As the world of technology evolves, the way institutions and organizations conduct their operations and activities changes too. Training and educational institutions, in particular, have adopted the use of audiovisual (AV) equipment for presentation purposes. Since people digest and retain new information differently, multimedia presentations are now commonly used for various training methods, such as written, visual, auditory, and interactive. AV devices are the primary tools present in these presentations. With the emergence of this AV technology, the design of carts has transformed.
Carts have been existing since the second millennium BC, and they continue to be useful to humankind up until today. From two-wheeled carriages drawn by draught animals to trolleys for serving tea, the design of carts has undergone numerous changes to meet our demands. At present, there exists a wide assortment of carts, like utility carts, baggage carts, shopping carts, tool carts, and even charging carts. There’s a cart for virtually everything, but what businesses, schools, and other organizations often make use of nowadays are AV carts.
Like other types of carts, AV or media carts are designed for storage and transportation. What makes them different is that they are made for storing and transporting AV equipment and other presentation devices safely. In today’s digital age, AV carts can be considered modern workhorses but without the industrious, panting farm animals. Similar to workhorses, these carts help professionals and students get the job done.
Why Buy an AV Cart?
In the present high-tech world, AV equipment is an absolute must-have for businesses and institutions. In spite of this, why should you choose an AV cart rather than a tub cart or other types of carts?
Since AV carts are meant for storing AV equipment, they are designed with specific dimensions and features. AV carts typically have sufficient shelf and cabinet spaces to accommodate the sizes of AV devices. Moreover, your equipment will certainly be safe and sound while in transport or in use. Because the shelves of most AV carts are bordered by lips, your equipment will not simply fall or slide off during transport.
When you own an AV cart in your office or school, you don’t have to worry about where to place your AV equipment. There won’t be any need to look for spare cabinets, tables, and other pieces of furniture for equipment storage. Most AV carts feature wheels with locking brakes, so they can remain stationary whenever they are stored. Also, the cabinets of some AV carts feature locking doors to ensure the safety of equipment against theft and unauthorized access.
AV equipment consists of several devices, including projectors, projector screens, speakers, microphones, flat-panel TVs, and laptops. Numerous electrical devices mean numerous cables, and numerous cables mean tangled chaos. With AV carts, however, organizing devices, along with their cables, will be a breeze. Holes for cable access are already bored into the shelves of most carts. In addition to this, these carts feature more than one shelf, which makes it easy to arrange equipment.
By efficiently organizing devices and cables on AV carts, it will be easier to give presentations. In addition to this, AV carts conveniently feature built-in electrical assemblies for supplying power to devices. With organized equipment plus electrical assemblies, technical difficulties during presentations can be avoided.
Ease of presentation is what you can expect with AV carts. Some carts even come with keyboard trays so that they can double as workstations too. Other carts also come with AV panels with input and output ports, which ensure smooth and trouble-free presentations.
Technical difficulties can be a waste of time that could have otherwise been spent on presenting and doing other tasks. With AV carts, this issue can be well-avoided. That’s why having these carts can significantly enhance productivity in classrooms, meetings, seminars, workshops, and other events.
Features to Look for When Buying an AV Cart
If you’ve made it this far down the article, you might probably be interested in purchasing an AV cart for your office or school. Without a doubt, AV carts add ease, convenience, and efficiency to presentations. Furthermore, they can store and transport equipment safely. However, not all AV carts are well-designed or even functional. Some poor-quality AV carts are not at all different from regular carts. Before investing in one, you need to look for the features of high-quality AV carts. This way, you can guarantee that the AV cart you choose will be worth every penny.
The first thing that you might want to check when you’re purchasing an AV cart is its style or design. AV carts come in a wide range of styles, each of which serves a particular purpose. Choosing from their styles heavily depends on your presentation needs and preferences. Here are a few of the common styles of AV carts:
A. Open-Shelf Cart
The most common style of AV carts is an open-shelf cart. All of its four sides are open, and these sides are supported by a durable frame. Because of its open style, this cart allows easy access from all of its sides. The problem with an open-shelf cart, however, is that it cannot protect AV equipment against theft.
B. Presentation Cabinet
Another common style of AV carts is a presentation cabinet. This cart has an enclosed cabinet in which AV equipment and other presentation essentials can be stored. Presentation cabinets have one or two doors, which have slide rails or piano hinges. Some of these doors can also be locked to provide AV equipment with security against unauthorized access.
C. Mobile TV Stand
A set of AV equipment will not be complete without visual aids, like televisions. That’s why some carts have mounts to which televisions can be securely attached. Mobile TV stands come in different sizes to hold televisions or monitors of different sizes as well. Their locking casters enable the stands to be either mobile or fixed in place.
D. Presentation Station
Businesses and schools that frequently conduct presentations should be equipped with presentation stations. This type of AV cart features built-in sound systems with microphone ports. Usually, it has components, such as customized shelves for supporting AV equipment.
Professionals who frequent seminars as well as churchgoers have likely seen lecterns several times already. This style of AV cart looks like a tall stand, save for the fact that it has wheels. Laptops and presentation materials can be securely placed on the lectern’s slanted top, which features a retaining lip on one side.
When choosing an AV cart, you have to consider who the users are and where the cart will be used. For instance, if the AV cart will be used for teaching kindergarteners, then it should have a shorter height. Another example is when the AV cart will be used in an auditorium, then it should be taller, or it should at least have a high monitor stand.
The size of your AV equipment also affects the height of the AV cart that you need. Shelves that are set too close to each other might not be able to store large equipment. On the other hand, shelves with sufficient gaps from each other can perfectly fit large devices.
Height is a key factor when choosing an AV cart. However, you don’t have to settle for AV carts with fixed heights. Some AV carts have adjustable heights or adjustable top shelves. They can be pretty helpful for positioning a projector or a monitor. Also, height-adjustable carts can accommodate the varying heights of presenters.
Is there even anyone who likes easily breakable furniture? Like all other pieces of furniture, AV carts should be durable. Durability means longevity, reliability, and quality. It’s one of the most important features to look for when purchasing an AV cart. Since AV devices are not at all lightweight, AV carts should be durable enough to endure loads weighing over 200 pounds.
The most commonly used materials for AV carts are plastic and steel. Plastic is cheaper than steel, and it is resistant to scratches, rust, and stains. Plastic carts are also more lightweight, making them easier to transport and maneuver than steel carts. However, plastic isn’t as durable as steel. If you plan to buy plastic AV carts, you should look for those that are made of thermoplastic injection molded materials.
While steel or metal AV carts are more expensive than plastic, they are a lot more durable. Because of this, they are capable of holding heavier AV equipment.
A key focus of modern learning environments is flexibility. Flexible learning environments enable interaction and collaboration, and these environments call for versatile furniture pieces. AV carts can already be considered versatile as they have wheels that allow them to be movable. Apart from wheels, another feature to look for in an AV cart is its pullout keyboard shelf. Not all AV carts have keyboard shelves, but if you’re planning to get one with a keyboard shelf, it should be capable of sliding in and out. When they are not in use, you can neatly tuck them away so that they won’t take up too much space in the room.
Some AV carts also feature drop-leaf shelves. They can be folded up for extra storage space or folded down when they are not in use. AV carts with pullout keyboard shelves and drop-leaf shelves are thus perfect for flexible learning environments. They provide more storage space for AV equipment, and they are easy to stow away in narrow spaces as well.
An AV cart won’t be complete without casters or wheels. Since AV carts are made for carrying and transporting heavy equipment, their wheels should allow you to maneuver the cart without difficulty. When buying an AV cart, you should choose one with swivel casters. This type of caster will let you wheel off your AV cart easily, even through narrow corridors or when it’s holding heavy equipment.
Another thing to check when looking at an AV cart’s wheels is if they are capable of rolling without noise. Silent-roll casters are suitable for all kinds of settings, especially in schools and offices. Some carts have a tendency to roll noisily when they’re carrying heavy items, which might disturb colleagues or other people. AV carts with silent-roll casters, however, won’t disrupt the concentration of employees or students.
You also need to determine what materials the AV cart’s wheels are made of. Whether they’re steel, plastic, or rubber, ensure that they are non-marring so they will not scratch or damage the floor.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to have an unstable AV cart while presenting. That’s why the wheels of AV carts should have locking brakes. With locking brakes, the AV cart will remain stationary whenever you need it to be. Furthermore, your AV equipment will be kept safe and sound on a stable and stationary AV cart, especially if it gets accidentally bumped or jostled.
Before buying an AV cart, it’s best to consider the size of your AV equipment and other items that you plan to store in the cart. This way, you can find out how much storage space you need your AV cart to have.
AV carts often have shelves on which presentation devices can be placed. What you might want your cart’s shelves to have are retaining lips. These lips can keep equipment secure and prevent it from sliding off.
Probably the most sought-after feature that some AV carts have is a locking cabinet. AV equipment does not come cheap at all, so you should invest in an AV cart with a locking cabinet. With this type of cart, you can have peace of mind knowing that your costly equipment is safely stored and well-protected against theft.
7. Electrical Assembly
An electrical assembly or a power cord is a feature that any AV cart should have. It’s best to find one with long cords so that you won’t have to worry about the cart’s proximity to wall outlets. For your safety and the safety of your equipment, you have to check if the electrical assembly is UL-listed and if it comes with a surge protector.
While some AV carts come with cable wraps, there’s another feature that you should look for in these carts: cable holes. This feature might not seem much, but it will surely come in handy for managing the cord of your electrical assembly or the cables of your presentation devices.
Choosing the Best AV Cart
When it comes to the needs of modern businesses, institutions, and organizations, the right AV cart is definitely worth the investment. It ensures the safety of your AV equipment and the smooth flow of presentations. That said, the right AV cart can help enhance productivity in learning and work environments.
Given all these features that you need to look for in AV carts, it might be difficult to find the right one for your office or school. Fortunately, Engineer Warehouse has narrowed down the choices of the best AV carts in the world. These carts are made of top brands dedicated to developing solutions for fostering productivity and collaboration in different kinds of environments. With these AV carts, you can find all of the features that you need for presenting with your AV equipment.