Q&A: Extron on AV’s vital role in keeping workforces agile

Rainer Stiehl, Extron’s vice president of marketing for Europe outlines how AV systems can support organisations that need to scale up or change operations quickly.

Agility and the ability to change and adapt quickly have been key to corporate success thought the pandemic. AV doesn’t need to just keep up with those rapid changes, it needs to help drive organisational change, flexibility and productivity.

Tim Kridel caught up with Extron’s Rainer Stiehl to explore how that can be effectively achieved and take a look at some of the technologies and tools that can support those aims

TK: Some businesses are growing rapidly through M&A, while others have strong organic growth. In your experience, what are some considerations and challenges that enterprises and AV integrators overlook or underestimate when it comes to providing all of those additional employees and sites (including home offices) with AV hardware, software and services? (By “providing,” I mean the whole lifecycle, from getting the equipment set up and running through ongoing troubleshooting, maintenance, updates, policy enforcement and so on.)

RS: One of the challenges of expanding a business is prioritising infrastructure advancements so that momentum isn’t sacrificed, and costly delays and employee inconveniences are minimised. This applies equally within the walls of an organisation and for remote work scenarios.

As crucial as it is, AV is sometimes an afterthought when scaling businesses to size. AV has become such a vital component of productivity and collaboration that it deserves attention early and often so that employees, regardless of their location, are provided the tools they need throughout each phase of expansion.

With this in mind, companies undergoing expansion may choose to manage, monitor, and control their AV resources with a comprehensive software solution that can be accessed anywhere. This allows helpdesk personnel to use a standard network to monitor system health, troubleshoot, and access valuable reports from remote locations.

In addition to these features, Extron’s GlobalViewer Enterprise also allows staff to schedule AV-related tasks, monitor usage trends, and simplify management for just about any size corporation. Maintaining momentum and productivity during business growth can be challenging. Choosing to prioritise AV and include robust, scalable AV resource management should be considered an essential part of AV system design from day one.     

TK: I’m also interested in the effects that remote and hybrid workstyles have/will have on office AV systems. For example, if an enterprise allows a lot of its employees to work from home, I could see that requiring a major, rapid scale up in their existing offices, such as video-enabling hundreds of meeting rooms because video suddenly becomes the primary way that dispersed employees collaborate. What do enterprises and integrators need to consider to accommodate that kind of scale up?

RS: An important element when considering remote and hybrid workstyles is “options.” Breaking away from traditional office spaces exposes the unique ways in which employees will be working, and providing them options will help during the transition and for the long term, as well.

When it comes to hybrid work, the in-office experience should provide at least the same degree of ease, convenience, and technology as the home office does. Videoconference rooms, for example, needn’t be any more complicated than connecting from home. AV room automation features such as occupancy sensors tied to AV control processors can turn on lights, devices, and adjust room environments as soon as the employee enters. A QR code displayed on the room’s touchpanel controller can allow the user to take command of the room AV from their phone or tablet.

Overall, the hybrid workstyle should be designed to be as seamless as possible between work and home, with the goal of enhancing an employee’s experiences regardless of their location. 

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