The AETM recommends that as best practice organisations adopt standard room types, user interfaces and wherever possible use standardised equipment and software. This will improve supportability as hardware commonality decreases both troubleshooting and the time taken to resolve a system fault.
Standardising room fit-outs allows organisations to streamline other aspects of AV design; such as implementing standardised documentation, interface design and control code. It also allows you to leverage a consistent set of network protocols for transport, remote support, management and analytics.
Additional advantages of standardisation includes:
- long-term cost management and savings benefits
- repeatable and consistent functionality afforded to end users
- consistent user experience and ‘how-to’ guides
- improved remote supportability and familiarity for helpdesk and field staff
- efficient vendor management and access to bulk pricing and redemption offers
- simpler procurement (as integrators get used to standards)
- easier management of spares
- increased speed of deployment
- standardised lifecycle for room refresh and replacement
An important consideration when approaching standard system design is to consider flexibility and allow for the use of different manufacturers or products so that if improvements or changes need to be made in the future they can be implemented. AETM recommend that standard system designs are first prototyped, thoroughly tested, clearly documented and signed off prior to mass deployment.
Where adjustments are considered to standard systems, these changes must also be tested within the context of the system they are enhancing and confirmed as working before committing to the change to minimise headaches during project delivery.
Many organisations assign codes to their standard room types (e.g. AV1, AV2, AV3-A etc.) which define the different features and technology available in these spaces. Each standard system type may include small variations which cater for additional options available to implement in a room (e.g single vs dual content display, web conferencing, wireless presentation, etc).
When developing standard room designs, it is important not only to specify products in the AV documentation, but also think about device port allocations and configurations so that standardised documentation and code can be written to support and control the space. Performance criteria should be applied to elements that change to suit the environment in which they are implemented; e.g. screen sizing, display system brightness and electro-acoustic systems (as discussed in later sections).
A note on bespoke room systems:
Whilst many rooms will be generic enough that it is possible to develop a standard, the nature of universities and their requirements will lead to the need for bespoke system designs. These types of spaces are unique in their nature, will often have equipment and layouts that do not apply elsewhere in the organisation and require unique control code to control and manage the room. It is important when designing these types of spaces to consider the support and maintenance implications in managing the room over its lifecycle, and to develop a clear support model for any non-standard equipment or functionalities.