As the complexity of audiovisual (AV) solutions continues to grow and as they play an even larger part in the business, organisations need to start thinking more deeply about how they can maximise their return on investment (ROI) from their AV integration solutions.

That’s the word from Stefan Mayer, MD of Corporate AV Integration, who says that AV integration solutions are taking an increasingly central role in sectors ranging from finance and healthcare to manufacturing and the public sector.

As companies start investing more money in these solutions and as these solutions start to integrate at a deeper level with the IT infrastructure and building management solutions, so do they need to start paying more attention to cost of ownership and ROI, Mayer says.

Growing uptake of videoconferencing and telepresence has served as one spur for growing demand for AV integration solutions, says Mayer. Many businesses (both enterprise and SMEs) are investing in these solutions to improve collaboration and reduce travel costs by facilitating virtual meetings between employees and customers, partners and colleagues dispersed across the country or world, he says.

Other applications include digital signage for providing customers with timely information in retail environments; large screens for operations centres in industries such as emergency services, telecoms and transportation; training applications; and customer presentations.

“AV integration solutions are now at the core of the way businesses interact with their stakeholders and drive collaboration inside their businesses,” adds Mayer.

Mayer says that this means companies should be looking more closely at how they can maximise returns and minimise costs from what has become an important part of their business infrastructure. With the growing convergence of AV and IT, they need to look at how they can optimise management of AV solutions and reduce operational costs.

One important element of achieving the best possible ROI from an AV integration solution is to focus on energy efficiency, says Mayer. Companies should ask questions about power consumption of screens, projectors and other gear that they buy.

They must also consider power management features in the products they evaluate – a green AV solution can be configured to switch off or go into standby when it’s not being used. Another way that companies can achieve better ROI in the AV environment is by using AV control and automation systems to reduce energy usage, manage maintenance, and improve operational efficiencies.

Says Mayer: “It’s no longer enough to offer solutions such as dimming the lights and automatically turning off a screen or a projector. Tighter integration of AV, IT and environmental systems allow these systems to intelligently communicate with each other and react to varying conditions to optimise energy and cost savings.”

Today’s solutions can use algorithms to adjust devices in response to variables such as natural light, temperature, time of day, occupancy, and room usage. For example, a projector and the air conditioner in a meeting room could be primed to turn on 10 minutes ahead of a scheduled meeting – contributing to the ROI of this integrated system.

In order to determine the best AV solution offering optimal ROI, companies should partner with knowledgeable and reputable integrators who will be able to not only provide the best solution, but assist with determining and providing ROI calculations – showcasing the true value of the integrated solution.