Category AVI-SPL

The Mid-Market Values Its Video Collaboration

Note to businesses: If you want to promote video collaboration in your organization, deploy user-friendly video conferencing systems in your meeting rooms. That’s one of the major takeaways from a new paper by Wainhouse Research, “Profiting From a Business Video Culture.” The study notes that end users consider video conferencing in a dedicated room essential to the workplace video experience.

This also holds true for those of you working in mid-market companies, where PC-based collaboration is the most common use of video conferencing. Forty percent of mid-market employees use video conferencing at their desktops on a daily basis. Think that would make room systems unnecessary or unwanted? Think again.

According to Wainhouse, the frequency of use leads to a better impression of video conferencing, with most respondents saying they would participate in it more often if it were available in dedicated rooms. 

Some major takeaways from the Wainhouse report:

  • Among those who attend video calls at least once a week, they prefer dedicated room conferencing over PC-based video calls.
  • The availability of room-based systems makes end users more likely to take part in video conferencing in other venues (huddle rooms, desktop, mobile).
  • Companies of most sizes overwhelmingly prefer video meetings in conference rooms

Regarding frequency of use and perception of video conferencing, additional research might determine whether familiarity with the technical aspects of launching calls leads to a more positive impression. If so, automated systems might close the distance in attitude toward video conferencing between frequent and infrequent users, and increase its adoption in dedicated rooms. The preference for rooms among frequent users might also be sourced to the higher quality of the video and audio, and with them being controlled environments (no background noise or coworkers interrupting you at your desk, both of which can disrupt PC calls).

Benefits of Video Collaboration

As we use video conferencing more often in the workplace, we are working together to address challenges and complete projects. The use of video conferencing in companies of all types and sizes reflects a need to improve employee engagement and productivity. Other benefits include:

  • Trimming travel costs
  • Enhancing teamwork with internal and external stakeholders (colleagues, clients, customers, partners)
  • Attracting the talent that expects a collaborative culture 

Room-based video conferencing systems provide these benefits while adding another set by virtue of their location: enclosed areas that don’t have the distractions of the calls you take at your desk, and that have been designed for a high-quality experience.

If your mid-market company is like others, with a high percentage of PC-based video, you already have a solid foundation on which to build and extend these benefits across your organization. As you do your research and talk with potential service providers, you’ll want to make sure they can provide the same quality of meeting-room video collaboration you’d expect is afforded to the largest companies. That includes a consistent, positive user experience that promotes adoption. The services supporting that quality and your users must be global or nationwide in reach while also addressing the challenges of individual offices and ensuring that all locations are receiving consistent service. 

Read the Wainhouse Research paper as you consider an expansion of video conferencing that would improve productivity, employee engagement, and talent retention at your company. 

Download “Profiting From a Business Video Culture” >

How AI and AVI-SPL Are Improving the Workplace

As I read the new AVI-SPL tech brief, “How AI Will Make Collaboration Experts of Us All,” l saw parallels between the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace and what AVI-SPL delivers to its clients through services that range from consultation to design to integration and support. 

That paper combines research with the insights of AVI-SPL’s Customer Advisory Board (or CAB). This CAB of large enterprises (including Fortune 500 companies), looks at the ways AI is being applied in the workplace to improve the processes associated with meetings and collaboration. The tech brief gives a good overview of issues like:

  • In-meeting productivity
  • Security risks
  • Virtual digital assistance
  • Project management
  • Resource allocation

Using AI to Improve Operations

The issue of meeting support has its own list of opportunities for AI systems to improve efficiency and accuracy while maintaining quality. Opportunities include: 

  • Schedule meetings
  • Room set-up
  • Take notes; suggest resources that help with meeting objectives
  • Report on the project progress
  • Track projects and assign deadlines and tasks to help with their completion
  • In-meeting technical support (instead of calling a help desk). The system can rout the issue to a technician if necessary.

Beyond collaboration, AI systems take information and learn from it to make decisions that align with a desired outcome or set of outcomes across departments and uses cases:  For example: 

  • Human resources
    • Recruiting, onboarding and training
    • Answer employee questions
  • Customer service
    • Analyzing customer sentiment and making recommendations 
  • Marketing and sales
    • Improving customer resource management, like finding specific types of customers
  • Education
    • Help teachers adjust their approach to the learning styles of individual students
  • Healthcare
    • Recommend treatment options

AI may also recommend cross-departmental collaboration opportunities, fix equipment failures, predict when downtime is likely to occur and take steps to mitigate its impact.

AVI-SPL Simplifies the Workplace

Similarly, AVI-SPL improves the workplace by freeing up its people to do more of what they’re good at so they and their organizations can grow and succeed. People across different departments don’t have to be experts in meeting-room technology to collaborate with one another. IT doesn’t have to devote its resources to being AV help desk assistants. And companies don’t have to go it alone in keeping up with the latest technology solutions.

As I’ve learned over the course of nine years with the company, our client projects are guided by a long-term view, one that seeks to understand how new solutions will affect an organization’s network and infrastructure, how the company sees itself changing, and how its market may change. In the discovery process with the client, AVI-SPL listens to their needs and begins a conversation about how to think strategically about implementing AV, video collaboration and UCC solutions. Along the way, account managers, technicians and engineers share the knowledge that answers many client questions, including:

The Customer Advisory Board developed from AVI-SPL’s need to understand the issues facing today’s companies so that it can continue to be a partner that delivers high value. The role of AI in the workplace is one of those challenges. By understanding the role artificial intelligence plays and will play in a customer’s environment, AVI-SPL continues to develop technical skills and thought leadership in this area. Wherever AI may be relevant to a company’s growth, that knowledge gives AVI-SPL the ability to present a high-level strategy that leads to digital workplace transformation.

Read “Why AI Will Make Collaboration Experts of Us All” >

Making AV Tech ADA Compliant in Higher Education

Jay Bosch, a director of business development for AVI-SPL, contributes with this post on ensuring ADA compliance in higher education.

Starting an “All Students” approach to ensure ADA compliance in your classroom

Students come to class with a desire to learn. However, sometimes there are challenges that need to be overcome in order for every student to have an equal opportunity to learn.  Employing an “all students” approach to the classroom allows every student to engage with instructors live or via remote means.  Also, classroom design is rapidly changing, and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance should be considered in all classroom formats. 

As learning environments become more interactive, ADA compliance can provide its own challenges.  Working with a professional audio/visual integration company can ensure your classrooms incorporate every students’ needs.  The education landscape and related technology evolves quickly.  It is important to build flexibility in your investment which includes the latest classroom designs and methods including distance learning, e-learning, hands-on learning, simulation and others. 

Considerations:

  • Competition to maintain and grow student population will increase as on-line offerings become more prevalent. This includes all students.
  • As the general population — including people with disabilities — relies increasingly on mobile devices, teaching will follow this migration and leverage it to better engage “smartphone-centric” students.
  • The pressure to stretch education dollars will likely drive the growth of e-learning, distance education, and any other pedagogical method that is more efficient and cost-effective than traditional classroom-based learning.
  • As all of these advances occur, ADA standards will adapt and expand to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind.
  • All new buildings and remodels should be designed with ADA compliance as a given, similar to all public restrooms with a wheelchair stall.

What is ADA compliance?

First enacted in 1990 and amended/updated in 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act is aimed at preventing discrimination against people with mental or physical disabilities. The titles of the ADA that apply to schools are administered by the Department of Justice (DoJ). The DoJ provides informational, regulatory, and enforcement support for the ADA’s requirements.  For the AV industry, the critically important document is the 2010 “ADA Standards for Accessible Design.”  (The ADA sections cited in this Legrand eBook are drawn from that document.) Assembly halls, conference rooms, classrooms, learning spaces, and lecture halls all fall within the ADA’s compliance standards.

Seven commonly recognized components of ADA compliance

  • Policy: Create a policy for electronic and information technology (EIT) accessibility
  • Designate an accessibility coordinator: Appoint an accessibility coordinator
  • Purchasing: Include accessibility criteria in EIT purchases
  • Post your accessibility statement: Include a link to an accessibility statement and resources and provide a feedback mechanism
  • Conduct an audit: Complete a prioritized audit of EIT
  • Fix any issues: Remediate inaccessible EIT
  • Training: Provide role-based training for faculty, staff, and administrators

Next Steps: Capital Requests

  • Logging which ADA standard(s) each requested piece of AV equipment complies with will also form the basis of a searchable ADA compliance database.
  • Having ADA compliance information included in a capital request helps AV designers in assessing whether the overall AV system meets the needs of people with disabilities, in all aspects.
  • Thorough documentation of ADA-compliant AV equipment will be needed in budget meetings, requests for proposals, inquiries and ADA audits.

Five things to consider for lifecycle planning with ADA-compliant equipment

  1. Recording ADA compliance information upfront will streamline any ADA audits that may occur. The necessary data will be a few keystrokes away, saving you time in compiling this information after the fact.
  2. Have ADA compliancy information available during equipment upgrades and replacements, and ensure your purchases are earmarked to be ADA-compliant.
  3. Should new product categories become subject to ADA compliancy standards, a quick search of your database will indicate non-compliant equipment. This data will help you plan for future ADA-compliant purchases and ensure you meet any deadlines set by the Department of Justice.
  4. Document and log compliant equipment with a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) process.  A VPAT is a vendor-generated statement that provides information on how a product or service conforms to the Section 508 Accessibility Standards for Electronic and Information Technology in a consistent fashion and format.
  5. A word to the wise: Be sure to check with your regional ADA Center to see which specific VPAT applies to your project.

ADA and AV

Many ADA requirements apply to the AV industry. The ADA’s requirements are meant to allow people with disabilities to access and use AV equipment in business and educational settings as easily as people without disabilities. ADA requirements apply whether or not a school receives federal funding. (Schools that receive federal funding also have to comply with another federal law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.)

For example, teachers in wheelchairs should have access to lecterns set at usable heights, and with sufficient surrounding space for them to maneuver into and out of.  Any AV controls and equipment associated with the lectern should be just as easy for them to access and use.

Fusion Fixed MountAs the term suggests, “ADA compliance” applies to the sum of the combined systems—not just its individual components—and the ways in which it is installed/operated complies with the ADA’s requirements. For example, under ADA rules that govern “Protruding Objects” (ADA Sections 204 and 307), a wall-mounted flat panel display cannot protrude more than four inches from that wall. There’s a good reason for this: An object protruding more than four inches could be a serious obstacle for wheelchair users and people with visual disabilities. While a two-inch-deep mount and 2.25-inch-deep display are ADA compliant on their own, when mounted together, they exceed the depth limit.

AVI-SPL is dedicated to making sure all students have an opportunity to learn, no matter if they are traditional, non-traditional or special needs.  AVI-SPL partners with nationally recognized names such as Chief, Da-Lite, Middle Atlantic, Sennheiser, Spectrum, and Vaddio, who all share our dedication to ADA compliance who provide excellent solutions for visual, auditory and mobility impairment.  Solutions include: wall mounts, swing mounts, height adjustable display mounts, electric height adjust carts, height-adjustable lecterns and desks, ultra low-profile credenzas, screens, speakers and microphones.  See the “Making AV Technology ADA Compliant” document for more information.

AVI-SPL Symphony a Finalist for SCN Award

AVI-SPL Symphony is a finalist for the SCN Installation Awards’ Most Innovative IoT Product. It is now up to you to vote for the winner.

Symphony is the managed services platform that automates the scheduling, launching, management, and experience of your meetings. It gives you global control of your AV and UC estate from a web-based portal. Symphony also provides custom reports that share valuable information like room usage, quality of experience and device status, all of which your team can use to determine ROI and meet business objectives.

Vote for Symphony

Please take a moment to vote now for Symphony. The category is the sixth question in the online form. You do not have to vote in every category.

Thank you for your time and your vote for Symphony!

VOTE NOW

Winners will be announced at InfoComm 2019.

Webinar Recording: Five Steps to Planning for a Video Wall

In this webinar, LG and AVI-SPL look at the steps to creating your perfect video wall. Bo Beard, sales engineer for LG Electronics, explains the factors that end users and integrators need to consider when planning a video wall project. Joining him is Chris Caputo, senior project engineer for AVI-SPL, who offers his expertise in control-room settings.

Tom LeBlanc, editorial director for Commercial Integrator and MyTechDecisions, moderates this look at LG’s:

  • webOS Smart Signage Platform
  • Curveable LAPE LED
  • Ultra-narrow bezel video wall display

You’ll also learn how determine display layout, find and prep the right environment, and choose the products that suit your content.

Get the Recording for “Five Decisions to Make when Planning for a Video Wall” >