Category AV in Meeting Spaces

Webinar Recording: Reimagining the Modern Workplace With Collaboration Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many organizations to allow employees to work from home and use collaboration technology to get work done. But the reimagining of the modern workplace was already underway, driven by the needs of employees and the capabilities of solutions like Microsoft Teams.

The goal of the reimagined workplace is to give employees areas – huddle rooms, meeting spaces, and boardrooms – that can easily connect with the remote workforce. That way, employees can determine whether to work in the office or at home depending on what they’re most comfortable with, while being equally efficient in both locations.

Technology is where it starts. In this AVI-SPL and Microsoft webinar, you’ll learn how to outfit different spaces in the office with the technology that creates a flexible workplace that empowers people to be productive and efficient. Experts from Microsoft and AVI-SPL will share their insights into:

  • Statistics on the rise of collaboration in the workplace and changes in the workforce
  • Why remote work integration is a crucial aspect of collaboration spaces in the office
  • The value Microsoft Teams and Surface Hub 2S brings to your collaboration efforts
  • How AVI-SPL delivers and supports the Microsoft experience in your meeting spaces

Get the recording for “Reimagining the Modern Workplace With Collaboration Technology” >

Clean and Assured: Getting Your Tech Ready for Back to Work

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing how we interact with each other and our surroundings, and the world of work will never be the same again. While some companies are declaring that they won’t reopen their doors until 2021, many will gradually begin the process of allowing staff back into the office when stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.

Employers need to start taking operational steps to promote the health and safety practices dictated by law and good sense – and provide assurance that their workplaces are clean. Touch screens and other audio-visual equipment are almost everywhere – work, home, schools, retail, public spaces, and government offices. Getting technology clean and ready will be an important part of this planning.

Here are a few recommendations to help you get your technology ready for when you reopen your doors – and beyond.

Schedule preventative maintenance before employees return to work

The first thing you can do is schedule service calls now, while your office is still empty to ensure your equipment is functional, clean, and safe. Network changes, equipment auto-updates, and systems repairs make a significant impact on the functionality of your systems. If equipment needs repair or replacement, extended lead times can seriously impact the productivity of your teams as they return.

AVI-SPL has several preventative maintenance options, so check one more thing off your list and schedule a service call today. While at your office, our team will adhere to any site-specific or client-specific requirements, in addition to CDC recommendations on social distancing, hygiene, and personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols.

Deep clean and sanitize

All businesses will certainly need to develop policies, standards, and schedules for the deep cleaning and disinfecting of common areas, surfaces, and individual spaces, and your technology should be a part of this plan. Refer to the Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting issued by the CDC to inform and develop your plan and best practices for preparing and maintaining your workspaces.

However, these guidelines don’t provide instructions on how to clean and sanitize technology according to the manufacturer’s best practices. Assure your workforce that the technology they are reliant on is safe, clean, and sanitized. Add our cleaning option to a new or existing preventative maintenance check to ensure your equipment is clean per manufacturer specification.

Routine cleaning

You’ll also want to set up guidelines and protocols for shared electronics—such as tablets, touchscreens, keyboards, and other accessories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you clean and disinfect high-use devices and surfaces with a solution of 70% medicinal isopropyl alcohol and 30% water (70:30).

But be aware, most manufacturer’s recommendations for the medicinal isopropyl alcohol and water solution vary by product, depending on the materials that make up the product. Protect your investment and refer to the following guidelines for best practices from manufacturers:

Reference and post the guidelines established by the manufacturer to ensure that everyone uses the proper solutions for your devices. It’s also important to have all the recommended supplies readily and visibly available, so cleaning can occur after each use.

Personal devices and potential contamination

For phones (desk, conference, and smartphones), keyboards, and most other accessories, the cleaning part is relatively simple – it’s safe to use approved disinfectant wipes and cleaning solutions with microfiber cloths. Remember to spray the solution on the cloth, not directly on the device.

But here’s where things get tricky; we’re just not used to cleaning our devices, particularly our phones, as frequently as we should. As soon as we use a personal device and then touch a shared space or surface, the potential of contamination is there. So how often is enough? This is definitely unchartered territory, and you’ll need to figure out the best policy for your business and then over-communicate your established protocol with your employees.

Your health and safety are important to us, and keeping devices clean, especially those in high-traffic environments and high-use applications, is a crucial step in minimizing the spread of infections.

If you have any questions about getting your meeting room tech ready for everyone to return to work, contact us now or call your local AVI-SPL office. We’re here to help.

Webinar Recording: How to Manage Your Classroom or Conference Room Technology

Whether you’re in a corporate conference room or a higher education classroom, it can be a challenge to manage different devices in one room as efficiently as possible while also maximizing the potential of the source and display content.

We’ll try to help you solve these challenges during this AVI-SPL/Harman webinar, “How to Manage Your Classroom or Conference Room Technology.”  Our host and panelists discuss:

  • The technology you need inside and outside the classroom to support remote work
  • The necessary ingredients to an exceptional video conferencing experience
  • How to tie together collaboration systems for a seamless experience that’s easy to manage
  • Use cases for different kinds of switches that transfer content

Stephen Bogart of Harman and Laurie Berg of AVI-SPL will walk you through technologies that aid in the conference room, including AMX Acendo Vibe, AMX DVX 4K60 presentation switcher, and AVI-SPL Symphony. The presenters also answer questions about the future of remote work and huddle rooms, and the difference between Symphony and other monitoring solutions.

Get the recording for “How to Manage Your Classroom or Conference Room Technology” >

Apps for Remote Work Productivity

AVI-SPL wants to help you and your organization through the COVID-19 outbreak by giving you the guidance you need to stay connected with each other and be as productive as you can during this difficult time.

That’s why we’ve launched our Together We Can initiative, in which we share tips, advice, and resources for reinforcing our connections, building new communities, and maintaining business continuity. This blog is the hub for much of that content, and the most recent resources are at the top of this list:

I strongly encourage you to bookmark the Together We Can page so that you will always have the latest tools, tips, and outside-the-box ideas for keeping your teams engaged and productive.

Apps for Remote Work Productivity

As we work remotely, we may frequently rely on certain tools to get us through the day. Some of those tools help us find what we need to work on our projects — like our documents, presentation slides, etc. — and with whom we have to collaborate. Whether you’re new to remote work or are an experienced user, we’ve got some tips to share that may make your daily routine more efficient and productive.

For this post, I’ve reviewed the sites for a handful of apps, as well a few sites that recommend apps for applications like project, file, and time management. In a few cases, I may have used the app myself, and so I speak from experience when I describe its usefulness.

Below, let’s look at the variety of apps people are using to manage their files, time, projects, and peace of mind as they adjust to remote work.  Some of these apps have overlapping capabilities, so explore each to understand their full range of benefits. We’re not endorsing any apps over any others — just giving an overview of some of the most popular,  including those recommended on multiple lists. 

File Management

Knowing where to find, edit, and share your files — and do them all easily — can go a long way toward making you feel efficient and productive. Whatever app you choose, find the one that will empower you to not just save your file to the cloud, but also allow you to collaborate on it from within the app.

Dropbox – A reliable standby — and a go-to when you want to share documents in the cloud for colleagues and teammates to access. It’s more than a spot for saving files. Work on your content within Dropbox, and it will automatically sync across all of your devices. Dropbox includes calendar integration that suggests content. You can also create workflows, see who’s working on content, and annotate files.

Google Drive – You may already be using Google Drive to manage your personal or work-related files. As with Dropbox, you have access to all of your organized content, and you can see in real time who is currently working on shared documents. Access those files — including images, designs, drawings, recordings — from any device.

ShareFile – As the name indicates, this is a file-sharing site that makes it easy to share files with colleagues, clients, and anyone else — and do it securely. Notable features include unlimited storage and external users, file syncing, document sharing, and real-time co-editing. Benefits — including increased levels of security, sharing, and control — vary according to the package you select.

Time Management

Time management apps can help you focus on a particular task while also addressing your need to keep up with everything. These are apps that will help you wisely use your time so that you can be productive without expending a needless amount of energy as you worry and scramble from project to project.

Calendar – Sometimes — or maybe quite a lot — we wish we had more hours in the day. While Calendar can’t grant you that wish, it can help you wisely use the time you have to be productive, attend meetings, and solve that persistent problem: scheduling meetings that everyone can attend. Calendar automatically transcribes your meetings, delivers analytics that show where and how you’re using your time, and it uses artificial intelligence that learns how you work in order to provide a better experience.

Tomato Timer – We all have to multitask, but we can lose the “multi” part when we spend too much time on just one task. Tomato Timer keeps you from falling behind and stressing out by reminding you when it’s time to move on to the next to-do item. You may be surprised at just how simple this tool is: It’s a digital timer you engage to work on projects for 25 minutes at a time (or your own custom time frame). When the timer goes off, take a short break and move on to the next task. 

Focus Booster – Like Tomato Timer, Focus Booster is based on the pomodoro technique, where you break down your work into intervals to make tasks manageable. Features include the ability to record your work sessions and save incomplete work sessions (when you’re interrupted, as you will be), and generate automatic timesheets. Reports in the form of charts will show how you’ve spent your day. 

Project Management

I need to have my bearings when I’m recruited into any group project — the goals, the list of who’s responsible for what, the due dates. Here are a few options for getting the big picture of what you’re working on while also seeing the details so that everyone understands why they’re working on a project and the team can deliver high quality on deadline.

Asana – AVI-SPL’s marketing team uses Asana to track its projects, and it’s been a tremendous help to keeping us on deadline, in communication with one another, and knowing what’s on the horizon. Create a project by giving it a title and then add all the individual tasks under that project. It’s then a breeze to assign teammates and due dates. Once a task has been created,  you can “@” teammates to let them know you need their input or if you have any suggestions or questions.

Basecamp – If being well-organized is your thing, Basecamp will impress. Create projects, add team members, and assign their tasks through to-do lists.  Within each project, a schedule will show a calendar of upcoming deliverables, and you can share documents and other files that colleagues need so they can work on their assignments.

Trello – I have years of happy experience using Trello, which is easy to use and gives users a visual canvas that shows a series of tasks and projects, along with those colleagues assigned to each card within a project. Set alerts for upcoming deliverables so that you’re not surprised by deadlines. You can also color-code your projects for easy identification of the type of project and its status. A great feature for feeling a sense of accomplishment: the ability to drag cards into the “done” section.

Meditation Apps

Working from home can feel like you’re always working — or at least like your always on call to your colleagues and clients. Even if you’ve managed the discipline to not let your professional duties overwhelm your home life, both can be the source of  stress that requires perspective and down time.

Calm – Calm has the distinction of making the grade for a variety of “best” lists, including here and here. Choose from different meditation lengths and a visualization of breathing bubbles that you can adjust to a number of breath counts. Calm also offers guidance for reaching healthful sleep, ambient music, and a selection of relaxing sounds so that you can create your personal calming ambiance. Proof of performance matters, and Calm has a 4.8 rating in the App Store.

Headspace – Like Calm and Insight Timer (summarized below), you’ll find Headspace on many “best-ofs,” including the New York Times’ Wirecutter. Headspace’s features include a course that teaches you how to meditate, meditation videos, guided meditation for work, and oodles of meditation-related content. Bonus: The app’s founder, Andy Puddicombe, was once ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

Insight Timer – Choose from 40,000 free guided meditations to find those that fit your schedule, style, and needs. You’ll have access to the expertise from recognized mindfulness teachers, who share their knowledge through lectures and courses. Features including staff recommendations on a wide array of topics, including body awareness during the coronavirus and an essential approach to medicine. You can also set a meditation timer and be your own guide. 

Webinar Recording: Preparing Your Meeting Rooms for the Teams Experience

The growing popularity of Microsoft Teams is a testament to our need to collaborate efficiently in real and virtual spaces. Poorly designed rooms undermine the collaboration culture. The user experience has to be consistent across the spectrum of spaces, from huddle spaces to lecture theaters.

Sneak preview:

During this webinar, Chris Fitzsimmons, product marketing manager for Biamp, looks at ways you can bring the Microsoft Teams experience into a variety of meeting spaces. Download this recording and you’ll learn about:

  • The difference between Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Teams Rooms 
  • AV best practices (with a focus on the importance of audio quality)
  • Microsoft-certified solutions from Biamp and how they improve the collaboration experience

Fitzsimmons also addresses audience questions on topics like network security and the features of Biamp solutions.

Here’s a short preview from this Biamp event that emphasizes the importance of audio to successful meetings:

Find out more of Fitzsimmons’ advice for creating an engaging collaboration experience in a variety of meeting spaces.

Get the recording for “Preparing Your Meeting Rooms for the Teams Experience” >