The APEx Award recognizes high quality service, technical expertise and professionalism in the field of AV integration and consulting. It is InfoComm’s newest certification, launched in late March 2014.
The APEx Program is designed to set a standard for for system design, coordination and systems verification show that a company can facilitate communication on all levels of a project and deliver a verified system that meets client needs. It also aims to pinpoint a commitment to supporting employees who have achieved InfoComm CTS certification credits. However, InfoComm APEx will recognize a broader base of industry certifications beyond CTS credential as a sign of commitment to quality.
“This change that InfoComm is going [through] is huge for the industry,” Jay McArdle, CIO of Zdi, tells CI. “The important thing for us is to keep being a pioneer for standard.”
The award is available to companies of all sizes. Each company must earn 100 points annually through a variety of requirements, and points are earned differently depending on company size.
This offering replaces InfoComm’s Certified AudioVisual Service Provider Program (CAVSP) program, which is set to conclude at the end of this year.
“After ten years of CAVSP, it was time to reevaluate this initiative, and consider whether it continues to meet the goals of the members and the association. We reached the conclusion that today’s business environment demands a more robust program aimed at promoting industry quality,” says David Labuskes, executive director and CEO of InfoComm. “For example, it is important for the AV customer to have a role in determining whether or not client satisfaction is achieved.”
Labuskes highlights a unique facet of the APEx program—the requirement for proven customer satisfaction from previous clients.
“As opposed to saying, you have so many certified personnel that may or may not work for you anymore, [during the APEx application process] InfoComm actually reaches out to your customer to prove that you’re doing what you say you’re doing,” says McArdle.
This is done using customer satisfaction surveys. Companies applying for the certification will ask its customers to expect an online survey on the firm’s work. Each customer will then send the form directly to InfoComm. Only surveys with an overall positive rating will count toward the APEx status.
“I think it’s great for InfoComm that they’re starting to hold integrators accountable to what end users want,” adds McArdle. “End users can have a reasonable expectation that if they hire one of these companies they’re going through a process that is actually vetted and they’ll get their desired outcome.”
The InfoComm International Audiovisual Providers of Excellence program also mandates the use of two industry standards to foster better communication between the AV provider and the client.
“Because both the ANSI/InfoComm Standard Guide for Audiovisual Systems Design and Coordination Processes and the AV System Performance Verification Standard were developed in an open, consensus-based process, approved by an independent outside body, and are aimed at providing proper communication and documentation between the AV industry and the client, using both on several projects is a requirement,” says Labuskes.
“It’s important for us to continue to lead, as opposed to follow,” says McArdle. Congratulations to Zdi for being the first, truly a pioneer, to achieve this recognition.
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