- I've searched around the website, but I'm still not sure. What does MediaMerge actually do?
MediaMerge designs and installs sound, video, lighting and control systems. When you go into a church, museum, giant screen movie theater or themed attraction, you see the speakers, video screens, lighting, consoles, etc. Put simply, MediaMerge determines what equipment will be needed for the venue and then installs the systems.
Our work starts with listening to the client to determine what the actual needs are. We then communicate with architects and contractors to ensure that the facilities are built to accommodate these media presentation systems. Next we install the systems and commission them for use. Finally, we provide training and service after the installation to ensure that the systems consistently perform as designed.
- Who is an ideal MediaMerge client?
In our minds, a relationship built on trust, honest communication, and passion is an absolute necessity for all successful projects. Our ideal clients love what they do and need a partner to help them navigate the waters of integrating presentation technology into good architectural design.
We’re very intentional about whom we choose to invest in, and you should be, too. If we don’t seriously believe we can bring value to the table that will be recognized clearly by a potential client, we pass. If we don’t sincerely believe that a new project is going to be a stepping stone in a long-term relationship, it’s not for us.
Anyone who values creativity, excellence and relationship is an ideal match for our team.
- We're planning to build a new building. What is your process like for new construction?
Over the years we’ve developed an approach to new construction that addresses the difficulties many clients face. In many instances facility design is a living process in which the final concept evolves over the life of the project. In many cases, the architect and general contractor will require details, drawings, specifications early in the process so that bids can be solicited for structural elements, electrical work, etc. However, the sound, video and lighting systems are not usually designed at this point, and in many instances the integrator has not even been chosen.
To solve this chicken-and-the-egg predicament, we’ve developed the Design Retainer Process. In this arrangement the client can retain our services to provide design support for infrastructure and logistics while the media system design is being fleshed out with the client. Architects receive conduit & electrical drawings, layouts, and all of the design documents they need to move forward with the project before the client is locked into a particular media system design. Once a final proposal is adopted the retainer fee is applied toward the purchase of the system.
In this arrangement we are able to provide the design support required by the architect with minimal financial risk to the client up front. Perhaps the biggest benefit of this approach is that we are able to establish a deeper relationship with the client and a better understanding of the project prior to proposing specific system solutions. Over time the Design Retainer Process has minimized construction delays and delivered a superior end-result because the system design is the result of an active dialogue rather than our best guess at the client’s real needs.
- We're planning to renovate an existing facility. How do you approach renovation projects?
Renovations are often very different than new construction. Depending on the scope, the Design Retainer Process may work as well for renovations as new construction.
A phone interview is normally the first step. We typically request copies of any facility documentation that is available: images of the room, floor-plan drawings, elevations, etc. We review those documents and the notes from the initial interview in order to determine what approaches seem reasonable. Sometimes more information is required at this point, and in some instances the next step would be a site visit with your team.
- MediaMerge is a long way from me. Isn't that distance a problem?
We get this question a lot!
From our perspective, once you’re more than an hour’s drive from a project, it’s all a wash. Whether it’s 50 miles or 500 miles, most communication is going to involve a phone call or email. In this day and age, business just works that way.
Modern conference technologies and the internet have made long-distance collaboration a reality. Whether the client is down the street or across the country, it tends to be the preferred method of communication.
Most service issues can be resolved remotely, as well. With our proprietary control systems and active reporting technologies we often know about technical problems before our client does. Almost everything interfaces with a computer, and those computers can be accessed remotely. With many systems, our techs get an email the moment parameters fall outside of system norms.
The best advice for this particular issue is to contact our past clients if you have concerns about this issue. Their real world experience provides the best response to the question.
- Does MediaMerge bid on competitive bid projects?
The short answer is “no”.
MediaMerge only offers design/build services and does not provide stand-alone consulting or bid on the installation of other consultants’ designs.
While design/bid may work well for typical construction, in most cases we do not believe that this approach is in the best interest of our clients when it comes to presentation systems.
- Why does MediaMerge advocate design/build for media systems instead of the typical bid process that's used in construction?
Over the years we’ve come to believe that the best results are achieved when presentation systems are designed and installed in a turn-key design/build fashion. There are three key reasons:
The first deals with economics. Let’s just consider labor. Consultants typically charge 10-20% of the total budget for presentation systems. The system contractor’s installation/project management labor will usually cost 10-15% of the budget. In this arrangement total labor will typically fall in the 20-35% range. In a typical MediaMerge project labor averages 12-14% of the total budget. The difference largely consists of the time and effort needed to communicate ideas between two separate entities. You’re also paying the overhead for two separate companies when there is a consultant and contractor at the table.
Accountability is another big factor in the equation. A consultant designs the system and then a contractor interprets the design and installs it. When a problem presents itself, whose responsibility is it? The contractor will say it is a design problem, and the consultant will argue that the design was not implemented properly. Meanwhile the client is in the middle waiting for someone to step up and own the issue. With our design/build approach, there is only one point for accountability. There are never cost overruns due to design errors. If we make a mistake, we own it. If there is any kind of issue, it’s our responsibility and our time is spent developing the solution and not a defense.
Finally, the bid process is simply not conducive to creativity. With two factions defending territory, flexibility goes out the window. Every change brings a flurry of meetings and paperwork. Creative ideas do not abound in this type of atmosphere.
While the competitive-bid process can work in the right application, we just don’t believe it produces the exceptional results that are the hallmark of MediaMerge systems.
- I want to use the competitive-bid process for my project. Can I hire MediaMerge as my consultant?
MediaMerge does not offer services as a consultant for competitive-bid projects.
- What is the MediaMerge warranty for installed systems?
All MediaMerge systems are warranted for one year from first use. The warranty is completely comprehensive and covers everything but abuse or mis-use.
- What type of training does MediaMerge offer?
Our policy on training is that we have no official policy on training. Your team will know how to use the system effectively when we are finished.
We offer on-site sessions during the completion of the installation, and we field phone calls and email on a regular basis. Some clients get it in a few hours. Some clients need several sessions over the course of weeks.
The bottom line is that our job is not complete until you are comfortable with your new system.
- It sounds like MediaMerge might be a good match for my project. If I want to do business with MediaMerge, what is the next step?
Give us a call. We’re here to serve, and we really enjoy each opportunity to learn about potential projects.