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Mobile First Might Not Be Best

As consumer habits evolve, it only makes sense for businesses to amend their marketing and operational strategies to meet them. With so much emphasis on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, many companies have gone “mobile first”—the process of optimizing websites and developing campaigns based on the mindset that consumers operate primarily on mobile. While this technique certainly has merit, a mobile first only mindset may not be the best choice for all businesses.

The Rise of Mobile First

In May, Google dropped a statistical bombshell that many could see coming: Today, people search more on mobile than they do on desktops. Although many marketers had been doing so already, going mobile first became a mainstream business tactic now backed by a key piece of hard data.

This shift to mobile first was brewing for quite some time before Google released its report, touching the budgets and strategies of many companies. In fact, Google switched algorithms in anticipation of a rise in mobile usage, effectively giving a boost to mobile-friendly pages in a move affectionately referred to by industry professionals as “mobilegeddon.” Today, many businesses have adopted mobile first strategies in an effort to stay competitive.

A Strictly Mobile First Strategy Can Be Bad for Business

A mobile first strategy has substantial merit. After all, today’s consumers are generally a smartphone-carrying, tech-savvy group with the capability (and sometimes penchant, depending on the demographic) to search and make purchases on their mobile devices. Just because they can, though, doesn’t mean they always do. And just because mobile usage has undoubtedly risen, that doesn’t mean consumers have forgotten about their desktops.

IT insight company conScore recently reported that while most digital media consumption growth over the past four years has been, indeed, on […]

By |November 19th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Mobile Security: How Safe Are You?

Mobile communications are an increasingly integral part of everyday lives. People communicate for fun and for work using mobile devices that range from watches to tablets to smartphones to laptops. But as mobile access has grown, so have mobile threats. Such breaches are lucrative for hackers, and extremely frustrating for the companies trying to thwart their attacks.

In the game of online security, cybercriminals are working at least as quickly as—if not quicker than—security professionals. The number of devices currently being used outside the office to hold video conferences, and the rate of technological advancement, make security a factor that mobile users and businesses ignore at their peril. Reading about these threats may make some companies shy away from using mobile devices for remote collaboration, they still add a great deal of flexibility and connectivity to the world. They are the beginning of the next generation of communication, making their use vital for work. However, effective adoption of mobile devices means addressing security threats head-on.

At the commercial enterprise level, this means maintaining an up-to-date security policy and educating staff members on proper device use. Ongoing device security is just part of the adoption of new, mobile technology that everyone must consider before logging on. The top five most problematic mobile security issues are:

Insecure devices. The mobile device world is advancing rapidly with new connected devices reaching the market almost daily. The sheer number of mobile devices regularly used by individuals, and the fact that many do not use the level of security needed to prevent an attack, puts enterprise users at risk. There are more pathways than ever that criminals can use to start an attack, and any device connected to the internet will always present […]

By |November 10th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

The Changing Face of Unified Communications

Today’s unified communications (UC) market is sprawling outward and upward, flourishing in this era of mobile-minded, tech-savvy millennials. Although it still has roots in IP telephony, the current UC market brings a lot more than just phone communication to the table, including mobility, video, audio, messaging and more. Today, if a technology hosts, records or facilitates collaboration, it’s got value in the UC marketplace.

The Evolution of UC

Of course, colleagues can still make phone calls or send emails to one another, but the evolution of UC has dramatically improved collaboration options. Now, instant messaging, multi-point conference calling, and screen sharing are all prevalent in workplaces. Some IT companies are opting out of primary on-premise platforms and are venturing more into cloud-based applications, supporting on-demand collaboration.

One particular area of growth for UC is video conferencing. Some at the enterprise level have embraced immersive telepresence, outfitting entire conference rooms with equipment for lifelike virtual meetings. While this is an impressive technology, it is not inexpensive. However, thanks to advancements in cloud, and the increased relevancy of the UC industry, cloud-based and cost-effective video conferencing applications are now readily available for companies of all sizes.

It’s true that the UC market as a whole is expanding. In fact, an InformationAge report projects that 70 percent of organizations will have moved their UC platforms to cloud within the next two years, meaning wider adoption of and accessibility to UC technologies.

What’s Driving the Change

The cloud boom is significant and is certainly a force behind the healthy UC growth, but other factors—like who is making up today’s digitally driven workforce, and where are they doing that work—have played a large part in the collaboration evolution as well. 

Millennials 

Knowing the customer base helps businesses cater […]

By |November 3rd, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

The Growth Potential of AV as a Service

You’ve likely heard about the growing popularity of “as-a-service” models. Software-as-a-service is perhaps the most well-known. But today, “as-a-service” has a much wider scope, and as a result, many businesses are seeing more and more systems available as a service, including those in the world of AV technology.  
What are the benefits?
Predictable Costs
First, these are largely products that used to require very high initial cost, an outlay on products that begin to immediately depreciate as soon as they’re purchased. The as-a-service model means businesses can save money upfront, especially for products that, within a few billing cycles, could be replaced by improved technology, higher quality models, or even different needs on the part of the company.
However, just as important is the huge burden often faced by companies who buy a system that they then have to train their employees to operate and maintain. In order to keep up, employees often become so dedicated to understanding the ins and outs of the system that they shirk other duties. They become slaves to users groups, schematics, and the intricacies of this big investment, which, we’ve already noted, becomes less valuable with each passing month.
The Agility of the As-A-Service Model for AV Systems
So, truly agile organizations instead bring in experts to operate these key systems as a service. Costs are controlled better with a leased product and service than an owned product. Think about hard to budget for occurrences like surprising and costly repairs … those are eliminated with “servicized” products. Your people don’t need to spend a lot of time working on developing and maintaining the specialized skills needed to run the system.
Professional AV systems are increasingly a part of this growing trend. Many managed […]

By |October 27th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

How AV Technology is Changing the Legal System

You may be surprised to find out how much today’s courtrooms have changed thanks to technology. And we’re not talking about the type of technology favored on CSI. We’re talking now about something simpler, yet with a more fundamental impact on proceedings: AV technology.

One of the reasons for the increased popularity of using AV technology is cost savings; in particular, the costs for videoconferencing have come down so much that an increasing number of courtrooms now integrate videoconferencing with AV tech for maximum efficiency.

AV Tech Improvements Usher in High Tech Arraignments

One incredibly popular application of AV technology in the courtroom is the use of remote arraignment via video. The Walker County Courthouse in Texas recently underwent renovations that included the ability to conduct video arraignments, and the economic savings from avoiding having to transport county jail inmates to court was cited as one reason for the change. However, even more important to local officials were the elimination of security issues inherent in inmate arraignment.

As Walker County Judge Danny Pierce told The Houstonian, “Security, I think, is the primary reason for this. Economic is number two. It should be better all around.” The reality is that courtrooms increasingly view this AV technology and ability to conduct remote arraignments as necessities, not indulgences.

Another increasingly popular use for AV technology in courtrooms involves live, in-courtroom presentations of remote witness testimony. Often, the witnesses who appear in court via a live video broadcast are expert witnesses. Because they can now appear in courtrooms live, with the help of AV technology, the public sector saves considerable money otherwise spent on transportation.

An Array of Applications

In some jurisdictions, including the state of California, witnesses are able to appear remotely for both arraignment […]

By |October 20th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

How Bad Audio Can Kill Great Collaboration

It’s fair to say that much of a company’s success is tied to how well its employees communicate with colleagues and clients, creating an environment ripe with productivity and profitability. Because today’s professional climate has shifted to accommodate more telecommuters and global business partners, face-to-face conversations simply aren’t possible all of the time. Conference calls, then, play a significant role in keeping big business communicating.

When audio quality is lacking during a teleconference, people notice. In fact, a 2014 market study found that 66 percent of corporations were shopping around for new collaboration services, and 40 percent of those surveyed were doing so because they wanted a “better user experience.” This telling statistic proves that businesses are realizing the necessity for great audio as part of their successful UC systems, and they’re taking steps to make it happen.

Poor Audio Means Poor Productivity

Because audio is a key element in UC, poor quality can have a trickle-down effect into other areas as well—employee productivity, for example. When audio is poor, productivity is negatively impacted for the following reasons:

Meeting flow can be disrupted by attendees talking over one another trying to be heard, whether they aren’t attuned to an audio delay or they’re simply trying to interject. When the flow of a meeting is disrupted by poor audio, company time is wasted.
Conference call attendees often can’t discern one another’s accents or tones over a poor audio connection, so they waste time having to ask for clarification or points to be repeated.
At the beginning of a traditional 20-30 minute teleconference, most attendees expect some level of misunderstanding and occasional repetition to occur. As the meeting progresses, however, even the most professional person on the conference call can suffer from “audio […]

By |October 13th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Why Banking is Falling in Love with Digital Signage

Digital signage—multimedia or video content shown on a plasma or LCD display in a public location, with or without sound—can be a huge asset to the banking industry. Although some mobile and remote access options exist for a majority of banking companies today, brick-and-mortar branches still dot street corners. How do these locations address the challenge of remaining relevant in an increasingly digital marketplace, while still maintaining the level of personal interaction required by many to build trust? The answer is digital signage, and bankers are noticing.

Digital Signage as a Relationship Builder for Banks

Today, digital signage doesn’t just mean a blinking LCD screen in the front of the bank flashing interest rates. Rather, financial institutions are using this evolving technology to help build new—and foster existing—customer relationships using a number of techniques.

Increased consumer engagement. Engaging bank customers by welcoming feedback on customer service issues and program offerings, with the potential to up-sell to satisfied parties.

Shared resources. Educating clients on the most up-to-date financial issues through video messaging allows the bank to be seen as a trusted resource, and encouraging them to inquire about new products and services, driving better face-to-face interaction and additional conversations with knowledgeable bank personnel.

Reduced stress. Bank lineups during a short dinner break can be stressful. Entertaining customers as they wait for bank personnel to become available during these high-traffic times makes an in-bank visit more enjoyable.

Tailored content. Bank managers are able to tailor messages to particular regions, times of day and customer bases, creating a targeted, interactive customer experience that increases the opportunity for improved ROI.

Improving Staff Efficiency, Saving Money and Generating Sales

Banks who use digital signage enjoy improved staff efficiency. When programs are explained to customers through quick and simple […]

By |October 6th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Why Mobile Collaboration Is Vital to Your Business Success

In today’s tech-heavy business landscape, collaboration needs to be as simple and easy outside the office walls as it is inside. Adoption of smart devices is at an all-time high—and climbing—which is why the expectations of mobility’s user experience and accessibility in the workforce are greater than ever before. Are organizations measuring up to these great expectations?

A Harmon.ie report, The State of Mobile Enterprise Collaboration 2014: From Personal Productivity Toward the Connected Enterprise on the Go, found that mobile workers and telecommuters are still struggling to access important job related data and information spread across various services and applications. Their conclusion? Businesses need to take collaboration to the next level in order to derive maximum value out of all that mobility has to offer.

Importance of Mobile Collaboration for Businesses

Cognizant’s Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation and Mobility Kevin Benedict, commenting on the Harmon.ie report, said that businesses face some of the biggest enterprise challenges because they don’t understand “the competitive importance of mobile and collaboration platforms, and how strategic these technologies are to their future success.” With that in mind, IT and businesses need to improve their expertise when it comes to using collaboration platforms and enterprise mobility solutions to transform their companies strategically. But why is mobile collaboration such a critical factor for business success? Here are some reasons why mobile collaboration works so well.

Employee satisfaction. Studies show nearly 29 percent of telecommuters work from home part-time, 20 percent of telecommuters across the globe work full-time, and 40 percent of U.S employees use their personally owned devices at work. These statistics clearly indicate that employees are willing to work in a mobile-centric environment. By embracing mobile collaboration, businesses allow their employees to work and collaborate […]

By |September 29th, 2015|Blog|1 Comment

The Brave New World of Modern Meetings

Today’s business world has undergone a metamorphosis in the past decade. Work is no longer a place people go, but rather, it’s what they do. More people are telecommuting, either working on the road or remotely from their home office, while clients and business partners are dispersed globally. Studies reveal 66 percent of people who use an Internet-connected device for their jobs in North America and Europe work remotely. Naturally, a lot has changed in the way organizations communicate, collaborate, and conduct their day-to-day business.

The time and expense involved to bring colleagues, business partners, and customers together is often steep, so as a result, many business relationships now rely on technology. When it comes to new communication and collaboration tools, their effectiveness often depends on how closely these tools can approach the ideal of the traditional, face-to-face meeting.

Businesses have long relied on conference calls and email chains as the primary way to communicate with their peers. However, given the increasingly global and virtual nature of modern companies, where the need for visual cues is stronger than ever, audio-only phone meetings and emails just don’t cut it anymore.

Here are just a few of the technologies revolutionizing the way modern meetings are conducted.

Unified Communications (UC)

Unified communications combines the functionality of various communication systems and applications, including audio and video, web conferencing, voice calls, instant messaging (IM), white boards, and email. UC integrates all these technologies, which are then managed from a single platform. An organization’s success depends on the speed and efficiency of business processes, and UC allows enterprise level internal communications to be streamlined to achieve this goal.

Video Collaboration

Companies of all sizes have embraced collaboration tools to bring remotely located colleagues together, and allow them to […]

By |September 22nd, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

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
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