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 Saad Munawar. Here is a brief introduction.
Saad Munawar is the Chief Technical Officer at MOSECO QATAR.
1. Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
I never knew that one can pursue AV as a career in fact my childhood dream was to become a fighter jet pilot. There was a time when analog AV data was being converted to digital formats and fortunately, we had plentiful of old VHS tapes at our home. I decided to convert these into digital video formats before they deteriorate, and I did not have proper tools or gear to do so. At this point, AV caught my attention and I started to learn various AV technologies and DIY hacks.
After my graduation, while I was still exploring my career choices, I started an internship in the AV company, and luckily my first project was a small Auditorium. This is the first time where I got exposed to ProAV systems and I really enjoyed it. From there on, I enrolled myself in various professional AV training and continued my journey by doing projects as well as designs.
I remember my first programming experience on the Extron Control system when I was a field engineer, struggling with RS485 converters to communicate with house lights, it felt so good when accomplished, though if given a chance to redo it, I would definitely make some changes especially on the GUI.
After spending 8 years in the AV industry, I am now working as a Chief Technical Officer in MOSECO Qatar, where every day is a new day to learn and explore new technologies.
2. What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?
I think the biggest challenge is the experience requirement. Employers usually do not hire fresh graduates which makes it difficult for an individual to penetrate the industry. There are very few authentic trainings & forums available online to learn.
3. What are the positives of working in this industry?
AV has been one of the persistent and emerging fields in the economy in recent years. The biggest advantage is that you get to work with countless industry professionals. The design process begins by having discussions with building architects. A typical project execution requires close coordination with Electrical, Mechanical and IT Engineers and sometimes even structural engineers. There is so much to learn.
On the other hand, there is always a requirement in almost every market segment, whether it is a boardroom of a hotel, or a military command and control center. It can be assistive learning in a classroom, digital wayfinding in a hospital, or a smart meeting space in some corporate organization.
4. What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent?
The realization of the importance of the AV design process. In most construction projects, AV comes into the picture at a very later stage. This compromises the flexibility of the design and optimum performance of the system. I have seen disasters in some major projects due to a lack of coordination at initial stages of the project.
Another important factor is the budget allocated for AV. There is a fine line between consumer and professional-grade AV products, and these are simply not comparable to each other. The Client always seeks discounts and substitute products to meet the target budget which affects the reliability and robustness of the system.
[RELATED] : If you have missed any of my previous interviews, please click here.
5. Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
In the AV world, it is the job of an AV professional to transform the client’s concept into reality. Having said that, it is very difficult to comprehend the concept and ideas if the client is not clear about the needs.
Another disappointment is the client does not understand the importance of SLA’s & Post-maintenance of projects which leads to spending more to fix the issue than to allocate a small budget on simple periodic maintenance.
An ideal client for me thinks us together as one team, develops trust and solve problems together, there is no you or me.
6. If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?
I am happy where I am today and what I have achieved, the only advice I would give to young AV professionals is to focus a bit more on digital data communication side. The concept of AV over IP has existed for a long time. It includes everything from Internet-based live streaming to professional distribution infrastructures in broadcast studios and live production environments.
Almost every organization is now moving towards Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) which is converging several delivery methods into a unified interface and control. In a nutshell, Audio Visual design nowadays enormously depends on Network Strategy and an AV professional if not a networking expert but should have enough knowledge and understanding to recommend the Bandwidth, or the choice of unicast or multicast transmission.
7. Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
A typical day starts with a project site visit if there is any on-going execution. In most cases, a quick update with the projects team and a plan of action for the rest of the day. I usually reserve my late mornings for the presales team to review any open bids and pending designs.
Afternoons are spent on making calls or visits to the clients for existing projects, bids, demos or maintenance related issues. Sometimes, attend technology webinars, communicate with suppliers.
Later in the afternoon, management meetings and organizational issues followed by escalated helpdesk tickets. Sometimes continuation of training programs which I am currently enrolled in.
8. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
Nowadays, webinars are the best way to stay at the top of emerging technologies. I stay relevant by having constant communication with suppliers, manufacturer’s as well as the clients.
Every new project comes with a different set of challenges and new learning experiences. Client ideas and requirements force us to explore innovative solutions suitable for their needs.
I also frequently attend the technology trade shows and training to stay up to date.
To know much more, please connect on Linkedin.