Any company that integrates video into its IT network will stumble across challenges, and while growing pains might strike early or late, with full force or as a glancing blow, just about everyone experiences them. That includes end users and integrators—each faces their own obstacles when putting video onto the network for the first time. We’ve rounded up some of the most common pain points and shown how they affect both sides.
Even when you know the cost of a project up front, that doesn’t mean that getting the money approved (or spending it) is pain-free. However, end users feeling the sting come invoice time might find some relief after reviewing their business case and ROI justification. “It’s expensive up front,” says Steve Shanks, CTS-I, DMC-E, audio visual specialist at Plano, Tex.-based Denbury Resources, “but in long run you end up saving money by utilizing your current network configuration.” One way Shanks says his team has helped to maximize their investment is by bringing in an A/V expert. “This way you have someone that can understand how it all works and fix the issue quickly instead of waiting.”
Make no mistake, cost can be a pain point for integrators, too. From their perspective, they’re trying to give customers the best bang for their buck, but every now and then something happens that hinders their efforts. Wayne Hoffman, VTC division manager at ARRAY Information Technology in Greenbelt, Maryland, says he has encountered situations where old firmware has prevented new equipment from being used—an expensive prospect for the end user and a source of real frustration for the integrator. “It becomes a challenge,” Hoffman laments, saying it could potentially leave users with issues such as “$10,000 worth of cameras that don’t work.” It’s a situation that’s resolvable, but quickly finding the right person within the manufacturer’s organization to address the issue and arrange for a speedy solution can be especially difficult when dealing with a very large manufacturer. “They’re just so big and the pathways to get them are so non-personal,” Hoffman explains.
Even before adding video into the mix, putting together the right infrastructure is often its own pain point for end users, since the effort requires time, money, expertise and sometimes user inconvenience as components are taken offline to be swapped out or upgraded. Denbury’s core business had already required them to have a robust infrastructure, something that likely saved them from growing pains during their video conference integration project. “Being in the oil and gas industry, we had already put in place the proper bandwidth in our corporate facilities and field offices, since we have to monitor live feedback of systems 24/7,” Shanks explains. Denbury was able to leverage network assets that were already had in place, which has helped to give end users a good experience. “To date we haven’t had any issues with loss of connectivity or pixilation with our calls,” Shanks says.
For integrators, ensuring the backend infrastructure is ready to support video can often be a