SO a yearand a half later.. What we have learned.... In a commercial environment where a facility is used and rented 365 days a year, it does not pay to cheap out. It does not work if you have no IT staff hours allocated to the management of a system designed for a residential application.
It DOES pay to buy did not work for.. That my friends, is insanity considering there were only 30 hours of staff time allocated in the strategic plan. Something like Crestron when you have an authorized dealer, installer and professional business 2 miles away from you who can remote in at any given time and fix a programming bug, or an installer who keeps stock of Crestron spare parts and can swap out a module should it go bad.
Last year documented, we had two staff one who hat 72 hours into a/v management, one had 87. We had me, who had 168 hours into management, fixing, and dealing with some heavy stressful political fallout form things not working, not scaling, etc.
327 documented hours of trying to fix something sold for an application it
We work for a c6 membership corporation so on paper, that is 297 hours taken away from the technical service and support of a few thousand members who pay for that support. Financially, it was a net loss to the members of $12,771.00
or for us, a part time entry level tech support person for a year. A ton.
Depending on the application, staffing,, need to support unlimited devices (as far as auto-scaling) etc. is how one should judge an a/v project.
Our IT dept by the numbers is already 2.5 staff short, so we have 2 full time upper tier techs working no less than 54 hours a week to support the a/v needs of the business. Nothing buy 15 hours a piece s what is allocated to a/v support and I am not able to allocate more hours, hire another desperately needed staff person, or re-allocate current hours to a/v.
For me, it makes the most business sense to hire a company t install a Crestron system, and let THEM mange it. For the upper level guest speakers, the members and the board of directors the only option is to have something installed that is essentially hands-off, and works each time, every time on any device plugged into the wall.
Is Crestron expensive? Oh Lord is it ever! Does it work EXACTLY the way we want it to? Yes and then some.
Was paying an authorized, certified, professional installer, dealer and technical support group to rip everything out of the board room and the classroom and replacing it with a Crestron system including an 8x8 digital matrix, 7" touchpads, Crown amps, Denon Blu-Ray, Crisco DVR, two Sharp 80" LED TV's one 60" Sharp LED TV, and the pinnacle of viewing Samsung 65" 240 hz LED TV in the board room expensive? Oh yes.. yes. yes. yes very expensive..
Was it worth it? It was beyond worth it. The system is incredible. The install looks like art work. Everything we plug in works each time every time and any staff member, even those who struggle to turn on a PC can set up for a meeting in a matter of minutes..
For us, the Crestron was the right choice and we have a system that is perfect.
Perhaps it is not perfect for every business or individual, but for our application and for what we needed, we could not have asked, wished, or dreamed for anything more or anything better than what we now have.
And what else to I think about our first floor install? We are reallocating budget dollars in a planning meeting Monday, and working with the same authorized installer to rip out everything out of these floor banquet rooms, and install a Crestron system on our third floor as well.
It is not a matter of technical aptitude for us, it is a matter of being understaffed and having no time we can put into the residential URN in a commercial venue that is rented out, sometimes two or more times up to 365 days a year...
Had I listened to by gut the first time, with what we paid for the first floor new, and the original 1st and 3rd floor install being ripped out I could have already had something the fits our needs, would have saved money, and would have saved myself from a ton of personal stress, hurt feelings, and grief. We would have spent more time supporting our members who are the key and primary responsibility of our department instead of fixing a paid installation from a company that’s been in business for over 20 years who obviously bit off way more than they could chew. A year and a half later, weeks of trying to fix what they installed, it still is not right, and it only functions part of the time. And now, that too is being ripped out and installed with a good piece of hardware, by a company who actually knows what they are doing…
Just like with technology, in commercial A/V.. You get exactly, what you pay for……..