Behind the scenes of a system integrator’s workshop

Read the full article by Glyn Hutchinson on Yachting Pages

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a system integrator’s workshop?

Today’s latest AV/IT systems are predominantly installed in centralised equipment racks and this opens the door to a pre-build and Factory Acceptance Test as part of the project delivery.

The logic behind centralising equipment is as follows:

  1. Owner areas are high value real estate. Therefore maximum space should be reserved for guest use including storage/cupboards and furniture.
  2. AV/IT equipment takes space and with Wi-Fi control and the decline of disc players, there is no need to have the hardware in the room. Guests control everything remotely.
  3. AV/IT Equipment also generates heat, which can be difficult to manage in a small room cabinet.
  4. Installing full height equipment racks in purpose built “rack rooms” provides a cool managed environment and improves the ability for ETOs/engineers to service the systems without intruding on guests.
  5. The additional space available enables each rack to be powered using large capacity UPS’ (uninterrupted power sources) to ensure that sensitive components are protected from yacht power fluctuations.
  6. Rack installations lend themselves to professional AV components which tend to be more robust and reliable than those intended for the home.

The workshop build

The integrators workshop is not different from any other, in that you have a purpose designed facility and all the tools and consumables close at hand to build racks efficiently and to high quality standards.

A ready stock of connectors, patch cables, labels, shrink wrap and cable ties are a must, together with the space and tools required to do the job properly.

Once the equipment is installed and cabled, we can commence the system configuration, programming and testing.

This ensures that the hardware is functional, but it also enables us to prove control integration and compatibility for AV signals from source to screen.

This process often culminates in an FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) where we invite our customers to visit the workshop to witness system functionality and evaluate the iPad control interface for the very first time.

The FAT typically replicates 3 to 4 rooms using our test wall so that we can demonstrate source switching and zone control for a complete “Snap Shot” of the system capabilities.

During this demonstration we can also prove other system technologies such as security cameras, electronic door locks and access control, UHF radio integration etc.

This is not only a key milestone in any large project, but also allows for customer feedback at a stage early enough to make any adjustments. For example, touch panel button layouts and colour scheme.

Following a successful FAT, all equipment is wrapped and shipped to the project site ready for a final installation onboard, commissioning and client handover.

Pre-engineering is of ever increasing importance for today’s yacht installations and one of the keys to an accurate and efficient delivery of AV/IT and security systems.

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