Grow Your Business and Expand Your Reach: A Comprehensive Guide to Commissioning Services

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By Sophie Gustafson
Exertis Almo

Over the past few years, interest in commissioning services has transitioned from desire to demand. As the final step in the system integration process, commissioning services serve as the last piece of effort before the project goes into live production — and therefore, the end user’s ownership.

These finishing touches cover several bases, including fine tuning the devices and ensuring that the control system programming functions to the customer’s liking.

“Some groups may not have a resource in a particular area, so they have to send field commissioners or travel,” Cory Allen, director – VP of services at Exertis Almo explained. Commissioning services aim to provide a supplemental resource by going to these locations for them.

Along with mitigating customer challenges associated with travel, commissioning services provide relief from the demands of the job on a single person.

“Field commissioning is very demanding on the individual, oftentimes with long hours and weeks of work,” said Allen. “Commissioning services prevent one person from being out in the field for an extended period of time, allowing commissioners to move onto different projects while providing the integrator with fresh, focused help.”

The role requires a specific skill set, as the commissioner must have a hands-on approach to their work and be comfortable troubleshooting while successfully working alongside programmers and project managers.

When compared with the installation process, there is a clear delineation between the two responsibilities. Installation provides the project’s function through the connection of hardware, whereas commissioning acts as the fine-tuning of the technology to ensure that the system is optimal for the customer.

“Not every system is alike, so a commissioner must figure out the equipment and devices interacting with [the system] when completing a final checklist,” Allen explained. “Although it is not required to know every step of the project when quoting a customer, you should have a good idea of the steps you’ll need to take when you get on the job site.”

When commissioning an audio system, a team member will push the audio through the system, checking the meters and DSP platform to understand the sound, and noticing any potential for distortion, echo-cancelling for video-conferencing technology, and more. Through this process, the commissioner tests the typical and atypical operations, ensuring that the system is performing correctly while educating the end user on how to correct any issues that occur.

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On the control side, the process is much more straightforward. Touch panels are tested to ensure that they are functioning properly, and video signals are routed. By utilizing the tools provided by AVIXA standards, one can efficiently commission a project and inform the installer on what problems need to be corrected.

Along with in-person work, remote commissioning is an effective option for certain projects. A programmer remotes-in to the system, pushing the code and getting responses back if their actions don’t work. Although the process is remote on the commissioner’s side, the process requires someone on-site — usually the integrator — to complete the hands-on work with the system.

Regarding prices and quotes, a commissioning team provides a rough estimate of travel, materials and time to the customer.

In fact, a great deal of value in commissioning services lies in the end user training guides. By providing the customer with reference guides and answers to frequent questions, a commissioning team can provide customers with peace of mind — and the most complete understanding of their system.

This brings up a common question: If commissioning services are the final touches on a project, when is a project officially complete?

“A project is never 100% complete,” said Allen. “A project is finished when the scope-of-work list is complete, the system functions [as intended], and the client will likely be satisfied with the system.”

To minimize the travel required for various projects, Exertis Almo is working to construct a team in key locations throughout the country.

“The size of our team is based on demand, and as we begin to build and assess where most of our opportunities are, we will be able to better pinpoint these spots,” said Allen. “I expect us to expand a lot within a short period of time, and having this capability provides us reseller benefit from the bottom up, and top down from the manufacturers.”

While each commissioner brings a different specialty, they are backed by the entire Exertis Almo team with a wealth of knowledge and a history with a variety of products, clients, and scenarios. At Exertis Almo, we’re here to help you grow your business. Contact us to learn more about commissioning services for integrators.

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