The Bigger Blog

Views, thought leadership, published articles & maybe even some shark facts!



Bigger Boat Chief of Police Rob Lane donned his journo hat to interview James Shanks, International Managing Director AVI-SPL Limited, for AV magazine’s AV in Corporate supplement, bundled with the mag’s Oct/Nov 2015 edition. This is an abridged extract; you can read the full version here.

AVI-SPL designs, builds, integrates, and supports audio-visual and video solution environments that improve communication and collaboration for organisations of all types. Its highly-trained, certified system engineers are based in offices throughout the United States, Canada, and EMEA (England, Scotland, Dubai, and soon mainland Europe) and AsiaPac (the latter through its key approved partner program). It also boasts an international network of solution providers in 100 countries

“From our UK offices we provide design, fabrication, installation, and support throughout the UK and Europe, and act as a gateway overseeing all projects in AsiaPac on behalf of our enterprise clients through our Approved Partner Program,” explains James Shanks, International Managing Director at AVI-SPL. “We established our EMEA VNOC (Video Operations Center) and Service Helpdesk to extend our language and follow-the-sun capabilities, offering 24/7 coverage and support through over 80 dedicated personnel.”

AVI-SPL completed over 7,000 projects globally in 2014 – over 600 of these in Europe and AsiaPac. Those projects included auditoriums, boardrooms, meeting rooms, huddle spaces, training/education environments, break-out areas; reception areas, digital signage installations, and 24/7 control/operations and critical environment centres.

“We support over 6,000 endpoints on our video managed network,” explains Shanks. “And we have extended the capabilities of our proprietary Symphony video managed services platform to facilitate the monitoring of any AV equipment that is IP addressable.

“Our managed services include video and AV network system monitoring, help desk support, resource scheduling, and virtual meeting rooms (VMR). We also offer onsite support through AVI-SPL personnel working alongside our clients.”

AVI-SPL’s ability to deliver a consistent level of service, expertise, engineering, and buying power on a global scale sets it apart from its competitors, according to Shanks: “We set a standard and ensure that it is consistently applied, around the corner and around the world.”

This effort is backed up by the over-arching ethos that drives the company’s value to the corporate sector.

“Our passion is delivering on our promise,” says Shanks. “We diligently plan at every stage of a client engagement, from the technology we recommend to the engineering plans we furnish, the integration we manage, and the services we provide.”

Shanks says the next 2-3 years will see an acceleration in the implementation of technology with advanced capabilities. With continued investment in traditional environments, he expects to see even wider use of smaller, more flexible environments, such as huddle spaces. Quality expectations will spike too, particularly with regard to adoption of 4K and digital media, and there will also be a wider availability of wireless connectivity in presentation environments –such as that used by Microsoft Surface Hub and provided by Crestron AirMedia and Barco Clickshare.

“Expect a further consolidation of integrators, extending to providers across regions,” adds Shanks. “There’ll be a wider range of specialist services offered by larger network and facility/service providers, as well as an expectation of increased collaboration focusing on productivity.”

Shanks asserts that AV will also increasingly be monitored, reflecting experiences from IT infrastructures, which allow monitoring, proactive service and accelerated internal service support.

“The corporate need for superior AV solutions will continue to grow, year on year,” explains Shanks. “And AVI-SPL will continue to build, integrate, and support the best products and solutions, utilising the best team, with the widest worldwide reach.”

Shanks – who has over 22 years of industry experience – is responsible for growing the business outside of the Americas, and headed up the first operations for AVI-SPL in Europe with the Farnborough Office (its designated London office) in Jan 2013, building the business from grass roots. Within 30 months he developed a 100-strong team that is setting the standard for excellence.