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Well, it’s February – the month of Valentine’s Day and thoughts of love fill the air.

If for a moment we can suspend the romantic connotations, I can’t help asking the question, “Do you love your AV integrator?”  If so, why?  And if not, why not?

One of the more common questions I will ask in the early phase of getting to know a new potential client is, “Who are you working with currently?  Are you happy with their performance?”  The answers I get are often enlightening.  Sometimes the customer will say, “Oh yes.  We are very satisfied with Company ABC.”  – Which causes me to wonder why they are even talking to me at all.  Not that I mind, you understand, just curious.

Other times, the answer may be, “We have been working with Company XYZ and they came in with a great price, but every time we call for service – which is far too frequently – it will take weeks to get a service technician on site and then a few days after the service visit, the system fails again.”  Many times I will ask, “So are you getting pricing from XYZ for this project?”  All too often the answer is, “Yes” – Which causes me to wonder whether or not they are serious about doing business with an integrator who is capable of supporting their audiovisual needs.

So what does all of this have to do with Valentine’s Day?  The answer is “Relationship.”

In a numbers driven bid environment, the word “relationship” is often viewed as a dirty word.  In reality it is not.  We may call it different things – partnership, preferred vendor, or supplier of record.  In the end, the meaning is the same.  It is based on the fundamental understanding that despite all efforts to level the playing field, all potential bidders are not created equal; that some have demonstrated over time that they are better equipped to meet the customer’s needs.  They consistently deliver on their promises and fulfill their obligations.

Just as a couple’s relationship flourishes through years of trust and commitment, having a relationship with a select preferred vendor allows a customer to retain greater mindshare with the partner, provides greater freedom to explore and develop design concepts, shorten project timelines and in the process, simplify procurement through pre-negotiated discount pricing.

So do you love your AV integrator?  If the answer is “yes”, I would strongly encourage you to explore the benefits of a preferred vendor relationship.

John Williams is a Sales Engineer for Dobil Laboratories, a nationally recognized award winning audiovisual systems integrator based in Pittsburgh, PA.  With over 40 years in the industry, John specializes in creative solutions for audiovisual design and integration in higher education, corporate and house of worship applications.

Do you know how much bad AV is really costing you?

Part of my job is providing clients with proposals and financial estimates for a project. After the project is submitted, I am sometimes asked “Why is your price so much higher than XYZ Company?”

At this point, I review the product specifics of our quote and our competitor’s quote with the client. In most cases I discover that we are rarely quoting the same exact products. There are hundreds of brands to choose from when quoting a project. It is important to remember that these products not only vary in cost but also in quality, life-span and integration with other products. In most cases the old adage is true…you get what you pay for.

Why are the two quotes so different?

There are many ways to complete the project, or appear to complete it, since the AV industry doesn’t have a lot of hard rules. Specific projects often involve a lot of trial and error to see what parts and pieces are going to work best. There are many factors going into the cost of a project aside from just the cost of equipment. In order to be provided a turn-key solution for your space, you will also need to consider the costs for a professional to provide installation, creative designs, software programming, commissioning, and training.

Clients naturally think of price as their bottom line, but they need to consider the quality and extent of what services are being provided. Do you really know what you should be getting?  What happens if you have to make adjustments to your project? Will the AV company claim that changing orders weren’t included in the cost?  AV companies can vary greatly in the services they provide and include in their quotes. It is not uncommon for businesses to go with the lowest quote…only to find that the quality and functionality of the work is not present. This can be an expensive problem because it usually involves hiring a more reputable company to fix the mistakes…often from scratch.

Bad AV work can not only cost your company money, but it can also impact the quality of your own work and job performance.

Picture it! You are hosting an important video conference at your office where you are presenting a new initiative. The day before you did a test run and everything worked as planned!  You are feeling confident and prepared for the presentation that could have significant implications for your career. You start your presentation as planned and everything seems to be going well and then it happens…then the screen flickers. The people that have dialed in from across the globe to be a part of this meeting can’t hear you and they are seeing very few of the slides you’re trying to present. Not only are you embarrassed but you are getting angry. Who installed this terrible AV system?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research when choosing an AV company. In closing, here is my advice when selecting an AV company: 

  1. Get recommendations from other businesses.
  2. Once you have a company in mind, take a field trip to see some of the work they have done in similar industries.
  3. Ask them hard, pointed questions about what is being proposed. Make sure understand exactly what services are included in their quote.
  4. Determine if the AV solutions discussed be forward-compatible with the growing technology needs of your company.

By doing the right research and having the right conversations you will be able to select a reputable AV company that stands by their work. The cost of a functional and high-quality AV system will ultimately be less than the cost of bad AV work.

For more information visit our website www.dobil.com or email us at info@dobil.com.

Conor McCaskey

Eden Hall is a multipurpose facility. Watch the full video to see what the customer was looking to accomplish and some challenges Dobil Laboratories faced during AV installations.

“Eden Hall is an experiential campus that immerses today’s students, children, families, communities and life-long learners in the possibilities of tomorrow. It is a vital, interdisciplinary laboratory designed to support collaboration between leaders and learners, academia and business, and the arts and sciences.”

Check out Dobil’s services here: Click here!

 

When is the best time to consider replacing your projector screen? The best way to tell is when the image quality is deteriorating, the size or style of the room is changing, or you have different content available.

Over the years the surface may have been damaged or written on because many are made with vinyl. The chemicals that are used to make projector screens start to leach out, and this causes the surface to become blotchy and sticky which then results in the attraction of dirt and dust. Finally, it will start to stick to itself as it is rolled up and may not come down completely the next time you go to use it.

Here are some things to consider when shopping around for a new screen:

New Technology:

There is new screen manufacturing technology available in the past few years that can dramatically affect the image. New surfaces can reject ambient light. Grey screens that increase gain and surfaces that help with color reproduction. With projectors able to reproduce more and more colors. Your screen should not affect the original colors. Older screens can influence the image color. Some screen manufactures add blue tints to the screen surface to make it appear brighter. You don’t want an old screen to affect the color purity of your new image.

Resolution:

With the advance in Projector Technology from 1080P thru 4K, we are pushing more pixels into the image which means sharper and more accurate images. As projector quality increases, more pixels are added, brightness increases, contrast increases, and more colors that are able to be reproduced all make a great image.

Physical Characteristics:

The size and weight of today’s screens have been upgraded as well. The cases are smaller and lighter and fit in a smaller area above the ceiling. Also, the new frame designs look like a flat panel but come in much larger sizes.

Aspect ratio:

New projector display means different ratios. Depending on how long it’s been since the screen was installed it is best to match the aspect ratios of the screen to the native resolution and projector so you fill the entire screen with a nice bright image and no black bars. You will be able to display the image in its native resolution and the projector doesn’t have to work harder interpolating the video signal to an old nonnative aspect ratio.

It may be time to get a new screen as well, and it probably will be worth the dollar investment to be able to get the most out of your new projector.

So, don’t waste money you just spent on the new projector. Show off the money you just spent on the new projector. Show off your new technology and get the most from it with a new properly sized screen and correct surface screen.

For more information visit our website www.dobil.com or email us at info@dobil.com.

Ralph Rossi

I want to talk about the top 3 problems that you are happening in your meeting rooms.

Let’s get right into it.

1. Room Scheduling:

First things first, can you find a room in your office building that isn’t booked? Has Conor claimed the room you need for your presentation all week? There is nothing worse than a conference room squatter. Maybe there is a conference room squatter that doesn’t even use the room! We’ve all been there and have had to deal with people like Conor.

It is time to implement an intelligent room scheduling system. We’ve all seen the panels that light up green for vacant or red for occupied outside of a meeting room but those don’t help much if the light is red and no one is in the room. Make sure that when you make the investment in a room scheduling system that the system is able to tell if that room that Conor booked all week is actually in use or not. With an occupancy sensor and a little bit of programming the scheduling system is able to know whether the meeting rooms are occupied or not. If he’s not in there for a predetermined time after the meeting is supposed to start, the room becomes free again. Problem solved!

2. Device Connections:

Second, you’ve booked the meeting room that you need and you’ve prepared for your presentation all week. The meeting is about to start and you don’t have the right dongle to connect to the system. Or you have to embarrassingly crawl under the table to find the right wire to connect. Now you’ve wasted the first number of minutes of the meeting trying to get connected to the system and you have an audience sitting there watching you struggle.

The easiest way to avoid this situation is to use wireless presentation. By going this avenue there is no worrying about cables, dongles, or even what kind of computer/tablet/phone you’re sharing with. Wireless presentation makes all of these problems go away. Most of the manufacturers of these devices are very simple to use, and gives you the ability to connect to the display in seconds and in most cases more than 1 user can share content. When proposing this as a solution 99/100 IT departments raise an eyebrow until they find out how secure these devices actually are and how they’re designed to flourish on an enterprise network. Again, another problem solved!

3. Too many options:

Have you ever been in a room with a system that is overly complicated for no reason? You’re looking at a table of remotes and a touch panel with infinite options and you feel like you’re in NASA’s Mission Control Center. Next you pick up the packet of instructions that are nicely laminated next to you and you have 5 minutes to read through it and figure out how to launch the next Apollo mission, and all you wanted was to plug in your laptop and make a conference call… Good luck!

What if you walked into the meeting room and the system turned on for you? What if whenever you plugged in your laptop the system automatically displayed on the screen? What if you were able to dial into your conference with your cell phone and the room sound system paired with it? What if it was that easy? What if the system knew what you wanted to do and helped you instead of fought you? All of these things are not ideas of the future, they’re happening right now. Companies like yours are using these technologies to meet more effectively, to save time and resources and it doesn’t break the bank, and third problem solved!

Now is the time to stop worrying about these 3 problems with your meeting rooms. Dobil Laboratories, Inc. can fix every one of these problems with the latest technology solutions.

For more information visit our website www.dobil.com or email us at info@dobil.com.

 

David Rosenberger

We all have been in restaurants, bars, hotels, airports, and so many other places that have music playing. The music is there to keep us entertained, engaged, and distracted. It also helps to have a little bit of background sound during your time at places such as restaurants, hotels, etc.

As audio/visual integration professionals, do we actually fulfill our customer’s needs in each one of these applications? They may seem very similar, but in fact, all have very distinct differences, and this is one aspect that is extremely difficult to achieve.

Take a look at 3 different ways to listen to music in the places around you:

  1. Simple background music is a source that plays in stores, airports, or lobby ways of public areas and are the most basic of the background music that we provide. This type of music gives off some audible distraction so that it is not completely quiet in the environment. This is very basic and not as noticeable to guests.
  2. Restaurant background music is in no way the same as the simple background music as mentioned above. We are providing more than simple background audible distraction in this application. The music should be part of the atmosphere of the restaurant and help provide the atmosphere as well as create a tone and set a mood in the restaurant. As the restaurant fills with patrons the music should increase in level but too loudly. Music should assist in continuing the tone and mood. It should never create more noise to where the customers feel the need to raise their voices to be heard while talking amidst of their group. This is something an audio/visual integration professional should accomplish for those types of installations.
  3. Bar music systems are very different from the others and have a few different types and styles of applications. If a bar wants music driving the level, it will depend on the source of that music. Is it a juke box? Online music? Live instrumentation with musicians and vocalists? All of these have specific and yet very different types of equipment and installations. There is not a 1 system fits all solution. They all are to be evaluated independently and completely custom.

    A. Bar music from a juke box or an online streaming music will have relatively high output “Commercial Series” speakers and amplifiers capable of powering those speakers at increased volume levels compared to that of in average restaurant background music system for extended periods of time.

    B. Bar music from that of a DJ, in more of a high energy bar or night club environment, would require speakers and amplifiers that of what can be “Commercial or Pro Equipment” with the capabilities of much higher volume levels and including subwoofers for the type of dance music and sustained levels expected in these types of establishments.

    C. Bar music, consisting of primarily live performance and sound reinforcement of musicians, instrumentation and vocalists requires what is considered “Pro Gear” with higher quality, power, clarity and volume sustainability along with pro performance loudspeakers and professional digital mixing consoles, microphones and input capabilities far more elaborate than the basic online music or juke box.

All of these have independent and very specific types of equipment and setups as well. An Audio/Visual Integration Professional is necessary to help achieve these goals as well as recognize the need and have solutions for all.


-Brian Henderson

David Rosenberger has grown up with Dobil Laboratories, Inc. since birth. David has also worked in every role that Dobil Laboratories offers. Let’s take a look at what he has to say about his second home…

How long have you been at Dobil?

I can remember repairing transformers on speakers with my Dad when I was 10 after I was done with my homework. Then I worked every summer taking out the garbage, weeding the parking lot, sweeping the dock, terminating wires, and cleaning vans inside and out. 2012 was when I then moved into being a technician and was taught by some of the best in the business, many of which are still at Dobil Laboratories, Inc. After that, I moved into a project manager role and learned what it took to interact with our customers, set expectations, and deliver projects on time. I decided to switch into sales and did that exclusively for 2 years before moving into more of a leadership role.

My leadership role is currently Vice President at Dobil Laboratories. This position entails everything from steering the company in the right direction, helping to build out and design our new office building, selecting the right games for our employee game room, interviewing new hires, planning what our next steps are for pursuing and growing the business organically and selling.

What does Dobil mean to you?

Dobil is everything to me, it’s not a job, it’s not even a career, it’s a purpose, it’s family, it’s a drive that has been taught to me, it’s almost like an itch that I can never totally scratch. It’s the ultimate responsibility and challenge, keeping a large-small business alive and well, and keeping over 170 employees happy and satisfied is a serious thing to do!

One of the main reasons that we have such loyal customers is that they feel like they’re part of… THE FAMILY. We do our best to include them in all of our events and our achievements. Customers tend to stay with us so much so that when they leave their firm and move to another, they bring us with them. It’s simple, our job is to make them look good and if we achieve that then they will keep coming back.

What does Dobil Laboratories, Inc. do?

We haven’t even started talking about what we actually do here. Dobil finds new, refreshing ways to help people learn and meet more effectively. We use the latest in audio-visual technology to achieve that goal and it’s the best show on earth.

What we do here is so important because we are the team behind the curtain that is helping companies be more productive. We’re helping them solve that next problem that could change their afternoon, company, industry, or the world. We’re helping students learn, collaborate, show creativity, and ability to shape our/their future. This is all done by designing and creating the right system/technology environment for them.

A lot of our customers have been with us for over 10 years, some of them well over 20. We believe that this is because we always do what we say we’re going to do, we go the extra mile to make things right and most of all we care about the relationship with the customer/partner. This is synonymous with why we have such little turnover with our team. We treat our customers and team members like they’re family!

How has the company grown?

Over the last 5 years, the way that the company has developed and grown has been really fun to be a part of. Dobil Laboratories is rounding off the second year in our new building that is 3x bigger than our last and about 1000x nicer. We’re able to hold training and showcase our systems and capabilities through our building.

We’ve added and developed a number of key personnel over the last couple of years that have been pivotal to our success and I believe that we’re just getting started. One of the biggest things that I/we believe in here is training and continuing to learn and grow in our industry. The day that we are not learning and moving forward will be the day that Dobil perishes. We have some of the highest trained and certified staff IN THE WORLD let alone the east coast. We’ve been involved in some key partnerships that have forced us to learn and grow along with them.

Every new challenge is something that we can conquer TOGETHER, there is nothing that we can’t accomplish as a team. We’ve close to doubled our revenue in the last 5 years and maintained all of our core values

  • family
  • learning
  • humor

which seems to be the unicorn that companies try to find, and it appears that we’ve found it by staying true to ourselves!