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Unified Communications Failing Due to Low Employee Usage

Unified communications (UC) is changing the world of communication and benefiting businesses in many ways. Yet, in many organizations, employees are reluctant to embrace changes made to workflows or processes as a result of deploying UC. Why is that?

According to a recent Nemertes Research report, most companies that have adopted UC are struggling to get them off the ground in their workplaces, especially if their employees lack adequate training or are unaware of the presence of such advanced technologies.

Fifty senior-level IT leaders representing 45 companies (with a workforce of 2,500 employees or more) were interviewed by Nemertes for its recent 2015-16 benchmark on UC and collaboration report. The report found the success rate of UC has dropped considerably over the past few years; compared to the 61 percent success rate last year, this year it stands at roughly 43 percent. The primary reason for this drop, according to Nemertes Research VP Irwin Lazar, is “lack of use,” followed by other reasons like tight budgets, interoperability concerns, and lack of business case.

Employee Ignorance—UC’s Biggest Barrier to Enterprise Adoption

Most companies involve their employees after a UC system has been purchased, or after it is installed. This approach often fails because end-users consider it an imposition rather than a benefit. Rolling out UC or any new technology means a 3600 change in the way people execute their daily tasks. This affects the overall quality of work and productivity; when you introduce UC in your workplace without considering the people who will use it on a daily basis, adoption lags.

During the specification stage, the IT department and experts stress cost savings and improved ROI, but after the actual roll out, these metrics seldom improve. This is due to lack-of-use […]

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

The Lowdown on Unified Communications System Integrators

Today’s businesses—and business leaders—are far more flexible than those from even a decade ago. A company’s workforce can span multiple countries, continents, and time zones, and virtual offices—where employees work from various locations and are constantly on the go—are the new normal. The challenge for the modern enterprise lies in bringing together these dispersed business units in order to maintain and increase productivity and efficiency. The good news is with unified communications (UC), businesses are able to break down office walls by allowing employees, clients, and associates to collaborate effectively, wherever they are located. However, for organizations to take full advantage of a UC deployment, they need to think of it as something more than a mere tech upgrade or a simple “new system” installation. This is where systems integrators step in.

Why Businesses Need Systems Integrators for UC Roll-Out

Unified communications integrates various technologies, such as data, voice, video, e-mail, and text, and makes them all accessible from a single platform to give end users a consistent user experience. Businesses are often left wondering, after UC integration, if they need to invest in a new communications infrastructure. The main concerns are complex integration requirements, the wide range of devices required to bring users together, and the constant tech evolution that forces the IT department to find new deployment approaches. System integrators can calm these concerns and help organizations create strategies to help them reach the business goals they hoped to achieve through UC deployment. But wait a minute. Weren’t value added resellers (VARs) doing the same thing? So how are systems integrators any different?

While a VAR adds features or services to an existing product and resells it as an integrated, turn-key solution, UC system integrators […]

By |September 8th, 2015|Blog|1 Comment

Using Digital Signage for Good – Getting the Word Out During a Crisis

For government agencies, it is important to communicate with the public on sensitive and critical issues. Often, the ability to send messages out quickly and clearly during a crisis can be a matter of life and death. This is where digital signage can play a pivotal role.

Digital signage and other out-of-home (OOH) solutions help government agencies:

Disseminate disaster information, generate crime alerts, and share new regulations.
Provide better services to the hearing-impaired.
Assist tourists and visitors who speak a foreign language.
Increase public awareness at minimal costs and maintenance outlays.

How Government Agencies Benefit the Public Using Digital Signage and Out Of Home Solutions

Disseminating emergency alerts such as fire alarms, air-raid sirens, and road hazard signs to ensure public safety has always been a part of the job for government agencies. What’s different with today’s technology-based security solutions is that they offer better and more effective ways to attract the attention of citizens.

Many agencies have adopted digital signage to safeguard their communities and to deliver vitally important information during all types of emergencies, anything from criminal offences, child abduction, active shootings, and natural disasters. Let’s explore some recent DOOH initiatives.

In 2014, more than 460,000 children were reported missing to law enforcement in the United States. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), working in collaboration with the U.S Department of Justice, used digital OOH to track four missing children in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The search was part of the ‘Summer of Hope’ campaign the NCMEC created with Clear Channel Outdoors America, and it demonstrated how the use of digital bus shelters and billboards allows the agency to both broaden their search significantly, and request the help of the community.

In case of criminal offenses the pervasive nature of […]

By |September 1st, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Digital Trends in Digital Healthcare

2014 was a banner year for digital health for a host of reasons. Here are just a few of the most notable strides made last year:

According to digital health accelerator, Rock Health, digital health investment surpassed $4.1 billion—more than the total of the last three years combined.
Technology giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung entered the digital health game.
Widespread adoption saw telemedicine moved into the mainstream.
The FDA made its health data available for public access and use.

This year is expected to be even better in terms of innovations and developments in digital health. Building on Rock Health’s 2014 estimates, we’ve already witnessed more than $2 billion in digital health funding in 2015.

We’re sure to see advancements in those trends already making waves in the healthcare landscape—mobile apps, telehealth, wearables and so on, but there’s more.

“The growth in business cases for new models of healthcare delivery and integration of digital health technology is reaching the point of convergence — creating powerful synergies where there was once only data silos and skepticism,” wrote Ryan Beckland, CEO of Validic, a healthcare IT company in The Health Care Blog.

So where is digital healthcare headed? Which trends are shaping the industry’s future? Let’s explore some of them.

Smart Clinical Devices

Diagnostic tools and heath devices that are connectable and able to communicate data to other devices are becoming better and more cost-effective. We are beginning to see innovative new products like smartphone case devices that can quickly provide an ECG or a DIY blood test, and contact-free flash thermometers. These cutting edge products are likely to replace more traditional clinical devices because of their reasonable price points, reimbursement benefits, and the ability to collect real-time patient data, enhancing both treatment and patient outcomes.

Additionally, […]

By |August 25th, 2015|Blog|2 Comments

Build Your Argument for Unified Communications in Your Organization

Today, every company, large or small, is challenged by the two most critical business necessities—seamless collaboration and reduced cost of operations. We’ve entered an era of limited resources where businesses are expected to do more for less. Unified communications (UC) offers solutions that integrate collaborative communications technologies to help streamline business processes, ultimately improving operations while cutting costs.

There have been tremendous changes in the workplace with the rise of BYOD (bring your own device), remote work, and the fast-paced shift to enterprise mobility—where employees are working on the go with all different types of devices. Because of this, it’s more critical than ever for organizations to understand how unified communications can benefit day-to-day business operations. However, moving to UC may not always be an easy sell to everyone in the company. The first big challenge is resistance from an unsure C-suite and/or board. How can IT leaders build a convincing case for UC?

Improved collaboration is just one of the benefits of integrating UC in your business processes. UC deployment allows employees to collaborate, and exchange and share resources quickly, which helps foster faster and better decisions. A Forrester report found that with UC solutions, an IT consultancy reduced the time its sales team took to produce complex RFP responses by almost 20 percent. This allows for a business to respond to more RFPs, giving them more opportunities to generate revenue.

The report also indicated that UC solutions can help businesses reduce costs for carrier communications by 30 to 40 percent, and allow them to pare down the network complexities and associated costs.

But, for businesses to truly embrace all that UC solutions can offer, and in order to firm up your argument for investing in UC, it […]

By |August 18th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Bring Digital Signage to Your Fleet of Company Vehicles

Branding your businesses fleet of vehicles, no matter their number, is one of the most effective ways of promoting your business. It becomes even more effective if you graduate to on-vehicle digital signage. Adding digital signage to your vehicle fleet greatly enhances your efforts to improve brand recognition and recall, helps you gain eyeballs for your brand messaging, and broadens your overall advertising campaign strategy.

Leverage the Benefits of Vehicle-Based Advertising and Digital Signage

Literal mobile marketing. The concept of advertising on vehicles has been around for decades. Over the last few years, the trend of using of vinyl wraps allowed companies to turn vehicles into a literal mobile marketing strategy. Studies have shown that roadside digital billboards have a huge impact on consumer engagement and message retention. And the same possibilities are being explored today as more and more organizations add on-vehicle digital branding to their marketing campaigns.

The latest digital technology. Vehicle-mounted digital signage offers many of the advantages of place-based digital signage. Unlike static vehicle branding, the branding possibilities with on-vehicle digital signage are endless. From videos, to interactive screens, to geolocation technology, companies are now incorporating a wide range of new technologies into their vehicle branding strategies, resulting in more creative and eye-catching campaigns.

Local advertising opportunities. Digital signage on business trucks and cars is also a powerful “local advertising” option. The visual graphics and eye-catching motion of digital signage allow potential customers to recall the brand or website that you are promoting, even at a later stage.

Like any technology, its usage isn’t foolproof. Vehicle based digital signage should be continually updated and monitored in order to be effective, and the content you create should be of the highest quality, as well as visually […]

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

Videoconferencing: Why HD is a Must Have

Videoconferencing is on the rise and the benefits are numerous. From reduced costs in travel and time, to improved remote collaboration, to global client meetings—no matter the industry video conferencing is changing the game when it comes to business operations. And as a result of the widespread adoption of video applications such as Skype and FaceTime, employees are becoming increasingly familiar with the technology, meaning little time has to go into training, and even less time has to go into convincing them to use video.

A study by Frost & Sullivan found that effective collaboration is a key component of business performance. It also discovered that IT professionals place a high value on the importance of collaboration, recognizing that it leads to increased productivity as well as it being a competitive advantage.

HD Videoconferencing systems are becoming cost effective solutions, scalable for businesses of all sizes. For enterprise HD video systems, organizations can invest as little as $3000 for point-to-point HD. In fact, a closer look at HD video systems reveals that the cost is close to, and sometimes even more affordable than that of many of the leading high-end standard video (SD) conferencing systems available on the market. In some cases, HD video systems may be even more affordable. Let’s delve into some of the practical applications of HD for different industries.

Education. Many universities already employ video strategies in their lectures. Professors often record them so students who missed class or want to review the material can do so later. However, the remote use of lecturers and special guests via HD video conferencing has yet to be widely embraced. As the popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continues to increase, the potential for lecturers to […]

By |August 4th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Bringing Videoconferencing to the Classroom

Videoconferencing is no longer exclusive to the workplace; today, video conferencing is having a huge impact on education, opening new teaching and learning opportunities for staff and students alike. Imagine gaining real world experiences and sharing first-hand information with experts, lecturers, and peers from around the world, without ever leaving the classroom. This is exactly what’s happening in education today as more and more institutions adopt online learning, and introduce video collaboration into their curricula.

Not too long ago, the high cost of videoconferencing systems made it difficult for some schools to take advantage of video in the classroom, but thanks to rapid technological advancements, that is no longer an issue.

Today’s in-class videoconferencing set-up is not the bulky, difficult-to-use AV equipment of the past. Mobile technology, Wi-Fi, and the increased use of smartphones, tablets and laptops allow for never before seen flexibility for faculty and students, and Internet-based videoconferencing services, such as Google Hangouts and Skype, have “mainstreamed” video, which more and more people use in their everyday life. For schools with the budgets to “go pro,” integrated AV systems can now be customized to suit individual needs, allowing the technology to scale alongside educational facilities classrooms to accommodate a price point that is reasonable for smaller institutions.

The technology aside, there are also myriad educational benefits to incorporating videoconferencing in the classroom today. Here are just a few:

Broader Range of Course Offerings

There are some smaller schools that simply cannot offer students a large variety of classes. Videoconferencing allows schools of any size to participate in distance learning, which expands course offerings cost-effectively. Students studying foreign languages, like Japanese for example, can have the opportunity to interact with teachers and students in Japan. Taken a step further, […]

By |July 28th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

How to Land a Dream Project Manager Position

Project management is a coveted position. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to break into this career path. Irrespective of whether it is an IT, AV, or UC project, managers always have the most challenging roles to play. So how do you secure a project management job?

Get Your Basics Right

The best way to start is to learn from scratch. Learning hands-on skills from the projects you are on is always a good idea. A PM’s primary role is to manage, coordinate, and monitor the activities of resources and their use of the tools and technology. In scenarios where you are not formally the PM, there is nothing that prevents you from being proactive, and taking on the task yourself. By doing so, you get to understand the nuances of managing resources—but make sure to make copious notes of everything you’re learning—as these notes can help you determine whether or not project management is right for you. Here are some of the things a great project manager does every day:

Prepares requirements documents outlining the scope of work.
Scheduling, defining milestones, and formalizing a plan of action.
Arranges a kick-off meeting, and ensures the right players are invited and in attendance.
Prepares status reports.
Organizes the project closure meeting.
Conducts debriefings on the overall project experience, and analyses what can be learned.
Prepares a MOM of the debriefing session and circulates throughout the team.
Archives all documents and files.

Once you do this for a couple of projects, you will develop a deep understanding of a PM’s profile. This prepares you for subsequent interview sessions for your dream job.

Looking Beyond IT Project Management

Project managers are in high demand in industries like AV, UC, and video communications. But given the current AV/IT convergence/evolution, where AV/IT are […]

By |July 21st, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

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
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