In my biweekly blog series, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who work for the Audio Video Industry. In this post, we are profiling Nishad Muhammed. Here is his brief introduction.
Nishad Muhammed is the Audio Visual and Collaboration Technologies Lead at KAUST, a graduate-level research university located on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.
1. Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
Well, my journey in the AV industry began after I completed my Bachelor Degree in Computer Science and Engineering in the year 2000. I was then employed as a Control System Programmer and AV/ICT Designer in Dubai where I worked with several residential and landmark commercial projects in the Middle East. Later I relocated to Sydney, Australia, and worked as an AV/ICT Specialist for a leading system design and consulting firm and worked on several leading educational institution and corporate AV/ICT projects. In 2009, I returned to Saudi Arabia and joined KAUST. I am still working at KAUST where I oversee the operations and maintenance of AV and Collaboration Systems. I lead a team for the operations and maintenance of over 350 learning/meeting spaces, lecture halls, auditoriums, stadium etc. We conduct research on new technology for learning and meeting and ensure that we have the most up-to-date and efficient technology installed for use at the Campus.
2. What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?
For someone who is new to the industry, I would say the biggest challenge they face is ensuring that they are aware of the latest products and technology. This can be really exhausting because technology changes rapidly. Having knowledge is very important. I would encourage them to read as much as possible about the audio visual industry and if possible attend AV exhibitions to learn about the latest technology trends. Early in their careers, they need to spend time attending manufacturer trainings in addition to staying active on community forums in order to network and get involved in peer to peer discussions. Gaining hands on experience is also very important. They need to be familiar with computer network, programming, communication protocols, telecoms, electrics. It will require time, patience and flexibility; but if they love what they do and are committed they will do very well.
3. What are the positives of working in this industry?
In my opinion, there are so many positive aspects to working in this industry. There are some amazing people and technology within the industry. You will never be bored since the rapid changes in the industry always keep you active. AV is a very vast field so always there are many things to explore, and it is always fun working on different projects.
[RELATED] : If you have missed any of my previous interviews, please click here.
4. What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent?
The AV industry is expanding every day and is no longer just about “Audio-Visual”. It includes everything related to the end user from the meeting booking process to the type of the virtual reality gear to be used if you are attending a concert remotely and even to the end user experience in a sports facility before he even leaves his house. The end user experience needs to be considered more holistically in the process.
I believe another factor that could be considered a negative is to decipher all the new technology that comes in the market. With the constant changes in the industry’s technologies, it can be difficult to keep up with training. Integrators need to stay on guard that they don’t get too overwhelmed trying to learn, buy and use all these new technologies and products. This can be overwhelming and self-defeating. Rather they need to focus on those technologies that can benefit their niche specifically.
5. Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
An ideal client is one that not only has good vision and a basic knowledge of their needs, but one who is also willing to allow you to guide them to the best possible solutions. Currently I work as a client representative. My customers are Faculties, researchers, VIPs, etc.
6. If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?
To be honest, I would not do anything differently. I’ve always had the mindset that we should keep moving forward in life. That attitude has served me well throughout my life and career because I believe that every aspect of my career so far has been a stepping stone to the next stage.
7. Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
As the lead of Audiovisual and Collaboration systems at KAUST, I am engaged with many activities throughout the day such as designing and governing different scale projects, meeting with clients and suppliers, and so on. My team is responsible for Operations and Maintenance of AV and Multimedia systems in over one hundred (100+) Classrooms, over three hundred (350+) Conference rooms, Lecture halls, Auditoriums, Theaters, Stadiums, Arenas etc. So a typical day for me will be mainly to manage the current projects on hand, resolve any outstanding issues, follow up on projects and keep the team on track. To stay on top of my tasks, I check and update my calendar frequently and prioritize tasks based on urgency.
8. Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
What keeps me productive in my day to day life is definitely my laptop and cell phone. I cannot do without them. I use them to keep organized and stay on top of my tasks all through the day. I use Cisco Meeting/Zoom to stay in touch with my colleagues and other industry professionals. I also depend heavily on Microsoft office package for everyday tasks, and AutoCAD and Visio for designs and drawings.
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
Continuous learning is the key to staying relevant in this industry. The best way to do this is to read AV magazines and articles, and attend industry events such as the Infocomm and ISE, in addition, to manufacturer trainings and seminars. Attending these sessions will help you to stay on top of new and emerging technologies and see how manufacturers are using these technologies to deliver new solutions. You can also attend periodic training offered by AVIXA. Personally, I have received my CTS-D and CTS-I certification from AVIXA which allows me coordinate and collaborate with other professionals to create AV systems. This gives me greater opportunities to network with my counterparts in the industry which also helps to keep my knowledge relevant.
To know more about him or his business, please connect with him on Linkedin.
Also please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.