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Where customers fall down

May 18th, 2021

Photo by: Kate Couch with Canva

Written By: Tony Sprando and Kate Couch 

 

What we believe and what we feel about a situation has strong ties. This usually circulates around the value we put on something. Like when you reach for that apple in the grocery store, you hesitate and hover for a moment to grab the one that looks the best… without knowing where it was grown, what care was taken to get it there, and how it was carefully or handled by the grocery clerk. You are putting a certain amount of trust in that purchase, oftentimes based on how you were treated at the door. You buy based on what you need, price, influencing of marketing and item placement, and personal assessment of the item. When you think about it we put a lot of thought into these things subconsciously.

 

When it comes to something much more expensive, there is a higher level of feeling and assumption involved… or not. Over the past 20 years, I’ve done many audiovisual jobs. But for as many jobs I’ve done I’ve also calculated twice as many bids. end as somebody who works delivering a service you notice a pattern when giving a bid. You will find that when you go out and you assess what client needs, finding them the right services for a fair price, for some people it’s never enough. Oftentimes no matter how much you try to give some a deal, or explain why something is costly they will not think it is cheap enough. 

 

Where customers “fall down” starts as a client drilling the service provider to get the price down possibly to please a boss or to make them feel better about the service. Another example is leaning into friends, family, or a church friend for a deal. We might do this because “in the name of making an eternal difference” may guilt them into giving you a good deal, or believing that God demands we are “frugal” and we can’t have nice things because “the humble will inherit the earth” … a bible verse that is so often taken out of context. 

 

Lastly, we can go wrong by blindly going with the lowest bid and trusting the provider that they know what they are doing, this would be coined as the belief in poverty theology. This is a trap many frugal people fall into. Unfortunately doing something cheap isn’t always doing something right. When you go with the cheapest option then find out that it’s not working properly after. I find that they patch the problems with their audiovisual system and suffer through it until… eventually calling out for help to rescue them from a subpar system installation. Unfortunately at this point, the price tag is usually much higher. It’s a well-known fact that it is easier to build something new than try to salvage or demo an existing audiovisual system.

 

In all my years of AV, I have seen a much higher success rate in investing in people and not worrying as much about the money. Set the profit you need to run a business, then stand tall as you hand over the bid or proposal… and if the customer does his or her due diligence then they will find an Audiovisual integrator that is highly spoken of and then just spends the money once. Though your job may cost a bit more than you may have thought, your actions will give the AV group confidence that they are not being squeezed. This will allow them to work freely, giving you a quality system you can stand up to with confidence.

All that being said this doesn’t mean a job can’t be cost-efficient. We always want to work with our clients to find a cost-efficient solution for them that gets their goals completed and that will last. Quality over quantity, vice-versa, is an age-old debate and each one has its time and place. But I will settle it for AV, when you build a quality AV system using a reliable service provider, you will be happy with results that will stand the test of time and meet your needs: the first time. 

 

*This article is Tony Sprando of AV Bends intellectual property. To use or reference this article please contact: Tony@avbend.com

 

To know more about Tony and his professional profile see these:

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonysprando/

 

https://www.ravepubs.com/author/tsprando/

 

www.tonythevguy.com 

 

To know more about Kate and her professional profile see these:

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-couch-a7318220a/

 

https://k8couch.wixsite.com/katecouch

 

“Alexa clean out my desk”

April 6th, 2021

Image and graphic design by, Kate Couch and Canva

How will smart devices be used in the corporate world in years and months to come?
 
Written By: Kate Couch
 
Last year the corporate office took a large turn as many of us had to begin working remotely from home. This created an entirely new world for audiovisual- Zoom. Zoom as most companies are aware is an online video conferencing platform that is for personal, educational, and corporate use. Since this is now one of the primary ways that offices and businesses have meetings a lot of them have been needing a dedicated space or what we at Audio-Visual Bend call a zoom-room. These zoom-rooms have become very popular over the last year and many corporate offices have incorporated them into the workspace. It can look like only an audio-visual setup or accompanied by complete acoustical treatment. But with this drastically new technology becoming popular so quickly it poses the question, what other highly technological things will be introduced into the corporate world in the upcoming months and years?
 
The statements, “Alexa schedule my meetings for next week” or “hey Google what conference room is open?” Might sound a little outlandish, they’re actually both current technology used in the corporate world. Starting in 2018 Amazon launched Alexa for business which is an Alexa platform designed for more business-type use, scheduling meetings, general questions around the office, dimming lights, etc. It’s a very unique idea that something we use in our homes could also be so useful in the office. These AI personal assistants are now available to anyone no matter their title of job. With Alexa for business, Alexa can communicate with the Amazon Echo devices (full-size, dot, or other) assigned to each room and answer you with something like, “The conference room near the IT deck is empty.” You can also say things like, “Alexa, book me a conference room” with the time and date. You can also schedule it out further or see if any are available right away.
 
This new tech is extremely efficient but also goes to show how much audio-visual will be part of almost every corporate business in years to come. Virtual conference rooms, acoustical treatment plans, high-tech phone systems, Wi-Fi, and possibly even Echo and Alexa setup and design could all be things that are more common in years to come. It currently hasn’t caught on as well as it probably will in the next year, In Unit4’s 2017 Enterprise Tech End-User Sentiment Survey, they found that 38% of professionals affirmed that they use a digital assistant like Alexa for personal reasons; only 11% use it in their professional lives. They asked that 38% if they would trust a digital assistant like Alexa for a work-related task, 54% thought they would. This shows the interest is there and it will just take time for it to trickling into our offices and workspaces.
Because of what has happened in the past year all corporate offices have been forced to rise to the level of tech. Unfortunately, we will see a lot of small businesses fall behind because they can’t keep up with it. The idea that everything is going to be high-tech and connected to Wi-Fi is called The Internet of Things or IOT. On our blog, we will be doing more articles in the weeks to come on this topic. The internet of things is going to affect the corporate world and a very large way and it’s going to affect Audio Visual in even a larger way; as we both have to incorporate it into our offices but also be able to incorporate it into others as our clients. So follow along if you want to know more about IOT and high-tech things that audiovisual will be incorporating and general corporate offices will be incorporating in the future.
 
To know more about Tony and his professional profile see these:
 
 
 
 
To know more about Kate and her professional profile see these:
 
 
 
 
 
Sources:
 
 
 

Whistle While You Work

March 17th, 2021

Photo and Art By: Kate Couch and Canva

Written By: Tony Sprando and Kate Couch

 

Like many other people, I enjoy listening to (somewhat loud) music while I work. I can zone out of the background noise and get to the important stuff. I have noticed something recently that it is a shared interest, as I also hear other’s loud music while I work. Naturally, this poses a bit of a noise problem, luckily it can be easier to fix than it appears. With most people working in different environments these days little noses add up and can become unbearable. With some quick identification and problem solving you can fix your noise issue before the next work week. 

 

Music has been proven to help improve the efficacy of work. In a study done by, Tayyari, Fariborz, and James L. Smith. “Effect of Music on Performance in Human-Computer Interface.” “It was found that, while the music did not disturb the overall accuracy of the task output, it increased the subjects’ speed in data processing and overall productivity. The subjects showed a favorable attitude toward music being introduced at workstations.” Music can be help keeping us focused but a hindrance when others do it. The solution might seem to stop listing to loud music. This is not always the case. What people forget is our homes are filled with lots of sounds every day and when they get above a certain DB we notice them and they become disturbing. 

 

No offense to my neighbors but their HVAC unit is loud as all get out. Or the sounds of my children running up and down the halls, traffic, and the occasional annoying bird. This can be the difference between getting stuff done and not being able to get in the zone. So now that we have identified a noise issue where the solution can’t be stoping the root of the noise we have a few options. 

 

Door sealing kit. 

A door sealing kit is going to be the best option when reducing noise in a small room from outside contributors. You can also do this on the windows as well. This will reduce the amount of noise from the outside getting inside and from the inside getting outside. Contrary to a typical acoustical treatment plan where you might have noise reduction materials on the inside; the objective of this acoustical treatment plan is to prevent small, but loud noises, from outside from getting on the inside.

 

There’s a little bit of science to this as well. Which has to do with DB. The DB is essentially how loud a noise is. Below is pictured a chart of the common DB of household noise. Figuring out the DB of certain things around your home will help you when making a goal for where you want the noise level to be. The average household with some or no conversation is between 40-60 DB so if you find yourself disturbed by noise a good goal is to get your room back to 60<. Like we mentioned earlier this can most likely be achieved with a door and window sealing kit. 

Photo By: Sound Proof Guys

Working at home the noise of neighbors, family members, and roommates can sometimes be disruptive. But when the problems identified you’ll find it with the most basic noise issues there is a basic noise solution. 

 

To know about Tony and his professional profile see these:

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonysprando/

 

https://www.ravepubs.com/author/tsprando/

 

www.tonythevguy.com 

 

The touch screen behind the touchdown 

February 22nd, 2021

Photo By: Robert H. Pexels.com 

 

Solving problems of outdoor electronic screens and touch screens. 

Written By: Kate Couch with collaboration with Tony Sprando 

Outdoor TVs, touch screens, and monitors are nothing new. They’ve been used for decades to display things like game scores, travel plans, city maps, advertisements, bus and train routes, and general outdoor entertainment. These monitors and screens are rated for outdoor weather. Though these screens aren’t super common in areas that get freezing temperatures (like the Pacific Northwest.) They can still be found in these areas and commonly are necessary. Football and other sporting events have all kinds of outdoor screens: maps for the stadium, scoreboards, and advertisements. Stadiums are one of the most common places that you will see outdoor monitors and touch screens. 

Because of the temperature problem and the harsh weather conditions in addition to the usage of hundreds to thousands of people interacting with the screens, there can be a huge problem when it comes to installing and making sure these screens are being serviced properly and kept in good condition. 

The solution to these problems is an outdoor touch screen enclosure. This concept is known by many names, “touch screen monitor protector” or “outdoor touch screen monitor cabinet.” These enclosures are made from strong materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions and protect the screens and monitors. They’re made from weatherproofing materials in addition to the weatherproofing materials and ratings that the monitors and screens are made out of. This extra layer of protection can prevent ice, wind, heat, and snow from permanently damaging the monitor. 

These enclosures and protections are often times removable since they can be somewhat disturbing to the original intended purpose of the screen. So by these protections being put over

them when the screen is not in use, it extends the life of the monitor. When installing an outdoor touch screen or monitor system it’s important to consider that a client could vastly benefit from having one of these enclosures whether permanent or removable. Ones that are more permanent tend to look like a pergola or a tent design for the main intent of the monitor or touch screen. 

There is some debate and controversy on whether you actually need an enclosure for your outdoor screen TV or monitor. This really depends on the weather conditions in your area. In places like Southern California, it is very rare to see an enclosure since their weather is so consistent. However, you will see things like sun shades to protect weathering from the sun. The question should not be “do I need an enclosure for my outdoor screen” and it should be “what weather is going to impact my outdoor screen?” By focusing on the problem from that angle you’ll be able to easily, efficiently, and cost-effectively solve the problem so your outdoor screen to have the longest best functioning life. 

To know about Tony and his professional profile see these: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonysprando/ 

https://www.ravepubs.com/author/tsprando/ 

www.tonythevguy.com

Double Agent

February 18th, 2021
Photo By: Catholic Spirt
Solving audio problems in commercial buildings with multiple uses.
 
Written By: Kate Couch
 
In last week’s article, we focused on solving audio problems in a residential home. However, AV Bend works primarily with commercial buildings. Though there are a lot of the same principles working and solving commercial problems looks drastically different than solving problems in a home. There are also other things that people forget to consider when it comes to residential vs. commercial clients. One big factor is budget- when it comes to commercial clients the budget is extraordinarily tight. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more or less than a residential budget but rather there is no room for spilling over. Companies have to meet their quota and stay within the budget. When working with a residential client something that they want might be out of budget it can become accessible if they decide it’s valuable enough to them. That instance rarely happens with a commercial client.
 
Other things to consider when working to solve audio problems in a commercial building is rooms tend to have noises and other things going on that when you go to inspect the area the client may forget to mention. In our last article about solving audio problems, we talked about the importance of listening to a room. Whether you have a residential or commercial client this is still an important practice. When going to a commercial client’s building you need to consider and ask the client what all goes on in this building. Making sure to double-check with the client that there are no monthly meetings they may be forgetting about. Other things may include international calls, occasional Zoom meetings, classes, or if they rent out space to other people. These are all things they can fly under the radar but could be contributing to their noise problems. When going to inspect a commercial area take all these things into account before solving the noise problems.
 
One thing that commercial clients will frequently call AV Companies for is to prepare a gymnasium to hold multiple events. It’s pretty common that a gymnasium also doubles as an auditorium, or is rented out to places like churches or AA meetings, and other gatherings of similar fashion. There is instantly a whole lot of noise problems to solve when a gymnasium is going to be used to double as another space. The classic squeaking of your shoes on the floor seems to emanate from every corner of the room. This can be extraordinarily disruptive if someone was to come in late to a meeting. Just like it is in a residential area it’s important to consider the height of the walls the different angles in the room and the ceiling structure. This is important in a residential area as well. Commercial spaces tend to differ from residential areas because of noise blockers. In a residential space there tend to be things like pillows, furniture curtains, carpeting, sometimes even more carpeting on top of carpeting these things naturally dampen and soften sound in the home. Things that are frequently lacking in commercial spaces. When working with commercial spaces there tends to be a lot more problems to solve because the spaces are larger, they have less furniture in the room to dampen sound, and the spaces tend to have multiple uses. All these things should be kept in mind when solving audio problems in a commercial space. The nice thing about commercial spaces is you don’t have to get as creative with your acoustical treatment plans because it’s a commercial space Aesthetics and multi-function acoustical treatment plans aren’t as important since the spaces tend to be larger and having something that’s a little bit more clean-cut and single-purpose products is totally tolerable in a commercial area.
 
To know more about Tony and his professional profile see these:
 
 
 

Like a fine wine

January 21st, 2021

Photo By: Ion Ceban

Written By: Tony Sprando and Kate Couch

 

“Age appears to be best in four things, – old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” – Alonso Of Aragon

 

Age is something we have been redefining for many years as a human race. In the 40s children were seen and not heard, today children are brought to work and meetings and expected to be kept entertained by their 8×12 screens that they are constantly glued to. When I was a teenager I knew all the latest tech but now I’m (slowly) slipping behind. My mother-in-law though, not tech-savvy, picks up things as fast as ever. She is I presume sharper than most people her age. My beautiful wife does not keep up with technology and prefers to be outside. Due to this, she has much better eyesight than I do, however, I have better hearing. It’s a two-way street of what we choose to invest our time in. 

 

As we get older and more mature the brain changes drastically. Most people are aware of this, it’s called cognitive decline. It’s a sad thing to go through and to see others go through. When things that are so drastically important to us like, hearing, seeing, our ability to learn, and our memory slowly worsen with every year. It can be hard as a parent, friend, loved one, or business owner to know how to properly help people experiencing this. Age Is something not a lot of people take into account when doing custom work for clients. It’s something that’s overlooked but extraordinarily important. 

 

It’s important to understand at what ages different needs need to be met. As someone reaches the age of 60 they have a hard time keeping things organized, remembering things, and hearing and seeing things. If you have someone over the age of 60 for a client you want to make sure that you’re catering to these needs. For example, in audiovisual, if you have an older client it is important that you are making sure that the speakers in an in-home speaker system are arranged properly so they can hear it.  Checking that older clients technology you might be installing is easy for them to use, and that they understand what you’re putting in their home is another important thing you can consider. Solving organization problems and making sure that your clients know how to properly use what you’re installing and understand its function. Just because somebody comes to you with a problem, doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand the solution.

 

When it comes to this in Audio Visual it’s important to take into account age with any client you have. For example, if you are installing soundproof panels into a nursery something that is professional, business style, and chic probably wouldn’t cater to that age or audience. You need to take into account the problems that you are solving will also considering the age of the client installing something that is more child-proof and childlike is more likely to leave the customer satisfied.

 

 If you are installing a meeting room for a business whose employees are young and tech-savvy you can keep that in mind when integrating the latest and smartest technology. Integrating a necessary thing like a zoom room into a company that has older employees that don’t know how to use technology but are going to rely on Zoom calls. You can use technology that’s more straightforward organized and easy to use. It’s very easy to cater to a client’s age if you just consider the problem that they need to solve and how their age affects that problem. 

 

What is Smart?

January 14th, 2021

Defining the word that has had so many meanings over the past one hundred years.

Written By: Kate Couch

 

“Okay, Einstien.” “That was smart!” “You’re baby is so smart.”These are all common sayings we’ve heard that center around the idea of smart or intelligence. But what is smart? As we progressed further into the 21st century, technology seems to be out doing itself every day. The stock market is skyrocketing, the way we interact with each other and do business has changed completely, and the internet seems to rule our lives. So when we hear the word “smart” how has its meaning changed? Most of you have a smartphone in your pocket, many teachers have smart boards (a technology integrated touch screen whiteboard with a proprietary pen with software) and our kitchen is filled with “smart” appliances. 

 

How this applies today

 

Today the word smart can be used to reference technology, specifically artificial intelligence technology. AI was a word that scared a lot of people a decade or two ago. Now it’s nearly unavoidable. With the word smart directly correlating to an item having some sort of artificial intelligence, smart devices, and AI devices, are in more places than we realize. The demonizing of artificial intelligence through science fiction movies is what caused a lot of pandemonium when it came to the idea of your technology being “smart.” The truth is, there’s a lot of benefits to having smart technology. We know it’s constantly making our lives easier and more efficient. Especially right now, as we heavily rely on technology to carry our schools and jobs. 

 

Where does AV come in?

Audio and visual technology and setup have become extremely important during the pandemic; especially relating to zoom rooms. Audio Visual Bend does Zoom rooms for clients since the pandemic. A Zoom room is essentially a room with an acoustical treatment plan, cameras, microphones, and a speaker setup for Zoom meetings. It’s an essential function to help schools and businesses have effective and efficient meetings. Having properly set up cameras, speakers, and microphone systems make the stress of having a zoom meeting melt away. In addition to this, the soundproofing and acoustical treatment plan will diminish the possibility disrupting of others and minimize others disrupting you. 

 

Audio Visual and smart technology doesn’t end with Zoom meetings though. Before the pandemic audiovisual mixed with smart technology often looked like integrating smart devices and appliances. Often customers would want in-home speaker systems and automatic lighting that can be adjusted with simpler panels or even from their phones. Customers often strived for a result that was less autonomous. 

Where is it going? 

Audio-visual definitely has some changes coming in the future with the way technology is going. 10 years ago audiovisual was more corporate-based and for wealthier clients. But as technology progresses audio-visual becomes more affordable. Audio Visual Bend predicts that more of our customers want to be integrating systems into their homes like speakers, cameras, projectors, and acoustical treatments over the next few years. It will start to look more like an in-home service industry model, rather than a one-time installation of a product or solving a problem. It’ll be something that’s ongoing integrating new technology into homes and corporate offices. 

 

Smart is definitely a peculiar word with lots of meaning. But with new waves of technology coming out all the time and audio and visual being thrown into an entirely new pool of opportunities the word “smart” really has developed its own new meaning. 

DIY Music and Workout Studio

January 9th, 2021

 

 

Earlier this year I found myself in predicament. Late at night, I would like to lift weights, work out, and do a bit of overtime, all while blasting music to keep the energy up. This quickly caused a problem as the rest of the household didn’t appreciate the concerts I held in the middle of the night, not to mention the neighbors that didn’t want that either. So I had a couple of options, I could go to a 24-hour gym (which at the time were open but little did I know that would have been a temporary fix) Or I could design my own workspace that would reduce the sound by drafting an acoustical treatment plan. 

 

Avoiding the sweaty gyms and having the freedom of being in my own home while having the option to have my music through a speaker was a no brainer choice. So my wife and I designed an acoustical plan. 

What is an acoustical treatment plan? 

 

In short, it is a design that will solve your problems and make the room better for recording and listening to audio. When making an acoustical treatment plan you need to decide what your main problems are and how much coverage you need. Most people need between 25% and 75% coverage. This is only for the walls and ceiling. Most people forget when treating a room that the ceiling is just as important when it comes to treating a room as the walls are. So when buying or collecting materials make sure to pick up some for the ceiling too. 

 

How do you go about it?

 

When I was making mine I decided to use scraps from a previous project. I had odd shapes of sound silencer material, which was perfect for the outcome but the shapes would be a creative challenge. My wife and I spent time maneuvering the pieces into intricate designs that would get the job done while still being aesthetically pleasing. This process saved us money and kept our room design unique, compared to the typical soundproofing methods. 

 

Find a store that sells soundproofing materials then draw out a design for your room while placement is important that doesn’t mean you can’t make pieces that look good in the right places. The sound silencer is a unique product, from an initial look it looks like styrofoam but it is actually tiny engineered beads molded together, which is both functional and pleasing to the eyes.

 

After implementing this plan the sound was reduced drastically. I now have a place where I can do work and be as loud as needed while others can sleep peacefully just a wall away. My wife and I had a great time working on this together it was a good problem-solving experience and gave us some extra time together. Most people think that acoustical treatments are eyesores…and they wouldn’t be completely wrong. It’s great that we were able to come up with something that worked for our space and looked cool. 

Putting soundproof panels behind canvas pictures, or cutting them into unique designs are simple ways you can make acoustical treatments a designing choice instead of a functional eyesore. This project was cost-effective, made use of old material, and solved our main problem. 

By Tony Sprando

Sources used

https://advancedacoustics-uk.com/pages/how-much-acoustic-treatment-should-i-install