There is no "one-size-fits-all" process that would ever fit every project's need, but there are a series of phases that most do go through. There is, of course, a logical order, but in the real world, it is almost impossible to follow completely. Additionally, some projects might only require one or two steps.
In this step, we figure out what the desired outcome might be. Why are we here? What are we trying to accomplish, or what problem are we trying to solve? There will typically be several meetings & interviews with various stakeholders for the project to hear and prioritize all voices as needed.
The Needs Analysis stage is also when we begin discussing the project's budgeting and feasibility.
We then gather all this information into a program report that summarizes the needs and expectations. It will document one or more proposed solutions with estimates of the probable cost of each. While these summaries may list a few critical pieces of equipment for the solution, for the most part, the summary will be abstracted and won't include complete schedules of equipment or schematics.
Often going hand-in-hand with the previous step, in this phase, we collect all relevant information about the spaces the technology will occupy. This information includes spatial data, the physical characteristics of materials, and any equipment that may be reused. This data will allow us to model the spaces in the next phase accurately.
If the space has already been constructed, this includes visiting the site to collect this data if accurate as-built drawings are not attainable. If a space has not been built yet, this may be collected by being included in the relevant BIM processes.
Benchmarking is another crucial step in this phase. If systems are being upgraded/upfitted, this process includes collecting performance data of the existing systems so that we may quantity and compare the increase in performance. Benchmarking can also involve bringing stakeholders to other existing spaces for demonstration purposes.
In this phase, we use various software tools to visualize and auralize the technologies in the space using software tools to virtually model the characteristics of a system and the area in which it is installed. Life-like renderings allow stakeholders to agree on aesthetics and accurate geometry simulation will enable us to perform sightline studies to ensure that every person experiencing the technology can do so comfortably. Aurlization simulation allows us to hear what audio propagating through a space sounds like before the room is even built.
Our Simulation Software:
Twinmotion - Life-like renderings, animation & 360-degree panoramas.
Modus VR - Virtual Reality-based visualizations & design collaboration.
EASE AURA & EARS - Aurlizations of simulated spaces.
Sketchup Studio - Sightline and solar studies.
Simulation is the best way to ensure that all parties involved are on the same page regarding system functionality and performance.
Drawings and Specifications
When all parties have agreed on the outcomes from the previous steps, it's time to get very detailed with our documentation. In this phase, we create the documents that tell installers precisely what to install, how to install it, where to install it, how it should be wired, and how it should be configured. Further, we give testing guidelines, and since we know the expected outcomes from our simulation phase, we can determine passing criteria.
Specifications are the written form of the instructions and standards for installation and include a scope of work, acceptable equipment, performance criteria, and more. Drawings include wiring schematics, signal flow charts, GUI layouts, equipment mounting construction drawings, plate details, etc. We use industry-standard software for this process so that it is easy to collaborate like Autocad, Revit, Sketchup, Revu, & Visio.
These documents are typically prepared in such a way that they can be included in a Request For Proposal (RFP) package. Keep in mind that it is common for these drawings to be revised multiple times throughout the course of a project.
Commission, Training, Operation/Maintenance
While these phases are sometimes handed off to the system integrator, we can either oversee or completely take over any or all of these important steps to close out a project.