It used to be that integrators would work directly with facilities management to make decisions about AV changes and upgrades in meeting rooms.
That is decidedly no longer the norm. Facilities managers currently account for just 12 percent of those who will be making decisions on AV priorities in meeting rooms. You are much more likely to be talking with IT about meeting room AV solutions.
A survey from Commercial Integrator provides valuable insight not only into who the decision-makers have become, but also details on budget allocations for meeting room AV solutions.
Conference rooms are always in high demand. As more and more telecommuting takes place, and as meetings with vendors and business partners replace some travel back and forth, understanding the needs and helping clients find solutions is an increasingly important task.
The data shows somewhat of a disconnect between client priorities in meeting room AV solutions, and the recommendations that integrators tend to prioritize. The biggest disparity came in acoustics. While clients put that as a low priority, integrators tend to put that in the top three most important considerations.
Clients and AV integrators alike put video display as the number one priority, so there is no disconnect there. But where clients prioritize video conferencing, integrators have microphones and room acoustics.
This might be considered a matter of perspective. Where you are looking at the fine grain of what it takes to make video conferencing work – which means good acoustics and quality microphones so things run smoothly, your client is just thinking, “I want to be able to have a video conference without experiencing technical difficulty.” That should be a pretty easy conversation to have: If a client wants seamless video conferencing, acoustics and microphones play a big role in that. As always, communication is key.
The 1K to 5K range is what most decision-makers are expecting to spend in AV resources for their meeting rooms. Does that match expectations for what their pain points are in terms of making meeting rooms as effective as they can be? Again, communication is key.
Budget discussions can often be awkward, but when surveyed, integrators report that budgets for meeting room AV solutions are frequently disproportional to the desired outcomes the client is looking for. That’s a nice way of saying clients don’t budget adequately for the job they want you to do. While budget constraints are no surprise, the way we engage with them can make all the difference.
This is where cultivating relationships will bear fruit. With a conversation around video conferencing, you can talk about, for instance, the benefits of room acoustics and good quality microphones that will not just enhance video conferencing, but can potentially enhance the experience for many uses of the conference room.
One solution when budget becomes an issue might be to provide a set of “good, better, and best” solutions. Putting quality and price on some kind of continuum for your client to work with can be a helpful tool in making decisions and working around tight budgets.
Finding Solutions Together
You will likely be client-facing with either an IT person, or an owner or department head who will also be consulting with IT on the meeting room project. Your expertise is essential in helping them create the optimal conference room environment. While there are potential communication pitfalls, these can be avoided. There is no need for either a priority or pricing disconnect.
Understanding your client’s pain points and end goals will go a long way in helping to manage the process of finding the right meeting room AV solutions.