Facilitating active collaboration between architects and audio/visual technology integrators might not have been much of an issue ten years ago, but considering the current developmental direction businesses and organizations are heading in—more effective collaboration between the two has become more beneficial than ever before.The use of technology in the daily operations of organizations around the world has evolved from slide sharing and internal email correspondence to wide-scale, international conference calling, video-enhanced chatting and more. Group applications of these emergent technologies must be integrated into businesses on a physical level and the technology must be intuitive enough for the end-user to work with.
The message is clear—AV integrators must work closely with architects if they want to successfully incorporate growing technological systems seamlessly into physical spaces. Issues can arise, however, when conflicting ideas are called into question.
There is so much to be gained from architects and AV integrators (as well as AV consultants) joining forces in the early stages of project planning and it pays for them to learn to do so in as many ways as they can to create a seamless experience for the client. However, before collaboration can take place, we must first determine what both parties want to achieve and review the means through which collaboration with one another will take place.
The Architect’s Mindset
Architects are sure to carry their own ideas on the essentials of their designs; they consider the functional utility, infrastructural security, and general aesthetics of the space to be constructed. Soundness, commodity, and delight; these are an architect's primary concerns.
An architect must deliver a design as functional and secure as it is cost-effective. This can lead to several impactful decisions posing unnecessary challenges for AV integrators to assess and overcome. For example, use of high-performance glass (instead of opaque, wire-concealing materials) is something an architect may love, but an AV integrator may not.
The AV Integrator’s Goal
AV integrators bring along a unique set of ideas concerning the space. They aim for seamless control of installed devices and effective connections between said devices. Switches, racks, and proper software must be considered to make such ideas a reality. All of this equipment should also be properly concealed so as not to disrupt the aesthetic qualities of the space.
Integrators are tasked with a number of objectives when working on an integrated system within a given space. Ideally, the necessary racks of pre-tested equipment, projectors, microphones, monitors, speakers, etc. can all be installed on site easily.
AV integrators are looking for a well-constructed space with all the proper equipment connections and placement built into the design. Connections and placement can very easily be incorporated into the design of a space from the offset, but both the AV integrator and the architect in charge of the project must be on the same page. With both parties building on each other’s ideas, a professional, finished product with a polished look and feel can be a reality.
An excellent collaborative space attributed to both the architect and AV integrator is possible with combined effort. Although their objectives may not always be the same, there is considerable overlap between the two and a satisfying middle-ground can always be reached.
Key objectives both parties strive to achieve:
- Optimized use of space, for maximum end-user benefit
- A fully-functional and comfortable final product
- A clean space with zero clutter
Challenges that Can be Overcome Through Active Collaboration
AV integrators and architects can count on overcoming certain project complications and eliminating others altogether. For instance, projects can be completed in far less time thanks to eliminating costly workarounds from the start. Simple issues such as feedback and potential dead space are not likely to occur at all, let alone cause significant problems down the line.
Adopting an ‘Early Bird’ Mentality is Ideal
Cooperation from the start will yield superior results.
When AV integrators work with architects from the beginning of a project they can incorporate functional technological space into a building's design. This translates to a lower cost for the client and a clearer interpretation of the architect's vision for each room. It is this type of planning, undergone in the early design stages, that makes functional and technologically complex collaboration spaces a reality.