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Meet Your Integrator: proAV

With more than 40 years of experience in the industry, proAV has seen and done it all. Its extensive global reach that draws on the skills of a network of strategically-located technical engineers, project managers and more than 2,500 qualified support personnel, enabling the integrator to complete work on six continents and in multiple verticals.

What’s your geographic reach?

proAV is one of the largest and most experienced audio visual and broadcast systems integrators in Europe with a truly global reach. Since 1998 we have been delivering services internationally for clients across all market sectors, both projects and support. In 2006 we created proAV Global Operations, which comprised dedicated teams of personnel managing global standards for a large portfolio of international clients, from corporate to retail, and leisure to residential. To date we have completed projects in 82 countries, across 6 continents and all our global installations can be supported 24 hours a day via our global VNOC.

You mainly work across multiple verticals, are you seeing any trends across these sectors and can you highlight any areas that you’re particularly active in? 

Our focus is on providing technically innovative systems for communication, display, entertainment and presentation. Our clients around the world include corporate, education, government, public sector, hotel & leisure, retail and residential. Specifically, in the workplace we are seeing the biggest change in meeting rooms with the growth of huddle rooms and more flexible workplaces where interactive tools and Windows Collaboration Displays are facilitating better interactivity. In addition, to complement the rise of remote employees, these spaces are being supplied with improved UC and AV technology solutions.

You also have a specialist live events team – what technologies are particularly hot in this sector at the minute?

Live streaming has really taken centre stage in our event work over the last 18 months. The ability to live stream broadcast quality event production, over client and public networks, has been a key offering.

And what’s your favourite and why?

While LED is a lot more prevalent than projection in our events, I personally love projection mapping.  A skilled content creator and some high-powered projection can turn a building into a living, breathing work of art.

What projects are you especially proud of? 

We have had a number of award-winning projects over the years including our work with UBS and Aviva. More recent projects that stand out include our work for Aviva at Hoxton Square, M&G Investments and Hyperion Insurance Group.

What are the biggest challenges facing the AV integration industry?

As an industry there are a few issues that are challenging integrators. Finding highly qualified technicians, programmers and project managers can be difficult at times and we need to be looking at how we can encourage a fresh pool of talent into the industry in order to maintain the momentum.

As an integrator we pride ourselves on the Service department we have nurtured and developed over the last 20 years. Managed services are key to maintaining a steady growth and this will become more prevalent as the move from hardware to software increases.

Has the role of an integrator changed in recent years?

The expansion of networked AV technologies now means that IT and AV are moving closer together and need to share a common infrastructure. This convergence has meant that both AV and IT professionals need to understand each other better, be aware of technological advances in each industry and work together to ensure efficient and productive IP-based AV networks. Working more closely with other departments within the client environment is an essential change in recent years which AV integrators need to adapt too. At proAV we have a team of AV/IT experts specially trained in networking to address this development and help to bridge the gap, ultimately for the benefit of our clients.

Are you seeing more demand for maintenance and managed services?

Even though AV systems are now predominantly networked based, with the remote support benefits that this brings, we are still seeing an increased demand for maintenance and managed services. AV systems are a key component of business communications and as such need to work consistently and reliably. The impact of a failed meeting or event is considerable and with the emphasis now on remote working, with more staff collaborating over networked based systems, meeting failures are not an option. The support structures therefore need to be in place to both constantly monitor and pre-test systems in order to react quickly if systems are down. Maintenance services now have an increased emphasis on not just hardware support but also software and firmware. This again becomes more proactive to ensure centralised networked solutions do not have a service impact on multiple sub systems if they fail. Undoubtedly there is an increased shift towards vendor consolidation and more emphasis on AV support sitting within the IT Service Management structure.

Why should end users employ an integrator rather than attempt to go it alone?

It is far better to bring in experts to make sure a job is done right. By engaging with an experienced audio-visual integrator, you can be certain that each system and subsystem operates efficiently and provides the intended solution. 

Integrators can work with different manufacturers to find the best custom-designed solution for a clients’ space and needs to enable them to be successful. Without the professional integrator involved there is a risk that both time and money is wasted. Complex installations can be frustrating and time-consuming if not put together by experienced professionals, understanding the AV setup and networking, the technology employed and how that technology works together, is key to a successful installation. An integrator should also provide you with the support you need if problems arise.

What are some of the biggest mistakes made by end users when it comes to AV?

It is always important to consider engaging with the IT services team early on in a project to ensure that network provisioning is accurate and extensive enough for the requirements of the job. Training is always key and ensuring your staff have enough time and opportunity to learn about the AV solutions installed is essential for employee engagement and user satisfaction.  We also encourage procurement based on best value rather than lowest price.

Finally, what are proAV’s plans for the future?

To meet our global client needs, proAV will continue to expand operations with further office locations in Europe, Asia, and the US.