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Accurately Predicting the Future of IoT

Year after year, each December and January we’re inundated with articles predicting what the trends will be in the New Year. Headlines, such as “What to Expect in 2017 From Your Technology” dominate. The most popular topic making waves in the business world these days is the internet of things (IoT.) How are business leaders going to predict the future of the IoT accurately? How will the rest of us prepare for what’s to come?

Remember, we can discern quite a bit about the future by looking to the past. It’s important for business owners to stay forward thinking and to be driven by future possibilities. At the same time, it’s critical that we remember the past and don’t make the same mistakes again and again. Being mindful of the trends that have come and gone (as well as the predictions that never came to pass) will help you prepare for the year to come. 

Don’t Repeat History

A little more than two decades ago, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, companies like Whisper, CellNet, and Hexagram unveiled machine-to-machine networking. However, their inability to think about the future of technology resulted in their downfall, and those companies are not in business today. Their technologies were strictly proprietary and unable to support many applications. Additionally, their limited capacity also meant they offered insufficient security. They would not have held up in today’s market, where digital security is a top concern for just about every industry.

A reliable network needs lots of bandwidth, and cybersecurity can never be just an afterthought. Although many IoT networks have resorted to staying small, hoping that an insignificant appearance would make for less attractive targets for hacking—any system can become a target. When developing […]

By |December 1st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

2017: The Year IT Embraces Shadow IT

The new year is right around the corner, and now is the time of year where we make share predictions about what’s to come in 2017. This, however, is less of a prediction and more of a plea: 2017 needs to be the year that IT embraces shadow IT. The term shadow IT describes employees using their own devices and software in the workplace without obtaining approvals from their firm’s IT department. According to TechTarget, “With the consumerization of IT and cloud computing, the meaning has expanded to include personal technology that employees use at work, or niche technology that meets the unique needs of a particular business division and is supported by a third-party service provider or in-house group, instead of by corporate IT.” Many IT departments grapple with the security issues this use of unapproved hardware and software creates. But the reality of the BYOD (bring your own device) workplace means that the issue isn’t going away. And there are positive aspects to consider. Here’s what shadow IT can do for your business:

Make IT Much Less Intimidating

Employees tend to be most familiar with their own devices, and—especially when a company rolls out new technology through digital disruption—they can be intimidated by new and unfamiliar devices and systems. When companies find ways to incorporate shadow IT and let employees take IT processes to their own devices, employees become more comfortable engaging with IT, and it’s can be a win-win situation for everyone.

Encourage Employee Innovation

By embracing BYOD and shadow IT, businesses encourage workers to innovate with new technology. Employees no longer feel tied to one type of device, platform, or operating system; instead, they may feel empowered to branch out and try different technologies to […]

By |November 30th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Digital Devices Good for Educational Development

Technology changes everything. There are very few aspects of our lives that haven’t been transformed, or at least touched, by our digital advancements. Digital devices are good for educational development and have helped us become a more efficient and intelligent society—and the technology is always progressing. Not everyone is eager to proclaim the benefits.

The Anti-Device Movement: What Is It?

Many parents are choosing to distance their children from technology. In most cases, research that likens digital devices to dangerous drugs is persuading parents to cut back on their children’s exposure to tech. While it is true that interactive technology creates pleasurable sensations within the brain, many other activities do as well. Eating sugar, for example, leads to a substantial release of hormones like dopamine – just like illicit drugs. Still, billions of people lead relatively normal lives regardless of their sugar intake.

With publications dramatizing the effects of technology on our children, it’s easier for some parents to justify foregoing digital interactions for their children altogether. Some parents place strict limits on time with technology and others just don’t allow these devices in their house at all. In some cases, parents go so far as complaining to school administrators when teachers use devices inside the classroom. Despite the popularity of this movement, jumping on the “restricting tech” bandwagon is probably not the smartest choice for your child.

Why Ignoring Technology Could Hold Your Child Back

It’s no surprise that parents make extreme decisions in pursuit of a better life for their children. A bit of simple reasoning, however, can help them make the best choices. It’s no different when it comes to technology. Several logical points tell us why digital devices deserve a place in our lives:

You can’t ignore […]

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

Roadblocks Smart Cities Must Overcome

Smart cities are becoming more commonplace as governments around the world invest millions of dollars in technology and infrastructure to make urban life more convenient, more efficient, and more reliable. Smart cities face particular roadblocks, not unlike those that organizations must address when they start technology projects. For this reason, implementing smart technologies will pose problems for municipal leadership. Let’s explore those.

Bridge the Digital Divide

In the same way that businesses must prepare employees for digital transformation, cities must address the social and economic inequalities that exist in urban areas. Those with access to the most current technologies will always have more, and it often stems from unequal access to education and decision-making power.

Technology is a powerful catalyst for change, but it is even more powerful when cities go beyond simply providing access to technology and work to create opportunities for their citizens to learn to use technology—both in and out of the home. Truly smart cities are providing equal access to education that teaches their citizens how to use technology to advance their home and work lives. 

Protect Rights and Privacy

Critics express concerns that smart technology does not protect the rights of digital citizens effectively. Most private sector companies that collect data aren’t legally bound to protect the users’ privacy. Many companies today harvest online data for resale. City leaders will do well to review and adopt the United Nations’ Privacy and Data Protection Principles, as they implement planning for smart city functionality.

Break Down Silos

Because most city governments are not unified entities and municipal agencies typically operate within silos, sharing data can be problematic. To work effectively, smart technology relies not only on the data it obtains from connected devices but the collaboration and insights that […]

By |November 15th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Apps and Tools For A BYOD Classroom

Bring your own device (BYOD) classrooms are quickly becoming popular in school systems. These programs allow students to use their own devices – iPads, Chromebooks, smartphones, and more – to access materials provided by their teachers and interact with it in various ways that are difficult or impossible to do with traditional methods.

Expand Learning with BYOD Classrooms

To make the most out of BYOD classrooms, teachers should have a variety of tools and applications available, which allows them to present different subjects in memorable but effective ways. Finding applications for teachers isn’t too difficult, but discerning which ones are worth using is a challenge. Here are some of the best apps and tools for BYOD classrooms.

Use BYOD Creation Applications for Successful Integration

These applications allow students to express themselves creatively in a variety of ways. It also makes the learning process much more personal, which means students get the individualized instruction they need. Consider these options.

This application allows students to upload digital work, take photos and videos of their creations, and share them. It allows parents and teachers to look at what an individual student is learning and how, and it gives the student an audience for the work.
Adobe Spark. This is a suite of tools that contains Spark Video, Spark Page, and Spark Post. Spark Video lets students narrate slides and create videos. With Spark Page, students can create simple web pages, and then use Spark Post for image creation.
Drawp for Schools. This program allows teachers to create worksheets and send them to their students’ devices. The students can then interact with the assignment in a variety of ways and return the finished product to the teacher. Teachers can easily distribute homework – […]

By |October 31st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Creating a Culture That Supports Transformation

Think you’re the kind of company that supports transformation? Research suggests you’re probably wrong.

Nearly 75 percent of all business transformations fail. What’s the biggest roadblock to success? Your company culture. A company unwilling to embrace change is one that fails to pivot and, ultimately, transform. Transformation is an essential part of business success – especially in times of volatility.

The good news is that any enterprise can support transformation with the right mindset. Here’s how.

Start with Your Employees

There’s a saying in business: “hire people, not skills.” Skills can be taught, but personality traits are ingrained. Hire and retain employees who are flexible, enjoy challenges, and don’t shrink from adversity.

Do your part as well by fostering employees who are innovative and adaptable. Employees are more likely to help if they feel valued and engaged with their work. Most importantly, it imbues them with a shared sense of importance. A strong shared vision helps alleviate any obstacles to innovation, including one major hurdle: internal politics. Company infighting is an incredible hindrance to transformation, while shared purpose moves employees in the right direction.

Never Fear Failure

Employees should also have the freedom to experiment. When people are awarded this freedom, they become more adept at prioritizing and begin taking the initiative. It’s easy to fall into a “this is the way we’ve always done it” mindset, but this only hinders progress. Businesses shouldn’t fear failure, as it is an essential step in the innovation process. Consider, for example, the failures of Bill Gates before he championed Microsoft. Companies that support innovation are also ones that support calculated failure. Remember: failure at the early stages of the innovation process is far easier to overcome than failure at rollout.

Value Streamlined Collaboration

Gone are the […]

By |October 28th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Keeping Up with Changes to Collaboration

In the world of technology, change is the only constant on which we can rely. And this constantly changing technology has a tremendous impact on the workplace and on how we work together. Today we’re able to do so much more than we once did, without ever leaving our offices. Advances in technology have made enormous changes to collaboration, making it possible to communicate seamlessly with a remote workforce.

Think of how we collaborated twenty, ten, and even five years ago. We’re no longer constrained by geographical boundaries. We can now communicate with team members and subject experts in multiple locations using video and other technologies. Even long email conversations are disappearing. Thanks to apps like Slack, we message instantly and over mobile. This evolution in communications technology is having a direct and positive impact on the bottom line.

Say Goodbye to Traditional Conferencing

Conferencing is one place where we’ve experienced a revolution in the workplace. Ten years ago, we would fly to physical meeting spaces, but new video collaboration tools now save us both money and time. Today, we’re on the precipice of another collaboration revolution: virtual reality. The recent adoption of VR in the entertainment and sports industry has made enterprises consider its potential.

Virtual reality gives the benefit of a face-to-face meeting without ever having to leave the building. VR headsets are becoming increasingly affordable, and soon we’ll see them in mid-sized and small businesses.

We also use video conference technology more frequently thanks to mobile. The “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement has helped create a seamless workflow in which we can collaborate from anywhere. The BYOD movement has also contributed to making our workforce more widespread. Indeed, telecommuting and flexible scheduling have never been more […]

By |October 20th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

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

Another Reason We’re Proud: AAV Staffer Coaches, Mentors At-Risk Youth

Here at Advanced AV, we pride ourselves on our commitment to supporting our people, and part of that support involves recognizing them for the amazing things they do outside of work. Recently, we profiled Jason Holbrook, an account executive who encourages healthy kids and healthy families by managing a youth running program. This month, we’ve got another coach and mentor to recognize: Gerald Savage, Service Coordinator, coaches at-risk high school students at Kensington Soccer Club, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization helping to serve one of the poorest and most underserved communities in America.

Kensington Soccer Club was founded in 2009. It was a product of the vision of Kensington High School teacher Jim Hardy, who wanted to give students safe, structured activities during the time school was out. The club’s core values then are their core values now: leadership, teamwork, and community.

“The club now uses soccer to help empower young children to be active in their communities, avoid the dangers of a life lived on the streets, and to live a full and healthy lifestyle,” Gerald said.

A coach since 2010 and board member since 2011, Gerald says he takes pride in not only his two tournament victories, two district championships, and the club’s first-ever trophy, but also the relationships he forms with his players.

“As a mentor, my greatest victory has been seeing each player I’ve coached graduate from high school in an area where less than 50 percent receive their high school diploma,” Gerald said. “To me, coaching these kids gives me an indescribable feeling. Even though these children are not my sons and daughters, I have a love for them like a father would. When they succeed, I succeed, and even if we fail, as long […]

By |September 27th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments
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