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Change too often comes under the hurdle of pressure. Something has failed, we must change it and too often this change then happens under the pressure of time.

Not often enough do we consider the need of change with advance planning. How often are we able to fix or create a new feature with a simple “add-on” or a programming reconfiguration/additional program license can we improve the system to act like a more advanced one? Too often.

I’m not an advocate of rip out the old, put in the new. Or buy this latest fancy gadget to replace your current one as your guest will love it! I am probably somewhat more conservative and will put the question forward as to “Do you really need to do this?” Spending money where it may very well not be needed.

I mean, is it worthwhile simply doing a complete revamp or can we squeeze that little more out of the current setup?

That said, I am also of the type that if you get some new system, or have something underutilized, let’s go and get the absolute best out of it. What is a high-end amplifier system worth when you put low end speakers on it? Do that and you are only doing an injustice to the system!

I was listening to a Podcast not too long ago where a company assisting with project change management talked about driving forces vs restraining forces. The metaphor that was used was one of an imaginary line in the middle of a field. On the left you have all your driving forces pushing this line right towards your goal. On the right of the line, pushing back to the left is all your resistance to stop you reaching that goal. That resistance in the frame of projects often is as simple as old habits… we have always done it this way… imagined cost factors… new procedures to implement… different interface tools… something new to learn…

And the more you push, the more resistance there seems to appear! When in effect we should be looking at not creating more “push” reasons to do something but simply remove the “resistance” reasons that is stopping us.

How does this apply in the world of AV & IT?

Let’s talk about the demand of having the “party” mode music, i.e. the same music throughout the vessel. Well, some come up with the solution of the AppleTV box being able to sync streamed music, that doesn’t help when you are trying to play locally stored music. Or one could run extra audio cables back from the main rack to all the Amplifiers located in different section.

These are all “patches” because we don’t want to go to the expense of changing hardware. The hardware cost involved in that, compared to the cost of opening all the headboards to pull a wire.

Sometimes we just need to sit down and see our goal differently. We want music everywhere, we can use a 3rd party patch device to achieve this, we can rewire the whole ship, or is it time to go to some completely new technology, like a centrally controlled AV system running over IP, where suddenly you can connect anything and everything from anywhere to everywhere. i.e. remove the resistance of using simple small patch fixes which in the long run create headaches and multiple failure points just at the time you least need that.

Is it time to sit down at the table? Consider what stops you from doing a full change, what resistance there is to do a full change where you end up with a simplified system, a more flexible system, a more future aware system (no system is future proof!!) a more compact less heat creating system. And potentially over the 5 years to come… a lot cheaper! Maybe not, at the same time that hour or two, amongst yourselves or together with a consultant may pay off big time.

This article was written by Tim Gorter, Virtual AVIT ETO, www.teletechnics.com. Call me if you have any AV or IT questions (I won’t charge or bite for simple questions!) or need technical support and training for crew assigned to look after their AV & IT system onboard. I want to make sure you understand how it works, and that you get the best out of it. Call for an AV & IT health check, more on teletechnics.com

by Tim Gorter, AV/IT/Wi-Fi Virtual AVIT ETO (teletechnics.com)