Category AV in Meeting Spaces

One box to rule them all. Then what?

This is part one of two posts in which David Thorson takes a thoughtful look at issues related to standardization and the Internet of Things. David is AVI-SPL’s senior manager for programming architecture.

Hardware assimilation and what the future may hold for the “AV” Industry

Some thoughts inspired by InfoComm 2016

The industry trend of assimilation continues and is picking up speed. We are witnessing this again and again as more features are embedded into a single device and manufacturers compete to provide a breadth of technology. One of the driving factors behind this trend starts with the technology sourced by manufacturers to build their products. (See “One chip to rule them all.”) So what will the industry look like when hardware becomes commonplace and the installation is down to a few devices? Software and application interoperability will be where specialization and ingenuity thrive.

Look no further than the iPhone as an example of where the industry is headed. The chips shrunk, more features were crammed into one device, and everyone started saying “there’s an APP for that.”

Here are some examples of industry trends fueling this assimilation:

The IT fellowship of the AV industry often views the standardized approach to technology at the protocol and hardware level. Adoption of standards at the hardware level and aligning with a smaller number of vendors will improve standardization from a design perspective. But whether that will that improve the experience of end users, I’m not so sure. Think about your personal experience with a typical information technology group. Do you have a lot of options and rich features to choose from? Likely not. We are in the midst of such a rapid growth of collaborative technology and software that it’s challenging for most businesses to keep pace with providing standards and approved solutions to their workforce.

When evaluating technology, it’s important to consider the end user experience as early as possible. An installed solution that allows for customization at the application level will allow for the richest and most intuitive experience.

In my next post, I’ll look at one of the main topics at last week’s InfoComm: the Internet of Things (IoT) and what it means for AV programmers and the customers we serve.

 

Create Your Connected Workplace

I’m excited to share a new resource that AVI-SPL has just launched, one that has been designed to not just give you information, but empower and motivate.

With our Connected Workspaces site, there are no more excuses for not getting the kind of workplace you and your coworkers need and deserve to work smarter.

In this site, we’ve included four main resources that are most valuable when used together:

  • Tech briefs tailored to job responsibility
  • Business case starter
  • Assessment quiz
  • Business case toolkit

Tech Briefs

IT managers, IT directors, CIOs, facilities managers — all need to take be proactive in order to improve the way people at their companies collaborate. We’re empowering you to take that lead with these short articles that acknowledge your concerns.

  • What different managers expect to get out of connected workspaces
  • Their challenges to improving the workplace
  • What they expect from vendors in this process

Business Case StarterBusiness_Case_Starter

This downloadable document is a great way to start the conversation among the colleagues and decision-makers in your organization. Choose the desired outcomes that are driving your need for a connected workplace. This tool does the rest, generating a shareable report.

 

Assessment quiz blogAssessment Quiz

Here’s your chance to let us know what a connected workplace means to you, the current state of your meeting rooms, and the benefits you expect for your workplace.

Business Case Toolkit

This three-piece toolkit simplifies the process of creating a business case for a digitally connected workplace.

  • Real-world examples and sample formulas for metrics
  • Gap analysis tool that compares your current workplace to its target
  • Definitions and descriptions you should understand

Plan your connected workplace >

Microsoft Surface Hub at InfoComm 2016

Today’s post is contributed by Linda Civitillo, AVI-SPL VP of UCC Solutions. Linda was at InfoComm 2016, where she showed visitors to the AVI-SPL booth the collaboration power of the Microsoft Surface Hub.

If you were at InfoComm last week, you know that it was a massive, exciting show. From breathtaking canvas displays to huddle space solutions that are transforming the workplace, there was something to inspire everyone attending. As the leader at AVI-SPL for our Microsoft Surface Hub practice, I didn’t actually get to see much of anything outside of our booth, and that was just fine with me.

Microsoft Surface Hub demo
Microsoft Surface Hub demo at the AVI-SPL booth at InfoComm

Why? The excitement and foot traffic at InfoComm in front of the 84” and 55” Surface Hub devices in our booth was non-stop. Both devices are now shipping and attendees were eager to interact with them.

After three very full days at the show, here’s what stood out to me about the opportunity organizations have with the Microsoft Surface Hub:

#1: Shoulder-to-Shoulder Productivity
The feature that immediately grabbed the attention of InfoComm attendees experiencing the Surface Hub was the OneNote whiteboard. There are a lot of interactive whiteboards on the market, but on this feature alone, attendees were blown away by the Surface Hub: the responsiveness of inking with the pen, the sensitivity of the input from pen to screen, and that there was no lag time between the flow of ideas and the ability to capture them on the display. Even more compelling was the ability to ink within and “grab” content from any Windows universal app to pull into the whiteboard session. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s connect some content from personal devices or dial-in that subject matter expert using Skype for Business. These scenarios are where the Surface Hub shines. On the 84” device, it is possible to have three people standing shoulder-to-shoulder working together drawing on the OneNote whiteboard and collaborating rapidly. I call this shoulder-to-shoulder productivity and it’s a vastly improved experience compared with sitting around a conference table with laptops when you’re working on something together.

WATCH MY DEMO

#2: The Surface Hub in the Lecture Hall
One of the use cases for the Surface Hub that was made even more intriguing to me after InfoComm was in Higher Education. Imagine a professor at the front of a lecture hall using Surface Hub as a platform to teach new concepts. This teacher now has the ability to bring learning to a new level as she interacts with related content pulled from digital source materials wherever they are, connects with other classrooms or experts remotely, and extends out the display format so that students can capture or contribute content from their personal devices. Wow.

#3: Next Generation of Collaboration Services
At InfoComm, we were also excited to announce the next generation of our Collaboration services. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we are continuing to boost our Microsoft practice with advanced expertise in Microsoft Skype for Business deployments and Microsoft Exchange integration. AVI-SPL offers support to clients with Skype for Business rollouts, providing professional services to onboard users and devices like the Surface Hub with Skype, and fostering productive adoption of group collaboration tools to “…continue AVI-SPL’s pioneering of the AV/IT convergence, and remain at the forefront of today’s transforming workplace,” according to Dale Bottcher, our senior vice president of sales.

Ready to Experience the Microsoft Surface Hub in your organization?

You can PREORDER YOUR SURFACE HUB today or REQUEST A LIVE DEMO.

Why Microsoft Surface Hub is the Hottest Demo at InfoComm This Year

Part 2 of 3 in our InfoComm series. Contributed by Linda Civitillo, AVI-SPL VP of UCC Solutions.

In the first blog post of our InfoComm series, we introduced the three trends we expect to drive much of the conversation this year: 1) The Modern Workplace, 2) The Internet of Things, and 3) The Convergence of AV and IT. At our booth, we’ll be showcasing the Microsoft Surface Hub because (both 55” and 84” versions) it’s the perfect device to illustrate the three trends we’re talking about.

Trend #1: The Modern Workplace  

New work spaces and new user expectations for how teams and groups should collaborate are shaping the investments that AV and IT departments are making in communications technologies. Today, you can look to the features of a group collaboration device like the Microsoft Surface Hub to see just how the workplace is transforming:

  • Users Expect Natural, Inviting and Collaborative Workspaces: Surface Hub illustrates this idea that teams want to be able to share ideas and create something together. The device supports not only a touchscreen, but also multi-ink capabilities with the Surface Hub pen on the digital whiteboard, meaning more than one person can write on the screen at the same time as fluidly as pen on paper. Additionally, two built-in wide angle HD cameras and motion technology work with Skype for Business so remote team members can catch all of the discussion in the room and participate in real-time collaboration, making it easier for teams to make decisions and get work done.
  • Connect Remote People and Teams: Surface Hub includes Skype for Business integration to easily connect to people virtually anywhere in the world to brainstorm with you as easily as if they were in the room. We think of the Surface Hub as a natural extension of the enterprise-wide Skype for Business implementations we are doing for clients – now that we have individual employees connected, let’s go get the conference rooms and pop-up meeting spaces connected to Skype for Business as well.
  • Quick Meeting Start: The idea of a “group huddle” is that meetings are more productive because they are more spontaneous. So, it’s important that users don’t spend 5-10 minutes getting ready to start a meeting. With Surface Hub, you can walk up and join a Skype for Business meeting with a single tap, which immediately connects all participants, and start sharing content immediately, so your time is spent connecting to people rather than technology.
  • Connected Devices: Look around any meeting room. At some point, people are sharing something on their phones or devices with the person beside them. Surface Hub allows the team to connect their mobile and personal work devices to the large screen so that they can share their content with the whole team, not just the person sitting next to them. And with pen capabilities, people can take notes directly on the digital whiteboard as the ideas flow, and share with the group after the session, too.
  • Take the Content With You: Once the team has landed on the next great idea, they can take the meeting content with them. Surface Hub ships with Microsoft OneNote to capture all the notes, data from other applications and ink. Since Surface Hub is a Windows 10 device, you can also save content from any Universal Windows application that you have running on the device. And because nothing is stored locally on Surface Hub, once you are done with your meeting the device wipes itself, keeping your data secure and preparing the space for the next meeting or informal brainstorm, with no extra effort on your end.
  • See What We’re Talking About Here:

Trend #2: IoT

There are dozens of sessions and lots of buzz this year about the Internet of Things. We think IoT creates new opportunities for AV and IT professionals to add more value in helping their business colleagues solve problems and generate new ideas. The two scenarios that we will showcase using the Surface Hub are centralized management, and harnessing data from connected devices to make better business decisions. After all, these are devices on the network that can be managed centrally by AVI-SPL through remote monitoring, management, and administration where we monitor dashboard views that include everything from alert notifications to advanced reporting on key ROI metrics like utilization rates. Then our clients can use Surface Hub to view and manipulate that data in real-time.

Trend #3: The Convergence of AV and IT

We see the continued blending of the roles of AV and IT, with IT being much more involved in decisions around AV systems. This convergence playing out in real-time with devices like the Surface Hub which includes capabilities that cross over the AV and IT spectrum. To learn more about this trend, come hear AVI-SPL’s Senior Vice President of Unified Communications and Collaboration, Joe Laezza, talk about “AV and IT: What’s Working, What Needs Improvement:” on Wed, June 8th from 8:00-10:00 AM in Room N258.

So, on that mental check list of things to see at InfoComm this year, it’s critical to add Microsoft Surface Hub to the top of the list. You can see the device in action in our booth (N1218) or at the start of our Guided Technology Tour. RESERVE YOUR SPOT on our Guided Collaboration tour and your guide will be an AVI-SPL expert taking you through the best of the show and what these top 3 trends mean for you this year.

AVI-SPL Energy Project Featured in IT/AV Report

The spring issue of IT/AV Report is out, and it features an in-depth look at AVI-SPL’s integration work for the Calgary headquarters of energy company Enbridge. In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • Challenges we faced with placing AV gear on the Enbridge network
  • How we made new meeting rooms easy to locate and use
  • What we did to keep the rooms up to date over the course of this multi-year project

This article also delves into the specifics of the equipment used for spaces like training areas, executive rooms, and security operations.

Put our design and integration expertise to work for you. Fill out our brief contact form with your project concerns, and we will respond.