Category AVI-SPL

Making AV Tech ADA Compliant in Higher Education

Jay Bosch, a director of business development for AVI-SPL, contributes with this post on ensuring ADA compliance in higher education.

Starting an “All Students” approach to ensure ADA compliance in your classroom

Students come to class with a desire to learn. However, sometimes there are challenges that need to be overcome in order for every student to have an equal opportunity to learn.  Employing an “all students” approach to the classroom allows every student to engage with instructors live or via remote means.  Also, classroom design is rapidly changing, and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance should be considered in all classroom formats. 

As learning environments become more interactive, ADA compliance can provide its own challenges.  Working with a professional audio/visual integration company can ensure your classrooms incorporate every students’ needs.  The education landscape and related technology evolves quickly.  It is important to build flexibility in your investment which includes the latest classroom designs and methods including distance learning, e-learning, hands-on learning, simulation and others. 

Considerations:

  • Competition to maintain and grow student population will increase as on-line offerings become more prevalent. This includes all students.
  • As the general population — including people with disabilities — relies increasingly on mobile devices, teaching will follow this migration and leverage it to better engage “smartphone-centric” students.
  • The pressure to stretch education dollars will likely drive the growth of e-learning, distance education, and any other pedagogical method that is more efficient and cost-effective than traditional classroom-based learning.
  • As all of these advances occur, ADA standards will adapt and expand to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind.
  • All new buildings and remodels should be designed with ADA compliance as a given, similar to all public restrooms with a wheelchair stall.

What is ADA compliance?

First enacted in 1990 and amended/updated in 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act is aimed at preventing discrimination against people with mental or physical disabilities. The titles of the ADA that apply to schools are administered by the Department of Justice (DoJ). The DoJ provides informational, regulatory, and enforcement support for the ADA’s requirements.  For the AV industry, the critically important document is the 2010 “ADA Standards for Accessible Design.”  (The ADA sections cited in this Legrand eBook are drawn from that document.) Assembly halls, conference rooms, classrooms, learning spaces, and lecture halls all fall within the ADA’s compliance standards.

Seven commonly recognized components of ADA compliance

  • Policy: Create a policy for electronic and information technology (EIT) accessibility
  • Designate an accessibility coordinator: Appoint an accessibility coordinator
  • Purchasing: Include accessibility criteria in EIT purchases
  • Post your accessibility statement: Include a link to an accessibility statement and resources and provide a feedback mechanism
  • Conduct an audit: Complete a prioritized audit of EIT
  • Fix any issues: Remediate inaccessible EIT
  • Training: Provide role-based training for faculty, staff, and administrators

Next Steps: Capital Requests

  • Logging which ADA standard(s) each requested piece of AV equipment complies with will also form the basis of a searchable ADA compliance database.
  • Having ADA compliance information included in a capital request helps AV designers in assessing whether the overall AV system meets the needs of people with disabilities, in all aspects.
  • Thorough documentation of ADA-compliant AV equipment will be needed in budget meetings, requests for proposals, inquiries and ADA audits.

Five things to consider for lifecycle planning with ADA-compliant equipment

  1. Recording ADA compliance information upfront will streamline any ADA audits that may occur. The necessary data will be a few keystrokes away, saving you time in compiling this information after the fact.
  2. Have ADA compliancy information available during equipment upgrades and replacements, and ensure your purchases are earmarked to be ADA-compliant.
  3. Should new product categories become subject to ADA compliancy standards, a quick search of your database will indicate non-compliant equipment. This data will help you plan for future ADA-compliant purchases and ensure you meet any deadlines set by the Department of Justice.
  4. Document and log compliant equipment with a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) process.  A VPAT is a vendor-generated statement that provides information on how a product or service conforms to the Section 508 Accessibility Standards for Electronic and Information Technology in a consistent fashion and format.
  5. A word to the wise: Be sure to check with your regional ADA Center to see which specific VPAT applies to your project.

ADA and AV

Many ADA requirements apply to the AV industry. The ADA’s requirements are meant to allow people with disabilities to access and use AV equipment in business and educational settings as easily as people without disabilities. ADA requirements apply whether or not a school receives federal funding. (Schools that receive federal funding also have to comply with another federal law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.)

For example, teachers in wheelchairs should have access to lecterns set at usable heights, and with sufficient surrounding space for them to maneuver into and out of.  Any AV controls and equipment associated with the lectern should be just as easy for them to access and use.

Fusion Fixed MountAs the term suggests, “ADA compliance” applies to the sum of the combined systems—not just its individual components—and the ways in which it is installed/operated complies with the ADA’s requirements. For example, under ADA rules that govern “Protruding Objects” (ADA Sections 204 and 307), a wall-mounted flat panel display cannot protrude more than four inches from that wall. There’s a good reason for this: An object protruding more than four inches could be a serious obstacle for wheelchair users and people with visual disabilities. While a two-inch-deep mount and 2.25-inch-deep display are ADA compliant on their own, when mounted together, they exceed the depth limit.

AVI-SPL is dedicated to making sure all students have an opportunity to learn, no matter if they are traditional, non-traditional or special needs.  AVI-SPL partners with nationally recognized names such as Chief, Da-Lite, Middle Atlantic, Sennheiser, Spectrum, and Vaddio, who all share our dedication to ADA compliance who provide excellent solutions for visual, auditory and mobility impairment.  Solutions include: wall mounts, swing mounts, height adjustable display mounts, electric height adjust carts, height-adjustable lecterns and desks, ultra low-profile credenzas, screens, speakers and microphones.  See the “Making AV Technology ADA Compliant” document for more information.

AVI-SPL Symphony a Finalist for SCN Award

AVI-SPL Symphony is a finalist for the SCN Installation Awards’ Most Innovative IoT Product. It is now up to you to vote for the winner.

Symphony is the managed services platform that automates the scheduling, launching, management, and experience of your meetings. It gives you global control of your AV and UC estate from a web-based portal. Symphony also provides custom reports that share valuable information like room usage, quality of experience and device status, all of which your team can use to determine ROI and meet business objectives.

Vote for Symphony

Please take a moment to vote now for Symphony. The category is the sixth question in the online form. You do not have to vote in every category.

Thank you for your time and your vote for Symphony!

VOTE NOW

Winners will be announced at InfoComm 2019.

Webinar Recording: Five Steps to Planning for a Video Wall

In this webinar, LG and AVI-SPL look at the steps to creating your perfect video wall. Bo Beard, sales engineer for LG Electronics, explains the factors that end users and integrators need to consider when planning a video wall project. Joining him is Chris Caputo, senior project engineer for AVI-SPL, who offers his expertise in control-room settings.

Tom LeBlanc, editorial director for Commercial Integrator and MyTechDecisions, moderates this look at LG’s:

  • webOS Smart Signage Platform
  • Curveable LAPE LED
  • Ultra-narrow bezel video wall display

You’ll also learn how determine display layout, find and prep the right environment, and choose the products that suit your content.

Get the Recording for “Five Decisions to Make when Planning for a Video Wall” >

Engage Your Staff and Guests With the MultiTaction Board

At InfoComm 2019, AVI-SPL will use a MultiTaction interactive video wall to share the story of digital workplace transformation. By touching images on the display wall, our staff will bring up content that explains how digital workplace transformation helps organizations improve their business outcomes.

MultiTaction creates interactive digital displays that people use to explore content — such as training materials or company information — and to collaborate in real time. For example, your staff can use the MT Canvus software to share and annotate content in real time among participants at different locations. Your company may use this and other MultiTaction solutions  to:

  • Improve collaboration in the boardroom and other meeting spaces
  • Draw more traffic to your trade show booth
  • Train staff 
  • Create interactive experiences in museums and lobbies. Visitors to the Australian War Memorial use a MultiTaction iWall to access oral and visual records, and engage with data, art, and other cultural works.

See AVI-SPL and MultiTaction at InfoComm 2019

AVI-SPL used the MultiTaction iWall to great success earlier this year at ISE 2019, and we’ll be using it again at InfoComm 2019, InfoComm is North America’s biggest AV show and will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando from June 8 to June 14. Stop by AVI-SPL booth 3852 to see the MultiTaction board in action and learn how we can help your organization improve its operations by being more agile and collaborative. 

AVI-SPL Opens Office in Omaha

AVI-SPL’s Omaha Grand Opening on April 25 kicked off at its new office building, located in Papillion, Nebraska. To celebrate the event, the day’s festivities includes games, food and drink, and tours of the facility. Guests were invited into the building to see the new space where AVI-SPL designs, engineers, and tests the solutions that it delivers to the greater Omaha area and beyond.

 

Highlights of the Grand Opening

Shelley Salys, senior VP for AVI-SPL’s central region, welcomed guests to the celebration. Those guests included representatives from the Sarpy County and Greater Omaha Chambers of Commerce, who spoke to the audience about the excitement AVI-SPL’s presence brings to the local communities.

AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel  thanked the chambers and Papillion Mayor David Black for their support, and noted Omaha’s growth and need for collaboration solutions among its organizations, schools, and businesses. Zettel and other AVI-SPL executives joined both chambers of commerce and the mayor to cut the combined Sarpy County and Greater Omaha Chamber ribbons to mark the official opening.

Following the tours of the AVI-SPL office, many of the guests reconvened at Kros Strain Brewing for happy hour and conversation. Everyone at AVI-SPL, especially those in the Omaha office and the executive team, extends their thanks to the 130 guests that stopped by and welcomed AVI-SPL with open arms to the greater Omaha community.