March 4, 2016 by Ann Brigida
Racks

Something great happened in Amsterdam right before Integrated Systems Europe: a group of AV experts got together to author a first draft of a rack-building standard for the AV industry. This gathering of knowledgeable rack builders from across the globe met virtually in the weeks before their meeting to gather references and review the tight scope given to them by InfoComm’s Standards Steering Committee. It’s the second InfoComm standard solely for use inside our industry, although everyone who builds AV racks is encouraged to adopt its recommendations when it’s done. Our first, Cable Labeling for Audiovisual Systems (CLAS), was published late last year. If you missed it, you can read about the process for developing CLAS. It gives great guidance for proper cable labeling without dictating exactly what your numbering scheme has to be.

It wasn’t an accident that the rack-bulding standard-writing session took place in Europe. InfoComm is dedicated to making standards for the AV industry, not just North America. But that’s not as easy as it sounds — finding common language for terms as simple as “rack building” is a project in and of itself. In the U.S. it’s called “rack building,” but in other parts of the world, other terms are used to mean the same thing. Rest assured that every task group we have includes members from outside the U.S., and that means that some of our volunteers have to jump onto phone calls at 5 in the morning or 11 at night.

Then there’s the challenge of writing the standard itself. The group scrutinized every word of the terms of reference given to them and, as a consequence, more questions arose: Should the standard include thermal management (perhaps some type of performance metric)? What about design elements? (It’s a performance standard, so that would require another standard.) Environmental factors? And as usual, the earthing/grounding considerations that give rise to hours and hours of discussion.

The group met the challenge with great determination and their professionalism and expertise were the order of the day. The first draft was completed. There’s still a lot to be done, but my hat is off to this group for tremendous work. Thank you, Jay Franetovich, CTS; Nick Pidgeon; John Bailey, CTS-D, CTS-I; Jason Brameld; and our moderator, Tim Troast.

There is plenty of work to be done in the standards world. If you’d like to help out, we’re always in need of another expert! Please send us an email with your interest: standards@infocomm.org. We’d love to have you join the effort.

About Ann Brigida

Ann Brigida, CTS, is Director of Standards for AVIXA. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Standards Professionals, where she is also the Publications Council Director. In 2013, Brigida won the U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day Paper Competition for her paper "At Work and Play and Everything in Between: Standards Keep the Ball Rolling."