Category AV Everywhere

AVI-SPL Opens Office in Omaha

AVI-SPL’s Omaha Grand Opening on April 25 kicked off at its new office building, located in Papillion, Nebraska. To celebrate the event, the day’s festivities includes games, food and drink, and tours of the facility. Guests were invited into the building to see the new space where AVI-SPL designs, engineers, and tests the solutions that it delivers to the greater Omaha area and beyond.

 

Highlights of the Grand Opening

Shelley Salys, senior VP for AVI-SPL’s central region, welcomed guests to the celebration. Those guests included representatives from the Sarpy County and Greater Omaha Chambers of Commerce, who spoke to the audience about the excitement AVI-SPL’s presence brings to the local communities.

AVI-SPL CEO John Zettel  thanked the chambers and Papillion Mayor David Black for their support, and noted Omaha’s growth and need for collaboration solutions among its organizations, schools, and businesses. Zettel and other AVI-SPL executives joined both chambers of commerce and the mayor to cut the combined Sarpy County and Greater Omaha Chamber ribbons to mark the official opening.

Following the tours of the AVI-SPL office, many of the guests reconvened at Kros Strain Brewing for happy hour and conversation. Everyone at AVI-SPL, especially those in the Omaha office and the executive team, extends their thanks to the 130 guests that stopped by and welcomed AVI-SPL with open arms to the greater Omaha community. 

The New Microsoft Surface Hub 2S Is Here!

The second generation of Microsoft’s Surface Hub is on its way, and you can get yours through AVI-SPL. For meetings of different sizes, the Surface Hub 2S is your pathway to turning any space into a teamwork space and bringing remote teams together. When the first Surface Hub arrived in 2016, it empowered groups of different sizes to collaborate through an interactive display that included their preferred collaboration tools. Colleagues could be in the same room or spread out around the world, and the Surface Hub brought them and their ideas together in one place.

In creating this updated version, Microsoft has listened to its customers and improved the Surface Hub’s physical design and its integration with software applications. The new Microsoft Whiteboard app gives you the ability to find people, and includes image stacks and intelligent ink. Everyone can take part in the brainstorming session, because you can share your whiteboard across Android, iOS, and Windows 10 platforms. And you can pick up from where your team left off. Other features and benefits include:

  • 50% faster graphic performance over the first Surface Hub
  • 40% lighter than the original version
  • More intuitive user interface
  • 50-inch collaborative canvas
  • Fluid team collaboration through Surface Hub Pen and touch
  • Enhanced 4K camera
  • Can be easily moved when paired with a Steelcase Roam™ Mobile Stand
  • Remote collaboration using Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business
  • Integrated with Windows 10 and Office 365

The Surface Hub 2S empowers you with mobile, cordless, uninterrupted teamwork. Any place can be a collaboration space. AVI-SPL is an official Microsoft partner, and we are your source for the new Surface Hub, which is scheduled to ship in June. For more information, and to reserve your Surface Hub 2S, visit AVI-SPL’s dedicated Surface Hub page. >

Five Ways to Be Green at the Office on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, which people around the world are celebrating and observing as part of their commitment to improving the quality of life for people and the planet. Earth Day began in 1970 as a nationwide demonstration by millions throughout America for a “healthy, sustainable” environment. 

Nearly 50 years later, Earth Day has advocates in hundreds of countries, where they work to reduce CO2 emissions and the levels of plastics in the oceans, and take other measures (clean-ups, tree planting) that protect life.  Here are a few ways you can go green and be eco-friendly at work today and in the years ahead:

1. Reuse Cups and Utensils

According to an Earth Day Network fact sheet, we use over 16 billion disposable coffee cups and 480 billion plastic bottles each year.  Most of that will end up in landfills, waterways and oceans. Companies are taking action against waste by removing plastic cups and cutlery from their break rooms. You can help in this effort by bringing water bottles to work that you can refill, wash, and reuse. Your organization can also offer reusable cups and utensils, and encourage employees to bring their own silverware from home. 

2. Save Paper

If you use email, you may have read this below some signatures: “Please Consider the Environment Before Printing.” It’s good advice to follow when you consider the cost of printing (the electricity of printers, printer cartridges). I tend to print my documents to a pdf file. If you need a paper copy, and it covers multiple pages, print it out as a two-sided document. You should also have bins in the office for recycling paper when you don’t need those documents anymore.

3. Look for Energy Waste

A commitment to green AV helps the environment by limiting energy usage. It also helps companies by lowering the cost of running their facilities and the systems that their employees use. If you notice leaking faucets or lights that are out, report the issues to your facilities department. And please turn off the tap while you are washing your hands or dishes.

4. Add Plants to Your Desk

You’ll improve your indoor air quality by adding some greenery to your work space. Plants can offset volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and CO2 emissions, both of which harm indoor air quality. And the benefits go beyond measurable impacts on the environment. A study by U.K. researchers found that when people were surrounded by plants in the office, they were happier and more productive.

5. Choose Green AV Options/Recycle Old Tech

Instead of traveling to another office for a meeting, use video conferencing. Video conferencing can reduce your organization’s carbon footprint along with real estate costs. Work with LEED-accredited professionals like AVI-SPL to integrate sustainable technology that meets LEED-certified building standards.

AVI-SPL supports green AV through its participation in an electronics recycling program where out-of-service equipment is collected and recycled in order to fund technology labs for children who might otherwise not have access to computers. AVI-SPL also has LEED-certified engineers who can design workplaces that are energy efficient and help people collaborate easily with one another, whether they’re in the same room or at remote locations.

The Four S’s Are Your Keys to Collaboration Success

You want your workplace to be more than a building where people are obliged to meet for at least eight hours a day. It should be a home where teams can share and build upon ideas that help your company grow. To create the spaces that inspire your workers, AVI-SPL follows the “four S’s”: simple, standardized, scalable and serviceable. Each of these guidelines work together to form the workspaces that help meet your organization’s desired outcomes. Below, we look at what each of these principles means, why they matter, and how they work together.

Simple, Standardized, Scalable, and Serviceable

Simple — Are you going to use a conference room where the technology is an obstacle course of complexity, unreliability, and frustration? If you’re inclined to use a collaboration space, you want to work with colleagues on a project, not wonder why you can’t get the interactive display to sync to your device.

To apply simplicity to a space doesn’t mean you’ve limited its capabilities. Rather, you’ve removed the complex barriers to using and benefiting from those capabilities. This is usually the meaning when you hear someone describe a technology system as “frictionless.” Starting a meeting is streamlined, so that you can quickly start the display, audio, video, presentation, and get the purpose of the meeting underway.

Standardized — Regardless of where you’re working from, the technology experience needs to be the same among similar rooms in all locations. An employee that knows how to use a collaboration room in his or her home office should be able to do the same in another regional office. Applying standards and best practices makes the experience simple for the end user. Some of our clients have room standards that AVI-SPL must deliver reliably and in a way that allows their organizations to grow.

If you’ve yet to settle upon standards, AVI-SPL can help develop and provide them through its Rapid Rooms and Smart Spaces. These are collaboration spaces of various types that have been preconfigured with essential collaboration tools for various group sizes.

Your regional requirements may mean substituting one solution for another based on product availability. AVI-SPL lets customers know how their budgets may fluctuate based on those regional preferences. Because we are aware of differences within the same company, our designers, programmers and integrators ensure that your room functionality is consistent across locations.

Scalable — A scalable set of solutions are easily repeatable from office to office. By keeping room solutions simple and standardized, we can quickly deploy your rooms so that your regional locations stay connected. As your company grows and adds more collaboration spaces and solutions, so does AVI-SPL’s support of those solutions and your user experience through our managed services.

Serviceable — AVI-SPL considers serviceability as a design element when developing standards for your rooms and technology systems. That’s because spaces that are easy to use should also be easy to support. We assess the network topology where the solutions are being deployed so that the IT stakeholders can deliver and support the solutions on a consistent basis.

Serviceability means IT and/or  your managed services provider can proactively resolve issues and acquire the analytics that provide business insights, like how often your collaboration spaces are being used, the quality of the experience, and the number of service tickets that were generated in a particular time frame. From the data analysis of those standardized rooms, your organization continues to adjust its standards and conference rooms, and improve the user experience.

We find that customers are demanding actionable business intelligence about their collaboration solutions. They want to know if their technology systems are delivering ROI by improving productivity and if they need to reconfigure their collaboration spaces. AVI-SPL’s Symphony managed services platform provides the analytics to let you know whether your systems are delivering their intended value.

Work With the Experts in the Collaborative Workplace Experience

By following the four S’s, AVI-SPL creates meaningful spaces and better workplace experiences. Contact AVI-SPL and let us know where we can help improve the business outcomes for your organization.  

Q&A on Flexible Workplaces and the Future of Work

On May 2, Dusty Duistermars will be the keynote speaker at AVI-SPL’s TechSpark event in Atlanta. During this evening event, attendees will learn from digital workplace experts and technology providers about how they can shift their organizations toward the future of work. Duistermars is the senior vice president of digital solutions for JLL, which specializes in professional services in real estate. In the Q&A below, I spoke with Duistermars about changes in the workplace: what’s driving those changes and how companies can adapt. He’ll address these and related topics at his keynote talk in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market.

Interview With Dusty Duistermars

Q: What is the flexible workplace and what makes it so attractive?
Duistermars: Technology — specifically, mobility — has been impacting where and how we work for over two decades. The flexible workplace is simply space that allows employees to work in non-traditional ways, including remote work, co-working and desk sharing/hoteling. Flex space is typically higher-tech enabled, allowing employees to reserve space based on the type of activity they’re performing and only for a limited duration. These activity-based working spaces include a variety of supportive technologies like interactive video conferencing and wireless sharing of content that can be annotated in real time by participants.

We can trace this to a couple of factors: millennials and technology. Millennials have grown up with the technology that allows them to be in touch with one another on a 24/7 basis. So it’s no surprise that they expect the same of their work environment.

Q: Are we at a point where people can say “no thanks” to a company that doesn’t offer them the experience and resources they need?
Duistermars: Absolutely. Due to the overall talent shortages, employees have options. They could also go freelance; we’ll see the gig economy double in the next five years. If employers are not leveraging their space as a differentiator to both retain and attract employees, they will ultimately fail.

Q: What does this shift look like from the company side?
Duistermars: It’s no longer about occupancy, it’s about utilization and productivity.

Q: So instead of permanent assignments to space, assignments to real-time usage?
Duistermars: Right. You might have 200 or more people assigned to a designated area (typically referred to as a ‘neighborhood’) that only has 100 desks, and that will work because they’re not there at the same time.

Q: To do this, don’t you need a culture that welcomes and supports people working in and out of the office?
Duistermars: Yes, and you can build that culture by making collaboration technology systems and spaces available to them. Focus groups, design partners, and IT will help figure out how flexible to go in those areas. They’ll also account for work types, as on-site engineers will require different types of space than say the national sales team who’s rarely at ‘their’ desk. The idea is that more personalization and flexibility add to the employee experience.

Q: Where are companies at with the move to flexible workplaces?
Duistermars: First off, this doesn’t happen overnight. There are multiple steps, including detailed change management and communication strategies that are needed to be successful. That being said, we see, on average, about 5-10% of client portfolios being flexible. It’ll grow to roughly 30% within the next five years.

Q: What will account for that increase?
Duistermars: Talent is driving a lot of this. Millennials want the flexibility. It also a much better cost model for employers. A dedicated space can cost employers on average, $10,000 annually. That’s a lot of money for someone who’s only in their seat about half the time. Thus, desk sharing makes business sense too.

Q: Let’s shift perspective to the IT side. As more spaces become flexible, how does that affect their management?
Duistermars: It makes managing those spaces a challenge if you don’t have the right tools in place. Some platforms are capable of managing numerous aspects of the ecosystem. Or if you’re using a point solution/best in class model, you’ll want to make certain that it’s integrated properly and that you’re getting the right data (typically utilization) out of each system and able to analyze holistically.

Q: How is JLL helping companies that need employees on site?
Duistermars: That’s a great question. Allow me to break this down: First, we involve our consulting and labor analytics group to make certain the company is choosing the right markets/locations based on the type of talent that they need.

From there, we help them create great spaces where employees want to be. We also lean on partners like AVI-SPL to make sure the experience from desk to meeting spaces is frictionless.

Q: What advice do you have for companies that haven’t yet bought into the idea of workplace transformation?
Duistermars: The only constant is change. If you’re not getting ahead of this by focusing on your people and your technology, you won’t need to worry about any of this in five years; your company won’t exist.

To hear Duistermars speak in person about changes in the workplace and how companies should adapt, register for the May 2 TechSpark event in Atlanta.