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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!

 

Our Event Production team shows off our new Shoji Diffusion Panels. They are now available for rental!

Take your event to the next level with this fully customizable backdrop that will bring an extra bit of visual WOW to whatever you are doing.

Contact us for your next event: Click here!

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

What does Dobil do, exactly?

We do system integration and that starts with the AV system but included a lot of other things. Dobil Laboratories tries to make it work simply and easily. We service all markets!

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

Have you ever wondered what our audio visual space looked like or where we all come?

Watch this video and take a tour of our office, Dobil Laboratories, Inc.

During a recent site survey, “I had the opportunity to spend some time in my customer’s office,” John Williams.  As I waited for him to finish a brief phone conversation, I did what any good salesperson would do – I looked around at the photos, mementos, and other items of personal significance he had chosen to display.  There were the usual family photos, framed certifications, and commendations; but one framed citation particularly caught my eye.

Todd was a retired Navy lieutenant.  During his tenure, he had served on multiple nuclear submarines.  On the occasion of his retirement, his Commanding Officer presented him with a plaque which now hangs prominently on his office wall.  It is a quote attributed to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, who directed the original development of naval nuclear propulsion.  Here’s what it said:

“Responsibility is a unique concept.
It can only reside and inhere in an individual.
You can share it with others but your portion is not diminished.
You may delegate it but it is still with you.
You may disclaim it but you cannot divest yourself of it.
Even if you do not recognize it or admit its presence, you cannot escape it.
If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else.
Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.”

I share this with you because as I read it, my thoughts immediately turned to many of the project managers here at Dobil I have had the privilege to work with throughout the years.  In a world filled with “spin” and finger-pointing, they have repeatedly demonstrated what it means to “be responsible.” Audiovisual systems integration is only as good as the last guy standing on the project who has the strength of character to accept responsibility for resolving whatever problems the project may present – especially when to do so is painful or costly.

On behalf of my customers who count on you, Thanks, guys. You really are special.  I am so grateful for the privilege of working with you!

 

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.