February 16, 2016

The Purpose of Consultants in Audio Industry

CONSULTANT [kuh n-suhl-tnt]: noun: 

A person who gives professional or expert advice

You know how sometimes when you’re dealing with an issue in your life you turn to friends and family for their opinions? Companies often need this reassurance or advice, especially when making tough decisions that may substantially impact their business. Often times clients have an idea of how to solve the problem they are facing, but want assurance that what they’re thinking is correct. Or, in some cases, find a way to develop a more efficient solution. So, they turn to a consultant for their opinion on the situation at hand.

But this isn’t just any opinion
Because consultants often work with many different companies and may have worked through this problem in the past with someone else, they have the great advantage of being able to provide a unique perspective based on what they’ve seen work (or not) before. And given this experience, they can often bring new and innovative ideas or possible challenges to the table that clients probably wouldn’t have been able to see on their own. 

Specialized Skills
Perhaps the most common reason that companies hire consultants is to gain access to a specialized skill set that might not exist in house. Or, there is an extraordinary situation that comes up and it just isn't feasible for a client to create and maintain internal capabilities to address it. By engaging a consulting firm, the client gets direct access to a group of professionals with specific expertise in that particular situation. 

Professional Audio Industry
When looking specifically at the professional audio and visual industry, a consultant provides planning, design and construction services based on direct experience in engineering and operations of theater audio-video, broadcast, recording and broadcast systems for live events. The focus is always on providing innovative and individualized designs tailored to the specific needs and budget of each project. 

Where do the consultants go for help?
If clients go to consultants for help, who do consultants turn to for help? 

  • Forums: Online forums are a great way to post questions to other Consultants or End Users to find solutions or tackle problems with designing and building a system. Examples include: PSW forums, QSC pro audio discussions, Sweetwater Live Sound
  • Organizations and Associations: There are various global organizations and associations that host industry events and seminars that are designed to focus on the latest innovative products, industry trends and networking. Examples include: SVG, AES, NAB, InfoComm, NAMM, IABM
  • Manufacturers: Go directly to the source by learning more about new products from a manufacturer's website, blog, visit them at tradeshows, call their technical support team, or book a training session.
  • Training Sessions/Classes: Training sessions are also available via third party training classes or panel sessions that are geared toward industry trends, specific markets, or developing technologies.
  • Other Consultants: When in doubt, ask your peers!

How does Clear-Com help Consultants?
Clear-Com has always supported our consultant clients throughout our 45 years of business and continues to offer specialized services to our consultants. Clear-Com has a secured Consultant Portal where Consultants can get access to helpful tools, such as Visio and AutoCAD Stencils, A&E Specs, System Design Examples, and so much more. For specific questions, Consultants can search our Solution Finder to find a quick solution. If Consultants still have questions, they can submit a Support Request that goes directly to our global Technical Support teams  who can offer help when they really need it. 

January 30, 2015

Clear-Com Hosts Training for IATSE Local 16

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/IATSE-Local-16/156851841041721

Come join Clear-Com as we do our training for IATSE Local 16! 

Where: Moscone Center 747 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 

When: January 30 - 31, 2015

About the Training: Become more familiar and proficient with our Tempest wireless intercom and HelixNet digital network partyline! While these systems are certainly intuitive and provide an easy out‐of‐ box experience, we will train members to impress clients with their ability to configure and operate them at the power‐user level. Though simple configurations are instantly achievable, the more advanced features are equally easily attainable. We will also look at very new and emerging technologies in IP and fiber transport as well as the newly released FreeSpeak II DECT wireless digital intercom system. Whenever possible, we will keep the training as generic as possible, including attributes of Clear‐Com products, as well as other manufacturers’ features and models. This will include pin outs for products and handy tricks to interface all of the many popular professional intercom systems, wired or wireless, together. Your presenter has spent many years doing exactly what your members do every day. He or she can relate to the workflow and challenges which IATSE members confront at their gigs. Clear‐Com knows that a smooth gig, staffed by a knowledgeable crew leaves the client feeling well served and ready to recommend both crew and gear for future shows. This is our goal: to make the staff shine and have the client confident for the future.

January 5, 2015

Stuart Scott, An Appreciation

Like a lot of media watchers, sports fans, and University of North Carolina alums, I have actively appreciated the career of Stuart Scott and watched with empathy as his struggle with cancer ate into his impressive career at ESPN. Like a lot of parents, I identified with his devotion and focus on his daughters. And finally, as a person who's life has been touched by cancer (however indirectly), I noted his incredible strength and perseverance in the face of his illness since it became public knowledge. 

Stuart's passing cuts pretty close to home. We share the same birth year, both worked for UNC's student radio WXYC (Stuart on the weekly sports show, Sports Rap; me as a music DJ and member of station management), and ultimately, both found ourselves miles away from Chapel Hill at some level of achievement in the media industry...albeit in very different corners. We never never connected, but as one will, I always took a moment to identify our tenuous links in my mind when Stuart came into focus.

Among the many other things I studied as an undergraduate was Folklore. I had, and still have, a strong interest in popular culture, which led me to seek the antecedents of hip-hop in this small pocket of the Anthropology department. In that study, I encountered a lot of things that my - admittedly - very different cultural background had not exposed me to previously.  One of the most fascinating was the tradition of "signifyin'" - the use of verbal play and cleverness with language as a way to bring attention to a topic and ascribe a certain amount of power and prestige for the speaker at the same time. This idea comes from strong roots in West African culture and resonates here in a wide range of examples like the old children's game called The Dozens to any number of fast-talking comedians and actors over the years, and through hip-hop to Stuart's revolutionary approach to sportscasting.

I'm no longer in the cultural studies business - and perhaps am now a good bit closer to the means of creation and distribution of content - but, I still take an informed joy in the way Stuart used a turn of phrase in his unique and brilliant way to make the sporting moment MORE than it was on face value. He described it, amplified it, and reintroduced it into the world in a powerful way. The "voice" he used to do that with has transformed modern media in ways that feel both culturally inevitable and uniquely authored at the same time. So, in recognition of that achievement, let me say "Bravo" to this achievement - or as Stuart himself might have said, "Boo-Ya!".

From me personally, and from all of us at Clear-Com, thank you Stuart for your incredible career - right through to the end of last year's ESPY's. We send our heart-felt condolences to his family and friends. He burned brightly.....

~ Bob Boster, President, Clear-Com

Photo Source: niketalk.com

December 22, 2014

The Emergence of Production Communications (Pt 1)

Larry Estrin, the Director of the Clear-Com Global Rental Group, shares his perspective on what led to the development of the intercom that we have today. Listen to this podcast which discusses how telephone companies use to provide communication for broadcasters, how intercoms were initially used for construction, and more. 

Stay tuned for the next podcast in this series!