Associations Focus: Leadership Forum

Working Toward a Better AV Communications Industry.
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Associations Focus: Leadership Forum

Jan 1, 2005 12:00 PM

Working Toward a Better AV Communications Industry.

Representatives of every segment of the AV communications industry met in Fairfax, Va. on Oct. 1-2 for the ICIA 2004 Leadership Forum to identify industry needs, overcome barriers, and create new programs to benefit the industry and its customers. The forum brought together more than 75 members representing manufacturing, systems integration, independent consulting, and more. Over the two-day meeting, representatives of ICIA's member councils explored issues unique to their business segments and participated in forums that cut across industry boundaries.

OUTREACH

Outreach both within the industry and beyond was an important issue for many members at the forum. To help users understand the purposes of AV equipment at events, the Rental and Staging Council will collaborate with the End Users Council to develop an AV guide. To help make the most effective presentations possible, the Presentations Council, with advice from the Rental and Staging Council, will create a presenters' guide. These publications will be available through ICIA's AVolution campaign at www.avolution.info. The Sound, Audiovisual and Video Integrators (SAVVI) Council will expand their getSAVVI! campaign to involve more integrators in the council's activities.

The Independent Consultants in Audiovisual Technologies (ICAT) Council proposed ICAT Shines, a unique pro bono program to provide free AV design and installation for charities. Working with SAVVI and the International Communications Industries Foundation, ICAT Shines participants will loan their expertise, labor, and equipment to the Helen Keller National Center in Long Island, N.Y.

EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

ICIA's Professional Education and Training Committee (PETC) hosted a series of meetings with the business segment councils to receive input on current and future educational offerings. New seminars were proposed for InfoComm 2005, and continuing development of a Technology Manager's Track and review of the Rental School are confirmed as priorities for ICIA's 2005 education program.

Architects are key decision makers in construction projects, and in many cases hire independent consulting firms to design the communications aspect. To encourage the best possible working relationship, the ICAT Council drafted a “lunch and learn” presentation for architects. The presentation will be vetted with the American Institute of Architects so that ICIA's independent consulting members can offer it to architects.

In another industry partnership, ICIA members will collaborate with BICSI to develop a technical guidebook on the new Construction Specification Institute's MasterFormat.

As the new sponsor of manufacturers' training at InfoComm, the Manufacturers Council intends to maximize success by developing best practices guidelines for participating manufacturers and creating more incentives for attendees.

INDUSTRY RELATIONS

The ICAT Council proposed to hold a Digital Signal Processing Summit at InfoComm 2005, with representation from control systems manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, integrators, independent consultants, and independent programmers. Questions such as, “What's happening inside the box?” and, “Who designs it?” will be explored.

The Manufacturers Council expressed concern that some international safety requirements have either excluded their products from export or made export an onerous process. Counterfeit equipment has also been a serious problem for some manufacturers. The council requested that ICIA work with other trade associations to preserve manufacturers' ability to export and protect their intellectual property.

The Rental and Staging Council initiated a discussion with the Manufacturers Council on their interest in serving as beta testers for technologies used in their line of work. Rental and Staging members also requested opportunities to communicate to manufacturers desired design features for products.

MARKET INTELLIGENCE

In order to identify trends in revenue and business growth, the Rental and Staging Council will conduct a brief quarterly survey. Over time, benchmarks will be established and growth opportunities identified for this business segment.

The ICAT Council also confirmed plans for their annual Consultants' Bid Survey, which has been instrumental in raising awareness about the influence of independent consultants on the AV installation market.

BEST PRACTICES

Best practices were a strong theme at the Leadership Forum. The first phase of the Dashboard for Controls project, spearheaded by the End Users Council, culminated in a presentation of draft control system navigation templates and data derived from a survey of member opinions on the templates. The Presentations Council's Best Practices Subcommittee shared their goal of identifying best practices in presentations content and design and will establish a method and online “home” for submission and review of proposed best practices. The Presentations Council's pilot project in the use of online collaboration software to share documents and create a knowledge center may be used as a model for the other ICIA councils and committees.

The SAVVI Council announced that they will offer a model subcontract template as a resource to integrators. The SAVVI, ICAT and End Users Councils are involved in an unprecedented collaboration to write a guidebook on best practices in AV design and installation. The guidebook will be published as a companion to ICIA's popular manual The Basics of Audio and Visual Systems Design: Revised Edition.

The Manufacturers Council decided to develop guidelines and agreements to protect intellectual property, along with pricing templates to make it easier for dealers to purchase equipment from manufacturers.

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For more information about ICIA and InfoComm, visit www.infocomm.org

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