What exactly is AVaaS?

While questions abound, new AV as a Service model offers the benefits of accessing and using a range of tools—with lower up-front costs

AV-as-a-Service is such a new concept that no one has yet been able to define it.

The most common definition floating around, says Scott Tiner, director of client services at Bates College in Maine, is a contracted service in which schools pay for their entire AV ecosystem, including the equipment, installation, and integration and support.

Hypothetically, a third-party service provider or integrator installs the tools and for a monthly fee provides ongoing support to maintain or upgrade those tools for the duration of the contract. The approach keeps operating expenditures consistent and lowers up-front capital expenditures for schools, Tiner explains. It could also serve as a way to acquire new technologies without a hefty down payment, Tiner says.

Think of this as music or video-streaming service, software-as-a-service, or even a car lease as examples, Tiner suggests. You get the benefit of accessing and using a range of tools, but you never own them.

That’s also why administrators are still struggling with the concept. While up-front costs are lower, what happens when the contract is up or what if the university wants to buy the equipment? And what happens when a newer version of a component becomes available? Is the administrator allowed to upgrade tools before the contract is up and how does this impact monthly fees?

Jim Wellings, the multimedia engineer at Utah State University, says integrators and installers are trying to compel universities to adopt the model, but he says these part of a long list of lingering questions.

What’s more, Wellings says that systems design, procuring AV gear, and delivering ongoing and preventative maintenance and upgrades are already part of the work that AV administrators do. Whether AVaaS gets adopted in the future will depend on how competitively integrators price their services to make it an affordable option for the higher ed market, Wellings says.

Read the main article: Considering AVaaS? 7 things you need to know

More coverage on AV and IT: UBmag.me/IT

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