August 2016 Newsletter: The True Grit of AV Standards

Design and performance standards are everywhere. They provide a basis of living and comfort in our daily lives even when we aren’t aware of them. From the placement of a light switch, the height and depth of a stair step or the lighting levels in an office, all of these things are governed by standards. The audiovisual industry, by contrast, has very few standards. As it is a relatively new industry founded on fast-paced technology, it can be akin to the Wild West of standards. Read on to learn more about how AV standards are being roped-in.

It’s not that there are no standards for AV, rather there are a myriad of groups with proprietary standards that contribute to market saturation with no governing body to limit them. For instance, digital video can be transported via 8+ different connector types. For AV design standards, various manufacturers, consultants and integrators will often follow their own internally-developed standards to ensure consistent output, but there is little coordination between any one group’s standards with that of any other. This lawlessness leads to vastly different AV designs, some good and others, less so.

What-type-of-video-connector-do-you-haveThe good news is the industry is changing as AV technology is quickly falling under the umbrella of IT, with many of the old AV connectors being replaced by IT standard RJ-45. With this convergence of markets, it is even more crucial to establish design standards for AV so that content legibility, contrast ratio, speech intelligibility and other design goals are not lost along the way.

Fortunately, InfoComm International has taken steps to establish design standards that can be followed by consultants and integrators around the world.  Among these is ANSI-J-STD-710, which was developed by InfoComm International in association with ANSI/CEA/CEDIA and was released in 2015. The standard defines requirements for symbols for the most commonly used devices as well as information on minimum text height for legibility, layer naming conventions, and other quality parameters.


As firms like ours and others across the country adopt this standard, the impact of this can be realized in many ways:

  • Architects, engineers and other trades we collaborate with during the project timeline can recognize these standard symbols, enabling better transparency and communication of AV requirements.
  • Drawings that conform to the standards have matching properties to other trades, which allows for easy incorporation of this information into compiled documents for issue and review.
  • Drawing setup time is reduced utilizing dynamic blocks and easy editing features to the standard symbols.

Although we operate in this technological frontier, we are optimistic about the future of the industry, which is gaining consistency and transparency in favor of ambiguity. Every industry needs a good lasso now and then!


September 2016 Newsletter: A Second Set of Reps
July 2016 Newsletter: Music Venue Noise Ordinance