Equipment Racks Should Be More Than Just Storage Boxes


The day-to-day life of a pro AV installer is challenging to say the least. Installation deadlines are getting shorter. The shift to AV on the network presents a barrier between AV and IT. And just staying up-to-date with the latest technologies can be a challenge in itself. There’s no shortage of hurdles for these AV professionals.

Many categories of AV hardware have undergone technological advancements over the years. Features that enhance the performance and/or improve the installation process are a consistent evolution in the AV world. But one piece of hardware seems to have missed the memo and hasn’t experienced any real innovation in decades.

We’re talking about equipment racks.

Electronic components of an AV system have been upgraded with features that help to identify problems with improper wiring, defective speakers, power failures, etc. Even ceiling speakers feature innovative, built-in systems that make them quicker, safer, and easier to install. But equipment racks are perceived as just a black storage box that is used to house all of the other incredible technology. In an industry that prides itself on innovation, storage systems for AV and IT components seem to be stuck in the 80’s. Even the most “advanced” rack mount systems are little more than rack rails dressed up as high-end furniture.

AtlasIED engineers wanted to make a rack that would help the installer/integrator during the initial install. But they wouldn’t stop there. They also wanted it to be a living part of the system that would benefit the installer and the end user long after the initial deployment. The result was the Texas Tough series of racks which include technologies never before incorporated into a cabinet.

The most prominent feature on Texas Tough racks is the LED edge-lit acrylic badge that sits atop the “crown.” These badges can be customized (through AtlasIED’s DesignLab™ process) with the installer’s contact info. The badge ensures the end user has the information they need for service or upgrade calls and helps to establish an ongoing relationship. An integrated circuit board with a contact closure can connect to a remote fault indicator and trigger the LED’s to change color and play an audible alert when an equipment failure is indicated. The contact closure can also be tied into a unified communications system (such as GLOBALCOM®.IP) to send automatic alerts to anyone on or off the network. That’s right, the rack can actually alert the customer if something goes wrong. Hidden storage compartments, integrated LED lighting inside the cabinet, and built-in cable passages and air filters are standard features (not accessories that must be purchased separately) with the AV installer in mind for easy installation and serviceability.

Texas Tough equipment racks are more than just a black box. They are an electronic component of the system that ensures things are operating properly, can trigger alerts when something is wrong, and provides a means to an ongoing relationship between the installer and the end user.

Also, Texas Tough racks are proudly built in Texas, USA, meet BAA/TAA compliance.

So next time you need an equipment rack, consider something more than just a black box. Connect AND protect these technologies with Texas Tough to support AV installation services, provide peace of mind to the customer, and help to establish a long relationship between the customer and the AV installer.

P.S. - Add a LAR-150 (Load-A-Rack 150) to the installer’s tool kit to help load and unload heavy amplifiers and other components into the rack. It’s like having an extra hand whenever it’s needed.