At konnectus we have the good fortune to work with many medium to large organisations across different sectors and develop the optimal AV technology solutions to meet their specific needs. Our experience from working with our customers has taught us many things and if there is one single process that always leads to positive outcomes it would be to take the time to conduct a Proof of Concept (POC) before investing in a large rollout or investment in new AV technology.
What is a POC? Well it should be first made clear that a POC is not a Trial site or Pilot. A POC is exactly what it says it is in its name. It is a proof to test a particular technology or solution, which appears to make sense on paper. A POC is generally a small investment and has specific goals and objectives that are to be tested. If the POC is deemed successful then the next step would be a larger investment in a Trial site or Pilot.
When should a POC be considered, and how long should it last? A POC is not always required for every planned AV technology investment. However, when a large rollout or implementation is being planned we would always recommend that some time be taken to conduct a POC of between 2-4 weeks depending on the type of AV technology being considered, and how many people need to trial and provide feedback.
I have found that some of the stronger reasons for conducting a POC of AV technology solutions include:
- Is a proposed solution easy to use? With AV the devil is often in the details. The spec sheets of equipment do not always include the hidden "gotchas" or its incompatibilities with other equipment/systems in the overall solution. Testing the solution end to end and obtaining direct feedback from the people that will need to use the AV technology on a day to day basis is a crucial part of the process. Often a designer or engineer will overlook seemingly non important steps to use from their perspective, which are in fact hurdles for a non-technical person.
- Does the proposed solution meet the requirements it is designed for? i.e. solving current issues, improving experiences, delivering specific outcomes. So often this question is overlooked by a designer as he/she gets into the details of the design. A design or solution may be elegant from the engineer's perspective but if it doesn't truly meet the requirements it is designed for then it is a wasted investment of both time and money.
- Is the proposed solution reliable? What is the process to install and configure it? What is involved to service and maintain it? Are there any ongoing impacts that need to be considered? e.g. additional training, specialised operators, ongoing costs such as licensing etc. All of these questions challenge the long term feasibility of and value of a proposed AV solution. A customer must be well informed with what that looks like and comfortable the plan in place to manage the ongoing variables of the AV technology investment.
- Is the solution scalable to a larger rollout or system? This is a key factor that needs to be tested for larger organisations that are looking to standardise AV technologies, systems, and user experiences across multiple locations.