John - 3/17 - Advanced AV

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So far John has created 162 blog entries.

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

Five Ways to Use Interactive Technology to Create Great Customer Experiences

We tend to think of UX, or user experience, as a new phenomenon tied to the digital age. However, user experience has long been a driver of design. For example, more than sixty years ago, industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss wrote Designing for People, a classic design text that has had profound impact on the methodologies of design.

“When the point of contact between the product and the people becomes a point of friction, then the has failed. On the other hand, if people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient – or just plain happier – by contact with the product, then the designer has succeeded,” states Dreyfuss in Designing for People. Dreyfuss describes many of the methods that UX designers employ today to understand and design for user needs.

User experience and the ideal customer journey have less to do with a device or screen and more to do with a user’s ability to interact with a product easily—be it through digital signage or real-world experience. When what connects the customer to your product or service causes friction, it’s a design failure that likely means a lost sale. When consumers feel comfortable because of a positive experience, they are simply more eager to make a purchase. It’s the same as it was sixty years ago; great user experience is the key to business success.
Leverage Interactive Tech for Positive UX
Interactive technology is how users access your product or service. Regardless of how well your product or service performs, great UX must drive your customers to its use or purchase. Interactive technology designed with the user in mind can transform the customer journey— taking your business to a whole new level.

Create memorable experiences that will keep your […]

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

Importance of Continued AV Professional Development

It’s the age of rapidly evolving technology – the only way to stay in the game is to invest in consistent professional development. In the audio/visual (AV) realm, professional development is especially crucial to stay on top of the frequent installation, design, and equipment updates. Learn how continued AV education will not only keep your brand alive in the modern era but propel your company to the top of your industry.

Reap the Benefits of Continual Education

Employee training and development will always be staples for a successful business to pinpoint company weaknesses, evaluate performances, and make changes to optimize a brand. However, many companies underestimate the value of ongoing employee education. Putting your employees through regular coursework, conferences, and training sessions can keep their information current, give them in-depth, hands-on training they can’t find elsewhere, and give them excellent networking opportunities – all without risk to your company.

Savvy AV companies invest in continued AV professional development because they know it’s necessary to stay ahead of the competition. AV is a quickly evolving industry, with new, innovative solutions hitting the market regularly, which is imperative for new hires, existing employees, IT teams, and before awarding promotions. New hires should receive regular training to get to the bottom of problems and answer questions before they become major issues.

Continued development can facilitate familiarization with the company, a deeper understanding of individual responsibilities, and knowledge of company goals and missions. Existing employees and IT teams can benefit from regular training courses to learn about any updates and new AV equipment on the market and to feel more secure in their roles with the company. Extra training before a promotion can help employees need less supervision once they assume a new […]

By |December 28th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Top Ten Technology Predictions for 2017

It’s the final month of 2016. The New Year looms enticingly on the horizon. There are many reasons to look forward to 2017 – none the least of which is the gamut of incredibly exciting innovations in the technology industry. Here is a brief look at our top 10 technology predictions for next year.

Invest in AI Customer Service

Artificial Intelligence will begin to replace humans in the customer service sphere of businesses. Automating customer call centers or investing in a hybrid AI-human customer service department will improve productivity, cut wasted employee time, and make it easier for customers to get answers. AI will also take over the realm of analytics, enabling businesses to understand trends as they evolve in real time.

Vamp Up Your Videos

The booming success of live video, video marketing, and virtual reality applications in the past year points to another banner year for this medium, as mobile continues to replace desktop viewing. Consumers will come to expect video from your company, and a lack thereof will be a definite mark against your brand.

Enjoy Advanced Predictive Analytics

Big data was the phrase of the year, with new technologies like interactive digital signage giving organizations new ways to gather incredibly accurate consumer information. Predictive analytics will shine in 2017, bringing forecasting capabilities to an all-time high. Businesses will be able to understand customers, foresee trends, and use big data in ways we haven’t yet imagined.

Jump Onboard Machine Learning

Machine learning startups will be the top acquisition targets of software firms, chip manufacturers, and related businesses as they jump to add smarter computing programs to their products. Machine learning techniques will finally reach the point where they’re ready to join the market in applications such as image file […]

By |December 21st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Data as a Service: The Revolution We Need

Data as a service (DaaS) developed during the last year with the onslaught of the “As a Service” movement. Put simply, DaaS removes the silos around traditional data stores and allows companies to access real-time data streams from anywhere in the world. It removes the constraints of internal data sources. Enterprises – including SAP and Amazon – are already tapping into this developing area, which is showing real promise.

Use DaaS to Change Decision-Making

DaaS is a revolutionary idea that is changing the way companies manage and handle their data. In addition to providing new ways to control the overwhelming flow of new streams of information, DaaS offers several other tangible benefits to modern businesses. First and foremost, DaaS eliminates much of the administrative work surrounding data. Business leaders can still get the same insights and details from their data streams—but without having to parse them to make data-driven decisions.

Additionally, companies that subscribe to DaaS platforms will have access to more data stores than ever. Keeping onsite data collection hardware is costly, and back-end support is needed for onsite data collection. Most businesses that aren’t already in the data industry struggle to maintain a viable internal data source. Simply put, DaaS platforms offer the advantages of access to big data without the typical investments. There is no more need for massive hardware upgrades or creating a dedicated data department.

Find Your Data Faster and With More Accuracy

With DaaS platforms, it’s also easier to find exactly the data you need in real time. Before Daas, organizations would have to determine which data they needed to collect, how and where they would collect it, and then decide whether it was usable. In most cases, companies would need to mine data […]

By |December 15th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Unleashing Employee Creativity on Technology

Sparking employee creativity is a cornerstone of leadership in companies that want to grow and thrive. Encouraging employees to think outside of the box can help companies develop new solutions for existing problems. But creativity can go farther than just problem-solving. Leaders should encourage their employees to get creative with the technology they use.

Encouraging Mobile Usage

Mobile technology is more prevalent and powerful than ever. For the first time in history, people are using smartphones more than desktop computers to access the internet, and the gap just keeps growing. This is largely due to the widespread ownership of cell phones: 68 percent of Americans own a powerful smartphone, and 45 percent own a tablet.

As the trend continues, it’s becoming more and more important for businesses to adapt to the mobile world. It’s important to be accessible to customers, but companies can benefit from using technology for their employees too. In fact, mobile-first businesses are forging the way to more creative and loyal workers than ever before.

When employees can use mobile devices in their job, they are more productive, satisfied, and creative. Companies who are “mobile pioneers” (meaning they utilize mobile devices during work) saw a 16 percent productivity increase. They also saw 18 percent more creativity, 23 percent more satisfaction, and 21 percent more loyalty.

Beyond the quantitative gains, companies who utilize mobile devices also see an image boost. It’s much harder to measure these effects, but they should never be discounted. Employee happiness and retention are both heavily affected by image and relationships with employees.

Implementing Technology Effectively

There are multiple ways to unleash technology effectively, beyond utilizing mobile devices. One of the best strategies for businesses is to improve and utilize existing technology instead of buying new […]

By |December 12th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Accurately Predicting the Future of IoT

Year after year, each December and January we’re inundated with articles predicting what the trends will be in the New Year. Headlines, such as “What to Expect in 2017 From Your Technology” dominate. The most popular topic making waves in the business world these days is the internet of things (IoT.) How are business leaders going to predict the future of the IoT accurately? How will the rest of us prepare for what’s to come?

Remember, we can discern quite a bit about the future by looking to the past. It’s important for business owners to stay forward thinking and to be driven by future possibilities. At the same time, it’s critical that we remember the past and don’t make the same mistakes again and again. Being mindful of the trends that have come and gone (as well as the predictions that never came to pass) will help you prepare for the year to come. 

Don’t Repeat History

A little more than two decades ago, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, companies like Whisper, CellNet, and Hexagram unveiled machine-to-machine networking. However, their inability to think about the future of technology resulted in their downfall, and those companies are not in business today. Their technologies were strictly proprietary and unable to support many applications. Additionally, their limited capacity also meant they offered insufficient security. They would not have held up in today’s market, where digital security is a top concern for just about every industry.

A reliable network needs lots of bandwidth, and cybersecurity can never be just an afterthought. Although many IoT networks have resorted to staying small, hoping that an insignificant appearance would make for less attractive targets for hacking—any system can become a target. When developing […]

By |December 1st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments
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