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Eye Contact Makes Remote Meetings More Effective

Apple is once again featuring prominently in news headlines following the announcement of its new iPad 2. This latest must-have device is thinner, lighter, and faster, with increased battery life and a new “smart cover” that increases functionality.

But perhaps one of the most interesting attributes of the new iPad is the addition of Apple’s Facetime software to its built-in applications. This makes mobile video chatting more accessible in a larger format than previously available, with the iPad screen providing a near life-size representation of the human face.

While Facetime is a fairly rudimentary video communications platform, its increasing presence will mean that more and more people will be adapting to the idea of adding video to their voice communications. This is interesting not just from a technology standpoint, but also in terms of human behavior. Voice is a great indicator of mood and comprehension, but when you add the possibility for eye contact and observation of facial expressions the value of an exchange between participants is elevated significantly. Or, as Apple itself elaborates, “The big, beautiful iPad display is a great place for a face, because you can really see it. Not a smile or laugh goes unnoticed.”

Most presenters in business and education are well aware of the value of eye contact. But this important function of communication goes further than merely ensuring your audience is engaged. Eye contact can also make up for all manner of inhibitors to an effective meeting or collaboration. Specifically because, according to presentation skills consultant Debbie Bailey, “Good eye contact cuts physical distance in half, helps you connect with your audience on a personal level, and invites audience members to participate in your presentation.”

If eye contact can cut distance in […]

By |March 16th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

How To Prevent A Technology Disaster

Today we encounter technology in nearly every aspect of life, including the formerly low-tech activities of grocery shopping and filling your car’s tank with fuel. And even though technology is supposed to make our lives easier, sometimes it seems like a great deal of patience is required to get the most out of electronics. Every time a desktop computer freezes, or the automated car wash machine won’t accept dollar bills, a feeling of intense frustration and helplessness can suddenly turn a good day into a bad one.

For many people, the presence of technology is nowhere more keenly felt than in the workplace. It is not at all uncommon to spend an entire day in front of one or more computer monitors while connected to desk and mobile phones, videoconferencing equipment, and presentation technology. This is true not just for those with office jobs, but also medical practitioners, educators, and just about anyone else who earns a paycheck in this day and age.

Seeing as how the rewards and detriments of interaction with technology are now a major part of everyday life, studies are being conducted on just how this change affects us. A 2004 report on “User Frustration with Technology in the Workplace” states that “Research on computer anxiety, attitudes, and frustration has shown that a disturbing portion of computer users suffer from negative affective reactions towards the computer, which can subsequently affect whether or not they use the computer, and whether or not they use the computer effectively.”

Furthermore, “In some cases, user frustration with technology can even lead to increased blood volume pressure and muscle tension.”

That particular study wasn’t all doom and gloom, however. It did find that, “There is a measurable benefit to improved […]

By |March 3rd, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Need To Know Basis

The age of portable information is most certainly upon us. Smart phones, digital tablets, and video displays are presenting timely and frequently updated content to us in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not since the dawn of the printing press or the invention of the radio has the world seen a more convenient way of presenting data in a portable format.

In order to keep up with the digital preferences of their audience, media outlets are changing the way they deliver content. On February 10, Yahoo announced a new digital newsstand designed for tablet devices and cell phones. Calling the service “Livestand”, Yahoo will send customized data to users “based on a variety of factors, including their interests, their location and the time of day, and will draw from Yahoo properties like Sports, News, Finance, OMG and Flickr.”

Yahoo attributes the move to the rapidly growing tablet audience, stating that “Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads in just eight months last year and research firm Gartner Inc. expects 55 million tablets to be shipped by the end of this year… With so many people embracing tablets, Yahoo is confident advertisers will be eager to pour more money into marketing campaigns tailored for the device.”

But certainly a portable device should do more than just replicate magazines and books. With that in mind, Yahoo is seeking to engage readers with more interactive content than is presently available for portable devices. The company is also working with a number of other publishers to provide additional content beyond the Yahoo platform.

From the look of it, Livestand will do far more than deliver the newspaper to your front step. Its personalization process is also focused and time of day and […]

By |February 21st, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Another Day at the Home Office

A growing number of people are working from home either full-time or at least a few days a week. If you don’t telework yourself, you likely have a neighbor or family member who checks in with the office remotely, saving time and preventing stress by skipping the daily commute.

This month, many more employers may encourage their staff to work from home, as the U.S. launches a nationwide Telework Week February 14-18. During that week, The Telework Exchange is calling on federal agencies, organizations and individuals to take a “Telework Pledge”. The organization is hoping the weeklong effort will show the benefits of teleworking. Interested participants can visit The Telework Exchange’s website to pledge, calculate potential commuting cost and environmental savings, and learn more about how to get started through a series of free webcasts.

As more workers forego the commute and get right to work, employers are finding it hard to ignore the research indicating that this option provides a boost in both morale and productivity. A quick perusal of The Benefits of Telework report produced by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the Telework Exchange reveals much support for those who ditch the travel mug for a cup of coffee in their home office.

In addition to the positive effects on the environment brought about by reduced travel, the report reveals that, “The job performance of teleworkers has been documented to either exceed or remain on par with that of workers in a traditional workplace arrangement.” It also points out that the increased flexibility afforded by working from home improves morale, reduces stress, and can improve employee retention and recruitment. Finally, from an operations standpoint, telework “can enable reduced demand for office space as well […]

By |February 15th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Taking Shelter From The Storm

This has been one of the snowiest winters on record in the United States and Europe. In the eastern United States, residents are running out of places to put the snow in what seems like a daily ritual of removing multiple inches — or sometimes feet — of new accumulation.

Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore have all logged their snowiest winters in history, and on January 27, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg reported, “We have now had the snowiest January in New York City history. We have had 36 inches since January 1, breaking a record last set in 1925.

Across the ocean, the United Kingdom experienced its earliest snowfall in 17 years in November 2010. On the European continent, some 60 percent of the German Weather Service’s weather stations below 200 meters elevation saw record snow falls for December.

This comes as no surprise to those with an eye toward advanced weather forecasts. Before the winter began, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that this would be “another winter of extremes in store for U.S. as La Niña strengthens.” In NOAA’s winter outlook, Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, advised, “La Niña is in place and will strengthen and persist through the winter months, giving us a better understanding of what to expect between December and February. This is a good time for people to review the outlook and begin preparing for what winter may have in store.”

With a bit of planning, the snarls of winter travel can be avoided, ensuring business continuity even in the direst of meteorological circumstances. Tracking the National Weather Service’s seasonal predictions are just part of the solution. […]

By |February 8th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

February 2011

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By |February 4th, 2011|Newsletter Archives|0 Comments

Bright Future

ON THE ADVANCE: Mirroring national trends, 2010 was a year of strengthening recovery for Advanced AV. Economic indicators and anecdotal evidence, say its principals, point to a return to pre-recession form, both for Advanced AV and the overall industry.
“At the end of 2009 we straightened up a bit,” says company President Mike Boettcher. “That set us up for a very good 2010, and a good beginning to this year. Although it’s tough to anticipate what’s down the road, all indications so far are that things seem to be bouncing back. The activity is still high, and that’s a good sign.”
Advanced AV was recently honored with a DIGI Award for services provided to two Swiss Farms locations. Digital signage, predicts VP of Marketing & Sales John Greene, will continue to foster Advanced AV’s growth in 2011. “We’re also very intent on focusing on our service contracts and Managed Services Offering,” he adds. “We’ve had great success this past year in that. One of the service staffing opportunities that we were involved in brought us international exposure. We’ve been very successful and anticipate continued success and growth for Advanced in this area.”
A commitment to exemplary service is demonstrated by Advanced AV’s 24/7 ROW solution, a “24/7/365 rest-of-world response,” says Greene, that is presently being developed and introduced to existing customers. “Many of our clients,” he explains, “are multiple-location, international companies. Our clients are requiring that deliverable; we have met that obligation over the past year and are anticipating growth for 2011.”
Among projects completed in 2010 were a nurse training simulation center for a healthcare facility; and a corporate training solution utilizing live video situational simulation exercises, together with streaming and test archival review to classroom spaces.

Though it’s […]

By |January 27th, 2011|News|0 Comments

January 2011

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By |January 19th, 2011|Newsletter Archives|0 Comments

Advanced AV Receives DIGI Award

Advanced AV, a systems integration firm serving the mid-
Atlantic region, has received a DIGI Award for its retail digital signage implementation for the Swiss
Farms chain of drive-thru grocers. Co-produced by NewBay Media’s Digital Signage Magazine and the
Digital Signage Group, the annual DIGI Awards recognize outstanding integrators, content providers, and
product manufacturers.

In the same month in which Advanced AV once again placed in NewBay Media’s Systems Contractor
News Top 50 Systems Integrator listing, Advanced AV’s dedicated digital signage division, Advanced
Technologies Group (ATG) earned the company the distinguished DIGI recognition. Taking the prize
for the “Digital Signage in a Retail Store, Local Rollout” category, Advanced AV was featured in the
December 2010 issue of Digital Signage Monthly magazine and on More
in-depth coverage of DIGI Award winners will appear in The Digital Signage Best Practices Guide in
February 2011.

“We are thrilled to receive the DIGI Award for a project which exemplifies Advanced AV’s design and
engineering innovation in the digital signage space,” said Paul Grafinger, founder and CEO of Advanced
AV. “To us, the recognition comes as an added bonus to the success we’ve had in working with the client
on the Swiss Farms project. This is one of our showcase installations, and as Swiss Farms continues to
expand, we’ll be bringing the award-winning design to each of its stores.”

A regional chain based in Pennsylvania, Swiss Farms opened its first drive-thru grocery store in 1968. The
rapidly expanding company opened a new flagship store in Millmont Park, PA this year, and Advanced
AV created a new, high-tech way to advertise product offerings to drivers on the road and with customized
menu content in the drive-thru lanes.

“Replacing static signage with flat-panel video displays and custom-created animated content makes
it possible for Swiss Farms to easily adjust their sales highlights to correspond […]

By |January 6th, 2011|News|0 Comments

December 2010

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By |December 31st, 2010|Newsletter Archives|0 Comments
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