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So far John has created 158 blog entries.

Enterprise Application of AI Personal Assistants

Artificial Intelligence (AI) personal assistants are all the rage in the consumer market, and Amazon Echo and Google Home are making a name for themselves in that category. Right now, most AI personal assistants are sitting on consumers’ living room tables allowing them to order their favorite delivery food, play music, search the web, and perform other day-to-day activities.

Consumers are primarily using these AI personal assistants as in-home helpers, but can they transition to enterprise applications? If yes, what uses would they serve? Let’s explore.
Improved Scheduling
AI is already stepping into the enterprise by enabling voice-controlled scheduling. For example, Amazon’s Alexa can now add events to your calendar in Outlook. This update allows users to simply ask “Alexa, what’s my schedule for today” and the voice control triggers the AI personal assistant to list meetings, lunches, and various other tasks on the user’s schedule. Currently, Alexa is only compatible with Microsoft Outlook, and can only make calendar appointments at the user’s voice request. However, Amazon is updating and aims to make Alexa as universal as possible someday soon.

One reason Alexa demonstrates the AI personal assistant’s potential value in the enterprise marketplace is the compatibility factor. With so many different types of software already in place, most companies will only be willing to adopt AI that is compatible with existing software. The adoption of an AI that is self-reliant would call for a massive software overhaul for a company, so compatibility is essential for enterprise use. Another program in the marketplace, similar to Alexa, also has the ability to schedule meetings—startup’s personal assistant named Amy Ingram—but with one significant difference.

Amy is an AI assistant that has been programmed to scan and read e-mails. If any mention […]

By |March 17th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Five Ways AR and VR Are Changing Solution Selling

Deploying cutting-edge technology benefits businesses on many levels. From marketing to human resources, to sales, technology is improving operational efficiency across the organization. So, what’s the latest technology designed to helped companies exceed projections? The answer may surprise you.

While we commonly associate augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) with displays and video games, they offer significant benefits for sales departments as well. Let’s examine in-depth how and why AV and VR are powerful AV technologies for companies and sales teams.
Five Sales Benefits of AR and VR

Increased Communication and Collaboration for Sales Teams. Communication within a sales team is a crucial part of their success. AR and VR do wonders to improve both communication and collaboration within a sales team. And, VR offers sales teams new ways to interact not only with each other, but as importantly, with clients and prospects. Imagine, instead of a conference call, team members and clients meeting in a virtual conference room with the ability to see and interact with each other in real time. Inserting others into VR can help sales reps read physical gestures and nonverbal communication, helping them better understand their colleagues and clients. Moreover, having the ability to read physical gestures also allows sales reps to deliver information in a clearer, more concise manner than through video chat or a traditional conference call.

Client Engagement. One of the most beneficial features of VR is that it allows potential customers to engage with products. Not only does this engagement through VR enable consumers to understand the product better, but it also helps in the research process along the path to purchase. How? Instead of relying on branded or user-generated content alone, VR makes it possible for […]

By |March 8th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

The Value of Simple and Seamless Collaboration

In today’s constantly evolving business landscape, most of us feel an urgent need to collaborate and stay connected. We use smartphones, tablets, and laptops on a daily basis on almost every level of work. And, with the increasing use of various mobile devices in the workplace, it’s a challenge to keep collaboration between coworkers, clients, and teams open and free-flowing. But if you want to keep your company viable, simple and seamless collaboration is a must.

Why? The globalization of business is here. Whether it’s across the office or across the Pacific, companies need to be able to communicate with their clients and team members. They must find ways to push beyond clutter and unnecessary difficulties in their communications. The answer is collaboration technology.
Why Collaboration is Vital
The saying, “time is money” is as relevant now as it’s ever been. And in today’s competitive marketplace, most organizations are looking for ways to save time and streamline their efforts in driving revenue.

Easily finding information and sharing it with the intended person or persons in real time has obvious benefits for both employers and employees. Programs like Microsoft Teams include software that eliminates long searches for content and gives employees the power to share and collaborate on multiple devices simultaneously.

Video collaboration is becoming one of the most powerful and streamlined methods to communicate efficiently. Through video collaboration, companies don’t only save time, but also promote more positive relationships with whomever the collaboration is taking place. And while employee morale and client relationships are important to any company, so are the numbers.

Companies that utilize video collaboration grow almost twice as fast as businesses that choose not to adopt video collaboration at all. If that statistic is not incentive enough, 41 […]

By |February 28th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Systems Security Analysis: In-house vs. A Managed Service

Cybersecurity breaches have become a fact of life these days. With the average total cost of a data breach reportedly at about $4 million, it’s no surprise that data security remains top of mind for CIOs and IT pros. As you’re no doubt aware, monitoring corporate AV systems is a critical component of security, and there are two schools of thought on how best to handle protection: An in-house strategy or working with a managed services provider. Let’s explore these options and review the pros and cons of each.
Getting Started
It’s important to begin by researching every component required for running and operating a successful Security Operations Center (SOC), before weighing your options about system security. With an increasing amount of companies storing data through different platforms, the need for systems security is at an all-time high.

While building and maintaining a SOC might appear an easy venture from the outside, it is a massive undertaking. You need trained individuals familiar with your monitoring systems of choice, a business specific strategy, the right technology to protect your data, and the wherewithal to navigate your legal obligations.  Each component is vital to the success of your systems security, including support from your executive team.

If you don’t have a business specific strategy, your SOC team will not be armed with the proper tools to be successful. The strategy must pinpoint your company’s needs while mapping out the most efficient way to handle potential security breaches. A focused business strategy will help executives feel at ease about funding a SOC.

Creating a SOC for your company is a lot of work, but it offers advantages that managed service providers can’t. For instance, putting together your own team to manage your systems […]

By |February 22nd, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

AV Integrations Transforming Higher Education

In higher education, we have left the days of blackboards and chalk far behind. Students today expect a classroom or auditorium to serve up a learning experience using the latest technologies. As a result, state-of-the-art AV technology occupies the center stage in the transformation of today’s higher education institutions.

Go to most universities, and you will see video screens, state-of-the-art projection equipment, interactive whiteboards and of course, amazing sounds systems. These examples only scratch the surface when it comes to the transformative possibilities of AV in the higher education landscape. AV integrations do more than just benefit the students; they provide a range of advantages to colleges and universities as well.
Benefits for the Students
Classrooms with interactive whiteboards, study rooms equipped with collaboration technology, and libraries and auditoriums that contain projection equipment all contribute to students’ learning experience. The incorporation of AV in higher education at this point is a necessity. Students can collaborate and share their work with peers and professors like never before. Students are more likely to feel engaged when using AV integrations.

Auditoriums and large lecture halls equipped with the latest large LCD technology and superior surround sound can reach students on a greater level. Professors can reach more students at once, which is a necessity for general education classes that all students are required to take.

Classrooms that incorporate communication and collaboration are vital to the success of college students since students who are encouraged to actively share and communicate using AV technology retain that information better than those taught without it.
Benefits for the University
“Colleges and universities of all types are competing to attract a generation of students that expects technology-driven experiences and prefers to learn in new ways,” stated David Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD, InfoComm International Executive […]

By |February 20th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Smart Beacons Take Digital Signage to The Next Level

Digital signage can make the business of attracting and enticing customers easier than ever. While it’s a given that moving, interactive ads capture attention more than static ads, measuring the impact and effectiveness of those interactive ads is difficult. Until now. Smart beacons can make all the difference in taking digital signage to the next level by allowing retailers to connect the dots between digital display, conversions, and sales.

Here’s a scenario: Imagine a customer walking by a digital sign that contains information about a store they already frequent. If the shopper has the enabled app on their phone, a smart beacon can then push information about that store directly to the customers’ mobile device. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Better than cool, it’s effective. A recent Deloitte study showed that consumers who use digital technology in store convert at a rate 20 percent higher than other shoppers. That’s why smart retailers are using beacons to display relevant messaging about a sale or product in which the consumer might be interested. Stores could also collect customer data, with permission of course, and serve targeted messaging and ads to individual consumers.
The Clear Advantage of Beacons and Digital Signage
The use of digital signage and beacons doesn’t just benefit business, it benefits consumers as well. With the use of beacons, consumers are presented with real-time information about products, sales, and even number of products in stock. While beacons and digital signage might seem like a relatively new marketing strategy, it’s more common than you think.

According to a survey by SumoHeavy, 62 percent of purchasers use mobile devices to help in their purchasing process, including in-person shopping. While the usage of the device may vary—checking for coupons or researching a product, for […]

By |February 15th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Evaluating AV: The Importance of Employee User Experience

Most companies these days have integrated an AV system into their office environment. The IT department and managers have worked with integrators to bring in the latest technology and made sure the office is equipped to handle the needs of the employees. However, once installed, all too often there’s not a continued focus on monitoring employee user experience and continuing to educate users about the equipment, as well as tweaking the equipment as needed to adapt better to the user needs.
Why Employee User Experience Matters
Why does employee user experience (UX) matter? In short, it’s everything! If a system is not delivering an intuitive, exceptional experience for your internal teams, they’ll not only be frustrated, but it’s likely they’ll bypass using the AV system altogether.

Think about the apps and programs that you use, both from a personal and a business standpoint. Chances are your favorites are easy to use and have a great UX. Now, consider for a minute the ones you don’t like—the clunky ones that take forever to load or are complicated to use. What if you were required to use those for work? I can hear the groans from here.
The Key Benefits of Delivering a Great UX for Internal AV System Users
When your AV systems can provide a great UX for internal users, everything is better. Collaboration is easier, meetings are easier, and serving clients is easier. Let’s look at some of the key benefits an AV system that delivers an amazing UX can deliver for businesses:

Happy Staff. When you make it easy for employees to do their jobs, collaborate with one another and with customers, you make it easy for them to be successful and deliver great results. Doesn’t everyone strive […]

By |February 13th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Five Reasons Virtual Collaboration Improves Productivity

Are you looking for ways to improve employee productivity? Technology has changed the traditional office setting and even regular office hours with more professionals opting for telecommuting on their own schedule rather than adhering to traditional working arrangements. Consider this, even though workers today often live across the country, virtual collaboration has boosted productivity in several meaningful ways.
Cutting Travel Costs
Some projects require face-to-face interactions, hands-on work, and other tasks that traditionally necessitated employee travel. Thanks to advances in video conferencing technology, distance is no longer the obstacle to collaboration that it once was, and companies are finding it easier than ever to get the right people on projects regardless of their physical locations.
Easier Project Management
Keeping tabs on everyone who has a hand in each project can be stressful and time-consuming for project managers. When companies embrace virtual collaboration, they enable their project managers to stay in touch with everyone on a project much more quickly and easily. Again, distance isn’t a factor. Mobile technology keeps people connected to their work, enabling virtual collaboration whenever necessary.
Everything in its Right Place
There are many useful tools managers can use to encourage virtual collaboration, and improved communication is only one of the many benefits they offer. Employees can not only communicate instantly over vast distances; they can also get a nearly firsthand look at a project in progress. Additionally, the people involved in that project can typically submit their contributions to one platform, which means less time wasted tracking down loose ends, figuring out which deliverables are missing, or who hasn’t checked in with a progress report. These tasks are seamlessly interwoven into the various collaboration tools and applications.
Instant Collaboration
The importance virtual collaboration has on productivity cannot be understated […]

By |February 9th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Digital Signage: Eliminating the Need for Static Signs

For brands, the search for new ways to create meaningful and memorable interactions with their target customers is never ending. Communications channels like billboards and large static signs are becoming a thing of the past as interest in digital communications takes center stage. Today, digital signage is an easy way to attract attention to your company or product. Interactive screens that change information as needed are gaining popularity. Digital signage has all but eliminated the need for static signs for several reasons.
Digital Signage is More Cost-Effective
While a digital display like an outdoor LED screen may be more expensive up-front, the long-term costs pale in comparison to traditional static displays. After the initial investment, resource costs are drastically reduced and are typically limited to costs related to updating the content displayed on the signage. Unlike the static signs of old, no more contending with tearing down old signs and installing new ones, which represents real savings in labor costs, printing, and shipping. Of course, you’ll need to factor in future maintenance costs to cover screen breaks or replacement expenses for other components, but those costs are minimal in the long run.
Digital Signage is High-Impact
Digital displays grab the viewers’ attention immediately. Even in our peripheral vision we can identify static and moving objects and respond accordingly. People often walk by, glance at a static sign and don’t even register what they are seeing.  By contrast, a digital display with moving pictures quickly captures and engages those who see it.

Even minimalist digital displays can have a tremendous impact, and digital signs usually keep viewers’ attention longer than static signs. As customers wait in lines, browse through shopping centers, or sit in traffic, they are far more likely […]

By |January 18th, 2017|Blog|2 Comments

Is it Time for Upgraded AV Equipment? Five Red Flags to Watch For

Like all technology, AV equipment has a relatively short lifespan. Companies focused on agility and productivity need optimized AV systems. When was the last time you upgraded your organization’s AV equipment? An AV system needs to do more than run to help an organization reach its goals. Clunky and outdated systems tend to make a company look incompetent or sit unused in conference rooms. And as more businesses, clients, and even consumers grow accustomed to using AV technology in daily life, companies need to consider how their AV equipment works within the larger business framework.
Is it Time for an Upgrade?
Functionality alone does not inspire employee adoption. In 2017, an AV system needs high- resolution displays, clear sound, and the latest technology. Use the following red flags to determine if it’s time for an upgrade.

Wires and bulky hardware overrun the place. Older AV systems can feature complex setups involving large, boxy equipment and an assortment of black and brightly colored wires. If you need to hide your AV equipment with carefully chosen conference tables, shelving units, or cabinets, you may want to consider a newer system, which will provide space flexibility. Modern solutions often incorporate cloud technology for reduced hardware. Mounted microphones and speakers eliminate the need to huddle around a centralized unit during calls, and high-resolution displays and cameras remove the need for backup communication alternatives.

Employees reluctantly use the system. A clunky, outdated system complicates communication. When your employees don’t use the AV systems to their fullest potential, you’re sacrifice productivity, savings, and profitability.

The user experience is unreliable. For AV systems to deliver optimal results, they need a user-friendly interface and on-demand functionality. Frequent glitches, the need for constant IT support and […]

By |January 12th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments
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