John - 11/17 - Advanced AV

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So far John has created 165 blog entries.

Is Voice Mail Going the Way of the Dodo?

In the age of unified communications, a large number of U.S. companies are removing voicemail mainly because texting and email are faster and more popular. Others are contemplating whether it’s indeed “time to hang up on voicemail.”

Big corporations, such as Coca-Cola and JPMorgan Chase & Co., are already eliminating voice mail and phone messaging systems in order to save money. JPMorgan is likely to save $3.2 million by removing voice mail for 56 percent of its employees. Coke, on the other hand, will save $100,000 by doing the same for the few thousand staff that still have access to it.

In fact, JPMorgan initially started eliminating voicemail solely as a cost-saving measure, but now the company is on its way to removing it completely. The most interesting part of their story? Employees voluntarily surrendered the service. In voicemail’s early days, people were grateful to have a messaging system that allowed them to do more business over the telephone, and spend more time away from their desks, without the fear of missing important calls. Voicemail also provided rapid, person-to-person communication without much secretarial or administrative support.

Today, we have much better options for effective communication than email. A host of more advanced communications tools are available that makes voicemail feel like outdated technology. Now, you have access to emails if you want to send a message instantly, and for shorter conversations, we use texting and instant messaging. To have a more personalized discussion, you have the option of conference calls and virtual meetings. Be it personal, bi-directional, or ad-hoc, the experience is always better with these more advanced communications tools.

Even those who still have voicemail today report finding it more if a hassle than a help. It’s easier […]

By |July 15th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

How to Prepare Yourself for a Videoconference

As technology becomes more affordable and reliable, many people are using remote video collaboration in business. Cloud-based videoconferencing allows corporations to reap the benefits of flexible remote collaboration and mobility without making huge investments in hardware or infrastructure.

That said, doing a remote presentation comes with its own set of complexities. To make sure your video meetings are the best possible, you need to consider certain factors.

Preparing for Remote Technology

There are a few technical complexities involved with remote video presentations. To ensure there are no glitches, be sure to take the following three steps:

Assign someone to watch the software during the presentation. This person must be familiar with troubleshooting and have a thorough understanding of how the software you are using works.
Have at least two run-throughs before the actual videoconference to check your technology, such as bandwidth, audio and video quality, and lighting.
Get feedback from someone on your team about your tone, pace and your visuals, and make the necessary adjustments. Remember, you need to have enough time prior to your meeting in order to make these changes, so make every effort to schedule your run-through the day before, where possible.

Focus on Good Presentation

While preparing for the technical part of your videoconference is important, that’s not all you need to focus on. You also have to prepare for your presentation to make it effective. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Keep your audiences in mind while creating the content. Make sure it’s stimulating enough to catch their attention, and filled with interesting, thought-provoking facts. Explain the problem or issue for which the conference has been arranged, followed by a solution and action steps to be taken in the coming days.
Prepare script and visuals related to […]

By |July 7th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

What Happens When Wi-Fi and Unified Communications Don’t Get Along?

Companies using Unified Communications (UC) are enjoying the benefits; large savings in both money and time, improved messaging efficiency, reduced travel and associated costs, and, of course, improved collaboration with video conferencing. The all-encompassing service UC offers, gives workers the opportunity to work from anywhere. This poses the question: What happens when Wi-Fi is down? Is business brought to a halt?

Potential Problems and Solutions

As more employees take advantage of UC service opportunities, companies will encounter a bigger drain on existing networks. Managing the increased use, performance, and security becomes a new priority. Using mobile devices on the go can lead to a dropped signal or video conferencing delays. One solution for mobile phone users is using dual-mode handsets. Paired with a device used for networking, the phone can switch from Wi-Fi LAN and the cellular network. A strong analysis of the company’s concerns and needs should be performed to weed out potential issues before getting started.

Networking

Solid equipment with professional installation should reduce Quality of Service (QoS) issues. QoS measures errors and transmission rate with the goal of improving them, and helping routers perform better. Wireless traffic must be prioritized by network managers to send important traffic—like video conferences and phone calls—to the most important users. QoS also covers implementing techniques such as Wi-Fi Multimedia (WME). WME can help when bandwidth is being shared by a diverse group of applications, for example video conferencing, media players, and other apps. Remember, a dropped all or lousy connection costs more than just time, it affects your reputation and makes your interactions seem less professional.

Hacking

A good IT offense is the best defense. Guests on the network, lost devices, and denial of service (Dos) events all bring the potential for […]

By |June 30th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Interactive Projectors: What You Should Consider Before Making a Purchase

Many people holding meetings or teaching in classrooms have seen how transformative interactive whiteboards are. They have the ability to hold the audience’s attention longer than traditional meeting tools. But, smartboards, as they are called, are prohibitively expensive and lack the ability for collaboration in the small spaces most meetings are held in. Enter the interactive projector. Interactive projectors are gaining in popularity as cost-effective and portable alternatives to interactive whiteboards. The projected visuals now support more interactivity, improving the user experience, and encouraging participation. Plus, with the emergence of touch technology, interactivity has taken on a whole new meaning, with the projectors fitting into that space perfectly. People can join in using a stylus or just their finger. To pick the best projector that suits your needs, you need to consider the following factors.

Choose the Right Size

Interactive projectors are ideal for small spaces. The equipment comes in various sizes and what will work best depends on where it will be placed in the room. For instance, if the projector is going to be on a table top or hidden in the ceiling, something of a smaller scale would be better. If it will hang from the ceiling, you want to make sure it doesn’t hang too low. Assess the placement, before settling on which size is right.

Consider the Distance

Size isn’t the only factor you should consider when you purchase a projector. The right option depends upon the distance between the projector and the displayed area. Typically, in a long conference room, projectors are placed in the back. To view pictures with clarity in a large room, auditorium or conference venue, you need a long-throw projector. These work best if you have a large presentation […]

By |June 23rd, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Huddle Rooms: Creating Your Collaboration Cave

Is your business in need of space to accommodate small group collaborations? Are you looking for an area in which to bring your employees together? A space to improve productivity and foster innovation? If you’re ready to move past the traditional conference room and try something more personal and cost effective, your business may be ready for a huddle room.

There has been a move towards more open and casual environments in firms of all sizes in the last decade. This is for good reason too. Collaborative work areas like huddle rooms still offer important conferencing equipment without the need to hire out a designated space. Now groups can brainstorm solutions organically, whenever they should come up.

What is a Huddle Room?

A huddle room generally includes videoconferencing hardware such as a laptop or desktop with a built in camera, a microphone, and an attached phone system for conferencing. The space also includes a desk or small table that should be appropriate for four or more people. A good huddle room will also have sound masking technology that emits a frequency from speakers in order minimize noise—similar to noise cancelling headphones.

Why are Companies Opting for These Smaller Spaces?

Changing work culture. The use of large conference rooms for meetings is becoming less and less common as firms opt for quick, easy alternatives. This comes as the insulated workplace of traditional office culture moves towards open spaces and collaborative work environments. In addition to this, the number of employees working from home has soared over the past five years, and as remote work becomes a more viable option, a flexible space for the workers that don’t operate on a typical nine to five schedule is important. This also saves space […]

By |June 16th, 2015|Blog|1 Comment

Digital Signage: In Case of Emergency, Do Not Break Glass

Digital signage is becoming increasingly common everywhere you go. These digital displays can be used to inform, warn, motivate, and influence. They provide a perfect opportunity to efficiently relay information to a wide audience. The technology has applications across virtually every industry, from government to corporate businesses, as well as public institutions such as universities, transit systems, and hospitals. With digital signage becoming more and more affordable it is now used everywhere from airports to banks and libraries to highways.

Digital signage has proven to be incredibly valuable in its application as an emergency communication tool. Broadcasting messages placed in strategic locations and in an effective way can alert a large number of people to potential dangers, such as extreme weather conditions, or public safety issues.

The benefits of digital signage are clear—fully customizable screens that can transmit breaking news in real-time. It is important you have a clear strategy in place for emergencies to ensure the information gets across quickly and efficiently. Here are some tips for making sure your digital signage strategies run smoothly.

Define Leadership and Assign Responsibilities
Before establishing any plan of action, your organization needs to decide who is in charge of the digital signage alerts and exactly what their role is. The person in charge will need to coordinate efforts with other personnel, for example school leaders or store managers, to go over any action plan in case of emergency. They should be able to take control of any emergency situation, making sure to keep the information on the panels up to date and even leading people to safety, if necessary.

Have a Contingency Plan
Even if you have someone in charge and a solid set of guidelines to follow, in the event of an […]

By |June 11th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

The Future of Unified Communications

As the workforce becomes more mobile, businesses need technological solutions to handle the shift. Unified communications (UC) has an important role in the future roadmap of business as long as it evolves in kind. UC needs to make sure it provides the flexibility needed as employees take their work with them where they go.

Businesses are Adopting UC Technology in Earnest

The shift to the mobile and remote workplace is becoming more and more popular. Businesses today often have employees working on different devices in different geographic locations. Businesses see the value in this new work structure and are increasingly turning to UC solutions to handle the load. A survey conducted by the market research firm Ovum revealed that around about 80 percent of organization executives heads indicated their plans to move forward with UC implementation solutions in their business processes strategies. To back that fact up, the survey also showed 78 percent of department heads claimed to actually have appointed a budget for UC. This is significant because it indicates a positive move towards using the technology as a here-and-now solution instead of placing it as an agenda on a to-do list.

BYOD Drives the Evolution of UC Solutions

As mentioned above, workplace mobility is the driving force behind the popularity and evolution of UC technology. More and more people are breaking free of the cubicles and taking advantage of a more flexible work atmosphere. Companies are supporting this increased mobility in their business models. This has triggered new trends in work culture and BYOD (bring your own device) is one of the most popular. Employees are feeling empowered by the growing number of mobile devices they can bring to work. Vendors need to cater to this empowerment […]

By |June 2nd, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Upgrade Your Conference Room: What You Need and Why

“You only get one chance to make a first impression.” This famous saying holds true for many aspects of our life, from personal to business. When it comes to business, this saying can definitely be applied to your conference room.

Is your conference room making a good first impression? If your company doesn’t have a state-of-the-art meeting room, it probably won’t make a lasting impression on clients or associates. This could also translate to how they view your entire business operations. There are many ways to update your conference room by incorporating the latest audio and video technology.

Projector screen. If your old projector screen is yellowed and wrinkled and has holes in it, it’s time to replace it. The importance of this essential conference room staple is often overlooked, but using superior quality screen technologies will give you a brighter and sharper image.

Upgrade the screen to a large, flat display. Something in the 55 to 80 inch range, with digital video and VGA inputs, is fairly standard today. Projectors work more cohesively with 16:9 aspect ratio presentations.

You will also need an upgrade if your multimedia projector has a dull bulb that hasn’t been replaced in years. Many times it’s not much more expensive to just replace the entire projector with an updated HD one, giving you a crisper display and enhancing your videoconferencing experience.

Speakers. The days of having cheap PC speakers on the conference table are over. A good audio system is the key to running an effective meeting. Clarity in sound helps participants understand the content easily and become fully immersed in a presentation. Installing ceiling speakers will give you optimum sound. It will also remove the table clutter and provide a cleaner and more […]

By |May 27th, 2015|Blog|1 Comment

Five Reasons You Need Unified Communications in Your Business

Unified communications (UC) combines all communication channels over a single digital connection to provide a number of benefits to organizations. It’s not surprising many more businesses are adopting UC technology every year. A report from Transparency Market Research indicates that by 2018 the unified communications market is projected to grow to $61.9 billion. Businesses can harness all the advantages of UC by controlling all the digital exchanges within its infrastructure.

The following are some of ways UC technology can benefit your company, no matter how big or small.

 

Improved Flexibility and Efficiency

Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provides more flexibility to companies and their employees than analog or traditional networks. In a BYOD (bring your own device) work climate with many employees working from different locations, UCaaS streamlines messaging. It uses a unified inbox and a single phone number for all communication needs. As a result, less time is wasted searching and organizing information, allowing employees to focus on core tasks.

Secure Data Storage

UCaaS can turn your audio signals into digital data. This encrypts the data and adds an extra layer of security to your business information. Unified communications ensure that sensitive information you send through email, phone or fax will be seen only by the intended recipients.

Businesses require a higher level of security today and UC can provide that safeguard especially when combined with robust user-authentication systems.

Cost Reduction

No two businesses are exactly the same. The needs of a start-up will differ from the demands of a global organization. UC recognizes those differences and can scale its services accordingly.

With UC, businesses can pay for the traffic they need instead of paying a set rate, which was the case with traditional systems. Most UC vendors offer […]

By |May 19th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Use Video Collaboration to Improve the Health of Your Business

We are witnessing a remarkable shift in the way businesses operate. In an increasingly virtual and global environment, it is imperative for businesses to adapt new ways of working to stay competitive. Today, we see more employees working remotely, dealing with business partners and customers across the world. Businesses need to effectively support their dispersed workers and clients to boost productivity while keeping costs down.

Clear communication and close collaboration play crucial roles in business operation, innovation, and profitability. A single misunderstanding, miscommunication, or misinterpretation can cost you money and your reputation. Video communications can help businesses perform while overcoming key challenges of the mobile enterprise environment.

The Effect of Video on Business Communication

Video is now a preferred medium for communication in the corporate world. According to a Cisco and Redshift Research study, 87 percent of younger executives (out of 1,300) believe that video positively and significantly impacts an organization. Another survey by Wainhouse Research finds that 78 percent of the total 1,007 participants consider online video as an effective tool for business communications.

The real power of video collaboration lies in its ability to provide face-to-face interaction. In fact, it is a middle ground between in-person meetings and voice-only phone calls. This helps in building better business relationships. Using video, businesses add an extra dimension by allowing participants to read non-verbal signals and build rapport.

Advantages of Video Collaboration

It is no surprise that almost all sectors are leveraging the power of video collaboration. While retailers and financial institutions use video communication and conferencing to interact with customers, manufacturers employ this technology to resolve production issues. It benefits the healthcare industry by providing language interpretation services and psychiatric care. Its developing capabilities connect clinicians across the country with hospital-based […]

By |May 12th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments
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