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Sales Slumping? Web Conferencing Can Help

For B2B businesses, time is money, and deploying the right tech for your business can mean more of both. Time wasted doing tasks better left to advanced applications means time lost nurturing leads and closing deals. Investing in web conferencing tools can change that, leaving you time and resources to better run your business – and generate higher sales while doing it.

Distinguish Video from Web Conferencing

By now, most B2B businesses understand how video conferencing can provide more employee mobility and better communication, but incorporating web conferencing not only allows better communication among employees, it can significantly improve sales.

In a web conference, users share content through the Internet, generally using audio and visual effects; its purpose isn’t peer-to-peer interactions, which are crucial for B2C companies. Think of it this way: A video conference allows you to look someone in the eye; a web conference lets you look through the same eye at the same content – a powerful tool if used well.

Web Conferencing to Boost Sales

Web conferencing involves screen sharing and co-browsing platforms, both of which facilitate better engagement – and better engagement organically leads to higher revenues. Screen sharing allows an observer to keep tabs on multiple screens at once, letting users see each other’s actions in real-time. Co-browsing – another element of web conferencing – enables teams to navigate the Internet at the same time, showing multiple individuals the same screen as they research. Use of co-browsing increases collaboration among teams, and there is no room for miscommunications relative to websites. Both of these functions mean better clarity and a shortened sales funnel.

Investing in technology that will lead to better quality leads means stronger sales. In fact, early tech adopters have a 50 percent […]

By |March 29th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Advanced AV to Host Quarterly Local Art Showcase Benefitting Charity (Featured Artist: Jimm Scannell)

“Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination.” –Daniel Bell

Our region is both ripe with technical innovation and rich in culture. We know that here at Advanced AV, and we regularly look for ways to engage with and give back to our community of colleagues, customers and fellow citizens. Most recently, we’ve chosen to celebrate the robust local art scene by hosting a quarterly Artist Showcase. This initiative not only adds touches of beauty to our hallways—it also presents us with yet another opportunity to support the people and causes closest to us.

About the Art Showcase

Each quarter, we’ll host an exhibition by a local artist. This artist—chosen by a committee of proud community-minded Advanced AV team members—will be given the opportunity to display pieces in a variety of mediums within our office outside of Philadelphia. Featured artists will offer artwork for sale to our employees, interested community members, and business partners. And a portion of the proceeds from any artwork sales will go to charity.

At its outset, the Art Showcase will be held quarterly. To expand the project in the future, new artists may be featured monthly or multiple artists may be featured simultaneously. Looking ahead, we plan to not only increase the number of artists we feature but also the space within our office allotted for displaying their work. In addition, we’re planning a future reception for all our showcased artists—including one of the forthcoming showcases that will feature the photography work of our talented Advanced AV team members.

As this project matures, it will not only bring about more featured art, but also more potential for charitable giving as a result. Something that we really believe in here at Advanced AV, […]

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

Leadership and Teamwork: Lessons Learned from Healthy Competition

We’re taught from a fairly young age that regular exercise can have a substantial benefit to your overall physical and mental health. And while this is not breaking news, what is pretty impressive is how many people today devote hours of time and energy toward getting healthy. And two of our Advanced AV team members have embarked on health and fitness journeys we feel are newsworthy, as we’re feeling the benefits extending beyond the weight room and into our communities and our boardrooms.

Bryan Pass, Senior Sales Engineer and GoRuck Challenge Finisher

Some of you might have heard of “rucking,” which gets its name from the term “ruck sack,” military speak for “backpack.” “Rucking” is walking (or marching) while wearing your ruck sack, and when training or in the field, soldiers can ruck 25 plus miles a day, carrying a pack that weighs upwards of 200 pounds. I know. I’m tired just reading that.

This brings us to The GoRuck Challenge, a physical and mental team obstacle event. The event is tied to military training methods, as each team is lead by a US Special Forces soldier. Lasting anywhere from 12-13 hours and ranging 15 to 20 miles long, all participants carry a rucksack with a weight equivalency of six bricks, and each team must share the job of carrying one 20-pound weight and one American flag.

Who would be crazy enough to sign up for this? Our very own senior sales engineer Bryan Pass, who agreed to participate in the chilly February event at the insistence of his friend. Soon, several other friends had joined his “team within a team.” And this, Bryan said, was part of the reason he didn’t give up.

“The philosophy is that people are […]

By |March 24th, 2016|Blog|3 Comments

New Style IT: Are Your Employees “Tech Empowered?”

Today, IT is at the forefront of the business universe, no matter your industry or your size. Technology is everywhere – empowering employees, increasing productivity, and streamlining collaboration and project completion – while making more traditional “old fashioned way of doing business” virtually obsolete.

So, the question isn’t is technology a priority in your organization, the question should be are your employees tech-empowered. Embracing the New Style of IT is the only way to stay ahead of the technology learning curve. Ensuring your employees are “tech empowered” can lead to flexible, efficient collaborations, and simplified functionality. To encourage tech-empowered employees, master the four categories of current tech trends, and then actively incorporate them into your day-to-day operations.

Master These Major Tech Categories:

Mobility

In the 21st century, no tech-savvy employee wants to be confined to a cubicle for 40+ hours a week. Employees today, especially the younger set, realize there are alternatives to the typical workplace environment. They can now work from a home office, from a coffee shop, or on an airplane, giving them complete freedom and mobility. Innovations in enterprise collaboration techniques allow employees to use myriad devices and apps to create comprehensive, collaborative shared workspaces—ultimately encouraging teamwork and increasing overall efficiency.

Collaboration

With dozens of collaboration apps on the market, more and more employees are reaping the benefits of working as a team while away from the office. Employees are discovering new methods of streamlined collaboration techniques, such as virtual whiteboards and hybrid video conferencing. Easier collaborative efforts directly result in increased productivity.

Cloud Applications

Adopting the cloud will allow your business to integrate new technologies into your old systems with relative ease, making the transformation as painless as possible for employees. Most cloud solutions offer high […]

By |March 16th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

The Evolution of Enterprise Collaboration

The term enterprise collaboration is fairly broad, but it generally describes the ways in which people work together in our new digital and mobile driven business landscape. Both inside and outside of the office. The autonomy Millennials and Gen-Xers demand from their careers has spread to the business world as a whole, and today digital connectivity makes collaboration easy, allowing people the freedom to work from anywhere—no longer feeling tied to an office, no longer being required to work the traditional 9-to-5, Monday to Friday job. Enterprise collaboration is the new goal of every dynamic business. In today’s workplace, employees can instantly connect via Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices giving us a new way to work. Let’s take a look at the evolution of enterprise collaboration.

The Mobile Employee

A recent article in SearchUnifiedCommunications.com makes it clear that though mobile employees are a definite trend, and one that will continue growing, according to Nemertes Research, “these kinds of workers typically represent no more than 20% of a typical workforce.” That said, the key phrase is “continue growing” – mobile employees have unique needs, requiring IT groups to have their fingers on the pulse of network and device security and application performance across wired and wireless networks. They also must be prepared to support user-owned devices, ensure there is sufficient wireless network availability, and that huddle spaces and small conference rooms are equipped with good quality video conferencing tools. Collaboration, though, means more than just video-chatting with a teammate.

From White Walls to White Boards to Whole Screens

It was pretty revolutionary when the “old fashioned whiteboard” went from dry erase markers to interactive digital collaboration. But today, people are expecting more. Meeting rooms are walled with touch-sensitive screens […]

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

Pinpointing Unified Communications’ Success: Why IT Leaders Have to Shift their Focus

No company wants to invest in a technology only to struggle to find its value or prove its ROI. Unfortunately, though, a recent study by Nemertes Research found that over half—57 percent of respondents to its 45-company inquiry—reported feeling that way about their unified communications (UC) efforts.

For such a high functioning technology with countless potential operational benefits, this information is a bit disheartening. It begs one question: Why? Where are these companies falling short in their quests to leverage the power of their UC investments? The answer might just be found in the way IT leaders approach UC efforts and measure their success in the first place. Let’s take a look.

More Highlights from the Study

For their survey of UC effectiveness, Nemertes Research queried 50 senior IT leaders, most from companies with 2,500 or more employees. Below are some notable statistics from the research:

Thirty-two percent of respondents felt their UC success was neutral.
Twenty-four percent of respondents felt their UC efforts were altogether unsuccessful.
Forty-six percent of respondents said tracking UC usage by employees was their main metric for measuring success.
Ten percent of respondents said they examine network-related issues, trouble tickets, throughput value or other application performance metrics.

Consider that the last time Nemertes Research conducted their Unified Communications and Collaboration Benchmark study, 61 percent of respondents rated their UC efforts as successful. This year’s sharp drop to 43 percent means we need to take a closer look at the UC marketplace and how IT leaders are measuring success.

Why IT Leaders Need to Shift Their Focus

The statistics above are telling for several reasons, especially those that speak to metrics. It’s interesting to note, for example, that survey respondents who described negative UC experiences also reported both low employee usage […]

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

The Legal System: How Videoconferencing Is Bringing the Gavel Down

Communication is essential to the legal industry. For decades, law firms have relied on phones, fax, and email to do business—but is there a better way? Effective collaboration is critical to any industry, but a miscommunication or oversight in this field can lead to particularly dire consequences. Meeting face to face, however, is not always economically or physically possible. Even simply scheduling an in-person meeting can be remarkably difficult.

Videoconferences are an attractive solution to this issue. These platforms allow clients, counselors, expert witnesses, and other legal specialists to meet virtually, saving time and other important resources. With a comprehensive videoconferencing solution, teams can share documents or take notes. This keeps everyone up-to-date regarding changes in a case as soon as they happen.

Put Videoconferencing to Work in Your Firm

This technology can make a significant impact in your law firm. You may imagine speaking with clients or scheduling a quick consultation for an upcoming case, but there are many other perks to videoconferencing. For example: 

You can conduct training sessions across several different practices, connecting participants in real time and allowing them to share ideas and content. This is an ideal way to guide junior colleagues or teams as a whole. This can also help ensure everyone is up to speed on a firm’s or court’s guidelines and industry requirements. Simply launch a training session or similar program, and allow individuals to complete the requirement at their discretion. Furthermore, while a legal team is going through training, personnel can seamlessly communicate with senior members and their peers for advice—through an internal chat function or a quick video call. Alternatively, teachers can host video training sessions across virtual classrooms. Approved guests can join these lectures just as they would […]

By |February 26th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

Public, Private, or Hybrid Cloud: What You Need to Know

The adoption of cloud technology has the potential to support operational and organizational efficiencies, with a recent study identifying three key benefits:

Cost savings were identified by 42 percent of respondents.
Getting things done more efficiently (40 percent).
Better allocation of IT resources (38 percent).

But over and above these benefits, the research was also able to establish that the organizations that were actively employing the cloud were seeing much higher revenue growth rates. These amounted to a significant 46 percent increase for on-premises cloud and 51 percent when off-premises cloud technology was used.

Sounds great, right? But when you are considering a move to the cloud, how do you determine which cloud option is right for your business? Many of today’s enterprises need a videoconferencing solution, for example, that can accommodate an increasingly mobile workforce, using an increasingly diverse scope of mobile devices, yet remain private and secure.

Businesses that require constant collaboration or exclusively communicate over the phone or in meeting rooms can still get by with a small onsite data storage system, or “private cloud,” providing they have the IT people in place to run it properly.

Public clouds are just what the name implies: Public (and usually free). A service provider (think Dropbox) makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet.

Companies are interested in hybridization, though, because it’s highly flexible. They can keep sensitive information in their private cloud, while placing more routine, peripheral activities in the public cloud, thereby freeing up even more space in their onsite data storage systems. Hybrid cloud simply means two clouds that share a connection, a community cloud and a private cloud, two public clouds, or any other mixture of cloud technology that brings two […]

By |February 18th, 2016|Blog|3 Comments

Stay Secure in the Cloud by Working WITH Your Managed Services Provider

If you’re working with a public cloud service or a managed services provider (MSP), you’ve likely given up some measure of security control. When you work with an MSP, you’re essentially relinquishing physical management to a third party. The economic benefits of an MSP are an obvious plus, but can you enjoy them without sacrificing security? The short answer is yes—if you maintain an open dialogue with your MSP about data security.

Assess Your MSP’s Security Measures

When searching for a reliable MSP, you’re entitled to a frank discussion about the prospective company’s security policies and practices. Identify your personal expectations regarding threat defense, access permissions, and data partitioning—and be prepared to carefully discuss these issues. Do the MSP’s policies closely align with your own? If you agree on a basic security philosophy, take care of some additional security measures, including:

Encryption protocol. If you’re in an industry like finance or healthcare, you may already be required to encrypt your data. Even if you’re not in a business that deals with sensitive client information or private records, you still need encryption measures. Decide whether you’re going to retain control of your own encryption or if you’re going to delegate it to your MSP.

Compliance monitoring. Before you give up control to a managed services provider, you need full disclosure about where your data could end up. If they’re not fully compliant with your industry’s rules, you may need to look elsewhere.

Privacy and logs. Can you gain access to your MSP’s logs? If not, you’ll be in a tough spot when you’re hit by an industry audit. You’re ultimately in charge of complying with industry regulations—not your third party provider. Take proactive steps to ensure you won’t be stuck between […]

By |February 12th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

How Apps and Digital Signage Are Changing the Event Industry

Here’s a stunning statistic: As of today, 22 percent of the world’s population owns a smartphone. When you think about how many people populate this planet, you realize that’s a whole lot of people. One of the biggest industries to come out of the smartphone explosion is, of course, application creation. Apps are designed to make all of our lives more efficient, and nowhere do you appreciate that function more than when you are at a huge event. An event app allows attendees to customize their experience, everything from profile registration to scheduling to event management creating a completely unique experience for each attendee—all of which lives conveniently on your mobile device.

Similarly, digital signage can attract people to an event and give them an interactive experience. See how these important pieces of technology are shaping the way we tackle event management.

Employ Technology to Encourage an Interactive Experience

Event apps help create an experience where users can seamlessly interact with their environments. Attendees become an integral part of the experience through polls and surveys, and, at a particularly large event, they can navigate quickly and easily from place to place and venue to venue using maps, accessing transportation information, and viewing (and sharing) personal recommendations. Event managers can encourage this interactive smartphone usage, but using the app to collect important attendee information, things like photos, sign-ups, and payments. Event apps help keep event sponsors happy as well, allowing them to connect with people who stopped by, or showed interest in their booths or exhibit.

Digitalizing media also encourages event goers to connect to their experiences. In a recent survey, sixty-three percent of those surveyed said digital signage captured their attention over outdated paper banners and posters. It’s obvious […]

By |February 5th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment
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