Technology consulting is multifaceted. Not only is there a need to stay engaged throughout the entire process, but there is a demand for our expertise well beyond the building’s opening. In the decades that our consultants have been in the industry, we have stumbled upon significant scope gaps in the standard consulting model. In an effort to provide a more engaging experience to our clients, we have brought it upon ourselves to step out of the routine cycle and fulfill additional responsibilities that other consultants are scared to touch.

Below are the seven scope gaps that BrightTree Studios offers as additional services in an attempt to provide a holistic approach to the AV design consultation model:

  1. Digital Signage Content
    It’s common for AV consultants to specify building-wide digital signage solutions as it provides clients the ability to display relevant information and branding in a sexy package. However, all too often, the content is an afterthought and the content that is pushed to the displays is subpar and unprofessional which leads to unsatisfied clients. It’s our responsibility as AV consultants to provide turnkey solutions. We don’t provide audio processors or control systems that are inoperable, so why would we do that with digital signage. At BrightTree Studios, we’ve brought content creation services in-house to address this major scope gap.
  1. GUI Interface and Programming
    As AV consultants, we sit through numerous visioning sessions with all of the key project stakeholders leading technology and user interface discussions. We spend months, if not years, learning and helping define the space’s purpose and objectives. With all of this knowledge, the standard consulting model will then issue a bid package and expect an AV integrator who has no familiarity with the project to absorb the desired space functionality by reading a single document. It’s not possible for this knowledge transfer to occur in such a short time frame. No one is more prepared to address user-interface programming as the AV consultant, so why are most consulting firms not providing the interface design and programming as an additional service?
  1. Prototyping
    We live on the cutting edge, and if you’re involved in innovative projects, possibly the bleeding edge. And bleeding edge needs tested.  Manufacturer specification sheets that the manufacturer’s marketing group creates are great starting points, but unfortunately, some details seem to get lost during the communication transfer. We feel that having the ability to mock up and test the bleeding edge technology prior to the AV integrator installing the gear onsite helps ensure that the design will meet the promises made to the client. You need to ferret out the risks, and prototyping is the only way to guarantee you are providing the desired functionality.
  1. Usability Training
    We’re not talking about how to turn the system on and switch sources, but training the users on how they can tailor their presentations to take advantage of the room’s functionality. If we look at an active learning classroom, the style of teaching a course in this classroom is significantly different than in a standard lecture hall. At BrightTree, we feel that the technology consultant should be responsible for the end user successfully implementing the technology into their daily routine. In the active learning classroom, we should analyze the universities current lesson plans and guide them on how the professor can leverage their lesson plan in the new technology environment. We need to facilitate technology best practices, engagement, and adoption.  We should help them implement cloud-based collaboration software even if the consultant didn’t specify the software. Our responsibility to the client is the successful use of the systems; not simply that they work.
  1. Remote Monitoring
    In a new construction or major renovation project, the technology throughout the building will be much more prominent than it was in the client’s previous space. But often the technology support staff is only slightly increased or not increased at all. Remote monitoring of the client’s technology provides a level of surety that was not available in previous systems. Instead of the client relying on support staff’s reaction to technology problems, remote monitoring provides a proactive approach that will allow the client to add a wealth of new technology without the need to increase staff. BrightTree is able to offer remote monitoring services to clients that will solve 60% of the technology hiccups before a user even knows an issue occurred. This assurance demonstrates to the client that the AV consultant is not just interested in the initial success of the project, but the lifetime viability of the entire technology ecosystem.
  1. Furniture + Technology
    A common oversight in the standard AV consultation model is how technology integrates with the furniture. As AV consultants, we specify the location of floor boxes, technology connection points at the table, and equipment that will be housed in credenzas. A frequent problem is the furniture dealers are selecting conference room tables without a concern for the floor box locations. It’s our responsibility to ensure that the furniture dealers provide us with conference room tables where the legs are placed over top of our floor box location and that these legs are either hollow or have cable pathways built in. The credenza must be deep enough to house the technology equipment along with providing proper ventilation so the equipment doesn’t overheat. Only by owning the coordination between the technology and the furniture can the AV consultant ensure a successful furniture + technology result.
  1. Commissioning
    The standard AV consultant model requires the AV integrator to prove system operability and testing through a final walkthrough with the AV consultant. At BrightTree, we feel the system performance and operability should be commissioned by the consultant. While many AV integrators do an acceptable job commissioning their systems, the AV consultant was hired by the client to represents the client’s best interest. When the AV consultant owns the commissioning process, it puts the onus on the consultant to ensure that their design meets the intended functionality requirements. It is our belief that the AV consultant should have the necessary testing tools such as an oscilloscope, SPL meter, pattern generators, waveform monitors, 4k and 3D content, and the ability to analyze uncompiled control system code and audio files.

At BrightTree Studios, we think differently. Our goal is to be a true turn-key consultant for the client. Only by identifying and solving the scope gaps in the standard AV consultant model will the client be totally satisfied with audiovisual designs.
Bill McIntosh, CEO BrightTree Studios
David Vargo, Managing Principal BrightTree Studios
www.brighttreestudios.com
P: 412-212-7515
bmcintosh@brighttreestudios.com