What can I do to make my systems work the same across my campus or enterprise?
We understand that many organizations struggling with inconsistency from system to system because they need to work with multiple integrators for business reasons. Maintaining a relationship with a professional independent programming company, like Control Concepts, will help to not only provide consistency in system operation, but will streamline the programming process and produce a superior user experience.
How can I improve or fix my broken AV system?
Unfortunately, you are not alone if you are suffering from usability or performance issues. The good news is that this is fixable. The usability and performance of most AV systems are not related to bad hardware. Many times it is the control system programming and setup of equipment that has been done improperly. For this reason, it is important to have proper documentation of your system including signal flow drawings and any programming files. Having current source code for control system programming or audio DSP setup is the difference maker between being able to make adjustments to fix issues and needing to reprogram the entire system.
How do I know I will get what I need for my AV system?
Misaligned expectations are unfortunately a common occurrence when there is not a direct relationship between a technology manager and a control system programmer. Directly engaging an independent programming company, like Control Concepts, will put the power back in the hands of the client where it belongs. Rather risking the possibility that your user experience needs and requirements are accurately conveyed by a third party, investing in a relationship with a control system programming company with afford you the confidence that your directives will be carried to completion.
Why is AV programming so difficult?
Often times, when working with a systems integrator to do programming, the actual programmer may not be assigned until the entire project is nearing completion. Dialog with an independent programmer, like Control Concepts, is initiated as close to the beginning of the project as possible in order to foster a collaborative process of checks and balances to ensure the desired outcome.
How can I make Crestron / AMX / Extron programming easier?
Aside from consistency from project to project, another main advantage of having a direct relationship with an independent programming company, like Control Concepts, is efficiency. Each new relationship requires an upfront investment of time, trust, and the overhead of conveying requirements, needs, and expectations. Having a partner to lean on and the confidence that the relationship can be leveraged and lessons learned can be carried forward from project to project not only saves time and increases quality, it also lowers stress and minimizes risk. Time can be spent on implementing new features and constant improvement through iteration rather than redefining the basics.
Why does Crestron / AMX / Extron programming cost so much? How can I modify programming to make it more affordable?
One of the biggest fears and frustrations that we, at Control Concepts, hear from technology managers is the cost of modifications and upgrades. This is many times due to the way that programming is written or the number of one-off control system programs written for a client. This issue can be minimized or alleviated by architecting control system programming and creating one code base that encompasses various system types allowing them to be more easily and efficiently managed and maintained.
Do I really have to update my source code… what are the best ways to maintain Crestron / AMX / Extron programming?
Proper maintenance, version tracking, and documentation of source code is critical to the long term success of a system. Whether it is to troubleshoot issues, replace equipment, perform user preference adjustments, or add new features, all systems require modification and updating over time. For that reason, it is critical that source code is responsibly managed, documented, archived, and made available to the client. Without current source code and documentation, updating and maintaining systems can go from difficult to impossible. It is advisable to protect your investment by partnering with a independent programming company, like Control Concepts, not only to ensure your user experience is ideal, but to protect your digital assets.
Is there a way to get a fixed price on the programming portion of my projects? How can I manage Crestron / AMX / Extron programming for my project?
Control system programming is one of the biggest variables in a project. When left open to chance, an unpredictable outcome is a common occurrence. Consultants and end user clients can remedy this by specifying a familiar, reliable independent programming company, like Control Concepts. Through building a relationship and directly engaging an independent programming company, consultants and end user clients can rest assured that their project directives will be carried to completion.
I can program the control system, but tailoring it the to clients needs is time consuming. Is there any easier way to get through this? How can I make the process of defining Crestron / AMX / Extron system programming requirements easier?
The challenge in programming a control system is more about defining the appropriate scope of functionality for a client than it is writing the actual code. For a consultant or technology manager, the ability to articulate operational requirements and convey a detailed scope of functionality can be a challenge. Putting a description in writing can be more limiting than beneficial as it can be open to interpretation or overly onerous. Problems such as these can be addressed by working closely with an independent programmer, like Control Concepts. With a little investment in a mutually valuable relationship, both parties will find that familiarity will be established, expectations and preferences will be understood, communication will be effortless, efficiencies will be built, and challenges such as defining a scope of functionality will be overcome. Rather than needing to stress of documenting a detailed scope of functionality, a baseline understanding of expectations can be assumed from project-to-project and time can be spent focusing on the unique and challenging aspects rather than the tedious routine details.
How can I duplicate myself as the Consultant to fit in all of the on-site visits required for projects? What can I do to have more influence over the outcome of my AV projects?
A consultant’s time may be their biggest asset. Thus, inefficiencies, additional meetings, and unanticipated site visits due to open items and incomplete tasks can be very difficult to stomach. By forming a relationship with an independent programmer, like Control Concepts, consultants have an ally to look out for their best interest. They can have a partner with boots on the ground that will report back status, identify potential issues or stumbling blocks, and verify when systems are ready for use and acceptance testing. Consultants can count on the fact that they will not be surprised by the state of the system when they arrive onsite and can feel confident that they are using their time effectively.
Where can I get some unbiased feedback on my design decisions? Who can help me ensure my AV design will meet my client’s needs?
One of the bigger values that an independent programming company, like Control Concepts, brings to a relationship is their knowledge bank from past experiences in varied situations. As a result, lessons learned can always be applied to future situations. Consultants often look to validate the information that they receive from manufacturers and integrators looking to sell a particular piece of gear or solution that may benefit themselves more than the client. Independent programmers can be the independent party that shares unbiased feedback and can provide the information that consultants need to make effective design decisions.
What is better: employing in-house Crestron / AMX / Extron programmers or working with a Crestron CSP / AMX VIP / Extron EQIP company? What are the benefits?
Although many AV integrators employ in-house control system programmers, building a relationship with an independent programming company like Control Concepts offers scalability, flexibility, enhanced capability, and greater coverage in times of need. Working with an independent programming company allows In-house control system programmers to focus on core clients and typical projects and systems leaving the unique, custom, and large projects for an outsourced resource.
How do I select the appropriate Crestron CSP / AMX VIP / Extron EQIP for my needs? What makes a control system so unique?
Independent programmers, like Control Concepts, allow AV Integrators to expand their capabilities and pursue new opportunities that they may not have considered with only their internal resources. Many independent programming companies have a specialty and/or offer a specific scope of services. Some specialize in complex projects both technically and in size, some offer expedited turnaround, some provide onsite support and project closeout, some offer complementary services like audio DSP programming, lighting programming, and system commissioning.
Why should I work with a Crestron CSP / AMX VIP / Extron EQIP if I have an internal programmer?
Employing in-house control system programmers is a seemingly good idea for many AV Integrators. Programming projects typically cost less using in-house resources. Internal resources also provide more flexibility in scheduling, can be managed directly, and already familiar with internal processes. However, developing, retaining, and keeping in-house control system programmers busy full-time can be challenging for some AV Integrators. Additionally, for control system programmers to expand their knowledge, capabilities, and efficiency, it is beneficial for them to be a part of a team. Most programmers learn from sharing of experiences, solutions, and ideas with peers. A partnership with an independent programming company, like Control Concepts, will not only help with specific project programming needs, it will strengthen and enhance the knowledge of internal resources.
What is a Crestron / AMX / Extron control module and why is it needed? How can I get a control module developed?
Many AV manufacturers and software providers invest a lot resources in developing an external API for control. An API or Application Programming Interface allows software developers and control system programmers to leverage the power and capabilities of a device or software application by accessing features or functions from an external control interface like an control system touchpanel, webpage, or mobile application. Unfortunately, many AV control system programmers are unable to capitalize on the API of complex devices due to time, cost, or capability restrictions without the availability of a pre-developed control system module or driver. Thus, it is important for AV manufacturers to realize the value of investing in a relationship with a software developer, like Control Concepts, to develop and support control modules/drivers to make integration of their products easy, fully functional, and successful for programmers of any skill level.
Why are Crestron / AMX / Extron modules so important for AV manufacturers? Why do I need a Crestron / AMX / Extron module?
The configuration or “no programming required” approach to control system solutions is gaining in popularity and effectiveness due to its reduction in cost, time, and ease of implementation. The value of the configurable control solutions is that they don’t require deep knowledge of programming and code development. Instead, they rely on the simplicity of a drag and drop interface and the availability of pre-developed modules/drivers to interface with devices or applications. Manufacturers who have pre-developed modules or drivers for configurable control platforms will find their devices are in favor over those who do not have modules or drivers developed.
What impact does a Crestron / AMX / Extron control module have on a project?
While AV manufacturers and software providers should strongly consider the value of investing in modules or drivers for their complex products, control system manufacturers must also realize the value of a robust library of device modules or drivers that support ease of integration of third party devices with their platform. As project budgets, timelines, and requirements become more demanding, AV integrators and control system programmers alike don’t have the availability and capability to absorb the effort required to develop and module or driver on their own. The availability of a pre-developed control module or driver is can set products apart when it comes to selecting a particular device or application for a particular project or need.
I’ve invested all this money into developing a fully-featured API and now that it’s done my Crestron / AMX / Extron programming isn’t working with it? How do I get the most out of my AV device API?
Despite the time, effort, and money invested into developing a fully-featured API for a manufacturer’s device or software provider’s application, all can be for naught if a programmer does not know how to interpret the API, develop working code that provides the intended functionality, and understand how to effectively implement the device or software in an AV system. Working with an AV software developer that specializes in control systems, like Control Concepts, is a great way for a manufacturer or software provider to ensure that an external interface will be effectively developed, the product will be accurately represented, and that integrators and programmers who are looking to integrate the device or application with a control system will be properly supported.