Training sessions, company meetings, product launches: a quality AV system is essential for all these and more. How do you know when you’ve installed a quality system? No one mentions it. But if your system is plagued with out-of-focus images and poor sound quality people will let you know!
The same goes for connectivity issues. Whether it’s four people meeting in a huddle room or a dozen Execs in the boardroom, they all expect to just hook up their laptops and start sharing. If your AV system doesn’t make it easy, productivity will take a hit, and reputations, too.
Here’s the thing: the point of any AV system isn’t to impress with flashy tech, it’s to help people do their jobs better. The right system for your business does just that.
Business Requirements Play a Role
Just as every business is different, so, too, are their expectations for their AV system(s).
A law firm may have several small conference rooms and need video conferencing capabilities along with video display capabilities. A craft brewery may be hosting tour groups and want to show videos in a large auditorium. Museums often want multiple small displays with high-quality audio while a research facility needs a mix of screens and dynamic signage to accompany a quality PA system.
Audience size and the number of users or viewers are big considerations in selecting an AV system. Of equal importance is the layout of the space, which directly influences acoustics and display visibility. Then there are other points, like flexibility, (screens that retract and projectors that lower down,) and a presenter’s need to wander freely, microphone in hand.
These are the points that determine the complexity and sophistication of the final AV solution. Establish your business needs first, and that will lead you to the price. Focusing on budget first, and the solution is likely to be sub-optimal.
What Factors Contribute to Cost?
The cost of an AV system has two components: the equipment itself, (hardware and software) and installation. Beginning with equipment, cost drivers include:
- Equipment quality and complexity – higher-end systems look and sound better and provide more functions but at a price
- Ease of use – typically the more expensive systems are the easiest to operate
- Display type – front or rear projection, or TV monitor
- Display size, resolution and brightness
- Need for backup projectors
- Audio system complexity – number and type of loudspeakers
- Wireless connectivity
Installation factors include:
- Cabling required (wireless may be less expensive)
- Loudspeaker and microphone placement, especially if they are to be concealed
- Need for powered screens and projector movement
AV System Equipment
A basic AV system consists of four elements: the source, a signal processing unit, a distribution system, and the presentation unit or units.
The source is often a laptop although it could also be microphones, a CD or DVD player and even cameras. More sophisticated systems will use several or all of these.
The processing unit takes these inputs and converts them into signals appropriate to the presentation technology.
These signals then need to get to the presentation equipment, which is where the distribution system comes in. Historically, this was the job of cables, but today, there are many more options. Wireless systems are increasingly popular for the convenience and low installation costs they provide, but it’s important to verify there are no sources of interference nearby.
Modern wired and wireless systems often employ computer networking technologies. This means your system may well include Ethernet switches and/or hubs to move the signals through to the presentation equipment.
Presentation equipment means a projector and audio system. Both take many different forms, from a TV-style monitor with built-in speakers to elaborate front and rear projection systems with complex arrangements of loudspeakers.
Additional elements may include capabilities such as recording and storage of presentations. These are typically useful in a training environment or for TED-style talks. There will also likely be a control system of some kind; its complexity depends on the sophistication of the installed AV system.
Average AV System Cost Per Room
As we’ve spelled out, the cost can vary widely depending on the system type, components, and how it’s used. However, understanding that people like to see ballpark numbers, here are some ranges for different types of rooms and applications:
- Huddle Spaces: $3,000 – $6,000
- Conference Rooms: $8,000 – $17,000
- Video Signage: – $2,000 – $3,000 per display
- Room Scheduling System – $2,000 – $4,000 per meeting room
In addition, and especially for more elaborate systems, it’s prudent to budget for ongoing monthly support. This starts at around $50/month, going up with system complexity.
AV System Payment Solutions
Some businesses like to treat their AV system as a one-off expenditure and make a single payment. For others, a monthly payment scheme makes more sense. (There can be tax implications for both.)
The benefits of a monthly subscription approach include technical support, warranty protection, and free upgrades as they become available.
Every AV System is Unique
A quality AV system is a tool that helps your people do their jobs better. It should deliver the message, not distract from what’s being said.
Some of the areas we serve include:
Livewire serves customers all throughout Central Virginia. If you don’t see your city or town listed here, please contact us to find out if we can accommodate your needs.