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. Note that AVI-SPL will host a Legrand | AV webinar on AV and ADA compliance on Sept. 4.

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 Requirements for 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.

Register for our Sept. 4 webinar “The Intersection of AV Technology and the ADA: Challenges and Solutions” >

Webinar Recording: Moving Your Audio Distribution Over IP

Listen to this webinar on audio over IP to learn about your organization’s options for networked audio distribution.

During this free Commercial Integrator and MyTechDecisions webcast, sponsored by AVI-SPL and HARMAN, you’ll get a comprehensive rundown of AV over IP technologies like Dante, AVB, CobraNet, and BLU Link, HARMAN’s digital audio bus that can complement the other audio transport technologies.

HARMAN’s Al Crain walks through the pros and cons of these audio networking protocols, reviews the AES67 interoperability standard, and takes questions from attendees.

Get the recording for “Moving Your Audio Distribution Over IP” >

Webinar Recording: Choosing a Wireless Presentation Solution

Get the recording of our webinar, “Choosing a Wireless Presentation Solution: Cut Through the Clutter.” During this event, Tom LeBlanc, editorial director of Commercial Integrator and My TechDecisions introduces the topic by asserting the value of collaboration in today’s work culture.
 
Lieven Bertier, director of go-to-market strategy and services, meeting experience, for Barco, then touches on topics like:
  • What makes a perfect meeting
  • Statistics based on surveys about business meetings
  • How to add value to meetings
  • What we need from our collaboration technology
  • Benefits to expect from collaboration meeting solutions
  • Barco ClickShare and its value as a wireless collaboration solution

Get the recording for “Choosing a Wireless Presentation Solution: Cut Through the Clutter” >

 

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 >

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.