Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Are you a slave to technology or is your AV working for you?

I have recently had the pleasure of meeting many hoteliers and hotel developers at Hotel Summit; a meet the buyer event and I came away with the feeling that your AV is a burden and an expense and that the technology has not been set up to serve you, it is almost as if you are working for the technology.

In the internet/cat5/network age we have the ability to look at all areas of AV either remotely or across the network so that we can monitor it or it can be integrated with our other systems and then report to us when we need to interact or attend to it!

What is happening without network/remote support?
If you don’t have network / remote support you are unaware of the status of your hardware until if fails or worse still until a guest/delegate complains - leading to (avoidable) equipment failures and breakdowns causing disruption to events, your budgets and leaving your guests/delegates with a bad experience of your facility

What could happen if we added network/remote support?
With remote support or basic network settings your system could email you, you technical people or an external AV company to notify them that a unit is faulty, overheating or needs attention - thus ensuring issues are dealt with before the become a crisis.  With a little more investment systems can be centrally controlled and monitored by you, your technicians an external company - or all three. Customers can be supported, systems monitored in real time and usage & faults logged against each piece of hardware to give you useful metrics.

So what are the benefits?
Maximum up time - avoid preventable problems; lamps reaching the end of their life can be changed before they fail and new lamps ordered in good time. Works can be planned when rooms not in use or out of hours.
Minimise Carbon - minimum site visits as engineers can remotely check parts required. You’ll also have the ability to cross reference room usage/equipment status and bookings to turn off remotely/centrally equipment left on in unused rooms
Maximum Reliability - as faults are monitored and logged against hardware poorly performing hardware or software settings can be changed and evolved to get the best reliability and lowest running cost of all hardware
Improved Customer Experience - as all equipment will perform as expected within a brand standard and your guests will receive a better experience and go away happy!

What areas can be controlled this way?
TV systems - IPTV systems can be remotely diagnosed and supported down to each room's set top box - giving fully support.
IPTV video on demand content - this is now normally delivered and updated remotely - thus ensuring regular secure updates to your on site film and media library
Digital signage - each sign can be remotely managed and supported to ensure maximum up time
Background music systems - many basic amplifiers now have the ability to support Network cards to enable remote support or more advanced systems can support and report to sound processors that give AV support companies full visibility of all sound system hardware.
Hard drive music systems - all hard drive music systems can be supported remotely enabling music update and changes to be made at any time and hardware issues diagnosed and resolved
Video projectors - many video projectors are now capable of reporting back to you over a network to flag problems or with some more interactive systems full remote possibility is possible to allow customer support, fault finding and fault logging
Lighting systems - many of the larger lighting systems now have remote support ability to allow for programming tweaks and fault finding

What is possible?
Video projectors that email or report to you when overheating, filters blocked or the lamp is reaching the end of it's life cycle and will be needing replacement shortly
Sound equipment that can be monitored remotely or linked to your BMS so that its functionality can be monitored
Usage statistics on TV systems so you can increase or reduce certain typed of channel or change you charging structure
Engineers and support staff are able to remotely diagnose faults, restart units showing errors and help users on site for minimum down time.
Engineers who are able to diagnose faults remotely are able to order parts and attend site with the correct part first time to resolve problems in one efficient visit - minimum delay, down time and carbon footprint.
Faults can be logged against certain pieces of hardware so that the items that are not reliable or take a lot of support can be identified and either replaced or reconfigured to reduce cost and reduce the maintenance burden

All of these do affect you initial purchase cost – BUT all will help with your running costs and in turn keep your total cost of ownership lower by reducing calls and increasing the life span of products.  So get your AV working for you.

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