Category AVI-SPL Partners

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.

InfoComm 2019: Take AVI-SPL’s Guided Tour of New Solutions

Make the most of your time at InfoComm 2019 by taking AVI-SPL’s Guided Technology Tours of select partner booths, where we’ll highlight prominent digital workplace video and UCC solutions. Each of our five tours is curated by AVI-SPL and features the guidance of subject matter experts from our leading vendor partners as well as your AVI-SPL hosts.
 
We’ll begin the tours at AVI-SPL booth 3852 in the Orange County Convention Center. From there, we’ll spend about 15 minutes at each partner booth to learn about solutions that improve collaboration, engagement, productivity, and talent attraction/retention in your workplace. At the conclusion of each tour, we’ll raffle prizes at our booth. 
 
Register early to reserve your space. Registration will also be available prior to each tour at our booth. Tours include:

  • How to Optimize Your Huddle Rooms
  • Enterprise Video Production and Management
  • Connected Smart Spaces
  • Wow-factor displays and projection
  • AV over IP

Our tours will visit the booths for Barco, Biamp, Cisco, Crestron, Exterity, HARMAN, Legrand, LG, Mersive, MultiTaction, NEC Display, Onelan, Poly, Samsung, Shure, Sonic Foundry, and Sony. There will be plenty to learn from these vendor partners, and taking our guided tours is a great way to efficiently allocate your time while at the show.

Register for AVI-SPL’s Guided Technology Tours at InfoComm 2019 >

Q&A on Flexible Workplaces and the Future of Work

On May 2, Dusty Duistermars will be the keynote speaker at AVI-SPL’s TechSpark event in Atlanta. During this evening event, attendees will learn from digital workplace experts and technology providers about how they can shift their organizations toward the future of work. Duistermars is the senior vice president of digital solutions for JLL, which specializes in professional services in real estate. In the Q&A below, I spoke with Duistermars about changes in the workplace: what’s driving those changes and how companies can adapt. He’ll address these and related topics at his keynote talk in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market.

Interview With Dusty Duistermars

Q: What is the flexible workplace and what makes it so attractive?
Duistermars: Technology — specifically, mobility — has been impacting where and how we work for over two decades. The flexible workplace is simply space that allows employees to work in non-traditional ways, including remote work, co-working and desk sharing/hoteling. Flex space is typically higher-tech enabled, allowing employees to reserve space based on the type of activity they’re performing and only for a limited duration. These activity-based working spaces include a variety of supportive technologies like interactive video conferencing and wireless sharing of content that can be annotated in real time by participants.

We can trace this to a couple of factors: millennials and technology. Millennials have grown up with the technology that allows them to be in touch with one another on a 24/7 basis. So it’s no surprise that they expect the same of their work environment.

Q: Are we at a point where people can say “no thanks” to a company that doesn’t offer them the experience and resources they need?
Duistermars: Absolutely. Due to the overall talent shortages, employees have options. They could also go freelance; we’ll see the gig economy double in the next five years. If employers are not leveraging their space as a differentiator to both retain and attract employees, they will ultimately fail.

Q: What does this shift look like from the company side?
Duistermars: It’s no longer about occupancy, it’s about utilization and productivity.

Q: So instead of permanent assignments to space, assignments to real-time usage?
Duistermars: Right. You might have 200 or more people assigned to a designated area (typically referred to as a ‘neighborhood’) that only has 100 desks, and that will work because they’re not there at the same time.

Q: To do this, don’t you need a culture that welcomes and supports people working in and out of the office?
Duistermars: Yes, and you can build that culture by making collaboration technology systems and spaces available to them. Focus groups, design partners, and IT will help figure out how flexible to go in those areas. They’ll also account for work types, as on-site engineers will require different types of space than say the national sales team who’s rarely at ‘their’ desk. The idea is that more personalization and flexibility add to the employee experience.

Q: Where are companies at with the move to flexible workplaces?
Duistermars: First off, this doesn’t happen overnight. There are multiple steps, including detailed change management and communication strategies that are needed to be successful. That being said, we see, on average, about 5-10% of client portfolios being flexible. It’ll grow to roughly 30% within the next five years.

Q: What will account for that increase?
Duistermars: Talent is driving a lot of this. Millennials want the flexibility. It also a much better cost model for employers. A dedicated space can cost employers on average, $10,000 annually. That’s a lot of money for someone who’s only in their seat about half the time. Thus, desk sharing makes business sense too.

Q: Let’s shift perspective to the IT side. As more spaces become flexible, how does that affect their management?
Duistermars: It makes managing those spaces a challenge if you don’t have the right tools in place. Some platforms are capable of managing numerous aspects of the ecosystem. Or if you’re using a point solution/best in class model, you’ll want to make certain that it’s integrated properly and that you’re getting the right data (typically utilization) out of each system and able to analyze holistically.

Q: How is JLL helping companies that need employees on site?
Duistermars: That’s a great question. Allow me to break this down: First, we involve our consulting and labor analytics group to make certain the company is choosing the right markets/locations based on the type of talent that they need.

From there, we help them create great spaces where employees want to be. We also lean on partners like AVI-SPL to make sure the experience from desk to meeting spaces is frictionless.

Q: What advice do you have for companies that haven’t yet bought into the idea of workplace transformation?
Duistermars: The only constant is change. If you’re not getting ahead of this by focusing on your people and your technology, you won’t need to worry about any of this in five years; your company won’t exist.

To hear Duistermars speak in person about changes in the workplace and how companies should adapt, register for the May 2 TechSpark event in Atlanta.

Discover the Future of Work With AVI-SPL at ISE 2019

The world’s largest exhibition for AV and systems integration begins in less than 24 hours, and AVI-SPL is already there, getting ready to share its latest solutions and services that help companies enter the future of work.

At ISE 2019, guests to AVI-SPL booth 11-C155 will understand what we mean by digital workplace transformation and why it’s so valuable to organizations of all types. In short segments, our staff and special guests will use a five-panel MultiTaction display to explain:

You’ll find the times for these presentations at AVI-SPL’s ISE event website. At our website, you’ll also find a form for requesting a meeting with AVI-SPL representatives to answer your questions.

See AVI-SPL Solutions and Services for Workplace Transformation at ISE 2019

We hope to see you at Integrated Systems Europe, also known as ISE, the world’s largest AV integration show.  For businesses of all types, and IT and AV professionals, ISE is a great opportunity to network with colleagues while learning about the new technology solutions that companies have created to improve the way organisations do business.

This year’s event will be Feb. 5-8 at the RAI Amsterdam. You’ll find AVI-SPL at booth 11-C155. AVI-SPL is one of the world’s best known providers of AV and collaboration solutions to organisations of all types around the world. Our teams from the U.K., Germany, UAE, and the U.S. will be at the exhibition to share our services and answer attendee questions.

Schedule of events

All events are at booth 11-C155 in the Unified Communications Theatre unless otherwise indicated.

10 am – 10:30 am (Feb. 5-8)
Digital Workplace Transformation. Learn what digital workplace transformation can mean for your organisation, like improving the way people in the company work together and helping them be more productive because they have the tools and environment to be engaged with their work.

10:30 am – 11 am (Feb. 5-8)
Meeting-Room Standards. Discover why standards are important to establish when you want to implement meeting rooms throughout your organisation. Learn about AVI-SPL’s approach to creating those standards for your company and our Smart Spaces meeting rooms.

11 am – 11:30 am and 3:30 pm – 4 pm (Feb. 5-8)
AVI-SPL Symphony Demonstration. See how AVI-SPL’s managed services platform improves your company’s team collaboration and the reliability of your AV and UC systems.

11:30 am – 12 pm (Feb. 5-8)
RMIT Presentation. Australia’s RMIT University is using the AVI-SPL Symphony platform to monitor thousands of devices across hundreds of room around the world.

1 pm – 1:30 pm (Feb. 5-8)
MultiTaction Presentation. See what’s possible with the MultiTaction board and how it can be used to share your company’s story.

1:30 pm – 2 pm (Feb. 5-8)
Business Intelligence. You’ll understand why it’s important to track the use and health of your AV and UC systems. You’ll also see how Symphony delivers the custom reports that you need to measure the ROI of those systems.

2 pm – 2:30 pm (Feb. 5-8)
Technology Services. Get an overview of AVI-SPL’s process for providing clients with technology solutions that improve your operations. We’ll take you from consultation through implementation, adoption training, and global support.

Use AVI-SPL code 912672 when you register for ISE 2019 and save on the €150 admission.