These finishing touches cover several bases, including fine tuning the devices and ensuring that the control system programming functions to the customer’s liking.
“Most of our [role] is supplemental – the ability for us to help our resellers amplify what they’re doing across the country with their own customer base,” Cory Allen, Director – VP of Services at Exertis Almo explained.
“Some groups may not have a resource in a particular area, so they have to send field commissioners or travel,” he added. “Our goal is to provide a supplemental resource by going to that location for them.”
Along with mitigating customer challenges associated with travel, commissioning services provide relief from the demands of the job on a single person.
“Field commissioning is very demanding on the individual, oftentimes with long hours and weeks of work,” said Allen. “We’re building a team to prevent one person from being out in the field for an extended period of time, allowing commissioners to move onto different projects while providing the integrator with fresh, focused help.”
The role requires a specific skill set, as the commissioner must have a hands-on approach to their work and be comfortable troubleshooting while successfully working alongside programmers and project managers. While each commissioner brings a different specialty, they are backed by the entire Exertis Almo team with a wealth of knowledge and a history with a variety of products, clients, and scenarios.
When compared with the installation process, there is a clear delineation between the two responsibilities. Installation provides the project’s function through the connection of hardware, whereas commissioning acts as the fine-tuning of the technology to ensure that the system is optimal for the customer.
“Not every system is alike, so we try to figure out the equipment and devices interacting with [the system] in our final checklist,” Allen explained. “Although we don’t require knowledge of every step of the project when quoting a customer, we should have a good idea of the steps we’ll need to take when we get on the job site.”
When commissioning an audio system, a team member will push the audio through the system, checking the meters and DSP platform to understand the sound, and noticing any potential for distortion, echo-cancelling for video-conferencing technology, and more. Through this process, the commissioner tests the typical and atypical operations, ensuring that the system is performing correctly while educating the end user on how to correct any issues that occur.
On the control side, the process is much more straightforward. Touch panels are tested to ensure that they are functioning properly, and video signals are routed. By utilizing the tools provided by AVIXA standards, an Exertis Almo team member can efficiently commission a project and inform the installer on what problems need to be corrected.
Along with in-person work, Exertis Almo also provides remote commissioning for certain projects.
“We’ve been doing remote commissioning for a long time,” said Allen. “One of our programmers will remote-in to the system on TeamViewer, pushing the code and getting responses back if their actions don’t work.”
Although the process is remote on the commissioner’s side, the process requires someone on-site – usually the integrator – to complete the hands-on work with the system.
Regarding prices and quotes, the Exertis Almo team provides a rough estimate of travel, materials, and time to the customer. To minimize the travel required for various projects, Exertis Almo is working to construct a team in key locations throughout the country.
“The size of our team is based on demand, and as we begin to build and assess where most of our opportunities are, we will be able to better pinpoint these spots,” said Allen. “I expect us to expand a lot within a short period of time, and having this capability provides us reseller benefit from the bottom up, and top down from the manufacturers.”
In fact, a great deal of value in commissioning services lies in the end user training guides. By providing the customer with reference guides and answers to frequent questions, Exertis Almo provides customers with peace of mind – and the most complete understanding of their system.
This brings up a common question: If commissioning services are the final touches on a project, when is a project officially complete?
“A project is never 100% complete,” said Allen. “A project is finished when the scope-of-work list is complete, the system functions [as intended], and the client will likely be satisfied with the system.”
At Exertis Almo, we’re here to help you grow your business. Contact us to learn more about commissioning services for integrators.