Getting your office outfitted with conference room audio visual equipment is an important step to improving your company’s communication and productivity. Keeping that system running smoothly is equally as critical. As the Harvard Business Review put it, “… time is the scarcest resource in any company—after all, no amount of money can buy a 25-hour day.”
Video conferencing solutions have been touted as time and travel saving alternatives to traditional in-person meetings. But with everything so interconnected, if one piece of the system goes down it can affect the entire solution. We all know that up-time is critical. You can’t afford to have that important meeting postponed because your conference room audio visual equipment has decided to take a break. Fortunately, you can combat long-term system outages and keep systems running optimally with the right partner.
This is where audio visual support contracts come in. Choosing one that fits your company’s needs will be vital to your success, and save you from major headaches down the road. Currently, there are four main support options available:
Prior to the development of remote system monitoring, end-users were the ones to uncover the system glitch when a problem with audio visual technology arose. The meeting leader would call the IT department who may try some initial fixes then call the audio visual support company. The audio visual company may try to troubleshoot the problem over the phone and then come out to the location for repair.
With remote system monitoring your audio visual company may be able to identify system glitches before the end-user experiences it. If something in the system goes down, the audio visual company is alerted, can remote into the system, troubleshoot and re-boot. A remote fix isn’t always possible, but when it is, the entire experience from glitch to fix is completed behind the scenes – without interrupting the user experience. Not all audio visual companies offer this new support solution. If it is offered, you can talk through any security concerns with your account manager.
A more traditional approach to audio visual support is a maintenance agreement. Unlike remote system monitoring, maintenance agreements do not allow the support company to connect directly to the network. Instead, you purchase the services of an audio visual company to service the system as-needed on an annual basis.
This may be the ideal solution for organizations with elevated security requirements, such as financial institutions and government entities. Since the support is pre-paid, companies with maintenance agreements may receive priority service over companies without contracts, making it an good option for those who decide remote system monitoring isn’t a good fit.
Select audio visual integrators offer full time on-site support. While it may be overkill for a smaller organization, business campuses with many conference rooms and auditoriums can experience significant benefit from on-site support. The AV technician is on campus to take care of any issues that may arise with the systems. Moreover, they can prepare meeting rooms and be present when the meeting begins to ensure that all the conference room audio visual systems work flawlessly. When company leadership regularly uses conference room audio visual systems, this added support to the IT team can be invaluable.
Lastly, there is the pay-by-the-hour approach. If there is an issue you call the audio visual company, and they come to your location to service the equipment. This is the most basic support option, with limited contracts and commitments.
One point of confusion can be around what service agreements do and do not cover. While a maintenance agreement may keep your team from needing to cut a new PO each time there’s a glitch, it’s not a warranty on product. However, an audio visual integrator may work with you to process any claims on manufacturer warranties if there is a system failure. A support agreement is designed to repair equipment and systems. Having clarity around what your service agreement is not can be just as important as understanding what it is.
No matter which audio visual equipment repair and support contract you choose – remote system monitoring, maintenance agreement, full time on-site support or pay-by-the-hour – it is important to have a plan in place for when glitches arise. Even if you’re using the call-as-needed method, do you have the support number easily accessible? Does your integrator provide regularly scheduled preventative maintenance? Making sure you have a system in place when it comes to conference room audio visual repair and support will save your company valuable resources and help keep your operations running smoothly.