John - 5/17 - Advanced AV

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So far John has created 165 blog entries.

Why Your School Needs a Systems Integrator

Educators today have a full plate, made over-full, perhaps, by the increase usage of education technology in the classroom. Education technology has many moving parts, from hardware like Chromebooks and iPads to software and applications. Staying on top of all of it, and of its upgrades and download, can feel overwhelming, which is why your school needs a systems integrator. A systems integrator will streamline your processes and manage all aspects of your IT, enabling your teachers to dedicate their time to what they do best.

Create Smooth Technology Workflows

Technology has completely changed the way we think and work. When we integrate it into the curriculum successfully, we improve the learning process. We know that the right technology improves performance outcomes and helps teachers by allowing students to become creators in their learning—they’re no longer just consumers of content.

Tech solutions in the classroom also teach students valuable 21st-century skills, from personal and social responsibility to knowing how to identify which software or hardware is best to complete a task. We stand to gain a lot from tech, but only when we use it effectively.

In some cases, tech workflows are simple. For example, one student may take notes on a computer and share with another student. Others solutions are complex: A teacher’s capture and re-sharing of images from digital microscopes to students’ iPads through mobile apps so the students can annotate and capture images for future use.

In these scenarios, smooth technology workflows are paramount. A systems integrator will manage your tech workflows and ensure that schools are using the right tools to their full potential.

Manage All Your Technologies from One Place

Project management and execution are two different skills sets, and a good systems integrator has both. Systems […]

By |October 11th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

What Adaptability Means Now in the C-Suite

In today’s tech-driven world, few qualities matter more than adaptability. So what does that mean for the C-suite?

The ability to pivot in response to the markets and with technology marks the difference between companies that survive and those that thrive. The digital transformation requires more than just keeping up with current technology—businesses must shapeshift to rise above their competition. The new definition of adaptability is digital agility. But how can the C-suite encourage this transformation?

Create an Adaptable Infrastructure

Your business, at its core, must embrace the digital transformation. The only certainty in technology is that the future is uncertain—so frame your business infrastructure around that principle. This is a hard concept for many companies to grasp. In fact, research suggests that organizations invest as much as 80 percent of their IT budgets in maintaining legacy systems. This way of thinking must go. Open development, DevOps, open APIs, and data analytics allow enterprises to adapt, so CIOs should lead the charge in making their business infrastructure adaptable.

Focus on five key areas of adaptability: organization, processes, technology, data, and measurement. Since we live in a world of digital Darwinism, take a Darwinian approach: it’s not the biggest or strongest who necessarily survive, but those who are most responsive to change.

Establish a Clear Vision

Though the future of business processes and technology are unclear, there’s one thing about your enterprise that should always be transparent: your vision. If you know where you want your company to go, you will be better equipped to create processes that get it there. According to a recent Gartner survey, only 13 percent of respondents said they knew their next big digital business investment. Almost two-thirds said they didn’t know much about the possibilities of […]

By |October 4th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Technology Aiding Personalized Learning Experiences

Businesses may be all about personalization today, but in the field of education, it’s still relatively uncharted territory.

Personalized learning practices are experiencing slow adoption rates, likely because they’re a source of some confusion. What makes personalized learning so different from more traditional experiences? The answer is simple and lies in technology.

When teachers have the technical and digital infrastructure to create personalized learning experiences, the potential is limitless. Students can work on different subjects at their own pace. Instead of catering lessons to a standardized denominator, teachers are free to educate students based on students’ unique skill levels. Here’s how technology is reshaping the face of education.

Access a Digital Curriculum Anywhere, Anytime

Students enrolling in higher education come from different walks of life and have different schedules. They’re united, however, in a common goal: to graduate. Technology allows students to access classes from anywhere based on their unique programs. Some students may have to work full-time to support their families and take their classes at night, while others may live with their parents and complete their assignments during traditional school hours.

Personalized teaching also allows for competency-based education so each student can move at his or her own speed. Rather than statically instructing a group of students and administering tests, teachers can craft dynamic lessons that allow students to engage with the material fully—and to spend as much time as needed to learn and apply it correctly.

Create Digital Tools for Instruction

Modern students require more than just lectures to keep them engaged. As children of the digital age, their attention spans are notoriously shorter than previous generations. Teachers can use digital tools to create dynamic instruction and personalized learning environments. By creating interactive learning environments and assignments, teachers can […]

By |September 20th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

Encouraging Work-Life Balance in an Over-Connected World

The digital transformation has connected us like never before.

No matter our location—home, the beach, or even the subway—we can stay connected to our workplaces. The modern business world moves at the speed of technology, necessitating constant interaction.

On the flip side, this connectivity can exhaust employees. Workers may feel guilty about disconnecting for a while, or they may be resigned to never having another true day off. Our interconnected world makes achieving work-life balance even more challenging. What can you, as a business leader, do to help your employees stay happy and well-adjusted?

Set Disconnect Expectations

Some employees continuously monitor work email and respond to queries because they feel too guilty or even afraid to take a break. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to encourage employees to disconnect once in a while. This is especially true for remote teams that don’t always have the benefit of face-to-face interactions. Give your employees a clear sense of when they should work—and when they should unplug and enjoy other activities.

Provide Opportunities for Autonomy

Flexible work schedules allow employees to be more productive since they can, in theory, work on their own time and terms. Giving your teams some flexibility in their work schedules increases overall efficiency and lets your workers feel valued, boosting your productivity. Take care in executing a flexible work schedule. However—a little planning goes a long way. While employees may like full autonomy in their work schedules, you still have deadlines to meet and projects to complete. Create plans that are achievable, and give everyone an opportunity to maintain a work-life balance, whether they’re prone to underworking or overworking.

Create a Conducive Work Culture

Changes in technology might affect your business’ day-to-day operations, but it shouldn’t have an impact on […]

By |September 13th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Digital Transformation Shifting How We Communicate

It’s no secret that digital transformation has impacted every aspect of operating a modern business.

We know that the digital age affects every department in an enterprise, from human resources to c-suite execs—but we hear less about how it shifts an organization as a whole, and even less about the ways in which it communicates. Mobility in communication creates the greatest change, as employees are more connected than ever before. With business right at our fingertips via tablet, smartphone, and laptop, how has the digital transformation affected internal and external enterprise communication?

Changing the Way We Communicate Internally

The digital age has a profound effect on the way we conduct business within an organization. A recent survey by Omobono shows that, in terms of communication, departments are becoming increasingly less siloed. An average of 62 percent of a business’ internal communication budget was for digital, among the highest of any department. Intranet remains a primary mode of digital investment, but interestingly, so is social media. Internal communications are changing in subtle ways as well: we use Slack instead of email and intranet instead of paper and physical mailboxes.

The way we collaborate and conduct meetings is also changing. Rather than holding phone meetings, we meet via video conference. This kind of collaboration allows for the nuances and facial cues of a face-to-face meeting without the travel time and expense.

The digital transformation even affects the way we train employees. Instead of gathering everyone in a single conference room, workers can attend webinars right from their cubicles or even their couches. Today’s technology allows businesses to communicate and collaborate more efficiently within the internal space.

Improving Your Communication with Customers

Just like employees are more connected, so are consumers. As such, contemporary consumers […]

By |September 6th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Presenter-Tracking Cameras: Take Your Video Conferences Up a Notch

Businesses across many industries have already to connect with workers, partners, clients, and experts all over the globe in a format that is nearly as good as face-to-face interaction—and costs less in the long run.

While the most basic video conferencing systems use webcams for collaboration, some of the most advanced video conferencing systems use pan-tilt-zoom cameras, which focus on the room as a whole and provide some degree of flexibility regarding to the images displayed. You can view one side of the table or the other or a head-on view with a pan-tilt-zoom camera. You can even hone in on a presenter—but only if someone is controlling the camera.

But as technology has evolved, experts have found a way to enhance video collaboration through presenter-tracking cameras. As their name implies, these cameras “follow” the presenter’s movements across a room. The presenter-tracking cameras bring a new level of connection and realism to a full-room video conference; permitting the ability for those on the far side to view facial expressions more clearly, and making the connection between towns or across miles that much more tangible.

Presenter-Tracking Cameras: The Next Generation of Video Collaboration

Rudimentary AV systems rely on webcam technology to guide video collaboration. Unfortunately, webcams aren’t meant for full-room collaboration. Webcams are best used as a personal device and follow an “arm’s length” rule—if you get any further than arm’s length from the camera, the image will suffer, as will the entire video conferencing experience. At arm’s length, you can display facial expressions, gestures, and other nuances that make video collaboration preferable to phone or email, whether you’re using it for business or to connect with the grandchildren. Put a webcam in front of a large room of people, […]

By |August 23rd, 2016|News|3 Comments

Improved Classrooms: The Benefits of Redesigned Learning Spaces

Trends are powerful—we anticipate them, we monitor them, and we use them to make proactive decisions. This is especially true for tech trends in higher education, as they influence teaching and learning experiences on college and university campuses across the globe.

Earlier this year, the New Media Consortium (NMC), in conjunction with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, released its 13th annual trend appraisal, titled NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition. The report looks ahead over the next five years and identifies the trends and technological developments that will drive educational change. One of those mid-term impact trends—that is, one we can expect to see within the next three to five years—is redesigning learning spaces.

In today’s digital landscape, reenergizing how and where students learn is crucial for educational institutions that want to stay ahead of the game. Redesigning learning spaces, then, is a logical first step, and a hot trend to watch. What’s more, teachers must learn how to adapt to these new spaces—particularly open learning spaces, which are becoming more and more popular in higher education development.

A New Kind of Learning Environment

Unlike the more authoritarian classrooms of the past, open learning typically refers to “a style of teaching involving flexibility of space, student choice of activity, richness of learning materials, integration of curriculum areas, and more individual or small-group rather than large-group instruction.”

Designers take many factors into consideration when creating an open college or university learning environment, and today’s technology plays a major role in those decisions. A case study of a school from the Bendigo Education Plan (BEP) in Australia revealed a need for greater teacher adaptability in response to the flexibility of an open learning environment.

Here’s what’s coming down the pike for students, and […]

By |August 17th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

The Remote Workforce is a Reality: How Leaders Can Inspire and Motivate Their Remote Teams

Virtual workplaces are more common now than ever—thanks, in large part, to a surge in collaborative technologies and the coming of age of a generation born into an increasingly digital marketplace. Both employers and employees are drawn to these types of arrangements for different reasons.

Remote team members often enjoy more flexibility in their schedules and can actually be more efficient when tasked with managing their own time. In turn, companies can hire candidates based on skill sets and not proximities, widening the talent pool and leading to higher productivity. To get the most out of a remote workforce, though, leaders must be able to inspire, motivate, and hold accountable their remote team members. Let’s talk about how to do that.

The Rise of the Remote Workforce

Remote teams are not the future—they are the present. In fact, a Gallup poll from last year found that a substantial 37 percent of U.S. workers have telecommuted, with the average worker logging in remotely at least two days per month. Many work entirely from home-based offices and check-in with colleagues daily. Regardless of how often team members telecommute, it’s vitally important that they receive support and engagement from management.

Time out—I know what you might be thinking: Why the emphasis on leadership strategies strictly for remote teams? Don’t the same principles of teamwork and accountability apply to the entire workforce, whether they’re eight feet or 800 miles away? My answer is that yes, of course they do. However, managing a remote workforce brings about a slew of unique challenges—and there’s a lot more to it than simply not being able to take your department out for coffee to show appreciation for a job well done.

Let’s explore some strategies leaders can use […]

By |August 10th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

How Video Technology Is Changing the Workplace

The way that we conduct business is changing at the pace of technological advancement. Telecommuting is becoming a mainstream option for employees, incentivizing business leaders to invest in technology that binds mobile workforces together. According to research conducted by Quora Consulting, 77 percent of companies surveyed have a culture that is conducive to challenging current workplace practices, while only 19 percent reported that they haven’t implemented “forward-thinking strategies.”

Video technology can to revolutionize the workplace, but only if it’s implemented wisely. Information technology departments and business leaders should take steps to ensure that technological innovations are intuitive and easy to adopt. The right technology has the potential to change the workspace—streamlining work processes, maximizing worker efficiency, and driving innovation. 

A Mobile Workforce Presents Challenges (and Opportunities)

The ways we conduct business have gone beyond the brick and mortar office building. Our businesses are becoming more globalized, allowing human resources directors to recruit top talent from all around the nation (and even the globe). With a mobile workforce, information technology leaders need to be creative when it comes to bringing their employees together. A cohesive workforce can help achieve innovation that spurs growth.

Video technology offers a variety of solutions for improvements in the workplace:

Most of us carry video-enabled technology in our pockets. Encouraging employees to use their mobile technology to tap into live-streaming video or virtual meetings can keep your workforce connected, no matter where they are.
Virtual (Reality) meetings. Devices such as Google Cardboard are cost-effective ways for employees to achieve the authenticity of a face-to-face interaction without leaving their homes. What was once only imagined on the TV series “The Jetsons” is becoming a reality for business leaders.

While the mobile workforce has its advantages, it also […]

By |July 29th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Digital Signage—Connecting the Physical with the Digital Experience

As digital living expands, businesses strive to weave the physical and virtual into one all-inclusive and engaging consumer experience. The rise of digital signage makes great headway toward this end—enhancing consumer experiences and business efficacy in a seamless marriage of the digital and real worlds.

More so than most other audiovisual technologies today, digital signage bridges the gap between the online research and shopping consumers do via desktop and mobile devices and their in-store experience. Businesses can deploy digital signage technology in a number of ways to craft pre-brand experiences, engage with customers on-site, and use digital signage to gather information for re-marketing campaigns through mobile and social media platforms.

Craft Pre-Brand Experiences Through Digital Signage and Cloud-based Technology

Social media and search platforms allow targeted marketing and re-marketing, providing consumers with advertisements designed to interest them and then serving up similar ads to remind them of the brand.

However, this effort—until recently—remained largely in the digital sphere. The Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-based technologies open the door to greater hybrid marketing opportunities that bring the consumer experience off the screen and into the real world.

Businesses need to shapeshift with the changing technological landscape to stay ahead, and digital signage offers an avenue to explore these changes. In this next evolution of marketing, four powerful technologies join forces:

Data feeds, courtesy of the IoT and ubiquitous smart devices
Digital signage
Beacon technology and geo-targeting
Other cloud-based technologies that integrate them all

Theoretically, relevant and targeted digital signage ads could “follow” customers down the street or through a shopping mall as they chose which shops to enter. Beacon technology tracks users’ movements, and geo-targeting tailors their experience to the location. This is an obvious opportunity for businesses to craft an […]

By |July 26th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments
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