Installation vs Integration

Knowing the difference between Installation and Integration can certainly help you in creating successful AV project.

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According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

Basic definition of Installation:

  1. The act or process of making a machine, a service, etc., ready to be used in a certain place
  2. The act of installing something
  3. A ceremony in which someone is put in an official or important job
  4. Something (such as a piece of equipment) that is put together and made ready for use

Full Definition of INSTALLATION

  1. the act of installing :  the state of being installed
  2. something that is installed for use
  3. a military camp, fort, or base
  4. a work of art that usually consists of multiple components often in mixed media and that is exhibited in a usually large space in an arrangement specified by the artist
Integration:

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Definition of Integration:

  1. the act or process or an instance of integrating: as
    a: incorporation as equals into society or an organization of individuals of different groups (as races)
    b: coordination of mental processes into a normal effective personality or with the individual's environment
  2. a: the operation of finding a function whose differential is known
    b: the operation of solving a differential equation

There are the two most important aspect of any successful Finish Stage for any AV project: the installation and integration phase.

Installation phase: physically connect or install all the electronic equipment, for instance hang the TV on the wall, running the wires and installing the in-ceiling speakers (there are literally thousands of AV companies are fully capable doing this. Due to flat panel booming, flat panel installation business is becoming more popular, and a lot of companies take advantage of this situation)

Integration phase:  After all the electronic components are being installed, the Integrator will make sure all the electronic components will communicate and function properly based on your  needs and desire. The Integrator will try to set up the AV Receiver, Television, calibrate the system, adjusting all the setting, programming the control system and more.  This is the most complex procedure and the most important phase that can’t be skipped (Unfortunately, only a few AV companies that understand and capable doing the Integration phase)

Typically, when customers called us and telling us that they have problem with the AV installation, 99% of the time technically they don’t have Installation problem, what they have is Integration problem. Unless the TV fell off from the wall, or the speakers came off from the ceiling, technically that is not an Installation problem. If the system is not function or operate like your desire and needs, chances are you have an Integration problem.
Interview the company that you would like to hire for your AV project and ask them the right questions:

  1. Do you offer Integration as well as the Installation?
  2. Do you offer calibration and what is your company procedure of setting up my system correctly?
  3. How easy it is for me and family to operate the system?
  4. Can I expand the system as my needs and desire grows?
  5. What is the latest sound format and could you explain to me?
  6. Have you done similar project like my project?
  7. What is the warranty of the products, installation and integration?
  8. What happen if I don’t like the system after it is being installed?

Asking the right questions can and will save you headache down the road. Proper planning and doing your research is everything. Check the proposal line by line. Typically, in any AV project, you will see products categories such as Television, Speakers, AV Receiver, Furniture, Wires and Control System. Control System is the one that integrate all your electronics components. See if there is a control system from the Big 5 companies: Crestron, AMX, URC, Control4 or Savant. If you can’t find any Control System categories, chances are your system will not functioning properly or seamlessly integrated.

MONACO® is a full service audio video company; we are the expert in Custom Installation and Integration (C2I™)

Remember, if it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Read Buyer Beware

When you can’t operate your system or your system can’t function properly, most likely it is caused by Integration issue, not Installation issue.