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POV: Standards Defined

To meet the requirements of the construction industry, InfoComm International has created a performance-standards program. This program addresses a key

POV: Standards Defined

Dec 1, 2008 12:00 PM,
By Joseph Bocchiaro, III, Ph.D., CTS-D, CTS-I

To meet the requirements of the construction industry, InfoComm International has created a performance-standards program. This program addresses a key need of the InfoComm membership: audiovisual systems standards that define this triad of audience, architecture, and technology. Technology only makes sense when it is incorporated within an architectural venue, with a live audience. What’s more, the program includes these entities in their entire international framework. After all, the emphasis is on the physiological and ergonomic needs of the presenters and the audience.

The need for these guidelines is amplified every day as the InfoComm constituency grows along with its client base. This base is experiencing tremendous growth as global demand continues to expand in both vertical and horizontal markets. The InfoComm performance-standards program became an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) in May 2008, and it follows the guidelines of ANSI and ISO for formal standards development. The program’s required ANSI documentation has benefited greatly from the recommendations of the Standards Engineering Society.

There are now four performance-standards task groups formed, which are actively working on very diverse topics:

  1. The Audio Coverage Standard will define the sound-pressure levels that should be met for a variety of audiovisual venues. This includes the issue of how uniform the coverage should be so each member of the audience has the same aural experience. Because this is a real-world criterion, it factors in the ambient noise of the venue.
  2. The Projected Image Standard will describe the relationship of image contrast and brightness with respect to the ambient light in the audiovisual venue. These are the two most important parameters of audiovisual images (after size) that have to do with how well an audience can see an image. This is such a wide-ranging topic that Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) members are also participating, adding the perspective of the residential market.
  3. The Videoconferencing Lighting Standard will define where and how much light should illuminate the participants, their workspace, and the displayed image, optimizing the reality of the conference experience. All of this is also visible to the cameras in the room, which have some different illumination requirements than the participants. This standard is being jointly developed with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), which is also an ANSI ASD.
  4. The Design Package Components Standard will outline the various unique specifications and drawings that comprise an audiovisual design. These parameters of audiovisual system designs vary widely from one consultant to the next and from one integrator to another. The intention is to present a more unified picture of the design intentions to the architectural and engineering communities working on the audiovisual-enhanced projects. These outlines are not intended to suppress creativity; rather, they will relate the universe of variables and possibilities to the rest of the design team on the project and to the construction team.

These first four standards are only the beginning of what InfoComm International membership envisions as a suite of guidelines that will raise the level of excellence for the whole industry. Other potential topics run the gamut of audiovisual variables in every aspect of this unique profession. Topics in programmed audio systems, speech-reinforcement systems, video systems, presentation displays, control systems, power and grounding, room acoustics, presenter and user ergonomics, and others will be considered in the future.

Please visit to learn more about performance standards and to learn of opportunities to provide public comments.

Joseph Bocchiaro, III, Ph.D., CTS-D, CTS-I, is InfoComm International’s director of performance standards. His recent paper, “Quality and Sustainability Standards Defining a Young Industry: InfoComm International and its Vision for the Future of AV,” took first place in the 2008 World Standards Day Paper Competition.

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