Funding Needs for Audio-Visual Systems

Quality audio-visual systems are an absolute necessity to grab an audience’s attention. This is especially true in schools, offices, and house of worship. When preparing to install a new audio-visual system or integrate with an existing system, the concerns of the audio-visual budget, its funding options, and the need for technical support must all be addressed.
Audio-visual systems can make up a significant amount of a facility budget. Indeed, in modern high-tech building projects, the audio-visual work is often the largest sub-contracted job. Qualified professionals should inspect the building or facility, and the prospective client should shop around for reasonable quotes for the level of desired AV equipment. It is best to determine the interplay between available funds and the requirement of various systems early in the process. If the budget is too small, then either the project must be reduced in size or more funds must be acquired. Furthermore, the source of the funding should be decided. For example, is the audio-visual system part of the initial building costs like an electrical system? Or is it paid for from capital funds? Or perhaps the operations budget? The source of funding should be one the first decisions made.
The scale of the project will greatly influence available funding options. Will the project be a full-size building, integrations, renovations, or a one-off installation? These projects are handled differently between organizations. Funding options may include private internal capital, or public capital approved by a government body. Realistic appropriations need to be made as early as possible if the project is to include significant audio-visual capabilities. It is usually difficult to request additional funds once a budget is drawn up and approved.
Unfortunately, many brand new multi-million dollar systems sit underutilized or understaffed, and thus are not used to their full potential. To avoid this disparity, the audio-visual project budget should include allotments for additional training or for hiring additional staff. New systems can be unfamiliar with a staff accustomed to older technology. The technical staff may be required to address operations and maintenance concerns. In this case, additional funding for training may be needed to bring staff up to par with the latest systems. Additionally, even with training, the existing staff may not be able to handle the advanced systems. More staff may be necessary in this event.
Budgeting and funding should be agreed on and set early on in the project planning process. Effective budgeting can completely transform the audio-visual capabilities of a building or cause a total headache. Zeo Systems recommends avoiding the headache.