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Do you want to improve productivity and privacy in your work place? The secret is Sound Masking

The modern work place is often open, busy and noisy. Nearly 80% of offices today are open-plan systems. This open space and team environment has many benefits in terms of collaborative thinking and more cost effective spaces, but there are often unintended consequences. Cubicles and loosely divided workspaces let the sound of speaker phones, computers and conversation drift up and out into the workspace. All this noise is often distracting, cuts productivity, and privacy is hard to come by.

And it’s not just offices that face this problem. Hospitals, pharmacies, law firms, educational facilities and others where you need privacy and productivity in an active, open environment also have this issue.

Traditional acoustics are only part of the answer. Today, when architects and space planners want to increase productivity and privacy, sound masking is a major part of the solution.

Sound Masking works by providing a constant, fixed level of unobtrusive background sound that covers, or dulls the intrusiveness office noises and speech. They produce a pattern of sound that is virtually unnoticeable in the day to day activity of a space, yet are at a level 4-5dB over the normal speech levels. This means that conversations in the cubicle next to you get “lost” in the noise, providing privacy. It also means that the distracting sound of phones ringing, computers playing media and other office equipment fade in the background, causing less of a distraction.

There’s a lot more to a sound masking system than just a few speakers and a cheap sound generator. Here are some things you should consider:

Careful attention to the noise patterns your masking system creates is vital. Some are intrusive and distracting and this often doesn’t show itself until you have […]

By |May 30th, 2012|Blog|1 Comment

Why Infocomm?

This year InfoComm is being held in Las, Vegas, and runs from June 9-15, with the exhibition running from June 13-15.

With budgets always tight, and busy work schedules, you may be wondering whether you should make the investment of time and money to go to InfoComm this year. Here are some issues you might want to consider:

InfoComm helps you plan for the future
nfocomm is the largest AV trade show in the nation, with over 925 vendors exhibiting. Walking the floor and seeing the directions vendor after vendor are going can give you a more complete vision for the future that the limited input of a few magazine ads or mailers. This in turn, means you can make better decisions.

InfoComm educates you
here are over 300 education sessions at InfoComm this year, led by experts in nearly every field and topic important to AV professionals. No where else will you have the opportunity to tap the minds and expertise of so many leaders in the industry.

InfoComm brings you together with your peers
For the week of InfoComm, over 34,000 AV professionals of all levels are gathered together in one place. It’s your chance to see what others are doing, what works for them, and to share ideas and solutions that are proven in the real world.

InfoComm cuts out the hype
All year long we are all bombarded with ads, mailers and e-mail marketing. But in AV, seeing is the proof that helps us make good decisions. InfoComm allows you to get hands-on experience with gear and systems you may be considering.

Whatever you are doing, it’s there
Many of us in AV wear a lot of hats. We manage technology. We are schedulers and managers. We develop content. We do digital […]

By |May 16th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Do you need to invest in a service contract?

One of the questions that is always asked is whether service contracts are ‘worth it”. Bombarded by publications like Consumer Reports that tell us not to spend the money on service contracts for our iPads and laptops, there is an understandable concern that a service contact on a high end AV system might also be a waste of precious dollars.

Comparing the two, however, is like comparing apples and airplanes. In the professional AV world, our systems are as complex as an iPad is simple.

Professional systems are central to our work and mission. When a conference room, board room, media center or video conferencing center goes down, people all across the enterprise are affected.

So, the answer is not always simple. To help here are a few questions you should ask yourself to decide whether service contracts make sense for you.

Do you have someone on staff techically competent to track down and quickly repair system problems? This includes deep experience in video, audio, distribution, networking and software, because all of those elements are part of the modern AV system.

If you do have someone, do they have the time left from their regular duties to do routine maintenance, systems diagnosis and repairs? Most facilities are running their people at maximum productivity already. What doesn’t get done while your engineer or technician is dealing with maintenance and repair?

Do you have a system in place that keeps up with the latest updates and changes that affect your system? With everything being so interconnected and software based, this is more and more important.

A good service contract does more than fix your system, it keeps it maintained to run optimally by monitoring and updating your system regularly, saving money by preventing problems […]

By |April 17th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Present, Annotate, Collaborate all in real time! I must be dreaming

Written by Jack Cary
On Mondays, at our office, we have meetings, meetings, and more meetings. Although we
have seven conference rooms of various shapes and sizes, each equipped with technology to
help facilitate collaborative sessions. It seems, at least on Mondays, that they are all booked, all
day. For today, the scheduled meetings were under way and I felt confident that the technology
in those rooms was well matched to the requirements which had been discussed the previous
week.

However, next Monday’s planned meeting was going to prove to be a bit more challenging.
The Senior Vice-President of Global Sales was flying in from New York for the Annual Sales
and Forecasting Meeting and the year’s sales data and forecasting reports were going to be
reviewed. This high level meeting required collaboration with all regional offices as well as
senior management in the West Coast headquarters. On top of that we needed live input from
our top, account executives in the field and access to data, streaming in from several key client
sites. We needed the technology of all seven of our conference rooms, in one room, at one
time.

I reviewed the details outlined for this meeting, and I was growing concerned that none of our
conference rooms had a complete, unified technology system capable of facilitating all of the
requirements for this special meeting. As I pondered my options, I remembered something my
oldest son had shown me while visiting from North Carolina. He had shown me a new, mobile
gaming console called “PS Vita.” He described it as a “multi-touch,” high-definition; interactive
console for gaming. It had rich graphical content, accurate control options, expandable memory
and a large, high resolution display. It unified all the best aspects of gaming into one device.
I walked out of my office and headed over to the […]

By |March 15th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

My Digital Signage Day

I began my day as I do most days, rise and shine at 6:00am then on to the office.

My usual stop at the local coffee shop often included coffee (a Venti Black Eye) and a bagel. However, on this day I was wowed by the huge digital signage display above the order counter. Every possible breakfast item and coffee variety was brightly, boldly and beautifully shown in high definition, enticing me to order not just the coffee and bagel, but a new breakfast sandwich as well that had posted to the display just seconds before. I scanned in that breakfast combination to my iPhone using the QR code provided next to each item so that next time I could have my special breakfast order ready when I got there with a simple touch on my phone.

In line at the checkout, I encountered another digital signage display showing traffic and weather for the nearby community. My local coffee shop had jumped, no leaped, into the digital signage decade.

Back in my car and up onto the turnpike, I was awed by digital signage billboards, some keeping me abreast of up-to-the minute road conditions, others for traffic issues and yet others displaying advertisements with sophisticated, bright, brilliant and beautiful graphics and video.

My digital signage day was just beginning when my colleague called and using mobile convergence technology, pushed out to me the airport delays for the flight we were about to take for our trip to High Mountain State University where we planned to scope out a design for a new stadium video scoreboard and instant replay system.

At the airport, we found the highly visible, interactive way-finding displays very useful, providing new step-by-step walking directions, getting us […]

By |February 17th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

The Cloud – Collaborative Virtual Space

I had just passed my securities licensing exam and the company required our presence at a conference 200 miles away from our home office. Ten of us drove the two hundred miles from Philadelphia to Hartford to attend the three day meeting. Accommodations, meals, gas and other expenses added up to a good bit of money, even twenty years ago. One associate needed to catch a flight out of Philadelphia International Airport the day we were driving back. Our caravan of cars sped through flooded freeways to get our colleague to his plane on time. The experience was memorable but the expense of bringing people together in one place was only outpaced by the time lost out of the office. The lost productivity and the time away from the business of doing business had a rippling effect that lasted for days after the conference. There had to be a better way.

Two decades later, business communications has migrated through numerous technologies including conference-calling, video phones, video-conferencing and telepresence. Numerous advanced technologies have been developed to reduce the time and expense of distant meetings. Video Teleconferencing (VTC) has helped to bring multiple people in different locations together without those people leaving their local offices, classrooms or homes. Video Teleconferencing and Telepresence have evolved beyond early beginnings of massive investment, limited graphics, jittery motion and poor quality audio. Today’s systems include cloud-based solutions with multiple end-points including large venues, the desktop, smartphones and tablets.

Major providers are now beginning to reach beyond some of the constraints of “traditional” video teleconferencing. Today, clients are looking to their unified communication integrators like Advanced AV to design more collaborative environments across multiple, global locations. To that end, “Cloud Telepresence Systems” […]

By |January 25th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

Unified Communications – Human Extension Shapes the Way

This past week I slid my finger across my iPhone screen and was greeted by a beautiful Japanese Zen garden background that I had recently selected as wallpaper. A subtle beep alerted me that it was my turn in one of my Words with Friends games but this was not the reason I unlocked my phone. Instead of the game, I needed a phone number for a restaurant: Safari to the rescue. As I googled the restaurant’s name, an incoming text message alerted me a server was down at the office. I found the number I needed, and nimbly switched apps to YouTube and found a video about the restaurant I was interested in. With one easy click, I had the greeter on the phone and I made my reservation. I then remotely accessed the server at the office, made a simple correction and it was quickly back on-line.

In the course of a few minutes I had played a game, watched a video, made a phone call, contacted my office, scheduled a reservation, re-booted the server and checked my email: a unification of technologies in the palm of my hand, on my desktop at the office or my iPad at home. As we approach 2012, Audio Visual (AV) and Integrated Technologies (IT) have done more than just converge; they have simply melded into one unified form of communications.

About eight years ago, many leaders in the “Audio-Visual” integration field began accepting that AV and IT were merging. The “AV/IT Convergence” term began greeting attendees at major trade shows, appearing in industry newsletters and moving to the home page of many web sites. As this trend unfolded I saw changes occurring in the […]

By |December 29th, 2011|Blog|1 Comment

Driving technology to all wireless anywhere, anytime?

Where’s Wireless

As we venture through our daily lives at work, in our communities and at home, the mobile device has become an appendage to our humanity. Each day, more and more people are using their phones and tablets for an ever expanding array of productivity and entertainment applications.

Technical details of the various current and proposed future wireless standards are best handled by experts such as Matthew Gast. In 802.11 Wireless Networks: The Definitive Guide (O’Reilly Media), now in its second edition, Gast covers every detail of WAN and WEP and all in between. Where we dare to venture is to the specific usage of wireless in the Integrated Audio Visual Systems’ world. How can Media Managers and IT Directors cut costs and provide better support to their internal clients by implementing wireless in control, video and audio distribution and projected displays all around unified communications.

Sitting in a local hospital’s radiology center recently, I was taken aback by the patients of all different ages, races, and genders who were waiting for their name to be called. Every person had their phone out, in hand with head down, doing something or other with that device. The usual busy stack of magazines lay idle on a table collecting dust. Less than two years ago I recall sitting in the lobby of a cardiologist’s office. The age range was a bit older but there was still age, gender and race diversity. Very few were using smartphones during their wait. In that short period of time; less than 2 years, the explosion of wireless technologies has made the use of these devices commonplace. E-mail, web-searching, shopping, texting, tweeting, taking pictures, voice activated memos, banking, buying a […]

By |October 27th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Will classroom displays disappear into tablets and smartphones?

Battle lines not only have been drawn but the battle has escalated to an all-out war. I’m referring to the competition over “tablets” with Apple’s iPad 2 pushing other players to release bigger, faster, full-featured products just to stay in this new game.

There is no doubt that smartphones and tablets are making a statement in the replacement market for laptops and even notebooks as the world’s thirst for smaller, faster and “funner” continues.

As with so many technologies such as flat panel displays/televisions, format changes, MP3 players, and social networking, the consumer is the driving force that dictates when the commercial applications take hold and gain wide acceptance. This trending however has occurred much faster with the integration of tablets into several key commercial markets including education.

Apple has always been a major influencer in the K-12 education market and as a partner and collaborative vendor has gained and continues to retain wide acceptance in the classrooms of schools as well as the creative curriculum departments such as multi-media, journalism, and even athletics. However, the appeal and heavy push has come from the savvy students and their 21st century, younger generation parents. This generation of students is coming to class with higher educational expectations of using their devices as an adjunct to library research, for access to instructional materials, for collaborative work, for networking in their field, and for personal productivity.

Sam Gliksman on March 15, 2011 in a blog entitled, “Can Your iPad Replace Your SmartBoard?” reviews and envisions a “lower cost” solution to an “interactive whiteboard.” (I find it so interesting how well Smart Technologies has branded their product into a technology reference. It does not matter who manufactures an interactive white board it is always […]

By |October 11th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Collaboration is a big buzz word these days

Collaboration is a big buzz word these days. What does Collaboration really mean?

Collaboration is fundamentally about people working together, both in real-time and asynchronously. Wikipedia defines it as “a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals.” Simply defined but much harder to achieve!

What makes collaboration new and innovative?

Does collaboration mean that all parties involved in a project can share documents on the cloud? Imagine the AV consultant, integrator, architect, GC, and owner, all working on the documentation and drawings simultaneously on the cloud. The result: fewer change orders, faster revisions and approvals, with more projects completed in less time.

Does collaboration mean that because of new, open source productivity software customers and integrators can expedite time-lines and sign-offs?

Take the example of drawings that typically must be carried to the customer site for markups and approvals. If these CAD documents were accessible by all parties on the cloud, conflicts in schedules and calendars could be avoided. One master set of drawings viewed, modified and approved by all parties, anytime, anywhere. Microsoft’s Visio 2010 and AutoCADWS are two examples where major players have pushed their drawing software into the cloud and out onto remote devices for easy, collaborative access. ​Microsoft’s SharePoint 2010 makes it easier for people to work together, setting up Web sites to share information with others, manage documents from start to finish, and publish reports to help everyone make better decisions.

Does collaboration offer a customer an advantage?

One thought might be that a “collaborative integrator” would offer an even more highly trained team of specialists, available to clients 7/24/365. Remote access from a client’s desktop, smartphone or other mobile device to an integrator’s team of technical experts […]

By |August 30th, 2011|Blog|1 Comment
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