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Balancing Connection in an Uber-Connected World

We all know the cliché. The woman who wakes up, reaches for the phone, checks her email, RSS feeds, social media notifications, industry news reports—the works—all before she gets out of bed. Or maybe it’s the man who, after the morning shower, sits down at the kitchen table with his family, buries his nose in his iPhone, and responds to industry partners, pays the household bills, and checks market reports while breakfast gets cold. As technology further permeates every aspect of our lives, many of us see versions of ourselves in these examples. Pew Research’s latest study on teen Internet usage reports on how often teens and adults find themselves online reflect that reality, adding, for the first time, “almost constantly” connected as a survey option. This survey option marks uncharted territory, indicating that we’ve become more connected than we ever have been before—but is all this connection a good thing?

“Almost Constantly” Connected is Becoming the Norm

The “almost constantly” option first showed up in Pew’s report on teens in April of 2015 and was used again in their December report on adults later that year. Almost a quarter of teen respondents, 24 percent, stated that they were “almost constantly” online while 21 percent of adults indicated the same. In comparison, 42 percent of adults stated that they go online “several times a day,” 10 percent reported “about once a day,” 6 percent reported “several times a week”, and 7 percent chose “less often”. Only 13 percent of adults in this survey reported that they did not use the internet at all.

Pew’s survey and reports were related mostly to usage of smartphones and other mobile internet devices, supported by findings from an earlier Pew Report that […]

By |June 7th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Building Houses in Belize

At Advanced AV, we make a point to celebrate the exemplary work of our team members in the office, but we also pay attention to the extraordinary things they do outside of it. Serving the community—not just our local community but also our neighbors around the globe—is something Sales Engineer Darren Brown knows all about.

Last summer, Darren spent a week of his summer volunteering his time in the Cayo region of Belize, a place known for its tropical landscape, cultural diversity, ecological tourism, and Mayan temples. While on the mission trip with a group from the Audubon, PA-based Victory Church, though, Darren found much of the country to be “plagued by poverty and a lack of education.”

In the region, only 55 percent of children go to what’s known as upper school—the equivalent of high school in the states—and even fewer actually graduate. Often, girls get pregnant at a young age, and Darren reported a cultural norm that “views children as a burden,” leaving many abandoned or neglected. The goal of Darren’s mission trip with Victory Church was to partner with North Carolina-based Oasis Ministries to build safe, sturdy homes for local villagers while providing education and guidance.

Oasis Ministries was founded by Pastor Ron and Linda Braaten, who, on top of leading the Belize initiatives, have taken in orphans and worked to reunite them with their biological parents at the mission location.

“At any given time, there will be six to ten children and young adults living and working at the mission,” Darren said.  “Some of them have learned trades like cooking, construction, and carpentry through the mission to later find work or start their own business.”

While in Belize, Darren, and his team members built the foundation […]

By |May 24th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

How Cloud-Based Interoperability Will Turbo-Charge Collaboration

Cloud-based interoperability is quickly becoming essential for teams wishing to achieve high levels of collaboration and communication, and the marketplace is finally catching on. Microsoft and Polycom recently announced that they will jointly deliver the industry’s first cloud-based video interoperability service by the end of 2016, allowing Microsoft customers to leverage their existing video investments while uniting with those of other vendors. This joint initiative marks the beginning of a wider trend, where those that embrace cloud-based interoperability will experience turbo-charged collaboration while those slow on the uptake will be left behind.

Cloud Collaboration and Interoperability

Collaboration software’s dependence on the cloud has never been more apparent than now. “People are using mobile devices to do everything they do,” says Josh Steimle, contributor to Forbes, “and if there is something they can’t do on their mobile phone, they’re frustrated and ready to leap to the first offering that comes along.”

Cloud-based integrations have traditionally allowed off-site employees to connect their devices with a company’s core collaboration software, supporting a rise in remote teams among the global workforce. Interoperability is the next step in collaboration and productivity, referring to the seamless integration of multiple third party tools with a cloud-based collaboration suite. These tools can range from CRM or help desk software to online accounting and VOIP services, but currently, the biggest player in cloud-based interoperability is streaming video and video conferencing.

The Rise of Web Real-Time Communication: The Death of Internal Email?

In 2014 and 2015, the heavy hitters of the Internet browser game began supporting Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), an open-source technology and API standard that bypasses traditional phone networks to offer data sharing as well as voice and video calling, all in-browser, no additional application required. Chrome, Firefox, […]

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

The Cyber Fears Hospitals Face Today: What You Need to Know

Today’s hospitals are as digitally connected as any other modern facility—but their data is often much more sensitive. Unfortunately, many health care facilities aren’t doing enough to protect their equipment, patients, and connected devices from cyberattacks.

In early 2016, one hospital in California was forced to pay $17,000 in ransom to cybercriminals to protect the hospital and its patients. The attackers locked down the hospital’s network for ten days, leaving patients at risk and health care providers in a precarious position. Hospitals don’t typically go public with information about cyberattacks, but a report from the Ponemon Institute found that 90 percent of health care facilities faced breaches in 2014 and 2015.

How Unified Communications Can Help Prevent Breaches

Hospitals who deploy unified communications (UC) and video conferencing may be in a better position to halt attacks in progress and stay up-to-date on the latest cyber security measures. UC technology can automatically notify IT security staff or equipment vendors when equipment has been breached.

Hospital IT specialists can meet with vendors or manufacturers and even receive virtual training through video conferencing to ensure hardware and firmware are up to date and secure. By working together, vendors and health care providers can strengthen defenses against cyberattacks in multiple ways.

Discover Cyber Attack Entry Points

Attackers have numerous pathways to access hospital networks and bring operations to a halt. Connected electronic medical equipment resides on the hospital’s internal network, as do confidential patient records. While internal systems are secure, attackers gain access to hospital computers connected to both the internal networks and the internet. Hospitals that offer Wi-Fi to patients and visitors may also create a vulnerable entry point for cybercriminals.

Today’s “smart”—that is, network-connected—medical implants may also represent an attack entry point. Devices such […]

By |May 10th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

The Value and Demand for Room-Based Videoconferencing Continues to Grow

As businesses invest more in the globally-connected workforce, it’s not uncommon to find more organizations with employees in multiple locations scattered across the world. As such, videoconferencing solutions that streamline real-time communications between teams of employees, independent contractors, and managers have never been more-in-demand. While traditional desktop-based videoconferencing has been the linchpin of online business collaboration for years, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and large enterprise organizations alike, have recently begun turning to room-based conferencing solutions for more cost-effective, intuitive, and streamlined collaboration.

A Global Shift Toward Videoconferencing

A recent survey by Wainhouse Resource of Duxbury, Massachusetts found that of 4,700 end users of videoconferencing surveyed, 94 percent believe that the biggest benefit of the technology was increased efficiency and productivity throughout their organizations. On top of that, because video calls typically have a defined start- and end-time, 88 percent reported that discussions were also impacted in a positive way, tending to be more focused and less littered with chitchat. As videoconferencing continues to prove its benefits to connected-businesses, more are looking to adopt the technology in 2016.

The Benefit of Face-to-Face Interaction

While conference calls are great, there is so much lacking in a conversation when you can’t see the other participants—especially when there are 50 or 60 of them. Beyond being able to hold employees accountable (no more sleeping in teleconferences for you!), the connection that co-workers and customers gain from face-to-face interaction is often strengthened by visual cues and nonverbal communication. There’s nothing worse than the silence on the other end of the line after pitching your boss or client a new idea, waiting to hear whether they’re on board or think you’ve just said the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard. At least with videoconferencing you […]

By |May 3rd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Advanced AV Team Members Complete Dash 4 Diabetes

At Advanced AV, we know that healthy employees are happy employees. That’s why we encourage our team members to be their best selves both in and out of the office, and we celebrate with them when they reach their goals. (Just like we did with our GoRuck challenger Bryan Pass and Crossfit competitor Jason Holbrook).

Recently, a team of approximately 20 Advanced AV’ers took to the streets of downtown West Chester to complete the 22nd Annual Dash 4 Diabetes, a 5K run, 2.5K walk and fun run event benefitting the Diabetes Self-Management Program at Chester County Hospital. HR Coordinator Angela Johnson helped lead the charge, as she thought it would be a climactic ending to the company’s Biggest Loser Weight Loss Challenge—a 12 week program that rewards cash for team weight loss. (It’s worth noting that this year, our team members who participated lost a total of 175 pounds!)

“I got us involved in this as a way to end the company’s Biggest Loser Weight Loss Challenge, to keep propelling good health and to, of course, support diabetes research,” Johnson said. “It’s actually starting to take the form of a potentially bigger, broader community outreach program.”

These team-building events aren’t new to Advanced AV, as we’ve participated in community 5Ks for many years including the Color Run and the Lemon Run—the latter of which benefits childhood cancer research through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

This year’s Dash 4 Diabetes happened on a relatively gloomy Saturday in early April, but the weather soon turned to match the positive spirits of our walkers and runners. The photo below shows a group shot of our athletes and participating family members (shout out to our furry friends as well!).

In fact, those […]

By |April 21st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

An Epidemic of Stress: Why Your Employees Need to Get a Life

In today’s fast-paced and increasingly technological society, Americans are statistically working harder and putting in longer hours—but at a cost. It appears ‘driven’ just might become the new ‘stressed,’ as many struggle to find work-life balance while their health and on-the-job productivity suffer as a result. If your employees are suffering from burnout, learn why—and how collaborative technologies can help.

Today’s Stressed Out Workforce, By The Numbers

You may have heard chatter in the office about how stressed your employees feel—or may even feel yourself—but the hard and fast data surrounding the plight of the overworked in this country is downright disconcerting. The most recent Gallup poll on American work habits found that U.S. employees work an average of 47 hours per week, and almost 40 percent grind for 50 hours or more.

Here’s another way to look at it: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that daily, the average person aged 24 to 54 with children spends 8.9 hours per day on work and related activities, leaving little time to care for others (1.2 hours) or engage in household activities (1 hour). For many, it appears ‘life’ has been removed from ‘work-life balance.’

The Effect of Stress On Productivity and Performance

A study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that 29 percent of Americans are “quite a bit or extremely stressed at work” while a substantial 40 percent say their position is “very or extremely stressful.” An abundance of stress can lead to poor employee physical and mental health as well as an increase in turnover, absenteeism, and poor performance.

Whose Problem Is It?

For parents of small children, expecting mothers or caretakers of elders, some companies have tried to lessen the work-life burden by offering […]

By |April 13th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Advanced AV, LLC Welcomes Annie Wiker as Enterprise Communications Specialist

Press Release
For Immediate Release
April 8th, 2016

West Chester, PA – Advanced AV, LLC welcomes Annie Wiker as Enterprise Communications Specialist. Ms. Wiker spent over ten years as a Market Development Manager at NewComm Technologies prior extending her experience to a New York based integration firm. Her knowledge of the AV industry coupled with her communication skills make Annie a valuable addition to the Advanced AV team. As a veteran relationship builder Ms. Wiker will be focusing her expertise on the central Pennsylvania market.

“I am thrilled to have Annie join our team. The experience she brings with her, not only in the industry but also the Central Pennsylvania Region, will prove to be an enormous asset to our clients and efforts moving forward.” stated Mike Morgan, Business Development Manager.

Headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Advanced AV has evolved with the advancement of technology into a specialized integrator of professional audiovisual systems for business, education, government, and worship facilities, serving the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.  Advanced AV has long proven its dedication to transforming clients’ technology objectives into reality. Today its engineered systems can be found in boardrooms, conference centers, classrooms, auditoriums, and many other venues that have benefited from the company’s sound, video, and networking expertise.

For more information, please contact Marina Gregory at marina.gregory@advancedav.com or visit our website: www.advancedav.com

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By |April 11th, 2016|Blog, News|0 Comments

Boost Innovation and Productivity with Video Collaboration

Collaboration has long been a key to business success. As the global economy continues to expand and the number of remote workers rises every day, finding efficient ways for teams to collaborate—whether across town, states, or international borders—becomes increasingly important.

Seamless communication leads to more effective collaboration and the ability to bring products and services to market faster. Video collaboration tools help prevent misunderstandings that can occur through telephone or email communications, while boosting productivity and the potential for businesses to innovate.

Video Collaboration: “See” How It Can Help Your Business

The average businessperson sends and receives 122 emails per day and spends 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings, according to some reports. And that’s not counting the time spent traveling to and from those meetings.

There are also plenty of times in a typical workday that the potential for optimal innovation and productivity is diminished due to distractions. In a Salary.com report, 89 percent of office workers admitted to wasting time each day, with 61 percent saying they waste at least 30 minutes.

Today’s popular open office environments exacerbate the problem. While open office environments encourage collaboration, studies show they reduce productivity. In fact, 41 percent of workers recently reported that they could not concentrate in their open office environment, leading to an average loss of 86 minutes per day.

Companies that embrace video collaboration tools can help their employees get those valuable minutes back. Many set up informal huddle spaces with video collaboration tools to boost productivity while minimizing distractions, or dedicated video conference or telepresence spaces to improve concentration. Today’s immersive telepresence technologies help conference participants focus on the person speaking, rather than background distractions like a bustling office space.

With varying levels of required investment, integrating video […]

By |April 7th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Will the Latest Collaboration Technology Render Email Obsolete?

Imagining a workplace without email seems downright impossible. For almost three decades, email has been the top method of communication between employees, business owners, customers, and clients. This gives us hundreds of messages, cc’s, forwarded information, and shared content—all in the course of one typical day.

But the technological realm is evolving toward newer modes of communication, capable of exceeding current standards of internal communication without wasting worker time or energy. In fact, the latest collaboration technologies could overtake email in terms of efficiency, usability, and productivity.

Eliminate Traditional Email Inefficiencies

In 2015, 122 business emails were sent and received per user per day. This figure continues to grow and is expected to average 126 messages by the end of 2019.

So it’s clear that email will never completely go away. Rather, modern businesses need to focus on making the process more efficient. Sifting through inboxes, scanning messages you’re cc’d on, searching emails to retrieve lost information, and organizing correspondence into electronic folders is a major time sink.

Moreover, accidentally replying to mass emails can result in data breaches or confusion, and the only way to create and share content is inefficient through this platform: Saving, altering, and uploading documents, attaching them to emails, and sending them to coworkers is a risky process. Recipients may not see the message and attachments immediately, and even if they do, they may misinterpret what needs correcting. Indeed, the current email system drains employee time—and if these issues aren’t corrected, new technology will take its top spot.

Explore Alternatives to Email

In fact, new technologies are already responding to these problems and making entrepreneurs question why we so heavily rely on email. For example, new cloud platforms for communication not only streamline these processes; they encourage […]

By |April 4th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments
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