After several intense weeks or even months spent on planning your exhibition, your showroom, or your trade show appearance, the long-awaited installation is finally finished and ready for delivery. Now you probably think, “Time to exhale!”, to which we reply, “Sure, to gather your strength for the last round.” Because especially when you’re approaching the finish line, you should keep your cool lest the outcome of your hard labor be endangered by any transportation issues or problems in the installation of hardware or software. But don’t you worry – in this article we sum up the most frequent and crucial pitfalls to help you eliminate them. And along with that, we also equip you with a useful checklist.
Preparation is Everything: 4 Planning Steps to Safely Steer Clear of Notorious Tripping Hazards
- Designate clear responsibilities for the required on-site services, tasks, and materials:
Which also means that both the ordering party (which means you/your company) as well as the commissioned service provider should delegate their respective designated project managers to be present for the project’s final completion. During on-site rollout, they can ensure a smooth and efficient interaction and interlock between all trades and work packages involved. In case of extensive interactive installations, employing an additional designated construction site manager is highly recommendable.
- Already during conception, define clear interfaces and intersections between individual processes and responsibilities:
To what point exactly is the electrician supposed to prepare and install the power outlets and wiring necessary for light installation? What aspects does the dry-wall constructor need to keep in mind in order for the monitor wall later installed by the AV specialists to sit flush with the wall?
- Allow for ample power and network connections:
You are probably familiar with this issue from your own home – now imagine it scaled up to the dimensions of an entire interactive exhibition. The same goes for physical tripping hazards: a safe and sound wiring concept includes power outlets recessed into the floor and a concealed electrical infrastructure and it facilitates the exhibition’s possible later alteration and extension. In this concept, also technical components such as server-racks, access points, and switches find their right place – hidden and invisible to your visitors, but easy to access for servicing and maintenance professionals.
- Perform testing BEFORE the rollout:
Save the surprises for your visitors. And only the pleasant ones. Judging from experience, during rollout everyone will be busy enough as it is without any avoidable “technical bombshells” dropping around them. You can avoid those by conducting pre-tests for all individual installations (multi-touch table, demonstrators, etc.) in a realistic environment (both in likely scenarios and under realistic circumstances). Make sure that you check in time: How does the projection look and work under the actual light conditions? Do the signal transmission cables really meet the desired specifications? Does the system’s control and sync via network run smoothly and is it robust? And … you might have guessed already: the list by far does not end there, but writing down all eventualities simply goes beyond the scope of this article. So feel free to contact us with any questions, and we will be happy to share our experiences with you.
Assembly and On-site Installation: A Checklist For The Site Project Manager
1. Transportation and architectural/constructional integration:
Typically, this step includes specialized external service providers installing, for instance, a monitor wall or a sound-system. Larger installations otherwise too unwieldy for transport first need to be assembled on site.
- Are the hardware and all other required components ready for safe transportation, and has their arrival at the exact destination been scheduled and agreed on, with precautionary buffer time?
- Particularly in trade fair contexts, but in large corporations as well, please check: have all goods and people involved in on-site assembly been announced, registered, and cleared for admission?
2. Final testing and last adjustments:
This step involves fine-tuning and last detailed adjustments of all special effects and sensor technologies. Perhaps important stakeholders also come up with last-minute requests for minor software changes.
- Are qualified staff members/professionals present to fulfill possible last-minute requests?
- Do they have access to and authorization for a cloud-based CMS which facilitates easy and convenient implementation of alterations?
3. Training and handover:
Usually, this step includes a personal training for all relevant staff members to provide them with enough confidence and routine to supervise and work with an interactive exhibition for an extended time.
- Are CMS and exhibition control self-explanatory enough to allow for the training and instructions to concentrate on more detailed and individual questions and personal requirements?
- Is a representative of the commissioning party present for the installations’ official approval and handover of its documentation?
Our Last Advice Is One of Our Best:
When it comes to extraordinary interactive projects, timing and flexibility are everything. But usually there is one thing that is anything but flexible: the opening date. Therefore, our last advice to you is: “Plan with enough buffer time!”
What at first may sound like a platitude becomes of crucial importance in any cooperation with external service providers. Keep in mind: you have no immediate influence whatsoever on their tasks, work packages, and their timing. But in this case, the term “buffer” can also be taken literally and refer to physical objects; in this context a buffer may be your decision for a high-grade cable instead of opting for the economy version or to have an extra cable installed even though you may not yet need it for the time being. In terms of circuitry, wires, and switches as well, think bigger and plan beyond your actual immediate demands and requirements.
A certain generosity in details like these is what in the end allows you to respond to any last-minute wishes and demands on the showroom manager’s or curator’s part with an equally generous ”No problem at all – your wish is my command!”