Excel AV Group Streamlines House of Worship Project from Start to Finish with D-Tools System Integrator
Integrator gives Lord of Life Lutheran Church a massive video wall that stands up to the sanctuary’s ambient light.
Excel AV Group’s Kevin Crow has been working with Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, Minnesota, for many years. While video would have benefitted the service experience, the sanctuary is flooded with ambient light. Crow was therefore skeptical about installing video into the space from the get-go.
“Once I saw how the technology was becoming more and more affordable, however, I approached Lord of Life with the idea of integrating a video wall into the space,” says Crow. Armed with professional proposals generated by D-Tools System Integrator (SI) software to accurately spec the job, Crow and his team were given the green light. The team was tasked with designing and integrating the massive 9- by 16-foot PVPX3 Professional LED Video Wall from Chauvet Professional into the existing space, along with a back wall confidence monitor, video sources, and a control system.
Crow harnessed the power of D-Tools SI to design the system and add materials to the estimate. D-Tools SI allows users to create detailed engineered drawings via Visio and AutoCAD. Because everything in SI is data-driven, users can quickly and easily generate detailed Line, Plan, Elevation, and Schematic drawings by simply dragging and dropping products from their catalog or project file to their drawing surface to create drawings. “The ability to add materials and drag them right over onto a Visio line drawing is amazing,” he says. “We use the line drawings to help clients understand how a system is designed on the front end, and it’s a great quality-control tool for us. I cringe just thinking about how much extra time this took back in the old days. The accuracy in proposals and subsequently a project is off the charts compared to what it used to be without D-tools.”
Excel AV Group has been using D-Tools since 2014 when Crow started the company. To Crow, integration is very simple; it’s about bringing the client through a process. The process starts with investigation of the client’s needs and wants against the backdrop of a budget.
With a video wall of this magnitude, budgeting for Lord of Life was extremely important. “My team needs to be able to estimate a job, present a professional proposal, and bring that job in on budget,” says Crow. “Once I saw how the D-Tools software had the ability to streamline accurate up-front designs and estimates against the back end job costing, I was sold. To me job-costing is the holy grail of the integration business. Too many companies have no idea if their projects are even profitable and that’s not acceptable to me.”
Now, not only is Excel AV Group meeting its budgets, but the company is actually able to improve its margins. “No way would it be possible to do that without D-Tools, we run the entire company on it pretty much.”
The Lord of Life Lutheran Church is thrilled with how the project turned out and uses the system for every service in one way or another. “Look at how much ambient light is in the space and how the screen pops. It’s inspiring for the church as well as the congregation,” says Crow.
As for D-Tool’s role in making the job a success, Crow says it’s hard to judge, because it would be like trying to hit a nail…without a hammer.