Following its recent Partner Pledge to continually improve the end-to-end experience for installation Partners and end-customers, SnapAV has announced a $2.3 million investment in its Charlotte, North Carolina Quality & Innovation Lab that significantly expands the company’s product development and testing capabilities with new equipment, more space and a larger workforce. The new equipment allows for faster, more precise testing for wireless communications and power protection products, while several entirely new lab areas help the experts examine reliability and compatibility among displays, AV equipment, IoT devices and more.
“Our mission to improve product quality is never finished,” says SnapAV Director of Engineering Harry Dhaliwal. “SnapAV is uniquely positioned at the centre of manufacturing, retailing and distribution, and our continued investment in Quality & Innovation Labs strengthens our ability to deliver innovative solutions and quickly address partners’ needs. This latest investment provides the lab’s seasoned test engineers and experienced installation professionals with sophisticated tools to test everything from device longevity and optimal operating temperatures to cross-platform compatibility and drivers for third-party product integration.”
The Charlotte Quality & Innovation Lab exemplifies the company’s dedication to Partner success and industry leadership and now occupies two and half times its original footprint, having grown from 3,000 square feet to 7,500 square feet, while full-time staff has increased from 12 to 20. With major investments in leading testing equipment for power and networking gear such as Wattbox, Araknis and Pakedge products, the professionals running the lab can now work faster, smarter and more efficiently to analyze more attributes and perfect more products. Added tools and capabilities include:
- Power: A new Chroma Systems Programmable AC Power Source allows for voltage control and simulated transients on the input side of products, while a Programmable Loadbox enables testing of various AC and DC loads, inrush currents, and detailed data capture on the power output quality.
- Networking: Expanded Spirent TestCenter Mainframe capabilities and supporting infrastructure to enable 10Gbps and PoE++ validation.
- Wireless: A new Octobox wireless communications testing chamber that can conduct hundreds of different stress tests in hours instead of weeks
The expansion also added several brand-new areas to test specific products and applications. In the new internet-of-things (IoT) area, a collection of wall-mounted and rack-mounted devices are integrated with SnapAV products, testing real-world interoperability and performance. The new automation centre accelerates time to market through the use of automated scripts that perform a schedule of tests much faster and with more precision than a human. With those tests complete, the hands-on work begins to perform use-case testing, resolve bugs, and ensure all issues are addressed.
While most of the lab areas are located across a fairly open floor plan, the new isolated sound test room has sound insulation in the walls, ceiling and doors to create ideal conditions for testing amplifier and speaker products. And for the first time, SnapAV product testers can perform in-house evaluation of outdoor products in the outdoor patio, which is pre-wired to test outdoor surveillance products, displays, speakers, and networking equipment. Additionally, the existing media distribution area has been expanded with more wall space to enable testing with a broader selection of display models and at a larger scale.
“Our goal is to innovate in every category and push the industry forward with rapid product development and responsive firmware and software updates that make our partners’ jobs easier, and our end-users’ experience better,” Dhaliwal adds. “Our Quality & Innovation Lab also allows us to collaborate with Partners on product features and design, even down to specifics like the placement of buttons and connectors on a product.”
The company has several Quality & Innovation Labs throughout North America and is in the midst of a multi-year initiative to invest across multiple labs and deliver new capabilities that enable even greater responsiveness and support for partners. Expanding all of the Quality & Innovation Labs is a core part of SnapAV’s Partner Pledge to provide the industry’s most reliable, easy-to-use and accessible products, available through online ordering and SnapAV Local Pro stores.