WOOT!! FINISHED!!

Okay, everyone. I know I’ve been pretty MIA this year, particularly the last few months, but I have a very good reason.  After 3 years of working full-time (or freelancing while looking for full-time work) and attending grad school in my “spare time” (ha!), I have officially completed my dual-Master’s Degree program!  The Fall 2012 … Read more

Your Opportunity is RIGHT NOW!

They Took Our Jobs!I’m sure you’re all pretty sick of hearing about convergence.  It’s been the buzzword from InfoComm, NSCA and most of our major publications for, oh, the last decade.  IT is coming!  Convergence is upon us! Adapt or die!  The clarion call has been shouted from rooftops, proclaimed in industry classes and discussed endlessly — in roundtables and keynotes and blog upon blog.  To an average integrator, this tintinnabulation has echoed falsely in our everyday work life.  Sure, we meet with more IT guys than general facilities guys these days, and yeah, once in a while an IT firm shows up at an AV project pre-bid, but the wholesale takeover of our industry as predicted has simply not come to pass.  It’s not that big a deal.  Okay, business has slowed some places for integrators, but it’s the economy, right? Things are down all over!

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Preach It, Brothers and Sisters, Preach It!

Evangelize AV!

The AV industry has existed a very long time now.  Our trade association, Infocomm, itself celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2009.  Yet, despite this long history, and despite the fact that products from our industry are integral to daily life around the world (mics, speakers, TVs, computer monitors, etc), we are still widely unknown and overlooked by many.  It took until the release of MasterFormat2004 before we got a place of our own for AV specs in construction documents. There are still no AV Design Engineer or AV Installer degree programs in the United States, possibly the world, and only a few related degree programs out there that are similar – acoustical engineer, communications, broadcast degrees, etc. And, the public at large has no clue what we do, for the most part.  Heck, I’m AVDawn for pity’s sake, yet my own mother thinks I “sell TVs or something like that.”  (Bless her heart!)

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A Busy Spring…

So, another hiatus for AVDawn, but this time, I tell ya, I had a few darned good excuses!In March of this year, after fighting through the brunt of the recession, MrAVDawn and I decided to cut our losses and dissolve the partnership we made two years ago that made us part-owners of a small mom-and-pop AV Integrator. MrAVDawn immediately went to work for a larger integrator in the MidAtlantic region that specializes in government contracts, particularly secure VTC centers. Exciting stuff, as he joined the firm right off the bat as a Senior Design Engineer. He loves the new gig, and the new gig seems to be loving him.

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Convergence, Nothing – That’s Commoditization!

IT takes square-aim at the AV Integration market. Enough’s enough!

So, the other evening, I’m sitting at home relaxing with my husband-slash-business partner when he looks up from his laptop with an outraged mien and exclaims, “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” (or slightly more profane words to that effect). Of course, I ask, “What’s up?” and he directs me to the Dell website, where, amongst an ever-increasing list of AV products and services being sold by this computer giant, we spied the magic word: Crestron. This morning, a tweet from RAVE news pointed out that CDW, another IT monster, is also selling Crestron… direct to end users… at a single-digit markup. To quote Slim Pickins, “What in the wide wide world of sports is a-goin’ on here??”

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Ruminations on the Calendar and Our Industry on a Monday Morning…

Where did July and August Go? And what’s with the worker shortage?

So, I’m sitting at my desk this morning about to pull the top page off of my handy-dandy desk calendar when I actually stopped a second and LOOKED at the thing. August 31. The LAST DAY in August. And it hit me… Where on Earth did July and August go?? I mean, five minutes ago, I was on the shuttle bus in Orlando on the way to the Convention Center for Infocomm and – WHABANG! – It’s August 31! Eesh.

Now, I know the newscasters and mass media and, well, the whole darn world are all up in arms about the massive unemployment rate and the devastation of the (capital-R) Recession, however our little company has been busier than scratching dog at a flea circus! We’ve had back-to-back large projects since before Infocomm and even the company founder has been out in the field pulling cable and crimping ends to try to make deadlines. It’s been insane.

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A Crazy, Catch-Up Blog… Edu-rama!

Too much content! GAH!

So, it’s been a million years since I posted last… or at least, it seems that way. In truth, things have been crazy-busy in the life of AVDawn since last we met. Despite the recession, things are hopping at Advanced Video Systems. Every day for the past two weeks, I’ve either been on a site visit, working on proposals or starting the purchasing process for new projects we’ve won. And since our installers have been on job sites non-stop, I’m feeling pretty confident about weathering this downturn… well, at least through July or so. Then again, part of my job is making sure that the streak continues, so – busy, busy bee for me! bzzzzzzzz. ^_^

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Borrowing Brains, Part V of V

5 Tips to Select and Get the Most Out of
Your A/V Design Consultant


Tip #5. Know What You Want the System to Do and Communicate It!

If you learn nothing else from this article, learn this! I cannot stress enough how important communication is in ANY A/V project! You are the client. Without you, there is no need for consultants or integrators! Now, you don’t have to know every technical detail about every component or things like that. That’s why you HIRE a consultant (design or design/build) to begin with… so you don’t NEED to know! However, you should have a general idea of:

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Borrowing Brains, Part IV of V

5 Tips to Select and Get the Most Out of
Your A/V Design Consultant


Tip #4. Consider Design/Build.

If you are in a non-bid or sole-source situation (a.k.a., most non-government jobs), consider pursuing a Design/Build project rather than using a separate consultant and integrator. This will often lead to a smoother, more seamless integration – “Too many cooks…” and all that – as well as providing a cost and productivity savings. With a Design/Build, your chosen A/V Integrator will actually be your consultant in addition to providing and installing your equipment.

 

Borrowing Brains, Part III of V

5 Tips to Select and Get the Most Out of
Your A/V Design Consultant

Tip #3. Ask for References from Customers… and Integrators… and Follow Up!

This is a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually ask for references…or ask for them and never call them to get the scoop! I can’t stress this enough. TALK to other people who have worked with your potential A/V consultant.

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