What exactly is aging equipment? Among manufacturers, integrators, and clients, there are too many definitions to keep track. It’s important to have some idea of what it is and what it means for you as an end user. You could very well find yourself at a huge time and monetary loss. The following tend to be the viewpoints on equipment lifespan based on each stakeholder:
Manufacturers - Each year, new equipment rolls out and at the end of 3-5 years, most have new product lines. The lifespan is short.
Integrators - Trying to bridge the gap between manufacturers and clients means averaging the need for cost effective results. Expected lifespan is between 5-7 years.
Clients and Users - There’s an expectation to use a product until it’s no longer working or is causing problems. Thus, the lifespan should last much longer than what may seem reasonable by other stakeholder views.
Integrators, like Interactive Solutions, Inc. try our best to be the peacemakers. While bridging the gap between manufacturers and clients, we are at their mercy, respectively. As manufacturers regularly roll out new parts and product lines, we know that many clients don’t care to update to the latest - they just want a working room and equipment. Herein lies a balancing game. If you have a room, equipment, or system that is 3yrs or older, it should be reviewed to determine an estimate of its lifespan, how long each product will be supported by its manufacturer, and to evaluate the cost of support and continued use. These 3 “Musts” can help clients receive optimal lifetime and use of equipment without forfeiting invaluable time or significant amounts of hard-earned capital.
1. Preventative Plans are Paramount
In a fully integrated room with multiple cameras, displays, points of control, speakers, etc., what seems like a $100 fix couldn’t be further from the truth. Think of it as a chain reaction. If a $100 part gives way and needs to be replaced, without a maintenance plan, you’re most likely going to have to purchase whatever the manufacturer currently has on the market. This means updating the whole “chain” by replacing this $100 part with compatible parts and redoing programming. What looked like a quick fix just turned into a weeks long project resulting in new parts, labor, and time costs.
2. Obtain Resources that Help Determine Aging
The way to solve “Must” #1 is to find a support team. This support team should thoroughly and properly examine, determine the possible aging risks, and set a yearly budget to maintain your equipment. Further collaboration to potentially keep spare parts if there isn't a budget to redo the room entirely will help reduce future costs and downtime. For example, if you purchase a control panel and we know that the manufacturer is going to roll out a new line next year, it might be smart to purchase two at a lower cost. We can program both and put one in the “closet” for when or if the first gives way.
3. Set Growth Plans for the Future
The value of having a preventative growth plan outweighs the costs. It’s simple. Know your equipment and have a vendor with a proactive instead of reactive support team. Purchasing a service agreement on the front end is much better than having instantaneous frustration and fear of potential losses when your tech fails. Choose partners that offer this kind of support and are willing to develop a budgetable growth plan for your future. Otherwise, your vendor isn’t being a true partner!
Sean Carter is our Maintenance Contract Manager for Interactive Solutions, Inc. ISI services clients in need of AV, telemedicine, and telecommunications equipment across North America. With 22 years of experience, ISI’s support team specializes in repair and preventative maintenance. We can develop a partnership that prevents frustration, down time, and loss of income due to unexpected inability to use your capital investments. If you’d like to know more, please click on the “Request Info” tab at the top of our website, or contact Sean Carter directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Written in collaboration with Sean Carter