An opinion piece by Rupert Denoon, regional director South Africa at Crestron

Have you ever heard of the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule?

It states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This has been proven for a variety of situations.

For instance, in business, 80% of sales come from 20% of clients. In computing, fixing the top 20% of the most-reported bugs, would eliminate 80% of errors and crashes in the system. And, in AV, this principle dictates that the best experience is reached by installing 80% standardised solutions, and 20% customised solutions. Why, you ask?

A standardised solution reduces variance. That means that users know exactly what experience they can expect when they enter the room. And, just as important, it means that the support team knows what to expect, and how to solve issues. At Crestron, we love making the analogy with a car. Generally, every car is made from the same components. It has a motor, seats, doors, wheels, a roof, battery, brakes, radiator, transmission, etc. But, if you take the customised road, you’ll get a completely different result than when taking the standardised road.

The customised road will result in a few cars that are extraordinary. But, while they might look cool, their solution isn’t scalable and very often gives a different user experience depending on which car you are in. While the user is still trying to figure out how the door opens, the standardised car is already turning the corner. Sure, those cars might look less notable, but they have a few important features that every end-user is looking for: they are serviceable, scalable and user-friendly. And isn’t that what matters more in the end? Not only with cars, but also with meeting rooms.

Which brings me to my next point. Simplicity creates scale, which has a lot of financial advantages. If equipment can be purchased in large quantity, you often receive a substantial discount. At the same, time you have to stock less spare equipment, which means you can save on real estate. And, speaking of saving, since less models need to be supported, the overall support burden reduces.

Of course, while standardised solutions such as the Crestron Flex series, AirMedia and DM Lite are a growing trend, there are situations where a customised solution is necessary. But in approximately 80% of cases, both integrators and end-users have a lot to gain by choosing the standardised road.