Audiovisual Archives - Level 3 Audiovisual

Audiovisual

Save Money in the Long Run with an AV9000 Certified AV Integrator

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If you’ve ever invested in technology only to learn later that it needs to be rewired, reconnected, or even replaced, you know that can be both frustrating and expensive. You may end up spending more by having to replace cables, tear out walls or ceilings, or even find a more effective solution altogether. It’s especially discouraging if you hired a company to help but you still didn’t get the results you needed.

If that’s happened to you, you’re not alone. According to The Association for Quality in Audio Visual Technology, Inc. (AQAV), poor quality AV solutions and integration costs more than $15 billion a year worldwide in rework, lost hours, and repairs.

Safeguarding against such waste or inefficiency is difficult when you’re not an audiovisual expert—that’s why you hired one in the first place. Learn How AV9000 Quality Assurance Can Help Your Organization

Choosing the Right Audiovisual Technology Partner

Fortunately, the AV industry has quality standards that help you choose the right company and ensure you make a wise investment. One such protection is AQAV, a non-profit corporation “dedicated to improving the operational art of designing and installing audiovisual technology.” Their AV9000 standards, training, certification, and audits ensure that all certified technology companies provide quality solutions that meet the same standards and follow the same best practices.

AQAV uses standards developed by organizations like AVIXA (the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association), SynAudCon (Synergetic Audio Concepts), AES (Audio Engineering Society), SMPTE® (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), to provide standards that assure consistent quality across industries and around the world.

So how do you know you’re choosing a company that cares about these standards and will follow them to make sure you don’t pay for their mistakes down the road? First, start by asking potential integrators some questions.

Questions to Ask

  • Is your company AV9000 certified?
    If the answer is no, ask why not and what quality standards they follow.
  • What certifications do your technicians have?
    Individual integrators should have certifications, like CTS (Certified Technology Specialist), or others that directly support their role.
  • Do you have a company quality policy and process? And how do you ensure your team adheres to them?
    Integration companies should have these in place and be able to share how they ensure quality solutions.
  • What if I have a question or concern during or after the installation?

The integration company should be able to provide you with a contact who will address all your questions and concerns at any point.

The Benefits of Partnering with an AV Integrator

The selection process is so important because you’ll see several benefits from working with a company that makes quality assurance a priority. They’ll work to:

  • Design and install systems for an optimal user experience and operability
  • Ensure your projects are completed on time thanks to standard processes
  • Catch defects in solutions before they are put into use
  • Follow up to resolve issues with your solutions
  • Prevent system failure so you have less downtime and fewer repairs
  • Provide upfront information about long-term maintenance and upgrade costs
  • Maximize your investment with efficient installation and prevention of issues down the road

Next Steps

Finding the right audiovisual technology partner is the first step to creating the environment you want at your organization—and in making sure your money doesn’t get wasted on poor quality solutions and services. Learn more about why an AQAV-certified audiovisual integrator will help you get the results you want by exploring this whitepaper.

Video Conferencing Can Fill the Gaps in Your Workflows

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Today’s companies are all about the flow of information from colleague to colleague and team to team. So when work at your organization gets stuck, lost, or forgotten, where does it usually come to a grinding halt? In email? On team collaboration boards? During meetings? If you find that work often stops until the next meeting or until a key team member gets back into town, there are faster, more efficient ways to keep work moving. One of those ways is to get on a video conference call right now.

Video Collaboration Improves the Flow of Work

Video collaboration tools are better quality and more reliable than in the past. Solutions designed for meeting spaces do more than just video. They make real-time information and content sharing easier than ever. Solutions intended specifically for small meeting rooms may include cameras and microphones designed to pick up much more than a laptop, as some employees will try to use—unsuccessfully.

Also look for features like annotation, touch screens, video capture, wireless sharing, scheduling capabilities, video recording, and easy integration with your existing systems and workflows. Companies invest in workflow technologies but overlook the collaboration aspect. Video conferencing helps fill in the gaps.

The latest video solutions improve workflows and processes by:

  • Facilitating faster decision making
  • Increasing productivity
  • Connecting employees of all kinds, including remote, mobile, and in office
  • Merging content tools with collaboration, allowing work to be completed during meetings
  • Cutting costs through preventing project delays

In high-growth companies, 73 percent of executives say that video conferencing improves communication, when compared with audio conferencing. That also means work outcomes are better because there is less miscommunication and mistakes.

Improve Work Efficiency with Video Conferencing

Video collaboration solutions improve workflows and coordination of efforts across teams. It gives you a path to bypass all the potholes, roadblocks, and dead ends in your work because it adds a faster, more accurate means of communication. And with the rise in ad hoc meeting spaces, like huddle rooms, it’s another tool to get work done in the present, without having to organize a formal meeting.

Organizations should make video collaboration available not just in these ad hoc meeting spaces though. Video conferencing capabilities should be in huddle rooms, conference rooms, and virtually any other work or gathering space.

It’s not just workspaces that are changing. The way employees work is changing to be more mobile and more flexible. Employees need the tools to accommodate that kind of agility.

Create Spaces That Make Video Collaboration Easy

The video collaboration technologies that support your workflows should:

  • Work from anywhere using any device
  • Integrate with other technologies in the room
  • Be intuitive for all users

Consumer video conferencing applications, like Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime, are easy to use outside of work and have become part of routine life for many users. In fact, Apple has announced that’s it’s releasing the ability for up to 32 people to participate in a FaceTime video call. That’s a sign that video conferencing and consumer-style tools are overlapping more than ever. However, a FaceTime video call won’t be practical for many professional use cases.

An experienced audiovisual integrator can help organizations decide which tools make the most sense for their needs and goals.

Next Steps

The key to improving work is making video collaboration a part of your everyday workflows. As work becomes more collaborative and more of it is conducted in small group meeting spaces, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that those spaces are equipped with video collaboration tools.  Consider those designed for these modern spaces, like the Crestron Mercury or the Polycom Trio. Download “A Standardized Huddle Space Catalog and Guide” to learn more about equipping huddle and small meeting spaces for video collaboration.

How to Make the Case for Better Video Conferencing

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Is video conferencing at your organization up in the air and all over the place? Maybe some employees love to hop on impromptu video calls with just about anyone from anywhere—even when they’re just down the hall. On the other hand, some resist turning on the camera or using video conferencing at all. You may see different departments favoring different solutions. If there is no consistent user experience and video conferencing has become a big hassle for your IT department, you’ll want to make some changes.

You know you want to provide an easy, standardized experience in your meeting rooms, small or large. But what do you do when executives don’t make video conferencing a priority, don’t understand the benefits, and don’t want to set aside budget to solve your organizations collaboration issues?

Start by gathering user and stakeholder feedback, researching and narrowing down your options, and then presenting the information to those who will make the final decision. State your case by beginning with the “why” behind the push for video conferencing.

Why Organizations Should Invest in Video Conferencing

You already know why an easy-to-use, standardized video conferencing solutions makes sense, but it’s important to let decision makers in on the long-term, big-picture benefits.

Video collaboration:

  • Is cost-effective. Video conferencing has always been a good way to save on travel costs, but the rise of cloud and software-based solutions makes it more affordable than ever. Organizations also save on hardware, data storage, and real estate by accommodating a growing remote workforce.
  • Improves work. With video conferencing available in any room, from any device, employees are able to meet and work with more speed, efficiency, and accuracy. At a moment’s notice they can show remote colleagues an asset, a product, a presentation, or whatever they may be working on and ask advice, clarification, or help. And that’s just one use case.
  • Has more uses than ever. It used to be that video conferencing was seen as suitable for more formal staff, client, and executive meetings. However, now it’s being used to support ideation, innovation, and employee engagement among all kinds of teams. Whether planned or impromptu, formal or informal, video conferencing is being used by nearly all departments, including tech support, production, and field service.

How to Present the Case for Video Conferencing

Let stakeholders know you’ve done your homework, and ask those who already support video conferencing to help others get on board.

  • Identify stakeholders. Determine who will need to approve the video conferencing purchase. Learn what kinds of details they need before making a decision.
  • Explain the problem and solution. Share the user feedback, usage reports, and request for features you gathered early on. This way, you can explain to stakeholders how the problems will be solved with a new solution.
  • Document your research. Track which vendors or solutions you have researched, noting which features align with your requirements. Highlight your recommendations and write an explanation of your decision to share with stakeholders.
  • Justify the investment. In addition to outlining the benefits mentioned above, you will want to include a cost/benefit analysis in your business case that also includes tangible costs and benefits. With this analysis, you should include all one-time and recurring expenses. A qualified AV integrator can also help determine the expected ROI which can help with making that final decision.

Next Steps

Not all video conferencing tools are designed for all spaces. If you’re looking for ways to implement video collaboration in small meeting rooms, consider tools like the Crestron Mercury or the Polycom Trio. Both feature webcams and content sharing capabilities. Check out “A Standardized Huddle Space Catalog and Guide

How the Experts Achieve Video Collaboration Success

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Video collaboration in the workplace is more the rule than the exception. For example, 55 percent of organizations use Skype For Business—but not every tool out there will be the right fit for your particular needs and business case. Here are some best practices; to help you pick the right video collaboration tool and get the most out of it.

How to Achieve Video Collaboration Success

  1. Simple connectivity. Most employees conduct their personal lives on their phones and other personal devices; they want to do the same when it comes to their business lives. The most successful video collaboration systems allow people to easily connect any device to start sharing and collaborating. When employees can use their own, familiar devices for workplace collaboration; they are more likely to use the systems you have in place.
  2. Intuitive workflow According to Zoom, 97 percent of business customers say ease of use is the most important quality for mobile apps, and the same is true of the apps and platforms you use for collaboration within your organization. To increase adoption, make sure your video collaboration platform includes workflows that are intuitive to follow; and make completing projects easier instead of harder. Remember, if it takes too long for employees to figure it out, they’ll stop trying.
  3. Automated experience. According to McKinsey, 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of their activities that are automatable. Incorporating automation tools into your meeting spaces can simplify repetitive tasks and enhance your video collaboration experience. For example, you can install motion sensors that detect when someone enters the room; and automatically turn on your video conferencing system. Occupancy sensors can also detect when no one is in the room; and turn off systems such as lighting and HVAC to save energy. An integrated scheduling tool can also enhance your overall video collaboration experience; by allowing people to easily see what meeting spaces are available when and helping them schedule the space that best meets their meeting goals and needs.
  4. Cultural adoption. Video collaboration is the norm in today’s workplace, but that doesn’t mean everyone is comfortable using it. Instead of assuming every employee is comfortable in front of a camera; companies with successful video collaboration empower employees to use their collaboration systems and feel confident doing it. Leadership buy-in, trainings and opportunities to practice will all help video collaboration become a natural and stress-free part of your company culture.

Next Steps

So, how does your video collaboration system measure up? Are you positioned for success or is it time to consider a new video collaboration platform that will move you closer to success? Level 3 Audiovisual partners with manufacturers including Skype for Business, Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans, Cisco and Polycom to help every company meet their collaboration goals. Schedule a consultation today and find out how we can help you.

5 Reasons the Government Needs Updated Technology

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For companies in the private sector, updated technology is critical to beating competitors and increasing revenue, so many businesses build their budgets to prioritize AV and IT spending. For public sector organizations, however, updating technology is not so simple. An incremental, year-to-year budgeting process can make large capital investments in technology difficult. And, because government agencies are not profit—or competition—driven, big tech investments can be difficult to justify.

However, updated technology and the way it improves business processes, delivery and customer satisfaction should be just as important to the public sector as it is to the private sector. Here are five reasons government agencies and organizations should update their technology.

Improve Government Service by Improving Technology

  1. Improve customer experience. The government has customers just like the private sector does, and their experience should matter. Government agencies of any size can use AV technology solutions such as interactive digital signage and digital message boards to provide easy access to timely information. Updated AV can also help government organizations connect with citizens through methods such as streaming town hall meetings and other public forums.
  2. Reduce repetition. Deloitte suggests government agencies use AI-powered technologies such as “bots” to take over repetitive administrative tasks. Rather than using machines to replace humans entirely, state governments in Ohio and Texas are using robotic process automation to create an augmented, “no collar” government workforce where employees have more time to focus on high-level, strategic and mission-critical tasks.
  3. Deliver services in new, efficient ways. While the type of work government agencies conduct doesn’t change very often, updated technology can help agencies do that work more efficiently and effectively. For example, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is using new technology applications to enhance the traditional package tracking experience. USPS created a digital model of their supply chain so customers can preview and manage mail and packages digitally using email notifications, an online dashboard or a mobile app. The Transportation Security Administration increased the efficiency of the airport security process by using predictive technology solutions that allow frequent travelers to get background checks before they fly and move much more quickly through security. The PreCheck program improved efficiency by reducing overall wait times for all travelers and freeing up airport security staff to focus on higher-risk travelers.
  4. Improve collaboration. Collaboration between local, state and federal government entities is more important than ever to address issues such as security, and community health and safety. For example, after concerns over hacking during the 2016 election season, state election officials have begun a partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that allows the two entities to collaborate on cybersecurity. Updated AV technology will help facilitate a new level of coordination between local, state and federal governments on election-related security.
  5. Increase security. According to Samsung, 92 percent of federal IT managers say modernizing their IT infrastructure to improve security is a critical priority. Many government agencies are turning to cloud services to increase efficiency, security and compliance. Network monitoring systems can also help public sector organizations identify and address critical vulnerabilities, manage access, and protect high-value assets.

Next Steps

Although they are not competing for customers or operating in an environment driven by the bottom line, government agencies can and should invest in new, updated technology solutions that improve satisfaction, efficiency and security. For more technology insights, subscribe to our blog.

5 Crestron Huddle Room Solutions You Need

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These days huddle rooms are the rule rather than the exception, and for good reason. Huddle rooms help mitigate one of the main downsides of open floor plans—noise and distractions—so employees can focus on productive collaboration. Huddle rooms also provide flexibility and are often a more practical use of space than large, infrequently used conference rooms.

However, huddle rooms are only as good as the audiovisual technology they are equipped with. While most huddle rooms include some standard components—a display, a camera, a microphone, a control system, as well as collaboration software and network access—the quality of those components can make or break your huddle room. And their cost can make or break your budget.

Improving Huddle Rooms with Crestron

Crestron, one of the leading AV design and engineering firms, has several low-cost, high-impact solutions that can help you design an affordable huddle room with powerful and functional technology solutions.

  1. Professional presentation solution. A small huddle space doesn’t have room for a large projector or other presentation equipment that takes up a lot of space. But the quality of huddle room presentations should match what is possible in larger conference and meeting rooms. Crestron’s HD Scaling Presentation Switcher & Extender is a high definition AV presentation solution that can connect to computers and mobile devices and route any media to your huddle room’s display. Built-in scaling means this solution can handle a variety of formats and resolutions, and the compact size means you can install the hardware inside a lectern, under a table, or behind a screen.
  2. Wireless content sharing. Struggling to get devices connected takes time, causes frustration, and is a common cause for meetings starting late. Wireless presentation means you can share content from any device, including a tablet or mobile phone, without having to plug it in. The Crestron AirMedia® App not only lets you share content wirelessly, but it can accommodate up to 32 devices so collaboration is streamlined and immediate.
  3. Cable and device management. A small huddle space can easily get cluttered with too many cables and wires. The Crestron Connect It™ Cable Caddy keeps all your connector cables in one place—including HDMI, VGA, Audio, and Ethernet cables—so you can quickly find the cable you need and connect your devices without any hassle. Once you’re connected, press the button on your interface to instantly display your content.
  4. Centralized control. You can pack a lot of technology into a small huddle room, but if each component has to be managed and controlled separately, the user experience is compromised, and people are less likely to use all available features. The Crestron Mercury® is an all-in-one tabletop solution that lets you control all your collaboration and conferencing tools regardless of the application or platform. With a single touch you can also control room scheduling, microphone and speaker volume, and web-based collaboration.
  5. Unified communications packages. If you are just starting to design or equip a new huddle room, Crestron offers UC packages that include all the technology you’ll need for a highly efficient—and effective—space, including a touch screen, camera, and speakerphone, all powered by the Crestron RL® 2 Codec.

Next Steps

Huddle room solutions are one piece of your enterprise AV system, and they should be compatible with other AV solutions for maximum effectiveness. A Level 3 Audiovisual Crestron expert engineer can help you find the right huddle room solutions and make sure they integrate effectively with your other AV solutions.

When You Should Rent AV Equipment

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If the only time you’ll wear a tuxedo is on your wedding day, you’re probably better off renting one than buying one. And if your company hosts only one or two events or conferences a year, the same is probably true of the specialized audiovisual (AV) equipment you’ll need to pull it off.

Many AV applications, like meeting room technology and collaboration platforms, require a capital investment and integration expertise, but when it comes to infrequent or specialized AV needs, renting can be best.

Why—and When—Renting AV Equipment Makes Sense

The most common scenario for AV equipment rental are large-scale but infrequent events that require specialized equipment. Here are the top five reasons to consider renting AV technology on such occasions.

  1. Specialized solutions. Your event may require an elaborate or specialized AV solution, but purchasing it for a one-time use isn’t practical for most organizations. And just making do with the AV solutions you have isn’t a great solution either, because they are probably not up to the job. Renting means you get the specialized equipment you need without a major capital expenditure.
  2. Cost of ownership savings. The total cost of ownership for AV equipment goes beyond the initial purchase price. It also includes costs such as maintenance, repairs and storage. For AV equipment you use infrequently, those costs can quickly start to outweigh the benefits of ownership. Renting specialized AV equipment eliminates these ongoing costs.
  3. Trouble shooting. Renting AV equipment means you get access to equipment experts too. When a microphone stops working in the middle of a keynote address or a video screen goes fuzzy mid-presentation, someone is on site to fix it immediately.
  4. Newer, well-maintained equipment. Rental companies want to stay competitive and maintain good reputations, so rental AV solutions are generally well-maintained and in good condition. You get to use the newest and best AV technologies without the cost of overhauling, updating or replacing equipment.
  5. Expert installation. When you rent AV equipment, expert installation is part of the package. That saves you time and effort and also lets you rest easy that everything has been installed correctly and will work the way it should for your event.

Level 3 AV recently partnered with Broadcast Rentals, a video equipment rental and event services company, to expand services and support offerings.

Next Steps

AV needs can vary widely, depending on the event. Some of the AV equipment available to rent from Broadcast Rentals includes:

  • Cameras
  • Tripods
  • Prompters and monitors
  • Lenses
  • Recorders
  • Lighting

For your ongoing AV needs, including video conferencing technology, conference room audio, video walls and simulation services, as well as installation and integration services, a certified integrator can help you identify and deploy the best solution.

3 Benefits of AV Certification for Tech Managers

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Audio visual technology and integration standards are changing fast, so keeping technology personnel up-to-date on training and product knowledge has become a significant challenge. Lack of training can lead to problems like miscommunication over technology needs, inadequate system testing and fine-tuning, delayed AV installations, and increased costs to fix or replace poor quality systems.

As a technology manager, you want to ensure your organization gets the right AV systems, that they perform as intended, and that they’re installed and integrated following industry best practices. Completing training such as Certified Quality Designer (CQD)-AV and Certified Quality Technician-AV (CQT) courses—and choosing AV installers and integrators who have earned these certifications as well—will help you create a Quality Management System (QMS) that ensures your AV system conforms to defined performance specifications using a process-based approach that ensures quality and facilitates continuous improvement.

Training Makes Life Better—and Easier—for Tech Managers

CQD and CQT certifications are the first steps towards meeting your goal of ensuring AV systems are deployed as planned. To that end, CQD training will teach you how to prepare for and review a design to ensure the system will be built and installed in compliance with your expectations and industry best practices. CQT training prepares you to audit AV systems to verify performance and compliance with industry standards. CQD and CQT training also provide additional benefits, including:

  • Minimize risk and improve performance. Risks associated with non-standardized AV implementations include incompatibility between new and existing components, manufacturer delays, AV systems that don’t meet changing needs, and a lack of follow-up and support when issues arise. CQD and CQT training promote the design and installation of AV systems that have Zero Defects, they are complete, high performing, and ready to use. Compliance with industry standards also paves the way for continuous improvement of AV systems as needs and technologies evolve.
  • Reduce costs associated with poor quality. AV systems that require frequent repairs—or need to be replaced entirely—can cost your organization time and money. A QMS supported by CQD and CQT ensures AV systems are tested, validated, and adjusted. Without a QMS you can experience:
    • Project delays
    • Long punch lists
    • Lack of system availability during repairs
    • Costs for additional vendors or components
    • Additional time for inspection and acceptance
  • Improve satisfaction for technology managers. Committing to working only with AV integrators who have up-to-date certifications has numerous benefits for technology managers. They include: fewer system revisions, change orders, and expensive last-minute adjustments; faster times to system readiness and less downtime for maintenance; and more time building positive, closer working relationships with vendors.

Next Steps

Level 3 AV provides training opportunities that improve AV system performance, including the CQD and CQT certifications. These trainings last three days with a certification test on the final day. At the end of the course you will be prepared to perform audits and assessments of your AV system and to implement a QMS. Prerequisites include a CTS or four years’ experience in AV design and/or installation. Visit our registration site to find an upcoming training event near you.

Follow purchasing best practices to maximize an education technology investment.

All Things Considered: What To Ask Before Purchasing Ed Tech

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Education is a staple of modern life and technology is increasingly a staple of modern education. The education technology industry represents $8 billion in annual spending, and public schools in the United States spend $3 billion a year on digital content.

In most cases it’s money well spent. Seventy-four percent of teachers who responded to a recent national survey conducted by PBS said technology enables them to reinforce and expand classroom content. In addition, 73 percent of respondents said technology helps them better respond to a variety of learning styles, and more than two-thirds said they want more technology in their classrooms.

Despite the benefits, however, simply adding more technology to the classroom, whether in K-12 or higher education, doesn’t guarantee results. Before you make a large education technology investment, consider the following questions to ensure the investment is the best use of funds—and will provide the best possible educational outcomes.

 

Top 10 Questions To Ask Before An Ed Tech Purchase

  1. What goal are you trying to achieve? Goals are a big part of education, and they should be a big part of education technology investments as well. Don’t buy first and ask questions later—carefully consider what you are trying to achieve and then choose the technology solution that best meets your classroom goals and district standards. A creative writing department where students spend the class period writing quietly at their desks or conferring with classmates one-on-one probably doesn’t need a fancy video conferencing system, but a geology class where students regularly check in with scientists stationed in Africa probably does.
  2. Can the tool meet more than one need? It can be tempting to identify a specific problem and then find a specific tool to meet it, but the best education technology investments can be shared across departments and disciplines and meet multiple needs at once. A multi-purpose tool that can be used in more than one place helps advance technology standardization across your organization and can also extend the life of the investment. For example, some disciplines might require cutting edge technology while others can get the same positive results with hand-me-down tools, but only if the tool is flexible and adaptable enough to meet more than the original need.
  3. Is it compatible with existing tools and platforms? What is your district or university’s platform or device of choice? If everyone is using PCs you don’t want to buy a tool that is only compatible with a Mac. Ensuring your new investment can work easily with existing hardware and software solutions is critical to success.
  4. Does it increase engagement? Education tools need to keep students on task—not distract them—and should be useful to students wherever they are on the learning spectrum. A clear outline of the goals you are hoping to achieve will also help ensure you choose a relevant, applicable tool that enhances and increases productivity and engagement rather than distracting students and taking them off task.
  5. What kind of training and support is available from the manufacturer? Ever tried to use a kitchen appliance or change the clock on your car without the user’s manual? Lots of swearing and wasted time usually ensues, and swearing and wasted time are not great in the educational space. Before you purchase a tool, make sure everyone will receive the training and support they need to make the tool a success. This includes manufacturer demonstrations, hands-on training and a responsive customer service department to quickly address questions, malfunctions and other trouble-shooting needs. Extra credit for manufacturers who are familiar helping teachers specifically.
  6. Do teachers and students like the tool? As an IT pro or technology buyer, the benefits of a certain tool or technology might be obvious to you, but it’s money wasted if teachers and students don’t like it and don’t use it. Seeking input from students and teachers and allowing them to test out technologies before you make a final purchase will improve adoption. And what does improved technology adoption lead to, class? Ultimately, increased information retention, improved test scores and realization of the tool’s ultimate goal and promise.
  7. Does it match or enhance the curriculum? Technology purchases should support curriculum goals, not the other way around. It’s easier to validate funding for tools and technologies with a strong instructional focus or application, and they give you a better return on your technology investment, too.
  8. Does it meet access and compliance requirements? Schools and universities must remain compliant ad accessible to all kinds of learners and the same goes for the technology you use. Your vendor should be able to provide a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template—or VPAT—a document that outlines how the product meets each standard of Section 508 compliance. Additional compliance and accessibility laws, regulations and standards can vary between states, counties, and even districts; it’s important to keep up with all the compliance standards that apply to your institution and if it gets too overwhelming a qualified AV integrator can help.
  9. Is the tool a standalone solution? There is little worse than spending a lot of money on a big, fancy new technology solution only to find you need to spend more money on new, smaller tools to make your big one work. In addition to ensuring compatibility with existing tools and devices, make sure your first investment won’t require subsequent spending to work.
  10. Is there grant money or other creative funding available? There is no way around it: technology investments are expensive. But you might not have to bear the cost burden alone. Be sure to investigate any alternative funding options that might be available, such as discounted Internet rates through the FCC, special grants for STEM programs, industry partnerships and state and local investment organizations. If you are looking to fund a targeted project, direct funding and device or project-specific assistance may be available.

The Value of Long Lasting Ed Tech Investments

When it comes to an education technology investment, many education research organizations recommend focusing on the value of the investment—or VOI—rather than the financial return on investment—the traditional ROI measurement. That means spending smart gets you farther than spending big. A long-term, forward-looking approach to education technology investments includes taking advantage of sales, group rates and other discounts; searching out free software and apps, and; taking advantage of buy-back and rental programs. It also means not buying more new technology than you need, and not sinking money into maintaining and repairing obsolete technology that would be more cost-effective to replace. Investing in multi-purpose tools that are easy to maintain and can be shared across departments and disciplines will help make your technology and your dollars go farther. If you are curious on how you can start introducing educational technology into K-12 classrooms be sure to check out this detailed guide.

 

Next Steps

You wouldn’t buy a swimsuit without asking a friend if it looked good, and you shouldn’t have to make technology purchasing decisions alone either. Let us help you choose the education technology tool that works best for you.

Minimize meeting problems and collaborate with CoreTouch

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Have you ever had those meetings when you would bring your laptop or tablet but couldn’t connect it to a projector, monitor, or any other kind of peripheral? With a presentation ready to go, you wasted so much time trying to figure out how to make the technology work. It can either transform a meeting into a complete frustration or really make it valuable.

Some of the most common meeting problems companies have are trouble with starting and finishing a meeting on time. Factors like failing technology, silent participants and collaboration dominators often result in a conducted meeting with no decisions made. The results of this survey show that 45% of participants most of the time leave a meeting without a clear understanding of their responsibilities. Also, 47% of workers react stressfully to tech malfunction. With Layer Logic’s CoreTouch, Today, we have a device that’s both easy to use and simplifies collaboration and sharing.

Improved Collaboration

CoreTouch is an appliance that enables collaboration to displays of all kinds from a user’s preferred device. One centralized appliance provides up to four connections for users, each device sending its share of data to the display in real-time. When a meeting starts on time, you get so much work done, and everyone present manages to participate and present their information. You will walk out with an overwhelming sense of productivity. This is rarely the case in small and mid-sized organizations.

Share Like You Had Never Shared Before

Regardless of the type of device or its operating system, CoreTouch provides quick connectivity without any security or software updates to address. Cables connected to a smart device or laptop and to the display provide a wired connection that is more secure than a wireless one, addressing several common security concerns.

Intuitive Touchscreen Display

Because there is no need to install software or configure it, CoreTouch can be controlled in several ways. When all the devices are plugged in, you can jump from full- to quad-screen with simple swipe gestures using a smartphone as a device or an interactive touch screen as your display. You can actively participate in a quadrant, sharing your data through a wireless presentation system. Also, you can use a tablet or smartphone to choose which device is displayed on the screen at a given moment, thus controlling the presenters.

CoreTouch can be mounted on any monitor or HID capable touch device. Layer Logic’s certification process has tested touchscreen displays and certified the following ones to work with CoreTouch: BenQ, LG, Phillips, Samsung, Vivitek, Sharp NEC, Cleartouch, and Christie.

In the past, you used to hassle with all kinds of tech equipment and worried whether you would be able to play a simple 2-minute video. Now, you just throw your laptop in the bag and go on with your day without any worries that a failure to connect will happen again. Smooth and coherent integration can be complicated to achieve. The result of using CoreTouch can be simply getting more work done during meetings and collaborating more quickly and effectively.

If you’re interested in CoreTouch and want to see how it works, contact us to book a demo!

4 Things to Know Before You Buy A Video Wall

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Once confined to company lobbies, secretive government command centers and science fiction movies, video walls are becoming increasingly commonplace across multiple industries including retail, higher education and utility and traffic monitoring applications. And that’s just the beginning. According to a recent industry forecast, the global LED video wall market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 35.1 percent, reaching $73.51 billion by 2025. If you’re thinking of jumping on the bandwagon, here are some trends to watch—and some important considerations to keep in mind.

 

4 Top Video Walls Trends

Whatever type—and size—of video wall solution you choose, it’s a big investment and you want to make sure it won’t be out of date before you’ve even had a chance to install it. Here are some trends to keep in mind that will help ensure you’re getting the latest in video wall technology for the best price.

  1. LED is getting cheaper. LED video walls have several advantages over LCD video displays, including less visible bezels in larger arrays and better visibility in outdoor applications. The downside is, they are consistently more expensive. But, in our observation, the price is starting to come down. Of course, price shouldn’t be your only consideration but it does matter. And if an LED display is the better solution for you, cost is becoming less of a barrier.
  2. Pixel pitches are getting tighter. Pixel pitch is the distance between the center of one LED cluster—or pixel—and the center of the next pixel. While in some things bigger is better, when it comes to pixel pitch smaller is better, and pixel pitches are getting smaller all the time. A smaller pixel pitch means improved resolution and viewing distance, but it’s also more expensive. If your video wall is somewhere people won’t be standing too close to it—say signage in a large airport terminal or a spacious lobby —you can save money with a larger pixel pitch. In a retail environment or when using an interactive display such as wayfinding on a college campus, a lower pixel pitch is worth the investment.
  3. Displays are becoming more interactive. In response to a growing number of applications in the workplace as well as educational settings, video walls are incorporating more and more interactivity. If your video wall will be used mainly for advertising or brand awareness, interactivity might not be an important feature to invest in. But for video walls with collaborative applications, such as in a conference room or classroom, or for displays designed to provide personalized information or tasks, such as a video wall application in a hotel lobby where guests can check in and out or search for information about local tourist attractions, interactivity is key.
  4. Custom mosaic walls are increasingly popular. Mosaic walls feature a collection of display tiles, usually in three different sizes, that can be arranged in whatever configuration you like. The application is ideal for a place such as a modern office building lobby or university student center where the video wall and its content are part of the décor and architecture. Mosaic walls are also a popular option in mission critical applications, such as in traffic or utility monitoring. Each display tile can show an individual image, so multiple data points can be tracked at once. Or, for a large incident or task, the same image can be displayed across the entire array.

4 Things To Consider Before A Video Wall Investment

Having the latest and greatest is fun and exciting, but also pointless if the right backend software and hardware are not in place. They might not be sexy but here are some practical operational considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Your content management system needs Internet access. IT staff are always on the move and your video wall content management system needs to move with them. Especially for video wall applications where content needs to be updated in real-time—a campus alert system, for example—content needs to be accessible anytime from anywhere. Some cloud subscription packages are even starting to include video wall content hosting.
  2. Your wall needs remote monitoring. There aren’t many—if any—organizations in a position to hire someone to stare at a video wall and sound the alert at the first sign of a glitch or malfunction. Especially for video walls far away from where your IT staff is—in a local store, for example, or across campus—remote monitoring that can help you identify and resolve issues quickly will help minimize downtime and maximize ROI.
  3. Your content needs to be secure. We’ve all seen the action movies where a hacker takes control of a command center video wall and fills the screen with ominous threats or pictures of clowns. Might seem a bit far-fetched but the importance of content security isn’t. Your content management system needs safeguards in place to make sure bad people can’t get in and sensitive information can’t get out.
  4. You need the ability to customize. No two video wall applications are the same and that means no two video walls should be either. From size to configuration, pixel pitch to placement, resolution to color saturation and level of interactivity, you need a solution that can be configured to your needs and not the other way around.

Next Steps

The first step in your path to a video wall investment should be to consider your application and what functionality is most important. Will it be indoor or outdoor? Will people be standing close or far away? In what configuration do I need the displays? Once you have the elements key to your success identified, a professional integrator can help you narrow down the available options to the one that’s best for you.

Upgraded sound systems improve performance and communication.

3 Audio System Upgrades to Consider

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Of all the professions out there likely to run afoul of the law, an IT buyer or AV integrator probably doesn’t come to the top of your mind. But, thanks to new FCC regulations about bandwidth use, your AV solutions—particularly your wireless microphones whether they’re in conference rooms, auditoriums or city council chambers—could be out of compliance. For that, and probably a few other reasons, too, it might be time for your organization to consider a sound system upgrade.

What is the new FCC requirement?

The new regulations from the FCC focus specifically on wireless microphones, but could impact your AV sound system as a whole. Due to increasing demand from other wireless services such as wireless Internet, TV band spectrum in the 600 MHz band has been repurposed and will no longer be available to wireless microphones. Wireless microphones currently operating in the band (the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz frequencies) have to cease operation by July 13, 2020 and may be required to stop operating in that band sooner if they start to interfere with new wireless licenses in that band.

The good news is, the FCC has opened up new opportunities for licensed wireless microphone operation on different parts of the spectrum outside the TV broadcast band, including in the 169-172 MHz band and portions of the 900 MHz band, the 1435-1525 MHz, and the 6875-7125 MHz bands. Additional bands have also been opened for unlicensed wireless microphone operators.

And, wait! There’s even more good news. To help with the cost of system upgrades this new regulation will require, and to incentivize organizations to make the change faster, the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate lets you trade in your existing, ineligible system for a rebate on a new, eligible system. Your existing system doesn’t have to be a Shure model to qualify for the rebate. That’s a deal good enough to make you consider whether the time might be right for a full or partial sound system upgrade.

How do I know the time is right for an upgrade?

Sounds systems can be made up of any number of components including wireless microphones and receivers, and can be found in a wide variety of spaces including auditoriums and performance venues, places of worship, corporate conference rooms, public lobbies and college classrooms and lecture halls. Each type of location will have specific audio needs and considerations, but there are some universal indications that you are due for a sound system upgrade.

  1. No one can hear you. “Can you hear me now?” was a catchy advertising slogan, but it gets pretty old pretty fast if you hear it over and over again on a conference call or during a lecture. An audio system’s chief job is to make things, well, audible, so if your sound is garbled, unreliable or otherwise unclear, it’s time for new components or a new system all together.
  2. Your system is jacked. If your audio system requires phone jacks or other cords, it’s time for an upgrade. Corded systems are less reliable, have poorer audio quality and are becoming so rare that companies usually won’t fix or replace them.
  3. Your equipment makes you look bad. How many microphones are in your conference room? Can everyone sit comfortably in their chairs and talk or does everyone have to huddle around one mic and fight to be heard? Does your audio come in and out so employees, clients or students miss too much of what you say? Do you have cheap computer speakers cluttering up your conference table, instead of sleeker, more far-reaching speakers installed on your wall or ceiling? If your organization’s image suffers because of the quality of your AV systems, it’s probably time for an upgrade.

What upgrades are the most worthwhile?

Even with savings from the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate, upgrading your sound system can still be an expensive undertaking. If you don’t have the budget for an enterprise overhaul, here are the system components that give you the most bang for your buck.

  1. Microphone systems. Microphones capture the sound of your meeting or lecture or worship service so having a good one is a must. Microphones are also a good place to start because the latest microphone technology can integrate with streaming and webcasting platforms giving you a lot more flexibility in how your audio is used and where it goes.
  2. Control systems. If your audio system needs to fill a variety of needs—for example, in a multi-purpose room that hosts small meetings and large musical performances—an updated audio control system is the best place to start. A centralized, modern control system will let you support one large audio event or run multiple smaller events simultaneously without sacrificing clarity or quality.
  3. Speaker systems. High quality microphones are critical for capturing clear audio and upgraded speakers are essential to broadcasting it. Especially as more employees work remotely and use their own devices for corporate work, quality, durable speakers will help you bridge the audio gap and make it easy to hear anyone no matter where they’re talking from.

Next Steps

For starters, don’t leave money on the table! If you are eligible for the Shure 600 MHz Wireless Rebate, act today. Once you have those savings in hand, peruse some of the latest sound system products to see what works best with your upgrade plans. Need help making up your mind? There’s always someone nearby to help.

Quality in Audiovisual Technology

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What is AV9000 and Why Do You Need It?

For students the nightmare is showing up on the day of a test and realizing you’re late and forgot to prepare. Or standing up to give a presentation and realizing you have no clothes on. For the AV integrator and IT professional the project nightmare is getting to site and two other trades occupy the space and the hardware has not been delivered. Or delays in commissioning the system have delayed end-user training. (And maybe you forgot your clothes, too.) AV technology is advancing at a rapid pace, but product knowledge and quality management training and certifications for individuals and companies has not always kept pace.

But does attention to quality and certification really matter? In a word: yes. A poor quality AV installation or integration can cost you 20 percent of the original purchase price, compared with additional costs of only 2.5 percent of the total purchase price for monitoring of good quality AV systems. Put another way, estimates of money lost to rework, lost time and repairs of poorly integrated AV systems is more than $15 billion a year worldwide. There’s another nightmare for you, with or without clothes.

Luckily, whether you are a third-party installer and integrator, or an in-house IT professional managing AV or collaboration technology integration products, there is a training and certification program that will ensure the kind of high quality AV system that saves money, improves technology performance and helps you sleep a little better at night.

Quality management certifications are worth the time and money.

What is AV9000?

The Association for Quality in Audio Video Technology (AQAV) has taken the quality management challenge and developed an industry standard for AV quality management, called AV9000. AV9000 compliance and certification show prospective customers that your organization is committed to consistency and quality in internal processes company-wide, not just on an ad hoc or individual basis. Audiovisual technologies are complex and often interdependent and individual technical skills are simply not enough to guarantee quality across an entire system. Quality—in other words conforming with customer requirements—requires cooperation and coordination across teams, and quality management principles embedded in those internal processes helps every team member track compliance and quickly and effectively address defects.

Sounds pretty good, right? But how do you become AV9000 compliant? Keep reading to find out.

 

Becoming AV9000 Compliant

The AV9000 standard is built on general concepts and principles of quality management, with an added AV twist. Making your company AV9000 compliant is the first step to showing your customers and clients that you are applying quality management processes to all your AV projects—something that is increasingly a requirement of AV technology buyers. Becoming AV9000 compliant can also serve as a stepping-stone to AV9000 certification further down the line.

The specific metrics applied for AV9000 compliance are: Staging, Commissioning, and System Acceptance. Companies with an AV9000 Compliance certificate can market themselves to current and prospective customers as a provider that manages quality following the highest level of monitoring and measuring.

Requirements for AV9000 compliance include:

The compliance certificate lasts for one year, during which companies can work towards full certification if they so choose. Compliant companies agree to continue applying the Staging and Commissioning Checklists, as well as gathering customer acknowledgements of completed systems during the duration of the compliance period.

Interested in initial requirements for AV9000 compliance? Contact us or learn more here!

 

Why AV9000 Compliance Matters

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? So can something so simple really make a big impact on your organization? One that is worth the investment in developing and implementing a quality management system and then having it certified to boot? Before you answer, raise your (virtual) hand if you’ve ever encountered any of the following problems:

  • Project delays
  • AV system defects that go unnoticed until it’s too late
  • Lack of follow-up from AV installers or IT pros
  • Poor response time
  • System downtime for repairs
  • Hidden costs for unforeseen or replacement items

If you have experienced even one of those issues, whether you are using a third-party AV integrator and installer or you have in-house staff to perform those functions, the investment of time and money in an AV9000 compliance is worth it. In addition to the financial benefits of attracting and retaining more business, compliance will also help you: design and install systems that are complete, high performing and ready to use; reduced costs associated with production, installation, trouble shooting and repairs; and continuous improvement.

 

Next Steps

According to Forbes Magazine, retraining and up training will be key trends in the 2018 workplace. Quality management will help your AV and IT staff stay relevant and ahead of the learning curve. As customer demands change, companies have to adjust their corporate models and increase the relevancy of the skills they bring to the table. As an exclusive AQAV training partner, Level 3 provides consultation and training to prepare companies, educational institutions and other organizations to earn their AV9000 compliance and certification. If you are a media manager, IT director, technology manager or if you otherwise manage enterprise-level AV and IT in your organization, learn more about our training opportunities today.

A Crestron and Zoom Partner for A New Meeting Room Solution

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 How Crestron and Zoom Have Teamed Up to Make Meetings Better

There are plenty of times when less is more, including when you are making decisions about your conference room technology. The best meeting room technology is a simple, one-stop, unified solution. But many conference rooms today are cluttered with technologies, including conference phones, USB speaker phones, flat panel displays, laptops or desktops running meeting applications, and lots and lots of cables. Some technologies might be compatible while others aren’t, and integrating personal devices such as mobile phones is complicated at best and impossible at worst. Meetings can already be a drag—a poorly equipped meeting space only makes it worse.

The Crestron Mercury was developed to address those common—and annoying—problems with the typical meeting room user experience. And Crestron’s new partnership with online meeting platform Zoom takes meeting efficiency to the next level.

What Is Crestron Mercury?

The Crestron Mercury includes the capabilities of conference phones, cables, and computers—in one tabletop box. The touch screen console includes a main conference phone and Bluetooth compatibility to support mobile phones, built-in wireless presentation capabilities, and a unique petal-shaped speaker array and integrated microphone for optimal audio quality. The Mercury is also compatible with any web-based collaboration application, so committing to the Mercury doesn’t also lock you in to a proprietary collaboration solution that might not meet your needs.

What Is Zoom?

Zoom is a cloud-based video and web conferencing service that is compatible with multiple unified communications systems and audiovisual hardware applications. It works in any environment any time. This means you don’t need to undertake a costly hardware upgrade to improve the quality and flexibility of your meetings. Unlike other video conferencing solutions that only operate with specific hardware configurations, Zoom will work with various audiovisual hardware components including desktops, laptops, projectors, microphones and digital screens. That means you can use Zoom in a large conference room with multiple participants and not sacrifice audio coverage or video quality. And the same is true for remote participants. Integrated cloud provisioning means remote employees can join meetings from wherever they are using a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone and the Zoom app or website, promising audio and video quality to be the same as if they were in the room. All of this translates into money saved on employee travel and technology upgrades, as well as time saved trying to get meetings started and/or frustrated employees dealing with poor and sometimes complicated meeting room solutions.

Crestron Mercury now integrates Zoom for an improved meeting experience.

A Match Made In Collaboration Heaven

Each of these technologies are useful on their own, but when it comes to meeting room technology, two isn’t better than one. This is why Crestron and Zoom have partnered to simplify the collaboration and meeting room experience for the user. They have integrated Zoom capabilities into the Mercury solution and called it Zoom Room. Instead of connecting a separate laptop or desktop to run the Zoom meeting app, users can run it natively through the Mercury console. And when running Zoom meetings through the Mercury console, you benefit from its superior audio capabilities, as well as wireless AV presentation, room scheduling and meeting control. Other key benefits of the integration include:

  • Single-touch meeting control
  • Content-sharing—including HD video and audio—on any device
  • Improved audio, mic mixing and noise reduction with built-in microphones and speaker
  • Meeting recording capabilities

Setting Up Your Zoom Room

An improved user experience and cost savings sound great but what about installation? If a system is expensive or cumbersome to install, the benefits can be quickly cancelled out. In the case of Zoom Room, Crestron and Zoom have done most of the heavy lifting for you by putting everything you need together in one simple-to-install kit. The Zoom Rooms Crestron Kit includes:

  • Crestron Mercury with the latest firmware update
  • Zoom Rooms license
  • Computer with Zoom Rooms for Mac or Zoom Rooms for Windows installed
  • Mac Mini or a Mini PC
  • Conference room camera

All you need is a flat-panel display, an internet connection, and you’re ready to go. And if you need a little more help getting your new system up and running, there is an AV integrator nearby to help.

Benefits of State Contract Preferred Vendors

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Save Time and Money with Preferred Vendors

If you’ve ever bought a house, planned a wedding, or organized a large corporate event, you’ve probably consulted a list of preferred vendors. Preferred vendors are service providers who have been vetted by a realtor, a wedding planner, or a venue—for example—and are recommended for superior service—and because of their partner relationships they often offer superior pricing as well. For large entities such as state and local governments, universities, or corporations, using preferred vendors has the added benefit of amplified buying power. By purchasing a large volume of goods or services from a preferred vendor—for example, laptops for every city employee or catering for every university event—the price comes down as the volume goes up.

Governmental and educational entities in the state of Arizona can realize the benefits of doing business with preferred vendors by soliciting quotes and proposals from companies through the State Purchasing Cooperative.

What Is an Arizona State Contract?

Vendors such as Level 3 Audiovisual who have Arizona State Contract numbers and are included on Arizona’s preferred vendor list have been vetted and qualified and are registered with the Arizona State Procurement Office. Based on their market research, the state feels these preferred vendors provide the most convenient, cost-effective service. They also often offer additional perks to clients who access their services through the State Procurement Office, such as dedicated service and support personnel and expedited trouble-shooting or repair timelines.

Who Uses an Arizona State Contract and Why?

The state government of Arizona as well as any Arizona political subdivision such as cities, counties, school districts, special districts, and Tribal Nations can become members of the State Purchasing Cooperative and access the State Vendor List. If your organization falls into one of these categories and is not currently utilizing preferred vendors who hold Arizona State Contracts, there are some key benefits you could be missing.

Learn more about the vetting process to qualify as a preferred vendor. 

Preferred vendors offer convenience. You could spend the time and effort researching vendors ad comparing prices or you could bypass all the work and take advantage of a list of vendors who have already been vetted and approved. You’ll also save time negotiating and drawing up contracts since preferred vendors operate under a Master Service Agreement (MSA) already approved by the state. The prices negotiated in the MSA are also almost always lower than those from outside competitors. Since preferred vendors usually provide similar goods and services to various entities under the MSA, they can leverage bulk purchasing for better value. For city and county entities such as libraries and public schools operating on fixed budgets, time and money savings really matter.

Preferred vendors are more available. Being a member of a State Purchasing Cooperative is similar to being a member of a frequent flier program or customer loyalty program: it comes with perks. Preferred vendors can offer service and support staff assigned specifically to MSA partners, faster equipment repair or replacements, and specialized, dedicated equipment. For example, if your city government office uses the same kind of laptop for every employee, a preferred vendor may keep a few of those laptops in reserve so when something breaks, it can be addressed immediately without a separate, time-consuming procurement process.

Large-scale contracts mean increased variety. Perhaps you represent a university looking to upgrade audiovisual equipment in your classrooms. Researching vendors and negotiating contracts on your own means you may have limited technology to choose from due to price limitations or equipment being backordered or otherwise unavailable. Through a State Purchasing Cooperative such as the one in Arizona, all relevant vendors will be automatically notified when you release a request for bids or proposals. You’ll have more vendors to choose from and, thanks to the power of the MSA, they’ll have a wider variety of technology to offer you.

Next Steps

If you are a government entity looking for audiovisual consultation or installation services, Level 3 Audiovisual can help. Level 3 Audiovisual is proud to be an Arizona State Contract holder included on the State Purchasing Cooperative’s approved vendor list. The Level 3 Audiovisual Arizona State Contract number is #ADSPO17-184597. If you are not currently a member of the Arizona State Purchasing Cooperative, learn more about joining today.

AV Technology Warranty and Maintenance 101

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AV Technology Upkeep – From Service Warranties to SLAs 

If your presentation system stops working four days before an in-house conference, you likely have better ways to spend your time than digging up warranty information and troubleshooting the source of the problem.

Researching technology investments can be a hassle, but managing and maintaining them for years can be a big commitment. How do you ensure that your audiovisual (AV) equipment, in particular, runs smoothly for years to come? You don’t have a crystal ball to tell you what’s going to go wrong, but the next best thing is to partner with a service provider that will make sure you have the right plans and agreements in place.

When a customer purchases and installs new technologies, they will receive warranty information and offers to maintain their new system. The customer, the manufacturer, and the service provider are three sides of the triangle that will keep your equipment running optimally. However, “that triangle is sometimes difficult to understand,” says Mark Teifert, Director of Service and Support at Level 3 Audiovisual. Buyers may not know what’s included in warranties or who will be responsible for what. Here is a simple breakdown of terms to make sense of it all and feel confident about the long-term care of your audiovisual investments.

 

What’s What

Here are some basic definitions of terms you are likely to encounter during a purchase discussion. It’s important to note that warranties can vary greatly, even among products from the same manufacturer. And contracts and service level agreements (SLAs) can always vary widely from provider to provider.

Warranty: The warranty is a commitment that the manufacturer provides to the buyer, detailing what they will repair or replace, under what conditions, and for what given length of time.

Maintenance Agreement: This agreement specifies the ongoing services a provider will perform for a customer.

SLA: This agreement spells out the services that a provider offers and their responsibilities.

Know the distinction between AV warranties and maintenance agreements.

What’s Included

Warranty: A warranty includes the specific timeframes covered as well as details of the hardware/software that will be repaired or replaced.

Maintenance Agreement: This includes information about what’s included in a preventative checkup and the frequency of those visits, and it could include other agreed-upon services like maintenance of device subscriptions.

SLA: This will include pricing, response times, the type of support provided, including remote, help desk, on-site, and break/fix. It can also set expectations for communication methods, as well as next steps and escalations.

Service Methods

Terms vary by provider, but an established provider will likely offer on-site service in most major cities and will partner with reputable providers in other areas. Some support may also come in the form of remote monitoring or phone and email support.

What Else a Service Provider Can Do

Even though the warranty is between the buyer and the manufacturer, a service provider can help you initiate a warranty claim. They can also keep track of equipment information, service dates and details, etc. so you don’t have to.

How to Use Your Service Agreements

Prevention goes a long way and can often keep issues from arising before they disrupt work at your company. With most maintenance agreements, there’s not a lot you have to do since the purpose of such a service is to take the burden off your organization. You probably want to be available during these calls in case the provider has questions or requires access to equipment.

If a service issue arises, you can contact your support team via their specified channel. Sometimes you may simply need help troubleshooting. In fact, complete breakdowns aren’t that common, and some of the most common issues need simple fixes like adjusting the power supply or resetting system reset.

Choosing a Service Provider

A quality service provider will be knowledgeable, experienced, accessible, and responsive. They will also be flexible in their offerings and in accommodating customer needs. They’ll be willing to answer your questions about their services and work with you to find solutions and services that meet your organization’s needs.

What to Expect from Level 3 Audiovisual
Level 3 Audiovisual provides a range of comprehensive support and maintenance services, customizing SLAs based on customer needs and goals. Even if there is not a Level 3 Audiovisual on-site technician in your geographic area, Level 3 Audiovisual has created partnerships with top-level service providers around the world to ensure the customer receives the same level of service and professionalism.

Even though the warranty is provided to the customer by the manufacturer, Level 3 Audiovisual will help customers figure out whether an issue is covered by the warranty and will even act as the go-between between the customer and manufacturer. The Service Department offers a range of services, from ongoing on-site support to help desk support for basic troubleshooting and a customer portal for resolving complex cases.

“At Level 3 Audiovisual, customer care is paramount,” adds Teifert. “That also includes what I consider customer comfort. So much is put into fixing the issue—whatever the issue is—and that’s important, but that’s only half of what we do. The other half of what we do is making sure that customer goes, ‘Ah, I know I’m in the hands of a professional—I know it’s going to get done.”

What’s Next                                                           

If you have more questions about the maintenance and support of AV solutions, check out our Service and Support page here.

5 Ways Protect Your Technology Investment

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Will Your AV Investments Meet Your Future Needs?

Have you ever purchased a new piece of personal technology—a smartphone or a laptop, for example—only to find out a few days or weeks later that a new and improved version is about to drop? In the fast-paced world of personal devices, buying the latest and greatest doesn’t mean that your investment will stay that way for long. It can be frustrating to learn you spent top dollar for something that will be obsolete in a year or two.

In the world of enterprise solutions, technology upgrades require huge investments and technology buyers are responsible for protecting a company’s bottom line by spending money responsibly—not to mention being accountable to a whole lot of users. The last thing you want to do is fall into the trap of spending a lot of money on a system or technology that won’t meet the organization’s needs in the long-term. You can “future-proof” your investments—and avoid unforeseen and unnecessary upgrade costs down the road—by assessing legacy systems and existing solutions, outlining strategic goals and objectives, and researching technology solutions that can meet your current and future needs.

Maximize your tech investments with “future-proofed” AV solutions.

Preparing for Tomorrow, Today

No one has a crystal ball—you can’t make a perfect prediction about your company’s future—but you can make technology investments flexible enough to weather potential technology disruptions and innovations. Here are five things to consider before you make a large-scale AV technology investment.

See future proofed AV integration in action in this video about a health industry boardroom technology refresh. 

 

  1. Make solutions scalable. A scalable solution means it will be easier and more affordable to expand to additional rooms or accommodate new users. For example, you might start a conference room design with only microphones on the conference table. But at some point, as your team grows, you’ll need microphones that can also pick up people who aren’t sitting around the table. If you don’t plan for growth from the beginning, you might not be able to accommodate it when it comes. A scalable solution grows with you instead of you outgrowing it.
  2. Ensure hardware interoperability. The key is to minimize the expense of your upgrade path. Will your AV solution be able to connect to additional devices you might add down the road, such as microphones or enhanced screens? You need a system that meets your needs, but excessive and unnecessary customization can make it difficult and expensive to add components in the future.
  3. Confirm cloud compatibility. The best, safest investment is a standards-based AV system that will support whatever cloud-based collaborations your company uses, including Skype, Zoom or WebEx.
  4. Consider future needs. A technology roadmap that identifies strategic objectives, defines functional needs and priorities and outlines what you will need to stay competitive in the next three to five years, can help you make IT investments with confidence today and minimize upgrade costs down the road.
  5. Develop a maintenance plan. Any AV solution you invest in will have related maintenance costs, but developing a plan for patches, fixes and preventative maintenance will help maximize the life of your systems and avoid choosing a solution that will become prohibitively expensive to maintain as time goes on.

Feeling overwhelmed? Learn how an AV engineer can help you make the right technology investments.

The Value of Future-Proofing

Today’s fast-paced, technology-driven marketplace favors leaders over followers, and the importance of wise, future proofed technology investments across all industries is not lost on IT decision makers. According to the 2016 Trends vs. Technologies Report from Capita Tech Systems in partnership with Cisco, 86% of IT decision makers agree that keeping up with technology trends gives their business a competitive advantage. Soliciting outside expertise can increase that advantage even further by helping you realize the short and long-term benefits that come from well-informed IT and AV investments.

Next Steps
Learn more about how a design build process led by an AV integrator can save you time and money while protecting your investment and preparing you for future growth and needs.

Which Costs More – A Video Wall or No Video Wall?

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Why do video walls cost so much?

The adage “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is just as true with places as it is people. Whether it’s a hotel, a student library, or a lobby, what we feel the moment we walk in often translates into an opinion—the hotel deal was too good to be true, I can’t see myself at this college, this company feels too corporate. And that opinion influences the decision that happens next—I’m booking a different hotel, I’m attending the other college, I’m selecting a different provider.

Creating an impression that is true to your brand and your mission takes more than a skilled interior designer—it takes technology. Video walls deliver more than an impression—they create an experience. The success of video walls at stopping retail shoppers in their tracks, creating a high-end feel in hotels, helping hospital patients and visitors find their way, engaging students in learning, and delivering relevant information to lobby visitors is the reason the adoption of this solution continues to increase at impressive rates. It’s likely why you’re researching video walls and reading this blog.

Are Video Walls Expensive?

It’s easy to get excited about video walls. The visuals are stunning. The “wow factor” is off the charts. And the interactivity—multi-touch!—is the stuff we dream about. But just like that moment when you realize the car interior is leather not cloth, concerns about price can dampen your enthusiasm.

For a proven technology investment like video walls, perhaps a better question is which costs more—a video wall or no video wall? You can guess where we’re going, but how we get there—now that’s worth the read. We’ll look first at what goes into a video wall and then how to assess the return on your investment.

 

The Formula for Video Walls

The use cases for video walls are practically endless. This means there are quite a few variables to define when designing and building a video wall if it is to equal the project vision. A layperson may think of a video wall as a group of displays mounted next to each other on the wall and be halfway out the door to Best Buy when you catch them. But the tech-savvy crowd understands that a lot more goes into it. Here are five variables that will influence the investment and the outcome.

If you’d like to dig a little deeper, please check out our Video Wall resource page where you’ll find a 10 Step Video Wall Buying Guide, videos, and more.   

  1. Size. The purpose and location of the video wall are important considerations. But don’t overlook other factors, including content type and how far viewers will be from the video wall.
  2. Functionality and Environment. Do users need to interact with the screens through touch or gesture? What are the lighting conditions? These questions and others found here help determine the display choice that meets your needs.
  3. Processing. Will you share a single image across all displays or will you share multiple images (also known as windowing)? Are performance and customization at the top of your list? Or are scalability and a lower total cost of ownership more important?
  4. Commercial Grade. Professional or commercial-grade displays are more expensive than consumer options, but they are an absolute must for video walls. Not only will commercial displays support the longer in-operation hours of video walls, but they offer temperature and color control, better display run time, and other valuable benefits.
  5. Installation. Video walls can be complex. It’s best to go with professional installers who can assess whether additional structural support is needed and pre-stage and test every component of the video wall before installing at your location.

Here’s a quick look at what goes into installing a video wall.

 

The Value of Video Walls

Traditional ROI Models (investment revenue – investment cost)/(investment costs) may not be the best way to evaluate the full results of your video wall project. It misses the intangible or soft benefits video walls deliver. How do you accurately attribute a financial gain to a positive experience? Or engagement? Or finding your way?

The value of soft benefits ultimately contributes to a financial return. Think about the examples we started with—the hotel, the college campus, the corporate lobby. Intangible experiences and feelings ultimately translated to hard-dollar decisions—to book elsewhere, to attend another college, to select a different provider.

When you consider all the positive business or institutional outcomes video walls influence, the question of which costs more—a video wall or no video wall, answers itself.

Next Steps

For more resources and information about video walls or to request a free consultation, visit our Video Walls page.

Audio Visual Design & Consulting Services

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Audio Visual Design & Consulting Services

There are as many different professional AV solutions as there are uses for them. With such a wide array of audio visual solutions available today, and as that number increases with the ongoing evolution of technology, audiovisual design and consulting services provide expert interpretation of needs and selection of AV solutions that fit the application and budget of a client.

How can professional AV solutions save me money?

Tracking and understanding the ever-increasing array of audio and video technology offerings is a full-time occupation. There are countless consumer-level solutions that are meant to be used in the home, and then there are professional AV solutions that are designed and built for robust and reliable use in enterprise applications. Many consumer products cannot withstand commercial use in an office, retail, hospitality, or healthcare application, and will require replacement after they fail. In these cases, it’s best to select professional AV equipment that is built for long hours of use and has been designed with proper inputs and outputs for enterprise audiovisual connections and commercial display standards.

To ensure that you invest in an AV system that works for you now and in the future, it’s advisable to work with an AV designer who can deliver a reliable professional-grade audio visual solution that is customized to work specifically for your application.

What is audiovisual consulting?

A professional AV systems designer provides audiovisual consulting services to help determine which audio and video technologies will best match a client’s specific application. Through a detailed needs analysis and thoughtful discussion about communications and presentation goals, an AV system design is developed to achieve those objectives.

Audio video consulting takes into account any current use of AV systems, and provides design analysis for upgrading existing technologies or providing new AV solutions to meet evolving demands. This AV systems design process helps to ensure ease of use, efficient operation, and the optimal selection of professional-grade audio visual equipment that will provide reliable results.

After an audiovisual consultant has produced an AV system design for a client, that technology specification is then put out for bid. In this “design/bid/build” scenario, project bids are submitted by professional AV integrators, and one firm is selected to install the equipment.

How is the Design-Build process different from an audiovisual consultant?

Where audiovisual consulting is focused on providing enough detail for a contractor to bid on the installation of the project, design-build allows for the technology consultants and installation team to be under one roof. The design-build process interprets technology needs, produces designs, refines those designs until budget and function are agreed upon and then allows the installation team to integrate the technologies into a client’s facility.

Design-build services are provided by professional audio visual solutions integrators who have the expertise of engineers, programmers, project managers, installers and a service department within the same organization. They initiate the design process and follow through with technical installation procedures to complete the project and activate a solution for use.

In any of these AV design and consulting scenarios, an AV integrator may offer ongoing service and support of systems after the design and integration phases are complete. As the client becomes familiar with the system and use of the audio visual technology evolves, the AV designer can integrate and maintain new upgrades.

Audiovisual Design: How do AV engineers play a role in my design?

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What is an AV Engineer?

An AV engineer in the past, had a skill set more focused on (surprise, surprise…) the audio and visual aspects of presentation and communication systems. Properly specifying components like speakers, amplifiers, audio processors, microphones, projectors and displays, were all in the wheel house of the AV engineer. Then control systems entered the space, and those engineers started to add knowledge on how to control many aspects of the system from button panels, then custom designed touch screens. These control systems ran on proprietary communication lines for a while, then they started to add standard network and IP connections. Now the AV engineer needs to understand networking, routers, switches and access points, and especially how to work with IT managers in charge of the customer network. This also comes into play when working with video conferencing codecs, like Cisco and Polycom. Next the “soft codec” was brought to the conference and meeting room arena, which is a term used to describe video conferencing applications running on “BYOD” devices, like laptops. Video conferencing services include Zoom, Skype for Business and WebEx. Now the AV engineer needs to deeply understand incorporating USB devices into their designs.

Sound like a lot to understand? It is.

The AV engineer has morphed into an integrated systems and communications technologist. He or She needs to understand best practices, and most importantly, the interoperability of many components and systems in order to create an experience for the end user that is powerful and effortlessly simple to use. Oh yeah, the AV engineer also needs to understand the user experience (UX), because intimidating and difficult technology never gets used.

How do we keep this all straight? One approach is to use teams and checklists.

Audiovisual Design & Engineering Teams.

AV engineers by nature have very different backgrounds. Some used to be live or studio audio engineers. Some have college degrees in engineering, some have degrees in art. Some never went to college, but years spent in the industry school of hard knocks learning the pitfalls of “AV design and deployment” is schooling enough. Understanding that the knowledge spread across an engineering team is more vast and deep than any one person can hope to learn in a lifetime allows for the team to learn from each other, and provide subject matter expertise across the many, many disciplines required to engineer a complete solution. Information sharing does not happen by accident, or without a structured effort set forth to continually educate the team.

Checklists add Quality Management to our AV Solution.

Choosing a quality management system (QMS) to implement within an AV engineering department requires a lot of time and commitment from the team. Understanding where system designs can run into trouble, and putting those items to a review checklist, makes sure that known design errors don’t happen on the front end. This is critical in ensuring a “zero defect” system gets deployed for the customer and is exactly what they expected. The AV9000 QMS set forth by industry organization AQAV takes aim at poor quality.

How do AV engineers play a role in my design?

The individual engineer and the environment in which they work will ultimately drive the solution for the issues you are trying to solve for your users. But in general, without a deep understanding of the various technology fields mentioned previously, the absolute best solution for your user, your budget and the perceived success of your project can’t even be brought to the table.

Top Five Ways to Trick Out Your Boardroom

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Have yourself a boardroom with a pretty table and need to figure out how to make AV fit into your space?

Here are some boardroom automated control ideas for all brain types:

 

1. The Collaborator

You like to get people involved? We get it. Let us find you the right collaboration engine for you to share one, two, four, or even more sources on a single or multiple displays for your boardroom.

  • A little extra something: We can even give you the ability to moderate what sources are allowed on screen, choose your favorite collaborator to feature full screen, and mute the guy from HR that just seems to be sharing cat videos on his iPad.

 

2. The Minimalist

So you want simplicity and just want things to work? Why not let the control system work in the background? Install an occupancy sensor and tie it to the control system. This will allow the system to turn things on when walk in and automatically shut things down when you are gone.

  • A little extra something: Don’t know where the presenter will be sitting in the boardroom? Easy, install multiple input locations around the boardroom table and the system can automatically switch to wherever you plug in.

 

3. The Demonstrator

Do you feel at peace with a pen and a whiteboard during meetings? Why not install an annotation engine into your board room and draw to your hearts content. You can even save what you have annotated and distribute to your meeting participants. Annotation can be engaged or shutoff at the click of a button on the control system.

  • A little extra something: For the stand-up desk employees, you can install touch right into the main display at the front of the room and let them go to town. That’s right, even that 98 inch display you have been eyeing has a touch enabled counterpart to it. For the “I’m fine right where I am” employees, how about a touch monitor on the board table? Anything you draw shows up on any assigned screen in the room.

 

4. The Audiophile

Forget the 150 inch LED video wall at the front of the room, your heart is connected directly to your ears. How about high quality line array speakers at the front of the space for program audio? In fact, lets throw in a low profile ceiling mounted sub-woofer as well. Fully adjustable and controllable via the control system. Do you want to share your PowerPoint or just watch Gladiator today?

    • A little extra something: Doing conferencing in your board room? How about auto-mixing low profile microphones mounted in the table? They can even be programmed to light green when they are on and red when they are muted. Perhaps you would install a snake skin wallpaper before EVER letting ANYONE drill into your table? Ceiling microphones it is then. We can even make them drop from the ceiling when conferencing is engaged. It’s cool. Trust us.

 

5. The Long-Distance Relationship

Need to have a conversation with someone but text just doesn’t seem appropriate? How about installing a video conferencing system into your boardroom? Skype for business, Webex, GoToMeeting, traditional Polycom/Cisco conferencing is all at your fingertips. Not to mention without the need for thirteen remote controls. Just grab the touch panel and engage with a single or even multiple other users at the same time.

  • A little extra something: Why not save the best for last? Install automated camera tracking and control. When you talk, the control system finds you and frames you as the presenter. When Fred talks on the other end of the room, the system switches to a wide shot of the board table until the 2nd camera finds Fred. When it does, boom, Fred is front and center. It’s like a magic trick, but with less wands, and more 1’s and 0’s.

Would you like to have your cake and eat it too? No problem, let us combine all of your favorite control features and functions and create something truly amazing for your space.

Downtown Phoenix Audiovisual Installation at ASU Beus Center for Law

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Level 3 Audiovisual is Arizona’s leading AV integrator. Working with large, enterprise clients in the Phoenix area, we are transforming the downtown area into a technological powerhouse.

Below, we take a look at one of the AV projects we recently completed in downtown Phoenix.

The Beus Center for Law and Society – 111 E Taylor St. Phoenix, AZ 85004

The Beus Center for Law and Society (formerly known as the Arizona Center for Law and Society) is the new home to the Sandra Day O-Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, as well as several other organizations. ASU is ranked among the top 25 Law schools in the nation as well as being ranked in the top 20 nationwide for job placement. The BCLS space which covers six floors and 280,000 square feet was designed to be inviting, engaging and accessible to anyone of downtown Phoenix’s guests who want to learn more about the law, it’s effects on our daily lives, and the services and resources available through ASU and other BCLS partners.

This Project recently won the “Best Higher Education Project of 2017”
Best Higher Education Project 2017 - Level 3 Audiovisual - CI Magazine

Level 3 Audiovisual was the chosen integrator for the ASU project and did the following work:

Executive Conference Center

  • Featuring a large elliptical table with custom curved projection screens on the inside edge, allows face to face meetings while viewing presentation images on the screen from 20 blended projectors.
  • Three recessed ceiling mounted cameras with voice location automation technology that focuses in on whomever is speaking in the room for video conferencing.

Great Hall

  • 150 seat lecture hall with a 36’ wide motorized projection screen. Two projectors blended to show multi-window imaging capabilities.
  • The great hall is also used for appellate court sessions and live TV broadcasts.

 

Nanolumens LED Lobby Video Wall

  • Corner wrapping 11.5ft tall by 33ft overall width.
  • Brightness adjusts throughout the day to combat the glaring Arizona sun so the video wall can be seen by people walking down the street.
  • Multi window capability with live video streaming.

 

Interactive Lobby Video Wall

  • 2×6 interactive video wall.
  • RP Visual swing mounts for easy maintenance.
  • Multiaction interactivity.

 

Multi-purpose Room (544)

  • Divisible space that opens to outdoor courtyard.
  • Courtyard audio connected to MPR system for overflow or background music.

 

Courtroom

  • Full mock courtroom with three motorized projection screens and recessed projector lifts.

 

Lecture Halls and Classrooms

  • Fifty seat to one hundred and twenty seat, teaching spaces with dual projection screens.

 

Conference areas

  • AMX room schedulers for students and faculty to reserve rooms for meetings.
  • AMX touch panel control systems for one-touch room start up and shutdown.
  • Recessed ceiling mounted projectors.
  • Recessed projection screens.

 

AV9000 Quality Assurance & Training with Level 3 Audiovisual

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AV9000 – How Quality Assurance Is Changing The World of AV

Along with the productivity-boosting benefits of the increasingly connected technologies we use at work every day comes added complexity. Those sleek new videoconferencing, audio visual networking, video display, audio systems, and collaboration tools require a thoughtfully engineered system design that provides ease of use on the front end, while managing advanced hardware integration on the back end.

Given this rapid and ongoing advancement of audio visual technologies, the audio visual integration industry has recognized the need for a quality management system akin to the internationally recognized ISO-9000 standards that have proven successful in other technical and manufacturing fields.

Subsequently, the Association for Quality in Audio Visual Technology (AQAV) has developed the AV9000 standard. A complete system of audio visual quality assurance practices, AV9000 is improving the performance outcomes of enterprise AV across a multitude of applications.

What does AV9000 Compliant Mean?

The AV9000 quality assurance system provides metrics for audio video design and implementation, with checklists managing every key milestone of a project’s development. This establishes an auditable standard, which is intended to ensure quality, manage information, and bring about continual improvement throughout an organization’s practices.

AV9000 compliance means that an audio visual installer has adhered to this process, and is committed to providing customers with exactly what was ordered, on time, with no defects. The customer-centric focus of AV9000 installers shows a commitment to quality, training, and the ongoing management of best practices to get the job done right.

By establishing an AV9000 quality policy, procedures are systemized to ensure design and installation of AV systems that are complete, perform at levels as intended, and are ready for use by the client. Before delivery to customer facilities, project equipment is racked, terminated, tested, and commissioned according to checklists that verify every technical and user-related detail. From tightening screws and checking cable bend radiuses through to the complex technical analysis of microphone levels, video playback standards, and control systems implementation, every element is meticulously accounted for in a complete and operation-ready system.

How AV9000 Can Save Enterprise Clients Money

The quality assurance mechanisms provided by AV9000 can help to reduce costs associated with installing, using, and maintaining audio visual technology. A reduction in project delays and a decreased number of fixes required after system completion means that a facility can be used more quickly and with less downtime for service and maintenance work.

Audio video quality assurance also helps to eliminate errors and omissions discovered at the last-minute, which prevents the added cost of rushed orders and additional labor hours. This also reduces problems further down the road, when little-used functions are needed for use, since all performance deliverables were addressed from the beginning.

The streamlined processes used by AV9000 installers can also reduce the amount of operator and user training time, as the system is ready to go as intended from the start, and users only have to be trained once. No need for further instruction when unanticipated changes have to be made.

AV9000 Training For Media Managers & Enterprise Level IT/AV

Bring the quality assurance standards of AV9000 to your own audio visual practice with Certified Quality Technician – AV (CQT) training provided by Level 3 Audiovisual. Gain the skills to conduct audio visual quality assurance audits, and discover the benefits of improved systems operations and increased end-user satisfaction.

Through Level 3 Audiovisual, corporate media managers, enterprise AV managers, and AV integrators who want to be trained in AV9000 will now have a West Coast option rather than flying to the East coast where AQAV is headquartered. Click the link for more info on getting your AV9000 Certification through Level 3 Audiovisual.

Why You Need an Audio Video Installation Company

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Commercial AV Integrators Vary Widely.

A professional audio video installation company applies expertise and training to the improvement of your day-to-day experience with technology. Providing technical problem solving across a wide array of commercial audio video needs, an audio visual installer combines in-depth engineering knowledge with the human touch of accommodating user expectations. Working as a proactive partner that goes well beyond simply plugging equipment in, an AV installation company designs and implements systems that increase efficiency, improve interactions, and provide a return on investment.

Why do Audio Visual Installation Companies Vary?

Just as the most noticeable differentiators between technology products are design and reliability, the critical distinction between audiovisual installation companies resides in their dedication to engineering and quality control. Different audio video integrators may provide the same products, but what sets high-quality firms apart are their design practices and application of technology training. The best firms operate according to quality assurance protocols that can quantify success outcomes and establish true accountability.

While experience in the field and a track record of reliable solutions are two very important indicators of quality, the most essential distinguishing factor is far more personal. An audio visual installer that places great emphasis on customer input and user needs in the development of technological solutions is one that will find the most success. A well-tailored audio video system that works well for the customer provides the foundation for a long-term customer relationship, and a company that cultivates those results is a company of the highest quality.

How can I Be Sure I’m Choosing The Right Corporate Audio Visual Installation Company?

Communication is key when selecting an audio visual installation company to design, implement and maintain a technology solution that will meet your goals now and for the long-term. Before any products are selected, make sure your audio visual integration specialist walks you through a thoughtful needs analysis to define AV system priorities and identify technology pain points. This approach is indicative of an audio video installation company that seeks to provide solutions, not just products.

A solutions partnership approach to audio visual integration design includes a plan for ongoing service and a long-term vision for working together to solve problems and meet technology needs. The right audio video company will work within your budget requirements to find the right solution for your users and your organization—today and into the future.

How are Commercial Audio Video Companies Different from Others?

A commercial audio video installation company, or corporate audio visual installer, specializes in meeting the audio visual communications technology needs of business owners and operators in corporate, higher-education, government, hospitality, retail and healthcare applications. This business-to-business (B2B) audio video integration practice provides vital presentation, collaboration, sound system, and video display tools for productivity enhancement, workplace efficiency, and an overall effective technology experience.

While a commercial audio video company provides projectors, video displays, sound systems, and integrated control of these technologies, it is not to be confused with a home theater or residential stereo installer. The technologies used for commercial integration are designed specifically for enterprise use and/or mission-critical application, and differ from those audio video products sold to consumers.


Level 3 Audiovisual strives to offer only the best AV integrations and service/support the industry has to offer. Contact us today and find out just how smooth your next installation could go.

Top 50 AV Integrator

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Top 50 AV Integrator

Thank you to all of our clients and the business that you bring us. We have been ranked 36 out of 50 Top AV Integrators for the year of 2016. While the bottom line is important, the Top 50 is just one way to view the AV industry and where success and efficient installation providers rank. We look forward to continuing our award-winning services for the years to come!

What makes us a Top System AV Integrator?

– AV9000 Standards
– On-Site Visits
– No Job is too big or small!
– In-House Design & Engineering
– Project Management with AV Backgrounds
– Control Systems Programming
– Project Commissioning
– Third Party Commissioning
– Skype for Business Integration
– Development Enterprise Standards

Our goal as an award-winning AV integration service is to provide best use case solutions for your tough audio visual needs. With an in-house team of Project Managers, Design Engineers, Programmers and certified Technicians you can trust your next AV project is in good hands. We don’t stop there, with a 20,000 sq ft staging facility we pre-stage all of our installs so we don’t arrive on-site with equipment that hasn’t been fully tested.

Read more about the awards on SCN.

Level 3 AV is now a North American Reseller of Montage

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DisplayNote Technologies and Level 3 Audiovisual combine to deliver increased productivity and efficiency into meeting rooms.

DisplayNote Technologies today announced that Level 3 Audiovisual have just been appointed a reseller in Ben for Montage, the company’s new wireless presentation system.

Montage is all about making meeting spaces as productive and effective as possible”, said Paul Brown, CEO of DisplayNote Technologies. “It’s about allowing meeting attendees, whether they’re across the room or across the world, to simultaneously stream what’s on their device to the main meeting room screen, and communicate at the same time via video and voice. Together with Level 3 Audiovisual we believe we can give organisations a solution that really maximises productivity in the meeting room.

“Level 3 Audiovisual is excited about our partnership with DisplayNote Technologies, and their new Montage solution. We are always striving to design and integrate innovative and effective solutions for our customers. We were thrilled to see that Montage truly is a two-way collaborative and interactive solution. DisplayNote recognized a need, and really hit the mark with Montage. By giving the users the ability to control, share content and annotate whether they are presenting from a large multi-touch display, a tablet in a conference room, or attending remotely on their laptop or Smartphone is a real “win-win” for Level 3 Audiovisual, and more importantly, our customers.”

To address the growing need of making meeting and huddle spaces more collaborative, productive and inclusive, DisplayNote Technologies & Level 3 Audiovisual will work together to create awareness around Montage’s unique feature set and to provide the solution to enterprise and higher education customers in North America.

Montage allows multiple attendees, whether they’re in the room or remote, to simultaneously stream what’s on their device to the main meeting room screen.

Once on the main display, attendee screens can be reordered and rearranged so teams can easily view, compare and analyse information from multiple sources.

Montage lets remote attendees communicate at the same time as sharing content using their device’s webcam and microphone.

Other features include 2-way annotation, file-sharing and remote PC control.

DisplayNote Technologies build products that reshape collaboration and make it easier to share information and ideas. Currently there are solutions for collaborative white-boarding, real-time document editing, team messaging and wireless presentation. The company work with and partner with some of the world’s largest display manufacturers and have channel partners across the world.

Founded in 1996 Level 3 Audiovisual is a full-service audio-visual provider, specializing in the design, sale, service and installation of professional audio-visual and video-conferencing systems. In addition to providing high-level technology solutions corporate boardrooms, training facilities and command-and-control centers, the company design, engineer and integrate solutions in Healthcare and Education.

Level 3 Audiovisual named as education partner for AQAV.

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AV9000 training now has a new home, on the West coast!

Mesa, Arizona – June 13th – AQAV announced today it will be naming Level 3 Audiovisual as an approved training center for AV9000 CQT classes on the West coast of the U.S.

“It has been my ambition to bring basic Quality Management Principles to the Audiovisual Technology industry, as other industries have done, primarily for the benefit of the consumer, and therefore for the benefit of all who manage, procure, manufacture, design, install, program, and service that industry”, said Mario Maltese, Executive Director for The Association for Quality in Audio Visual Technology, Inc. (AQAV). “By offering AV integrators the option to become CQT certified through a “University” type of setting on the West coast, such as that at Level 3 Audiovisual, our hope is to increase the amount of quality installations that will ultimately benefit the end user”.

”I am honored at the opportunity to take what Mario has laid out, as an AV9000 leader, and implement these quality assurance processes into other AV integrators operations workflow”, said Jeremy Elsesser, COO at Level 3 Audiovisual. “The implementation of AV9000 into our own operations has eliminated many problems people normally run into when completing large scale AV installations. We hope that teaching other AV companies the benefits of implementing an AV9000 workflow into their operations will increase both their revenue as well as the customer’s satisfaction”.

Level 3 Audiovisual has expanded its facility to over 20,000 sq. ft. and plans to offer classes in their facility by the end of 2016. Audiovisual integration companies, corporate media managers and/or enterprise AV managers who want to be trained in AV9000 will now have a West Coast option rather than flying to the East coast where AQAV is headquartered.

“The benefits a company will experience after implementing an AV9000 workflow will be huge and immediate. Having racked, terminated, tested and commissioned the project equipment before taking it to the field ensures a reduction in field hours, a faster install time and relief from dealing with surprise errors and equipment failures,” says Jeremy Elsesser.

AQAV is non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the operational art of designing and installing audio visual technology. Engineered audio visual systems continue to become more complex and difficult to integrate. By focusing on the quality management of these systems, and of those who design and install them, we can benefit the AV industry and all its stakeholders: including clients and users of AV technology, AV designers and installers, equipment manufacturers, related construction and architectural firms, and the environment.

Level 3 Audio Visual is a full-service audio-visual provider, specializing in the design, sale, integration, service and support of professional audio-visual and video-conferencing systems. Our goal is to assess our clients’ business needs, introduce cutting-edge technology into their existing systems and produce results that increase efficiency, revenues, communication, awareness and savings.

Founded in 1996, Level 3 AV quickly established working relationships with a wide range of corporate clients. We continue to provide technology solutions for corporate boardrooms, training facilities, enterprise level integrations and command-and-control centers.

Green AV Technology

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Green AV Technology & the Power of Building Automation

April 22, 2016 marks the 46th annual Earth Day. What started as an annual day of peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental policy reform has become a day of action, celebrated in almost 200 countries. In some communities, the celebration continues for an entire week, known as Earth Week. Across the world, citizens will be planting trees, cleaning up litter, turning off electronics to save energy, using public transportation, walking or biking, and much more. But what about the other 364 days of the year? What else can we do to safeguard our planet for future generations? Can we literally build a better tomorrow?

The green av technology buildings of tomorrow are designed to be sustainable, adaptable, and efficient – but they are more commonly referred to as “Green.” What does it mean to be Green? Green buildings consume less energy and water, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases into the environment. The most widely-used and recognized certification for such buildings is the LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED was developed in the mid-1990s by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Since then, the LEED standards have constantly been evolving to better reflect and incorporate new construction methods and technology. Today, there are over 80,000 registered and certified LEED projects worldwide, representing around 13.8 Billion square feet of building space, with an additional 1.85 million square feet becoming certified every day.

LEED has grown from its origins as a single building standard for New Construction to a comprehensive system of standards including but not limited to the following categories – New Construction, Major Renovation, Core & Shell, Schools, Retail, Healthcare, Commercial Interiors, and Homes. Any building can be Green – and almost any building project can be LEED Certified. New construction projects are first registered with USGBC/LEED, and accumulate a number of points based on their design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The number of points a project earns determine its certification level. Within the current LEED standard, there are four levels – Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Automated Smart Lighting

Smart energy technology plays a big part in the achieving and maintaining LEED standards. Since lighting alone represents about 38% of the total electricity usage in commercial buildings, more than any other building system, Lighting Control Systems are a must in Green building design. One company that has been at the forefront of Lighting Control, energy savings and sustainability is Lutron. Joel Spira, the company’s founder, invented the first practical and affordable solid-state electronic dimmer back in 1959. Lutron estimates that its dimmers alone save nearly 10 billion kWh and nearly $1 billion in energy costs every year. Today, Lutron offers what is known as “Total Light Management”, which includes devices and automation solutions for Lighting Control, Motorized Window Treatments, Daylight Harvesting, Energy-Efficient Lighting Fixture Ballasts and Drivers, and Environmental Sensors. In total, Lutron’s solutions can contribute to 46 out of the 110 possible points in LEED.

A vast majority of commercial spaces are over-lit, which wastes a significant amount of energy. Interior lights are often running at full power when there may already be an ample amount of natural light in the space. While typical office lighting levels are ideal for paperwork tasks, they can be 2-3 times brighter than what is ideal for computer usage and presentations using projectors or displays. Lutron’s integrated lighting control systems reduce energy usage by dimming and controlling light fixtures. These systems are available for every type of space, and scale up from single rooms to entire buildings and campuses.

A standard dimmer will use 4-9% less energy than a standard switch, even at 0% dimming. When dimmed, even greater savings can be achieved. On average, dimming a standard incandescent or halogen light source reduces energy use by 20%, and will allow a bulb to last up to 20 times longer. Maintenance and operating costs are drastically reduced.

Automated Smart Shades Can Save Lot’s of Money

Motorized shading systems save energy by reducing and reflecting direct sunlight, which reduces heat gain within a space and the load on HVAC systems. Shade fabrics can be fitted with a white or silver backing to further reflect incoming sunlight. Fabrics generally fall into one of two categories. Sheer (or dim-out) shades allow a certain amount of light to filter through, while still reflecting direct sunlight and UV rays away from a building’s interior. Blackout shades, along with integrated side channels and sills allow no light to pass through, dramatically reducing heat gain and eliminating glare within a space. By using separate rollers with both shade fabrics, the proper amount of natural daylight can very simply be controlled and maintained.

Daylight harvesting leverages Lutron’s native integration across all of its product lines to manage both the electric lighting and natural daylight within a space. For example, on a sunny day, the system will automatically dim or turn off the interior lights and open the shades, constantly making adjustments to both systems based on the position of the sun and the fluctuation of exterior lighting levels. By maintaining the proper balance between the two light sources, companies can save energy while still offering the proper amount of light.

With the onset of more energy efficient bulb and fixture types, such as LED and CFL, dimming has proved to be a challenge. These bulbs do not operate the same way that traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs do. Lutron’s Ballasts and Drivers allow these bulbs and fixtures to dim all the way to 1% in some cases, which further saves energy and provides the additional benefits that come with dimming, such as longer bulb life, and lower maintenance and operating costs.

Lutron offers a wide variety of environmental sensors which do everything from single room control to integration with their larger, building-wide systems. Daylight Sensors constantly measure the amount of light in a given space, and serve as the basis of a Daylight Harvesting System. Lighting levels are automatically adjusted based on the amount of available daylight. Occupancy and Vacancy Sensors automatically detect when someone enters the room and switch the lights on. When the room is no longer in use, they ensure that the lights are never left on.

Lighting control is only part of the equation, however. Most modern offices are fitted out with Large Screen Displays, Projectors, Printers and Copiers, Personal Computers, Server Racks, and more. All of this equipment represents another 20% of electricity usage.

Many commercial electronics carry the Energy Star label, which means that they adhere to a strict set of standards when they are powered On, Off, or put in to Sleep mode. On average, electronics that are Energy Star certified consume 25% less energy. Since they use less energy, they can also contribute to LEED certification, in addition to Energy Star certification.

Smart Audiovisual Technology for Green Buildings

Projector technology has evolved in recent years to include Laser Light Sources, which do not use a traditional bulb. Since there are no bulbs to replace, the total cost of ownership is much lower than that of a traditional projector. There are several other advantages, such as higher brightness, and much longer lamp life – more than 20,000 hours in some cases, and nearly instant on/off – no “warm up” or “cooling down” period required. They can also run at half brightness which saves energy and further extends the projector’s life cycle.

These commercial electronics are often tied into larger integrated systems, and that is where control system manufacturers such as Crestron, AMX, and Extron can further contribute to energy savings. In many ways, this is the pinnacle of smart energy technology – the point at which all of these separate systems communicate and work together to conserve energy. Control systems provide a single interface from which a company can monitor and control all of its technology systems – Lighting, Shades, HVAC, and AV. In addition to constantly working towards introducing more efficient products themselves, these companies can take control of any 3rd party Displays, Projectors, Amplifiers, and more, scheduling them to turn off at the end of the day, or integrating with Lighting Control Systems’ environmental sensors to power them down when a room is unoccupied. Devices and controls can also be “locked out” to prevent unauthorized usage.

Building a better tomorrow means much more than just constructing green buildings. We must consider how these buildings will be used, who and what will occupy them, and how they will impact the environment. Modern offices rely heavily on technology, and since technology is always changing, it can be easy to take for granted. Those of us in the AV Integration industry are constantly looking for ways that this same technology can be leveraged to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create a more sustainable future for all of us.

Making the Switch from Print to Digital Signage

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Three Reasons Retailers Should Make The Switch From Print to Digital Signage.

The way retailers communicate is changing. Print ads are no longer the flashy, new guy in town. In fact, making the switch from print to digital signage is increasing everyday as more and more companies realize the power and impact HD digital signage has on their branding message.

With the ability to change content on the fly, schedule and arrange advertising and messages based upon the time of day or by client facial recognition, savvy organizations are starting to make the switch from print ads to digital signage. And for good reason. HD digital signage provides brilliant bright colors and rich, deep blacks of LCD and LED technology and combines the ability to play videos, animations and custom, interactive messages. Digital signage opens up a whole new world of instant, meaningful, custom communication.

Where once we had fixed billboards with custom built extensions coming off of the tops or sides, we now have digital billboards with geo-fencing, LED pixel pitch technology and the ability to change content and schedule content on the fly. And at a fraction of the cost of traditional, printed billboards.

And it’s not just the Out of Home industry that has been affected. The switch from print to digital displays can be seen in retail markets with digital, interactive POP (point of purchase) displays, higher education facilities in the form of video walls and corporations where digital signage plays an important role in branding and messaging.

Digital signage does one thing very well, and that is it engages your audience. And ultimately, in advertising and marketing, a solid branding message is what everyone is after. Planning, executing and measuring engagement is more powerful and much easier on an interactive display as opposed to a traditional print ad. Making digital signage the no-brainer for organizations worldwide.

So what are the three reasons retailers should switch from print to digital?

1. Increased Savings

The cost of digital signage is a bit different from print costs. With digital signage, you have a higher cost up front, but a better ROI in the long run. Really the only costs with digital signage is the one-off installation costs, some minor support and maintenance costs and the cost for having an in-house designer who can push and schedule content, which you probably already have if you are designing print ads.

The other benefit to digital signage costs is getting rid of the recurring printing fees you see in normal print ad production. From magazines to newsletters to posters and murals. The cost of printing these ads, installing them or distributing them, removing them and redoing it all over again can be daunting from a print perspective. Digital signage removes these recurring costs as it is now basically free to put any image, advertisement or interactive display up once you get over the initial installation cost.

2. Real-Time Updates.

Imagine in a world of print ads where you had to schedule having posters shipped all over the country to your retail locations for your campaigns. Not anymore! With the click of one button you can now send digital content to displays all across the country or the world that reside on your network. Or you can send specific information to specific displays based upon the time of day, the demographic standing in front of the display or branded to a specific group. Or all three within a matter of hours.
This instant way of advertising with digital displays is very cost effective because you aren’t printing and shipping printed ads. Not only that but you have much more control over your content then you did with print. See a typo? No biggie, just make the change and push the refreshed content back out. Bam, instant cost savings with real-time updates, does it get any better? Oh yes, yes it does.

3. Truly Engaging Content

When was the last time you physically engaged with a print ad? Yeah, we thought so. And that is why digital signage is becoming so popular. Look around you, everyone is already using digital displays of some sort, whether it’s their TVs, computers or smart phones, people are touching and engaging with digital screens every day.

So it’s no wonder that digital signage is becoming so popular. Universities are using interactive displays to show students and potential students what is going on in and around campus as well as how to find their classrooms or other facilities. Students can stop and use wayfinding on interactive maps to get a good idea of where to go. And they do all of this by touching the screen, just like they do on their smart phones. The transition of our culture from print to digital ads is almost seamlessly built in.

Interactive, engaging content is also hugely popular in retail locations where brand can literally interact with their consumers. Want to try on a new pair of clothes but don’t want to step into a changing facility? No problem, have the display take a picture of you (via it’s built in camera or one that has been mounted under or over the screen) and viola, you are now wearing the outfit you wanted to try on, virtually, on screen. Smart digital signage systems can also utilize facial recognition to determine the demographic of the customers currently standing in your retail store, bar or outlet and will push media content to that demographic. It will be able to determine the age, sex, height, weight, hair color of the clientele and will use that information to determine what digital media content gets played on the screens.

This kind of “out of the box” thinking regarding the way companies interact with their consumers is the reason engaging content is getting so popular in digital signage. The possibilities are almost endless and you are no longer pigeon-holed into a piece of paper that never changes its shape, size or motion.

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Are you ready to change the way your company interacts with those around them? Reach out to Level 3 Audiovisual today and let’s discuss how we can help you ditch the paper and go truly digital with bright, high definition digital signage.

New Tech for Classroom Collaboration

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We, at Level 3 Audiovisual have the opportunity to work with some world class educators in various pedagogical disciplines in our pursuit to provide next generation technology solutions for higher education organizations. In 2015, several of these organizations are leading the learning technology evolution and changing the way they approach classroom technology configurations.

“Flipped Classrooms” are breaking away from the traditional teacher centric layout and shifting instruction to a learner-centered model in which class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating meaningful learning opportunities. With the ability to easily capture and stream live instructional content, today’s higher education leaders are depending on delivering much, and sometimes all, of their curriculum online. No longer is it just an option to take an online class, it is built into the everyday coursework and is often preferred by the next generation of college students.

Learning spaces are changing to accommodate the needs by creating a digital collaboration experience that enable teams with technology for presenting, sharing, capturing, and annotating as small teams or as one large group. Instead of a teaching station or lectern at the front of the room with several rows of front facing chairs, you may find several team huddle tables seating between 4-8 people with a shared interactive flat panel display at the end. Each huddle group is able to present and share content at their respective table/flat panel among themselves when working as teams. If the instructor wants to share content from one table to another or all others, just a few clicks of a button is all that is required.

I know that we have been talking about this BYOD thing for a while, but the game has changed again with wireless network based presentation devices and software. These gateways enable instructors, students, guests, and any device connected to the network to present audiovisual information on a shared screen. Laptops, smart phones, tablets, and pc’s can all be wirelessly connected and sharing content simultaneously in a presentation that, when coupled with an interactive touch surface – like a video wall, creates a truly collaborative experience. These systems redefine what it means to “Cut the Cord”.

Speaking of video walls, this is another new area of excitement and growth in higher education. Replacing projectors in large group rooms, digital signage, and interactive touch collaboration systems are just a few of the applications for video wall technology in higher education. Looking at one image is great, but the new norm is multiple sources of content displayed simultaneously with the ability to annotate, re-size, and interact with content with multiple peers. Lower total cost of ownership is driving these technologies into the hands of today’s educators and we will continue to see a major rise in this area.

Video conferencing continues to play a role in distance learning applications, but now the ways of connecting, streaming, recording, and reaching remote interactive audiences has simplified even further. Desktop conferencing and remote learning software allow instructors to provide video collaboration, capture, and instant publishing to online content delivery platforms for later viewing in case you could not make it live. Most modern classrooms are equipped with a dedicated PC that can be used to turn a classroom into a learning studio with global reach.

As you can see, the future of education enhancing technology is bright and continues to enable learners to consume content from anywhere at any time.

Looking for new Classroom Collaboration Tech? Fill out the form and we will reach out ASAP!


Digital Signage for Advertising is HOT!

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Digital Signage is perfect for marketing and advertising, it’s like a match made in heaven!

The new primetime for advertising means constantly being able to reach your desired audience during their daily commute, in their office building, at the gym and at the bar – all while complementing other media channels. It also means accepting nothing less than ease, performance and accountability from digital place-based networks. Digital Signage is the path of reaching this advertising primetime.  If you want to maximize all benefits to your consumers and company this strategy of technological displays is the way to go.

When ‘Digital Signage’ is spoken of, it should be known that it is referred to as digital displays. These displays are great resources for marketers to use. With the ability to show advertising, branding, way-finding, entertainment and multitudes of other information, digital displays are literally everywhere in our lives. Retailers and corporate advertisement companies using digital displays are increasingly common. Every-day healthcare organizations, hospitality corporations, higher education campuses, and government administrations are investing and utilizing the strong appeal that Digital Signage presents. The variety of benefits that digital signage brings to the table are endless.

Reduce the costs

Digital Display screens can vary in price due to the dimensions, brands, number of panels, resolution, etc. Although, before an investment of a projector occurs, consider the costs for lamp and filter replacements, unexpected color-wheel failures, mounting options, resolution, and reliability. The upfront maintenance of projection systems can be 5, 10, or even 20 times the price for a comparable LCD or LED Video Wall, with identical resolution, and similar features. To learn more about the pricing or to receive a quote for a Digital Signage installation fill out your contact information below.

Maximize the connection

Remote access to digital displays is even easier now with integrating into your existing network. Digital monitors can be connected to the web allowing news feeds, Twitter feeds, currency and weather updates and more to be incorporated into the display. Blog posts and video content from video sites such as YouTube and eHow may be included in the display as well. For example, in a doctor’s office a monitor could display general health facts, tips and feature via real-time news RSS feeds.

Increase the engagement

63% of people report that digital signage has captured their attention more than TV, internet, & billboard advertising. The audience engagement of displays have an immense ability to increase the sales of products and services while captivating the attention of a customer. The capability to break news in real-time, change screen presentations daily, and present a variety of engaging content all at once, are all possible while utilizing digital displays.

The bottom line is that a direct view of a digital display is an obvious choice. The razor thin margin between panels comes at a substantial cost savings, dramatically increased reliability and flexibility. Your display will deliver unsurpassed contrast, brightness and overall maintenance free performance for years. Simply turn it on and that’s all. Digital signage is an obvious, cost effective and full featured choice, superior in almost every respect to the overpriced projection based alternatives.

 

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