About Scott Tiner, CTS

As a trained educator, Scott has worked in AV and IT for public K-12, private K-12 and higher education institutions for fifteen years. As Bates College's Assistant Director for Digital Media, Classroom Technology & Event Support, Scott designs learning spaces and provides support and instruction for their multimedia studio. Scott is passionate about collaborating with faculty on innovative ways to use technology in teaching and learning. Scott is a regular contributor and Chief Surveyologist at AV-1. He has presented at both regional and national conferences. He served as the 2011-2012 Chair of the Technology Managers Council of InfoCOMM. LinkedIn Twitter

Survey Results: Managed vs. On-Demand Service

Exclusive in-house support is one of the legacies of audiovisual “media services” groups. As technology evolves and becomes much more complex, many organizations find themselves in the position of reconsidering the cost of maintaining an expanding stable of technology specialists.

In-house specialists require regular knowledge upgrades (to preserve efficiency) and salary increases (to ensure retention).

Given these costs, it is little wonder that many organizations have arranged for outboard services in conjunction with large projects that represent workload increases that cannot be absorbed by existing support infrastructure. (According to this survey, more than 62% of the respondents had at least considered managed services.) However, from time to time, most of us have relied upon services on-demand from local integrators, especially when pinched for time or manpower.

What serves the customer best

[easychart type=”pie” title=”What type of outside support do you use?” groupnames=”38% On-Demand (pay by the hour),8% Service Contract,25% Combination of both,25% We never use outside support” group1values=”20″ group2values=”4″ group3values=”13″ group4values=”13″ chartfadecolor=”FFFFFF” hidechartdata=”true”]

Only 25% of the respondents do all their work internally. The majority rely on some level of on-demand service, perhaps expecting that outside support is called in only to off-load the few complex technical issues not easily resolved internally.

Do you think that the availability of on-call technicians who can tackle most any problem is a trend for most institutions?

[easychart type=”pie” title=”What is the biggest disadvantage to having a service contract?” groupnames=”15% Too expensive,64% Not immediate enough,8% Uncertain quality,6% Less staff for major events” group1values=”8″ group2values=”34″ group3values=”4″ group4values=”3″ chartfadecolor=”FFFFFF” hidechartdata=”true”]

For most respondents, customer service trumps budget-savings. 64% indicated that they need to have someone in their rooms within five-minutes of any reported problems.  Simply logging the problems for an outside technician to fix a some later point, would not work.

“After running AV departments in Universities for 20+ years, I have found that having on hand technicians spread out over a campus is crucial, for optimal support and efficiency when  something goes wrong or technical assistance to no technical people is required. If the support staff were contracted from a supplier, they would still need to be there full time, either in busy periods for on hand support or in quiet for maintenance and upgrades, the cost factor is almost balanced out.”

While answers to the question, “What would be the biggest advantage of a service contract?” proved to be quite diverse, we believe they follow a similar customer-service-centric theme. For example, without having to worry about training and time off, we could simply focus on getting things working properly.

[easychart type=”pie” title=”What do you consider the biggest advantage of a service contract?” groupnames=”28% Less staff + lower costs,28% highly qualified techs,13% no staff leave-days,15% someone to blame” group1values=”15″ group2values=”15″ group3values=”7″ group4values=”8″ chartfadecolor=”FFFFFF” hidechartdata=”true”]

As usual, some of the best thoughts and comments came directly from you, when you were not pushed into a multiple choice question.  Here are some of those comments:

“I think there is a break-even point in which the volume of equipment justifies an in-house staff to provide on-demand responses for support, operations and maintenance. At lower levels, it would depend large on competencies of your system integrators.”

“Maybe I am a control freak, but I know the systems and I know what my clients want/need. I can not imagine an outsourced support group provide the “personal” touch and have our innate knowledge of each room.”

“For me to use an outside vendor, I have to play ringleader, where I have to coordinate that service department with the Registrar’s office for access to the classrooms.  It’s less downtime and coordination to provide the support ourselves.”

“We have always used on demand service but with the increase of technology rooms, 280+, no increase in staff, equipment reaching its warranty limit, & availability of technology fee funds we are moving toward service contracts this FY July 2010.”

“When we looked at a service contract for 70+ rooms, the contract cost was more than double what we had actually spent on time & material repairs over the past 3 years.”

“Our department of three has been cut to a department of two, so now we’re increasingly finding ourselves short-handed for larger events and without the expertise of the missing employee. Management doesn’t offer any solutions other than vague references to service contracts for upcoming building renovations.  Our concern is that we’re in a smaller market which means the contract would go to a local provider who we don’t trust (they’ve goofed up several previous installations) or to a non-local crew who flies in, installs, and then leaves. I’m a big supporter of having in house staff, but cross-training them so they can perform other tasks when A/V needs aren’t paramount.”

“My service contacts consists of warranties and replacement schedules within a 24-hour period. The techs install, program and do trouble calls. If the problem is more that they can handle, we call the vendors who honor the warranties and send the defective equipment out for repair.”

If you missed our survey or have additional ideas and experiences you would like to share, please use the comments section below or start a conversation on the AV-1.forum.

Survey: Managed Services vs. On-Demand Services

One of the legacies of "media services" or A/V groups in organizations has been in-house technical support. As technology has evolved, and become much more complex, some organizations have re-thought the paradigm. Rather than having in-house support, who needs constant training, and pay increases to compete with commercial integrators, does it make sense to purchase service contracts. Some organizations have done this for years with the large scale projects. Many of us simply use on-demand support from our integrators. AV-1 is interested in knowing what you are doing, or thinking about doing in the future.
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The Most Important and Serious Survey… ever.

Come April, we like to pause a moment to reflect merrily upon all the hi-jinx and lallygagging that carried us through the long, cold winter doldrums. Ah, the leaky basements! Oh, the delayed supply shipments! Jeepers, those goofy budget cuts keep cracking us up!

We turned to our resident comedian, Dave Althoff, Jr. (the guy with the funny titles in his emails) and asked him to come up with questions that would make us laugh, learn and understand the stereotypes of us AV types. (For those of you who don't fit the stereotype, consider this an adventure in tolerance, or better yet, just play along.)

Some of his questions are funny (at least we thought so), some more serious (Joe did get a little misty) but all are meant in good humor. Please take a few minutes to complete our special, super-secret double-detention AV-1 April Fools Day survey.

Incoming AV-1 Survey!

Professional Development Survey Results

On Monday, we posed six questions to the AV-1 community about the value of professional development. This is my analysis of your responses. Please let us know what you think.


First, we fall into a pretty tight band with regard to how many Professional Development (PD) opportunities we get per year. 73% of respondents are able to arrange up to six opportunities, and not a single respondent indicated getting over 10 opportunities. Six of us responded that they get no PD. 

We would love to hear more from those of you who get no PD… is that by choice or for some other reason?

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AV-1 Survey: Professional Development

climb the ladder, take the survey Our recent pre-InfoComm survey told us that 63% of AV-1 readers attend InfoComm for educational (Professional Development) purposes. This got our readers, and us at AV-1 HQ, asking more and more questions about professional development. 

The questions came more quickly than we could answer…

Is InfoComm the best place to engage in Professional Development? 

Are there other great ways to continue to learn??

Are technology directors and managers getting all the Professional Development they feel is required???

How come we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway????

We knew the only way to get the low-down was to go back to you, knowledgeable readers, and ask a few more questions. Please take a minute to fill out the survey and let us know what/if you are doing for professional development. As always, the results will be posted by next Monday.

Scott says, "Take the survey"

 Scott Tiner

Bates College

AV-1ers at InfoComm: Survey Results

Among trade shows and conferences in our field, InfoComm sets the gold-standard: The annual, worldwide exposition produced by the trade group (previously known as ICIA) bearing the same name attracts a comprehensive roster of exhibitors and offers a banquet of workshop opportunities tailored to the needs of every demographic in the AV food chain

Over the past several years, University Business Magazine's EduComm event has coincided, if not co-located, with InfoComm. EduComm (not to be confused with EDUCAUSE, the organization formerly known as Educom prior to merging with CAUSE) is tailored to K-20 decision makers, a subset of the InfoComm crowd.

Monday's pre-InfoComm survey revealed unexpected data about June travel plans for AV-1 members. For example, fewer than one in ten members indicated that they expected to travel to Las Vegas to attend either InfoComm or EduComm. The following data pertains to respondents who indicated that they had travel plans for June.

This-June,-I-plan-to-attend"This June, I plan to attend…"

Among those with travel plans, more than three out of four plan to attend InfoComm rather than EduComm. Those who plan to attend both InfoComm and EduComm, outnumbered those planning to attend only EduComm by a margin of three-to-one.

  • For those attending InfoComm, what factors lead you to InfoComm over EduComm?
  • For those attending EduComm this year, what does it offer that InfoComm doesn't have?

Continue reading

Survey: How About an AV-1 Mixer at InfoComm?

Take AV-1's InfoComm Survey NOW! We have detected strong interest among AV-1 members in having a get-together with fellow AV-1 members while attending InfoComm in Las Vegas this June.

By completing this survey, you are helping us estimate potential turn-out. Anticipating attendance is crucial to attract corporate sponsorship, which underwrites the cost of food and beverage.

The survey will take less than 60-seconds to complete and results will, of course, post by the end of the week.

Click here to take survey now!

by Scott Tiner
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

AV-1 Survey Results (Part Two): Organizations, Funding & Regions

Earlier this week, we delivered our first-pass results of the AV-1 Salary and Education survey. It proved to be the most-read article on the AV-1.insider, to-date. At that time, we promised you a bit more granularity in a subsequent report and here it is!

From the Editor: As always, AV-1 invites you to share your thoughtful insights on the AV-1.forum and in comments at the bottom of this article. Your participation adds value to this timely, thought-provoking topic. Thanks in advance!

Parent Organization

The IT Connection

To the question that has stirred much debate over the years, "should AV and IT converge?" we found that more than half the community provides services within an Information Technology organizational structure. After ITS, no single department scored higher than 10%.

While this may put to rest any uncertainty surrounding IT/AV convergence, far more interesting are assets that each party brings to this shotgun wedding…

  • What can AV learn from IT in key areas such as processes, ROI, best practices, funding models, and future technologies?
  • Can IT learn anything from AV in terms of customer service and production values or, like so many HTML tags from the 1990s, have these concepts been deprecated from our revised understanding of quality of service?

Among Educational Institutions

No Tech Management in K-12 or Corporate?

Only one out of every ten respondents worked outside higher education. What is the take-away? Do we hear enough from our K-12 and corporate counterparts? Is the dearth of input from these demographics an indication that, with the exception of higher education, all learning-space related issues have been resolved? Is there no interest in learning how business and K-12 resolve important issues like lifecycle funding, standardization and long-range planning? Does the AV-1 community have tools and information that could benefit the business and K-12 sectors? Do technology management roles simply not exist in K-12 and business? Is there something AV-1 can do to attract these critical service providers to the discussion?

Average Salary (Director/Manager) by Geographic Region

Data Reported by Region

Within each region (except "Outside U.S." for which a 6% response yielded insufficient data) average salaries are indicated for directors/managers. More interesting than the salary values are the span between bands…

  • On average, directors in the Midwest earn 25% more than the managers who work for them.
  • That bump increases to 28% for Middle-Atlantic states, and 37% in the Northeast.
  • The gap between directors and managers increases to 40% in the Southeast and West, which may contribute to some feelings of inequity from down the org-chart.

About the AV-1 Surveys

In any survey, there are many ways to slice and dice the data. When the AV-1 advisory board broached the idea of fostering dialog through inquiry, everyone agreed that a long, tedious survey would be a buzz-kill (for us, as well as you readers). 

Rather than being the definitive end-word (let's face it, even detailed ones rarely are), the AV-1 surveys are designed to be conversation starters.

We agreed on a methodology that struck a balance between short-and-sweet and git-her-done. If it stopped being fun and interesting to us, well, we couldn't expect AV-1 readers to follow along. (At AV-1, we're all about eating our own dog food.) 

In truth, this survey pushed the envelop because it contained more than six questions (our arbitrary survey-pain threshold) and required two newsletter entries to deconstruct. (We decided that surveys are like Polaroid snapshots: the fun keeps going as long as you can see the results right away.) 

With all mea culpa accounted for, we hope you will continue to participate in our periodic surveys. If you have an idea for an article or suggestion for surveys (or anything else), email us or add it to our nifty, new suggestion box at the right ==>>

Thanks for joining us, and welcome to YOUR COMMUNITY!

by Scott Tiner
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AV-1 Survey Results (Part One): Salary and Education

Nicely Done! Over 200 people — better than 1/3 of all AV-1 members — responded to the second AV-1 survey (Salary and Education). Significant sample data such as these enable us to feel comfortable suggesting that some of these statistics fairly represent the learning space microcosm, as a whole. (We expect that you will let us know otherwise!)

Later this week, we’ll share some organizational demographics gleaned from your responses, however, today we cut right to the chase and show you the money, so-to-speak…

Highest Level of Education

Salary and Education

85% of the community possess some kind of college degree. Educational background, though not a guarantee of success or position, clearly contributes to income: 

  • On average, those with Bachelor’s degrees earned almost 8% more than those with 2-year degrees.
  • Those with a Master’s earned nearly 20% more than they would have with just a 4-year degree. 
  • The average salary of those with a terminal degree bested a Master’s by another 16%.
  • Does this speak to the professionalism of the group?  Does this help us convince people (including ourselves) that we are not just cart pushers?

Respondent's Role within Organization

Roles, Leadership and Salary

Nearly three-quarters of us occupy a formal position of leadership. However, by virtue of the inclusive, non-hierarchical nature of the AV-1 community, it is reasonable to infer that the remaining 28% participate in their organizations as well-informed specialists and change agents.

It is surprising that, although Directors commanded the highest salary, one-third of all Directors possessed only a 4-year degree and at least two Directors commanded a $100k+ salary with only a technical certificate to their credit.

With nearly half of us earning at least $65,000 on average, is this an indication that there is genuine growth potential for those of us who occupy positions in the lower salary range?  (Or, does it only make us envious of those 18 people making over $105,000?)

Funding Model

Salary Bands Across Business Sectors

In recent years, concerns over pay-scale inequity between similar roles in the public and private sectors have led many institutions to revise methodologies for assessing/rewarding competencies, encouraging professional development and recruiting/retaining a talented, diverse workforce.

Initiatives such as career banding were designed to offer the promise of fair-market wages to talented tech workers choosing between the public and private sectors.

To assess the extent of the wage-gap between the public and private sector, we compiled the average salaries for Directors and Managers with Master’s or Bachelor’s degrees.

  • Between private, non-profit organizations ($72,653) and publicly-funded institutions ($73,115) we found no statistical difference in average wage.
  • Between publicly-funded institutions and for-profit businesses, we found less than a 5% deviation in average wage.
  • Do these results seem representative of your observations in your region?
  • Would a broader sample from the for-profit sector reveal greater contrast?
  • Are there measures that your institution is implementing to close the gap?

by Scott Tiner
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

AV-1 Survey: Salary and Education

Take salary and education survey now! The AV-1 community is based upon the belief that successful stewardship of learning ecosystems includes those engaged in every facet from planning and design to management and support. 

Because of your participation, AV-1 is the first place to browse for insights, support, occasional LOLs and, sure, even a little moaning and groaning. 

We think the community could benefit from a better understanding of the demographics of our diverse members — who we are, where we come from, where we work and how our jobs compare to those of our counterparts.

This week's AV-1 survey takes the initial steps toward that better understanding. The survey will take less than 60-seconds to complete and results will, of course post by the end of the week. It is entirely anonymous and non-fattening so click here and do it now!

by Scott Tiner
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.