In many organizations, A/V equipment is becoming as mission-critical as IT equipment. These organizations are using video conferencing to enable collaboration among geographically dispersed teams, customers and business partners. Video conferencing reduces the time and expense of travel and enables people to get work done from virtually anywhere.
When I started in A/V more than eight years ago, we would install video conferencing equipment in maybe four or five out of 100 meeting rooms. Those were the really high-end rooms because video conferencing systems were quite expensive. Now when we do an installation, every room will have video conferencing because the technology has become so cost-effective.
As a result, the “commodity” rooms that make up the bulk of the installation are becoming more complex, and there’s a greater chance for failure. It’s not a question of how much money you spend. There are still going to be users pinching cables, power outages/surges damaging components, or equipment just getting old and failing. If the video conferencing system doesn’t work users have to find another room or postpone their meeting.
Traditionally, the person who discovered that the equipment wasn’t working would have to open a help desk ticket with their in-house IT staff. The help desk would then call Rahi Systems and we would dispatch a technician to the customer’s site to resolve the issue. It’s the classic “break/fix” approach and it’s not very efficient.
Rahi has developed some managed services offerings to increase efficiency and maximize the availability of A/V systems. In a previous post we talked about our remote monitoring and “room sweeps” to reboot and troubleshoot equipment. This is a good option for organizations that only use their A/V systems occasionally.
We can also use cloud-based management tools to remotely resolve problems. The technicians in our Network Operations Center (NOC) in Fremont can see when a device goes offline and reboot it, install a patch or resolve a programming bug. If it’s something that can’t be fixed remotely, the NOC staff can have a technician onsite quickly. A lot of times we can resolve issues before the client even knows there’s a problem.
Cloud-based management tools have been a game-changer for A/V. In the past, monitoring tools were site-based, so we would have to be on the client’s network to access them. A lot of backend programming was required to make them work, and we couldn’t do sufficient troubleshooting remotely. With today’s cloud services we can track room usage as well as the versions of firmware and software on each device.
Rahi is also making significant investments in our NOC. We have A/V specialists on staff in addition to our network support team. And we’re continuing to add technology tools and experienced personnel to serve the managed services needs of our customers.
It’s never good to have your CEO walk into a conference room and find that the video conferencing equipment isn’t working. Remote monitoring and management of A/V equipment, coupled with a Rahi managed services contract, increases productivity by ensuring that every meeting goes off without a hitch.