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7.21.21 – CI

Working on digital unified communication platforms in tandem with integrators, end users, and manufacturers leads to the best success.

For over a year, employees have grown used to presenting and collaborating directly from their devices. Videoconferencing when all employees are remote allows for quick and easy sharing of content and documents during a meeting.

As employees return to the office, the digital platforms they use will need to provide the same ease-of-use. Especially for the many organizations that are implementing hybrid work strategies.

Integrators, manufacturers, and end users all must work together in tandem to lead to the best success. An integrator should be involved even before the project steps of development, delivery, and support even begin.

“Technology is changing so fast these days that what used to last for two to three years from kind of a design perspective now could change within the year,” said David Wolf, Unified Communications Engineer at Capital One. “For example, cameras, things go to end sale, people can’t get parts now, so it’s really having a good development interim process and having a really solid delivery process, where everyone knows their role and responsibility and then support, making sure once it’s in, it’s working well, and will continue to work well for years to come.”

Integrators need to be involved before the furniture is even put in, especially when it comes to installing speakers or microphones to provide a great video call experience.

“Ideally, the integrator is in on the framework, and then when a project happens, helps design it based on that framework,” said Joe Whitesides, Sr. Solutions Architect/SME, AVI-SPL.

“An integrators place would be to help the client understand some of the things that are happening in industry, especially right now with shortages on chips and other technologies,” said Whitesides. “If someone was getting involved in a large-scale project, they would need information from the dealer about what’s possible across multiple dealers or multiple manufacturers…we look for approved software platforms and things, so that we don’t run into roadblocks midstream in the project.”

At Capitol One, possible solutions are often beta tested with users before the company deploys it large scale. “We really have a grounded experience that is good, people like, and works well…we kind of work out all of any defects or bugs or anything else so we have a really great support model making sure that when updates trigger things work right, and they recover right, so that we’re not having to run out to every room every time we make a change or an update, but that is truly remotely supported across the enterprise, so we’re very hands on we do a lot of work ahead of time to ensure that once that gets put out in the environment, it’s just a great product,” said Wolf.

Manufacturers should be brought on as partners in the very beginning as well to provide solutions to the business’s needs all the way through to the deployment process and even support it after. “You don’t just buy [a product] once and what it does at that point, that’s all it does,” said Wolf.

End users are looking for solutions that can evolve over time and be incorporated into their overall road map. If the communication between end users, manufacturers, and integrators are not on the same page, once systems are installed it can cost the company time and money to go back in and re- install the system again.

“As we’re continuing to rethink and rebuild a lot of our rooms…make sure you avoid putting technology that maybe going away in a few years in the space,” said Wolf. Zach Snook, Sr. Product Manager at Biamp compared it to a three legged table, with the table as the project and the integrator, end user, and manufacturer as a leg, if one falls short, you’re left with a lopsided table.

“Everybody needs to have their role, the end user needs to be there to define what they’re looking for and be there to aid the integrator whenever they’re installing, we need network support, we need interactions with the team on that end to make sure that we’re doing the right stuff,” said Snook.

Integrators and their customers should seek manufacturers that don’t just sell products and services, but offer the support necessary to build their products and services into an overall system. Manufacturers can be the backbone of the working relationship between integrators and end users.