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    Become a Flexible AV Integrator

    In the ever-changing AV industry, integrators are constantly faced with challenges from competition and a shortage of skilled AV professionals. That’s why it can be advantageous to expand your business so that you can handle both residential and commercial AV installations. Read more to learn about the rise in resimercial installations and some keys to success on how to become a flexible AV integrator.

    The resimercial movement

    For workers who maintain a hybrid or fully in-person work schedule, it has become important for companies to ensure a comfortable, home-like setting to improve productivity and overall employee satisfaction. To accomplish this, companies have taken the initiative to strip down the traditional cubicle environment and replace it with comfortable furniture, ambient lighting and home décor pieces. These trends primarily derive from the concept of resimercial: the combination of residential and commercial design elements applied in commercial amenities as well as corporate and office settings. Although the resimercial market existed much before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the market experienced an upward trend in demand and popularity from the work-from-home movement and more hybrid schedules being incorporated.

    According to AV experts, the resimercial market is here to stay. As more companies and homeowners begin to integrate commercial and residential AV elements into their work or home space, more AV integrators should also consider becoming resimercial integrators. So how can commercial and residential integrators succeed in meeting the demands of their customers and ongoing AV trends? First, it’s important to investigate both markets and discuss any differences and similarities.

    Commercial vs. residential integrators

    Compared to residential integrators, Pro AV integrators have a wider range of projects that they can work on, including providing solutions for corporate, education, entertainment, healthcare, convention centers and more. Commercial integrators focus on implementing and improving the communication and collaboration aspect of an environment. On the other hand, residential integrators concentrate on entertainment, home theater, security systems and outdoor solutions. Their projects are also smaller in size and scope – typically lasting only a couple days to a few weeks.

    Another difference between the two is the environment and products that commercial and residential integrators work with. While commercial integrators have more flexibility and often more space to work with, residential integrators must be more wary of their surroundings to avoid damaging property. Plus, it takes a learning curve to understand a different set of AV products a commercial or residential integrator would usually not work with. Some similarities that the two share are similar skillsets and knowledge when executing a project. This includes understanding audio signal flow as well as pulling and terminating cable.

    Implement resimercial best practices

    The most important place to start is by having a discussion with your customer on their goals for the space. Not only do you need to select the right products, but you need to install solutions that are easy for the customer to use. Some solutions can be complex to use regardless, which is an opportunity to offer ongoing maintenance and support.

    Another way to ensure your success as an AV integrator is to provide a strong foundation of wiring. If this isn't present, it's the perfect opportunity to earn additional revenue. Plus, sufficient wiring makes it easy to upgrade the system in the future if needed, so be sure to share that information with your customer.

    When it comes to audio, it's important that you consider space acoustics. Many resimercial spaces feature open floor plans, which can mean a noisy space. Such scenarios are important to consider when installing audio solutions in a resimercial space.

    For video solutions like projectors and TVs, your customers may be tempted to hit up their local big box store, but this is where your expertise can come in. For example, your customer may think that a projector is the best solution, but you know that lighting in the space will be a challenge. It's this expertise that customers value.

    Boost your value with certifications

    Certifications are a great way to notify clients that you are capable and knowledgeable of the industry you work in. Testing for certifications also allows individuals to further their education and master their skills in any specialized industry. Here are some industry certifications integrators are recommended to obtain to boost value and stand out from competitors:

    Commercial AV certifications

    AVIXA AV Technologist Certificate – The AV Technologist Certification was developed for newer AV integrators who have recently started working in the industry and wish to further their knowledge. It also serves as a steppingstone to the ANSI-accredited Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) credentials, an essential certification for commercial integrators. Individuals who wish to take the exam should demonstrate basic knowledge of AV vocabulary.

    AVIXA Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) – The CTS certification is recognized as a leading professional credential for pro AV integrators who demonstrate general AV technology knowledge and skills. There are two additional certifications within the CTS program – CTS-D (design) and CTS-I (installation) – designed for individuals who demonstrate specialized knowledge in AV installation and design. CTS-D and CTS-I contenders will test for the CTS first before attempting any specialized certification exam.

    Residential AV certifications

    CEDIA Certified Integrated System Technician (IST) – The IST certification is recommended for residential integrators who demonstrate a variety of essential AV skills and wish to further their education. Individuals who wish to take this exam should be capable of working independently while understanding all functions related to the pre-wire (First Fix) and trim-out (Second Fix) phases of a project. This may include troubleshooting common errors and verifying system functionality.

    CEDIA Electronic Systems Certified Networking Specialist (ESC-N) – The ESC-N certification was developed for residential integrators who have mastered the fundamentals of residential networking, including infrastructure, design and configuration. It is recommended for individuals who wish to receive the ESC-N to pass the IST exam first and have a minimum of two years of networking experience in the residential field.

    CEDIA Electronic Systems Certified Designer (ESC-D) – The ESC-D certification is suitable for integrators who are well-versed in design documentation, project design, needs analysis and design management. It is recommended for electronic systems designers who have a minimum of five years of experience to take the ESC-D exam.

    Stay updated with the AV industry and its trends

    Similar to how we stay updated with current events that happen around the world, we recommend that AV integrators should stay updated with the latest AV industry news and its trends. Here are some professional AV related industry publications you can read to make sure you’re in the know about the latest trends:

    More and more, the AV industry requires more advanced skillsets, as well as a great deal of flexibility and adaptability, to meet the increasing demands of clients. That’s why it can be a good idea for AV integrators to embrace both commercial and residential work to accommodate a wider variety of requests.

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