September 2013: Batter Up!

At the start of the 21st century, the Oakland A’s had one of the smallest budgets in Major League Baseball. To maximize payroll value, the general manager turned to baseball’s wealth of records and numbers to find players who were statistically more successful, albeit less glamorous and flashy than some of the leagues bigger stars. As it turned out, this method created an efficient and successful team that allowed the A’s to reach the playoffs several years in a row. This strategy of tracking assets and studying statistics to increase overall value can be employed off the field, too. Read on to learn about how the use of A/V Control Systems software can assist in facilities management.

Companies with A/V Management and Scheduling Control Systems are now able to do much more than simply turn A/V equipment on and off. Control systems and their software backbone offer a powerful suite of management options that allow facilities and companies the ability to manage, maintain and glean reports on how the A/V equipment in their meeting rooms are being used. Some of the data available includes on/off records and equipment usage.

Sample of usage graph illustrating room and equipment status.

These reports can help plan for future A/V investment and expansion as they allow managers to understand which of the various A/V functionalities are the most used and important to daily company activities.

With the availability of in-room touch panel control interfaces, calendar/email exchange integration, and remotely-located control system interfaces, the end users are able to schedule usage of a room from a variety of locations and interfaces.

Typical touch panel dedicated for room scheduling.  These are usually mounted outside the space.

All of this equipment is managed over the network, therefore room reservations and environmental controls (temperature, lighting), power up and shutdown of A/V equipment, scheduling of audio or video conferencing, and remote troubleshooting can all be done from any network-enabled device allowing the room to be ready for immediate use. This feature is helpful for less technical users, as well as preventing A/V equipment from being repeatedly left on.

A/V Control System software can schedule maintenance so that usability is maximized, while downtime is minimized lengthening the life of A/V equipment. Some of today’s more complex control systems also offer Energy Management capabilities. These systems allow the end user to monitor and manage their facility’s usage of A/V equipment, lighting, heating, cooling and energy.

Example of a graph illustrating energy usage

 With real time and historical graphing options available, the range of equipment energy usage can be tracked and analyzed with a thoroughness that was not previously possible.

With the assistance of A/V Control systems, a company is now much more equipped to manage and maintain A/V equipment infrastructure while better understanding its daily usage and value. While these statistics might not help you win the company’s softball game, it can help lengthen the life of your A/V investment and increase company productivity.

October 2013: Why Glass Houses are a Bad Idea
August 2013: Core Configurations