When considering a tech upgrade, your church has two options: go it alone (most likely with the help of Amazon), or you can choose to utilize a company specialized in the selection, sales, installation, and training of electronic systems and equipment. These companies are called “Systems Integrators.” Systems Integrators exist for any type of technical equipment (whether IT, A/V, telephony, etc.) across a wide range of organizations. Some specialize in churches specifically, while others may serve any type of organization (including education, government, and corporate).
While at first glance it may seem simplest and cheapest to not rely on a separate organization to manage the technical needs of your church, this is definitely not always the case. There are many reasons why your church should consider using a Systems Integrator for your next production install or upgrade.
10 Reasons to Consider a Systems Integrator for Your Install
- 1. Integrators have a wealth of product and system knowledge
Have you heard the phrase “making your second purchase first”? There are a lot of tech manufacturers to choose from when planning your audio, video, or lighting upgrade. Often, without using a piece of gear in your space, it might be tricky to know if it’s what really will work best long term. Online reviews may reflect what has worked best in some situations (like a band) but possibly not specifically a church. A System Integrator has a wealth of knowledge across a variety of manufacturers and types of gear, and will be able to inform what is best for your unique building, setup, and space to make sure that you are making the right purchase first.
2. System Integrators provide ongoing support
We’ve all been there. A piece of gear has worked fine through years of abuse from the band or production team, countless rehearsals, and Sunday morning RIGHT as the countdown begins… it stops working for no observable reason. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a resource with deep knowledge to count on in this situation that would be able to help solve the issue, or repair or replace the gear quickly if necessary? An integrator is a perfect resource in this situation.
- 3. System Integrators value safety
If there is one thing that we can plead of you in this article, it is to not put your church staff, volunteers, and congregation in danger by risking a sketchy installation. Too many incidents occur each year due to improper rigging, electrical or otherwise well-intended but simply uneducated methods of installation. For any project that may risk the safety of any person in your facility, you should utilize a qualified and/or certified professional, especially if rigging is involved.
- 4. Integrators have supply chain knowledge
Getting the right gear from the right place at the right time is more complicated than ever. Due to recent supply chain complications, many manufacturers are delayed in shipping orders by as long as a year. Integrators deal with supply chain every day, and will work to make sure that you have your equipment on time, or if need be, find suitable alternatives that may be available sooner.
- 5. Integrators are a source of commercial equipment
We get it. If you need to buy a big TV in a hurry, it’s tempting to go down to your local Costco or Best Buy and pick one up relatively inexpensively. However, in most cases, these devices are built for homes, not facilities where the equipment will have excessive wear and tear and likely left on for a great amount of time. Additionally, using consumer grade displays and equipment often voids the warranty in non-home settings. That’s why it’s best to utilize commercial grade equipment to ensure the highest performance and level of support long-term.
- 6. System Integrators help with budget
Of course, one of the biggest questions when planning a production install or upgrade is what the cost will be. Often, church leaders often have the perspective that the amount of money that they have is simply not suitable for a professional installation, leading to “jerry-rigging” whatever can be found from their personal electronics collection and what can be purchased online. Most integrators (especially those that work with churches exclusively) have a great understanding of the need to be conservative with funds, and will never scoff at a church with whatever their budget may be. They will work with you to find the best solution to your needs with whatever you have available.
- 7. System Integrators properly install your gear
You have your new gear. Now how will you put it together in the best way that will be clean and organized, safe, and allow you to make the most of it? Integrators specialize in the highest level of detail with gear installation, usually producing cables, mounting, and other infrastructure hardware on-site specific to your use case and venue. This enables you to make the most of your investment, and of course, enjoy that pretty cable management! And of course, good cable management is not just for looks — it also helps you to eliminate potential issues and manage your hardware as easily as possible.
8. Integrators are great for emergency product buys
Have you ever needed to buy a Decimator at 2AM for a production the next day? Even Amazon likely can’t even help you there, but chances are, a local integrator has one in stock! You won’t even pay much if at all more than you would from any other retailer.
- 9. Integrators provide turnkey package purchases, including glue
When purchasing any type of production hardware, usually it is not simply one piece of gear that needs to be purchased, but likely several combined signal flow items, whether cables, software, adapters, or anything else that you need to make the equipment function within your particular workflow. An integrator knows the right questions to ask from the start so that they can build just the right package for you, including all of the “glue” necessary to mesh the new pieces of gear together with each other and with your existing infrastructure.
10. An Integrator can help you try before you buy
Again, when dealing with any A/V/L equipment, there is a wide variety of manufacturers, technologies, and specs to consider. An integrator’s relationship with various product representatives often can provide you with the ability to test and compare variations of products (cameras, lighting, and microphones for instance) to ensure that they are right for your needs before committing to a full system.
Whether you are highly skilled in production or you don’t know an XLR from a PVC, a Systems Integrator is worth considering for your next A/V/L build or install. They will provide the in-depth knowledge, support, and safe installation to make sure that you are making the most of your tech budget and can spend more time using it to produce excellent, engaging experiences for your audiences!
At ChurchSpec, our goal is to help churches engage with partners that will help them most effectively accomplish their ministry goals. Visit our business directory to see highly skilled integrators that can help you with your tech needs.
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