Category AVI-SPL

How to Increase Meeting Efficiency With Collaboration Technology

Think about how often you’ve been in a meeting that wasted your time. Now consider how often the technology — or lack thereof — was the problem. Time and again I’ve seen people become frustrated trying to use meeting-room devices that either don’t work, or aren’t intuitive, or don’t have the features people need. In this article, you’ll find out what you can do to improve meeting-room technology, including:

  • Going wireless
  • Group device sharing
  • Annotation capabilities

This is the fourth AVI-SPL article on meeting-room collaboration written in consultation with visual tech manufacturer Christie. The previous three in this series cover meeting rooms your employees wantmulti-site collaboration and AV quality.

Read “How to Increase Meeting Efficiency With the Right Collaboration Technology” >

How to Know if Your Company’s Ready for Microsoft Surface Hub

Is Your Company Ready for Microsoft Surface Hub?

Get Your Readiness Report.

Microsoft Surface Hub launched about six months ago. During that time, we have been gathering best practices on what makes a deployment successful and how you can get your company ready now. With a small amount of upfront planning, you can realize an even faster return on your investment in Surface Hub.

So, where do you start?

With our customers’ best practices in mind, we’ve developed a 5-minute quiz that you can help you determine if your company is ready for Microsoft Surface Hub. After you complete your quiz, your results will be tabulated, and your score will rank you in one of three Readiness Levels: Emerging, Prepared or Optimized. You’ll then receive a Readiness Report specifically for your Level.

Although you can put a Surface Hub in almost any room and users are likely to start using it based on the familiar Windows UI, some companies are truly optimized to take advantage of this next generation of collaboration device.

The quiz will assess your company readiness in 4 distinct areas and your report will show you what companies at the next level of readiness are doing so that you can learn from their experience. This isn’t a technical review. We have a great resource for that. You can download our Surface Hub Buyer’s Guide.

Instead, your readiness report will measure 4 key areas:

  1. Meeting Rooms. What A/V, telephony, and collaboration equipment in most of your company meeting rooms? How does your workplace design support collaboration?
  2. Collaboration Solutions. How do employees collaborate with their teams, with other departments, and with remote workers most often? How long to online meetings take to start? Are Microsoft technologies like Office 365 commonly used?
  3. Company Readiness. How actively does your company solicit employee feedback on collaboration tools? Do IT or facilities teams collect data or monitor active usage of meeting room devices?
  4. IT Solutions. How do IT teams manage A/V, collaboration devices and software today? Are data security and protection policies maintained on devices that are accessed in meeting rooms or customer meeting spaces?

Microsoft Surface Hub enables a whole new class of immersive collaboration experiences for your team. In 5 minutes, you can find out if you’re ready and how the Surface Hub can make an immediate impact in your organization.

Start Your Quiz

Frost & Sullivan Names AVI-SPL a 2016 Company of the Year

This past week AVI-SPL was named Frost & Sullivan’s 2016 North American Company of the Year for Managed Video Conferencing Services. Within that title is recognition of our efforts to provide enterprises around the world with simple-to-use video conferencing that can easily grow as their needs grow.

This excerpt from Frost & Sullivan’s official report about the win nicely summarizes the value we bring to the market:

AVI-SPL’s approach to technology implementation hinges on a strategy that is comprehensive, yet flexible enough and targeted at organizations that are looking for a measured and practical approach to video conferencing. AVI-SPL works closely with enterprises to understand and optimize their business operations and requirements. It has an established portfolio of managed services that is very much aligned with the predominant needs of enterprise users. Moreover, its cloud services span across public, private and hybrid collaboration solutions which gives organizations the flexibility to maintain existing investments while planning for next gen services.

The report refers to our Symphony Platform as our “cornerstone technology,” which has been continually developed so AVI-SPL can provide customizable room and device monitoring, as well as cloud-based scheduling and management for video conferences.

As the independent analysts in the report assert, we at AVI-SPL continue to invest in next-generation platforms and services for our clients, and in building a world-class workforce to implement and support them.

I encourage you to read the report and learn about the criteria by which we were judged and deemed to be a provider of best-in-class service.  Tell us how we can support your enterprise. >

Codecs, Bandwidth, and Latency

In our Video Over IP post, we touched on the encoding and decoding process that makes it possible to send video signals over the network. Now let’s take a brief overview of the codecs — which are encoding and decoding protocols — that employ these processes.

Codecs that use about 10Mbps (megabits per second) are ideal for transporting networked AV since they won’t allow the signals to monopolize your network.  Conversely, a 10Gbps (gigabits per second) codec will use up all the available bandwidth on a 10-gigabit network link. On the plus side, the latency — the delay caused by the process of encoding and decoding a video signal — will be low for this bandwidth-heavy codec.

Mezzanine, Intra-frame, and Inter-frame

Mezzanine, intra-frame, and inter-frame codecs will look at the source signal in different ways before compressing it for transmission. You want to have the most bandwidth-efficient codecs handling your signals. Even though there will be a trade-off in latency, that trade-off can be acceptable.

  • Mezzanine: These include TICO and DSC compression codecs. Latency is very low, but they also use the most bandwidth.
  • Intra-frame: These are JPEG2000 and VC-2 codecs. More efficient than Mezzanine in terms of bandwidth, but unable to stream to laptops and mobile devices.
  • Inter-frame: H.264 and H.265. H.264 AVC is the most common codec in use today. H.265 HEVC is the next generation. Latency will be about 200ms in the best case, which is considered acceptable.

Crestron’s “State of Networked Video and Integrated System Design” offers an easy-to-understand overview of these codec types, and the areas you need to address to have an integrated system of video distribution and devices — including network management, control, and security.

Download Crestron’s paper “The State of Networked Video and Integrated System Design” >

The Ease and Benefits of Video Over IP

A recent Crestron video shows why sending your organization’s video signals over IP makes sense. It also shows how surprisingly easy it is.

  • No distance limitations — Using the Ethernet, you’re sending those video signals across buildings, campuses, and geographic distances. So that ambitious plan you have to distribute digital signage and IPTV isn’t quite as daunting as initially thought.
  • Use your existing network infrastructure — You don’t need a new, dedicated AV network to carry this data. Choosing that path will not save you money over the traditional copper or fiber solution. Plus, you want to be able to mix copper, fiber and network AV on the same platform.
  • Scalability —  You buy the encoder/decoder you need, drop it on the network, and add more units at any time. That’s what I mean by easy.  In today’s ecosystem of BYOD, that expandability is essential to keep everyone in a growing company connected and empowered to use their own devices.

With video over IP, you don’t need to buy a matrix switcher to share the same content on displays in different rooms. In my next post, I’ll look at some of the specific Crestron solutions that can create the system you need to send and receive video over the network anywhere, and we’ll define encoders and decoders. In the meantime, watch the Crestron video below that inspired this post.