By Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D.
At the end of last year, InfoComm International® announced two exciting new developments regarding the promotion of AV industry quality. Both involve the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO). These two new programs are part of a larger effort to align the association and the industry with world-class organizations. Our affiliation with ANSI, ISO, Project Management Institute, and others gives InfoComm's programs recognition and credibility that extends beyond the industry - to our customers and the public.
InfoComm to Become Standards-Setting Body
InfoComm announced its intent to become an ANSI-recognized standards-setting body. This represents a dramatic next step in the association's advancement of industry quality-improvement programs. Standards are important for many reasons: They define a profession, allow a profession to regulate itself and the activities of its members, and help express the profession's responsibility to the public. This new program will provide the AV industry with performance standards that AV companies can build their systems to meet while giving the industry's customers, including architects, clear industry standards on which they can rely.
The AV standards InfoComm intends to develop will focus on the physical measurements of systems performance, such as sound pressure levels and contrast ratios. With these standards, designers can specify the output performance of systems and subsystems for customers so that when the facility is put in use system performance can be verified against these standards.
InfoComm will lead this activity, but the standards created will benefit the whole industry, architects, and, ultimately, end-users. These standards will be developed through a disciplined ANSI process to reach consensus among everyone involved with AV systems. Through rigorous debate and compromise, the industry will be able to establish standards that will guide architects, designers, installers, and customers for years to come.
InfoComm CTS Program to Gain ANSI-ISO Accreditation
InfoComm has applied for ANSI-ISO accreditation of its Certified Technology Specialist program and expects to receive it sometime this year. Accreditation by ANSI will signify that InfoComm's procedures meet ANSI's essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process in accordance with the ISO 17024 standard. Currently, InfoComm's certification is the only AV industry certification program recognized by the National Certification Commission and the U.S. Veterans Administration. More than 6,200 AV professionals have earned their CTS.
ANSI's accreditation will promote the unique qualifications and expertise InfoComm's certifications provide by ensuring the integrity of the certifications, enhancing consumer and public confidence in the certifications and the people who hold them, and facilitating recognition of the CTS program across geographical borders and industries. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is now requiring its contractors who perform certain Information Assurance functions to be certified by credentialing bodies that have been independently accredited by a third party, such as ANSI. I believe that ANSI accreditation of the CTS program will lead to a better-qualified AV workforce.
Design firms and institutions in the market for videoconferencing equipment, digital signage, and boardrooms are relying on InfoComm International's Certified AudioVisual Solutions Provider (CAVSP) designation to identify companies dedicated to quality and professionalism. The company-level CAVSP is based on the percentage of technical, sales, and customer service personnel who have earned the CTS designation. To find a company that is CAVSP, visit www.infocomm.org/cavsp.
InfoComm has a variety of programs to educate architects about the audiovisual industry. Whether you can attend one of our regional architectural Lunch and Learns or attend InfoComm 07 and take advantage of our classes available for AIA CES credit, I hope you will take time to see all InfoComm has to offer.
Randal A. Lemke, Ph.D., is the executive director at InfoComm International®, a trade association of the professional audiovisual and information communications industries.