCoast AV for a in home consult at no charge.

Before Investing in Home Automation-Key #4


EVALUATE YOUR HOME NETWORK

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While  automation can be installed in any dwelling, the strength of your network and wiring is extremely important. The type of wiring recommended for a home automation system is called “structured wiring”—a wiring foundation that provides an effective communications infrastructure for home networking and telecommunications.

With new construction, plans can be made in advance so you can figure out where you want all of your Ethernet connections to be, and you may want to run additional cabling throughout your home for future expansion. With an existing home, the installer will want to minimize the number of holes that will need to be cut in the walls.

Next week, we’ll look at the final key to consider before investing in a home automation system.

Questions? Ask the here or email  SpaceCoast AV Communications at info@spacecoastav.com

Key # 3 ~ Before Investing in Home Automation…


ImageWhile home automation solutions can be simple enough for everyone in your house to use, your system will be a complex design, linking multiple devices in your home to make it possible for them to communicate over a network. Naturally, this is the kind of work that requires a professional with the tools, training and experience to understand how to get everything working together. We call this professional a Sr. Design Engineer. Certified after rigorous training, your Design Engineer is equipped to work closely with you, from designing and installing your system to teaching everyone in the house how to use it. We can  also provide ongoing support and upgrades after the system is up and running.

Scope of AV communications technology, Video Conferencing impacts Nation’s infrastructure


720px-US-NationalHighwayInstitute-Logo.svgMore than one in nine bridges in the United States is structurally deficient, meaning that they require significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement. We sometimes forget how important it is to ensure the safety of our bridges, especially when you consider that everyday, Americans take 260 million trips over structurally deficient bridges, according to a report from the Transportation for America Campaign.

The National Highway Institute (NHI) – an organization within   the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – works to improve the performance of the transportation industry through training. To help ensure that the workforce responsible for the construction and maintenance of our roadways are properly trained, NHI has developed a three-dimensional, virtual bridge inspection computer-based training tool that has become a critical part of its renowned two-week bridge inspection training course.

The training program office at the NHI was recognized by the FGDLA for its innovative work to bring quality training to students nation-wide. Richard Barnaby, director of training at the NHI, was there to accept the Innovation Award, along with the Engility team led by Anthony “Tony” Prause.

The Polycom team sat down with Mr. Barnaby and Mr. Prause for an exclusive interview about the DOT’s distance learning initiative, and how video teleconferencing (VTC) has helped the department get ahead in the space.

Here is what they had to say:

DOTPublic Sector View: Congratulations on being honored with an Innovation Award. Can you give us a brief background as to what the DOT is trying to accomplish with distance learning technology?

Richard Barnaby: We’re trying to use new technologies to deliver [training] to the transportation workforce nationwide. We want to be efficient, effective, and we’re trying to make it immersive so the participants can benefit from it. Their skill sets can be enhanced thanks to the technology, which is what we’re looking to do.

We took a very technologically complex training course, which is safety inspection of in-service bridges, and through Engility – through Tony’s team – turned it into a training program with gaming quality simulations that involve more participation than a traditional video game.

We were able to make the training better, easier, and more fun for the students to ensure that they learn what they need to know.

Public Sector View: What has been the return on investment of the program for the DOT? How has it helped the department accomplish its mission?

Richard Barnaby: The ROI for an undertaking of this nature this can be measured by our total reach. Since going into distance learning, we’ve managed to double the number of people taking our training. We went from 15,000 to 33,000 individuals, and the number is even higher this year. Through the use of mobile learning, we’ve been able to expand our reach and it’s enhanced the quality of the training.

Road building and bridge building are nation wide, and the training that we provide needs to reach our entire audience. Our audience consists of states, various departments of transportation, and the private sector as well as the local sector, so our training has to be national to do its job.

Our mission is to provide highly technical training at a very high level, and distance learning is the way to go.

Public Sector View: What issues and trends are you seeing today in the distance learning space?

Anthony Prause: The biggest trend that I see is that organizations are looking for rapid development of distance learning products at a low cost, but also increasing requirements and higher training standards with respect to quality and capability. The needs of customers are adapting to economic issues and the advancement of technology to provide better training products to augment all types of training.

There used to be a saying “Good, fast, cheap, pick two.”  That’s no longer an option – being “better faster cheaper” is now becoming the minimum requirement.

 

for more information on Video Conferencing and Distance Learning applications and technologies, contact SpaceCoast AV Communications at 321-257-9700  or via email at info@spacecoastav.com