New CorporateTD article: The Benefits of Hiring a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS)

The Benefits of Hiring a Certified Technology Specialist (CTS)

By Christopher Neto, CTS

I’ve spent 10 years of my career working in the A/V field. During that time I have seen AV departments come and go. Always in a state of flux best describes my experience. Between the ever changing service contracts, contract technicians and the group itself being moved around within the company it is safe to say that A/V departments are perpetually in motion. During my career I have worked for A/V groups that have been operating under public relations, building services, meeting services and IT.  Some of my colleagues are starting to see A/V groups now being moved into food, conference, and travel services.

For many corporations, universities and other organizations, the need for A/V technology prompted the need for support. Onsite A/V support groups have slowly evolved from Telecom, Facilities or Administrative services. Going back to the high school days of film and slide projectors being rolled around school hallways, AV has always been someone’s “other job.” The assistant who sat outside a conference room became the room scheduler and room technician. The telecom person who understood ISDN became the videoconferencing expert because he knew how to “tame” SPID numbers.  The facilities guy who mounted the projector and ran the pre-molded VGA cable down the wall became the “projection expert.” Support groups developed from those side jobs.  Many of those side jobs directly lead to the creation of dedicated A/V staff today. Whether we are internal employees or outside contractors the need for what we do is apparent.  Now the goal is to make today’s technologies easier to use for the end users. Qualified integrators, consultants and engineers spend hours simplifying A/V systems and the user interfaces. The goal is to make the customer facing part of the systems to be a user-friendly as possible.

Recently there has been a lot of internet buzz in amongst A/V Tech forums over the value of certification. Most of the discussions have been in large part been between A/V integrators and manufactures. Their perspective was limited to “why” or “why not” Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) certification matters in their specific line of work.  I feel I can add another perspective to the ongoing argument.  As a CTS holder and as someone who spent a considerable part of my career with onsite A/V Support teams I personally see a value in the certification…

Continue reading on Corporate TD by following the link below:

http://www.corporatetechdecisions.com/article/the_benefits_of_having_a_cts

REDBAND: Three Tools for Improving Employee Morale by Todd Anthony Puma

Three Tools for Improving Employee Morale

When a new client decides they are interested in your services, they place a phone call to your office and speak to your administrative assistant or receptionist. He or she takes their information and writes down what the client is looking for, then puts them on the schedule for a technician to come to their home. The technician takes the client’s information and arrives to their home for their appointment. He asks questions and completes the service accordingly. Once the technician leaves the client’s home, the interaction with this client ends without any input from you, the owner.

As a business owner, although we would love to meet with every client personally, there just isn’t enough time in a day. The “face” of your company is often not you but the people who go out into the field representing you. But who is to say that your new client is receiving the same level of service from your team as they would from you? How can you ensure that your employees are always the best representation of you and your company?

Three tools for success that I have found work well to promote a positive working environment are education, motivation, and ambition. They mold each of my employees into a “mini me” of myself, so I am confident in their ability to represent my company with our clients…

Continue reading on Residential Systems by clicking the link below:

http://www.residentialsystems.com/default.aspx?tabid=90&EntryId=554

ToddRedband

Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

 

 

Check out my Latest Article: NSCA #2013BLC: Exorcising Ghosts of Conferences Past

Neto2013BLC

Last June I was fortunate to have been selected by my A/V peers as an NSCA Industry Mover and Shaker. While at InfoComm, I received a shiny plaque I prominently hung in my home office between my college diploma and an inspirational picture of Darth Vader. I also received a complimentary entry to the NSCA annual Business & Leadership Conference in February 2013.

I have to admit conferences were never a source of excitement for me. They come with stigmas in my opinion. You anticipate monotonous slides, or you may feel sensory overload from hyper presenters who think they are funny. And don’t get me started on being asked to fall back into a stranger’s arms as part of a trust exercise.

So now that I have completely stereotyped every bad conference I’ve ever attended, at least I have been honest about my mindset heading into the NSCA Business & Leadership Conference…

Check out the article on Commercial Integrator’s Website by clicking the link below:

http://www.commercialintegrator.com/article/nsca_business_leadership_conference_exorcising_ghosts_of_conferences_past

REDBANDNeto2

 

REDBAND: Living in the Golden Age of High Tech By John Sciacca

Living in the Golden Age of High Tech by John Sciacca

My recent post on Prima Cinema’s game-changing day & date home-delivery system elicited a comment from DarkOrion69 that got me thinking. As background for appreciating Mr. 69’s comment, the Prima hardware currently sells for $35,000 and each movie viewing costs $500. The comment was:

“Interesting technology but WAY out of my price range. Until the price point drops below $10,000 for the unit and movies drop to $200 each then this will just be one more cool toy for wealthy people. It won’t revolutionize anything when only the wealthy can afford this service. Wouldn’t it be nice if a poor or middle class person with extreme physical disabilities could see movies like this?”

The truth is, Prima is expensive, and it’s not currently intended for mass-market pricing or adoption. It’s also way out of my price range. Today….

To Continue reading Click on the link Below:

http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/24454258-living-in-the-golden-age-of-high-tech

JSRedband1

John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog www.johnsciacca.webs.com

REDBAND: Color Temperature For Dummies by John Sciacca

Color Temperature for Dummies by John Sciacca

Many of you are likely ISF and/or THX certified video calibrators and thus have a terrific understanding of color temperature. And even if you haven’t been through the certification, you’re probably at least familiar with the term 6500 Kelvin – or, more accurately in cal-speak, D-65 or, even more precisely, points x=0.3127, y=0.3290 on the CIE Chromaticity Diagram. And if you are associated with this industry and don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, then please immediately go and tell your supervisor that you need to spend several minutes reading this and that you will return a much more educated and informed employee, ready to go forth with a better understanding of video technology!

The truth is, for many of your clients, the idea that color has a temperature is confusing and irrelevant. Red is red, blue is blue, what does temperature have to do with anything? Or why is a higher temp – say 9500 Kelvin – considered “cool” (more blue) while a lower temp – say 5400 Kelvin – is “warm” (more red)?

Click here to continue reading:

 

http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/show/24351244-color-temperature-for-dummies

JSRedband1

John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog www.johnsciacca.webs.com

REDBAND: My Unexpected Crestron Experience By Todd Anthony Puma

My Unexpected Crestron Experience By Todd Anthony Puma

Many people in the industry know them as the behemoth booth at CEDIA and InfoComm, and some follow the misconception of them being impersonal and expensive. The more I indulge in Crestron, the more enlightened I am becoming to the level of personal attention they display towards the integration industry.

Recently, I brought my office manager as well as my project manager with me up to Crestron’s Rockleigh headquarters for a full tour of not just the company’s Experience Center, but also its manufacturing facilities. It was amazing to see good ol’ manufacturing and assembly being done in the USA. Throughout several different buildings, I witnessed a facility for printing motherboards, for assembling final products, and a full R&D center with an RF chamber, and industrial 3D printers for prototyping. In an age when everything is being moved off-shore, it’s great to see a company keeping things local…

Continue reading click the link below:

http://www.residentialsystems.com/default.aspx?tabid=90&EntryId=549

 

ToddRedband

 

Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

 

REDBAND: PRIMA Cinema: I’ve beheld the future! by John Sciacca

PRIMA Cinema: I’ve beheld the future! by John Sciacca

My colleague, Andrew Robinson, has espoused the need for movie studios to change their paradigm and embrace the idea of day-and-date release and viewing outside the cinema. Essentially, give us the ability to view Iron Man 3 wherever we want; be that a multiplex, a boutique movie house, our living rooms, our laptops or wherever.

It seems like a fanciful idea at this point because, well, it’s just never been done that way. Partly because it has never really been possible to do deliver theatrical content any other way. With films traditionally delivered on giant reels, 99.9999% of people wouldn’t have the capability of viewing them. Now, however, with films largely being distributed digitally, it is just data – granted, a whopping large file size – that can be streamed/downloaded to just about anywhere with a high-speed connection.

Sure there have been random experiments by independent film studios where some movies have been released on-demand before the theatrical release, but these are usually small films that wouldn’t have seen a broad audience anyhow. For major Hollywood pictures, the model has always been the same: theater – wait some period of time – home. (This is a large reason why I have still yet to see any of the films nominated for Best Picture this year.)….


Continue Reading Here:

http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/show/24172528

 

JSRedband1

 

John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog www.johnsciacca.webs.com

REDBAND: Helping DIY’ers Recognize the Benefits of Professional Home Automation By Todd Anthony Puma

Helping DIY’ers Recognize the Benefits of Professional Home Automation

By Todd Anthony Puma

My wife and I went to meet a new neighbor who didn’t know that I am a custom integrator. He couldn’t stop raving about his new wireless audio system and universal remote, both of which he bought at a big box store. I struggled with it, but I kept my mouth shut.

We’ve all been there. A customer calls us to do an estimate and when we get there, they start talking about consumer-grade, DIY systems that they’ve heard about or used in their summer vacation home. You know that the custom solution is better, but they already have a picture in their head. So how do you convince them that what you sell is right for them, often when what you’ll be recommending is more expensive?

I always make sure to start with the current situation, their lifestyle, and how they will use the system. If it is a retrofit project, some of the consumer-grade audio solutions can work well; if it’s wireless and doesn’t require running new wires or patching and painting. However if it is a renovation or new construction, I then start with the reliability discussion.

Continue reading on Here (Click the link below):

http://www.residentialsystems.com/default.aspx?tabid=90&EntryId=537

ToddRedband

 

Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND: 3 AV questions in my ransacked mind by The Video Vandal

3 AV questions in my ransacked mind by The Video Vandal

 

  1. How is that other industries have measuring sticks that take into account Experience, Certifications and Degrees when it equates to Salary? Yet the AV industry appears to be the Wild West with regards to Careers and Salaries? For example a technician with 10 yrs. Install experience “cannot just jump into engineering” within the same company?  Is he/she too valuable as the “Super Tech” to let go into another department? Or how about a recent College Grad who will not be interviewed for a Jr. Engineer position?  “You’ll need to work your way up”.  You could argue the details but how many people reading this already know of someone in those 2 examples above. The industry associations wonder where the talent is going to come from in the future? If your members keep perpetuating this mindset and they will find themselves with a lot fewer choices in the talent pool.
  2. AV Integrators and Service providers that promote training opportunities and the value of Certification only during an interview process.  How quickly does their tune change once you sign on the dotted line? I have a problem with this on so many levels. First Point: I can’t stand the bait and switch style of doing business. Don’t go back on your promise of training especially since it was so strongly emphasized during the interview.  Second point: You’re doing more harm to your company and to the industry than good. You can either support career development within your company or continue complaining about high employee turnover rate.  By the way are you that naive to think that your customers do not notice the “revolving door” of staff thrown into projects? Work with your talent don’t leave them hanging out to dry.
  3. I have worked for and alongside many on site AV support people.  If you think your AV Job is a tough one try walking in the “running” shoes of an onsite AV support tech.  Not only do they have to deal with integrators and their lack of respect for what they do  but within the company and organizations they are supporting they are still viewed as Cart or Button pushers. Really?  They maintain and support conference rooms, auditoriums, videoconference systems, Video bridges, TV distribution systems, digital signage, conduct live events and deliver equipment. They provide solutions and coordination for every little thing in a corporate or university meeting space. Their experience onsite should translate very well into an AV job outside the corporate walls. I know former site techs branded as not having enough field experience to get hired as techs. There is no excuse for this. Why shouldn’t they be working right now as project managers or customer service reps in our industry?  Is this another example of  “the way things are”?  Get Past it! Fortunately there  is a simple fix:   Listen without preconceived notions.

Yeahhhhh…. I went there.

Video Vandal

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RedBand: Your Doing It Wrong! by John Sciacca

Your Doing It Wrong! by John Sciacca

Because I like you, I’m going to share a hard truth with you. Because friends can be honest with each other, right, and say the tough things that need to be said.

Here goes: You’re not perfect.

And whether you’ve been in business for one year or 20 years, fresh out of CEDIA Boot Camp or a grizzled “I remember when you had to spend 12 hours calibrating a CRT!” vet, you are probably making a number of mistakes. Mistakes that are costing you business and ultimately costing you money.

And these mistakes are frequently two sides of the same coin, either doing too much or too little. Fortunately, these are mistakes that you can rectify. Examine this list of six common business errors and then take an introspective look at your company and see where you can tighten up…

To continue reading Click Below:

http://johnsciacca.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/23614442-you-re-doing-it-wrong-

JSRedband1

 

John Sciacca started a personal blog back in 2010 which dared to ask the hard questions like, “Huh?” and “Whaa?” all written in a pithy, deliciously witty and uproarious manner. His blog likes to make new friends and would love to have you over for some caramels. You can follow John Sciacca on Twitter @sciaccatweets  and at his personal blog www.johnsciacca.webs.com