Supported Systems: Life After The Installation

AV9000 Checklist Item Under Test: 3.4.4: The level of control is appropriate for the intended users. Operators need access and flexibility. Users need contained simplicity. If both are required, the Operators Pages are hidden or protected.

Users, designers and installers get very excited about the latest technology. We are, indeed, an industry of early adopters. All too often, we feed this passion at the expense of the users and technology managers. A new product or technology may come to market with incredibly flashy and promising marketing videos that get viewers drooling and eager to provide the solution for their users. However, after it gets deployed, the owner has to live with it. New products inevitably require frequent firmware updates and are not always backward compatible with enterprise monitoring systems. These exciting, new systems might not be interoperable with other systems that have been in place for years. Further, operators who can troubleshoot “standard systems” in minutes might take a day to get acquainted with the new equipment. The checklist item under test deals with the control system for the users. I’d like to take it a step further and also make sure the entire system design is appropriate for the intended support personnel.

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The Story

I was speaking about technology with a friend in law enforcement. He said that the CIA offered his team a stealth boat for free. The CIA got a new one, and its old one was just going to go to waste. His chief jumped at the chance. “A stealth boat?! Are you kidding me?! Of course we’ll take it!” I agreed with the chief. A free stealth boat from the CIA is kind of hard to turn down.

However, my friend said it has been docked since it was acquired. It required a special, expensive type of fuel. There was no operational manual describing how to drive it. And if you thought the operational manual was hard to come by, try finding a service manual for a super-secret stealth boat from the CIA! As cool as it was to own a stealth boat…it could not be supported. Because it couldn’t be supported, it couldn’t be used. Because it came from the CIA, and certain documents were signed, it also could not be thrown out in the trash or taken to the nearest dump. So, it just stays docked. Naturally, this got me thinking about AV, and about some of the potential pitfalls that education facilities face.

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