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How AV Keeps Meetings on Track

We’ve all been in at least one poorly run meeting. In fact, some of us are in them regularly and businesses waste a lot of money on them. It’s a noted problem for many organizations, from SMBs to Fortune 500 enterprises, but pinpointing the problem (or problems) can be a challenge. Meetings can be plagued with distractions and undermined by poor planning, but whatever the cause, inefficient meetings cost organizations time and money.

AV solutions can help with that. Modern AV systems are designed to remove inefficiencies from meeting workflow, speeding up the process, and making meetings more engaging for all participants.

Inefficient Meetings Damage a Company’s Bottom Line

Some meetings aren’t run well enough to be worth the time. It’s also true that some managers tend to include people who don’t need to be in the meeting. Both are a drag on company productivity and resources.

Plenty of research has been poured into the impacts of time-wasting meetings, and the bottom-line impact is massive. According to a study organized by Steven G. Rogelberg, a UNC professor specialized in meeting strategy, companies with at least 5,000 employees waste about $100 million a year on inefficient meetings, on average. The problem is felt among smaller organizations, too, as the typical SMB with 100 employees wastes more than $2 million every year on unproductive and inefficient meetings.

Again, AV can help. Here are five ways AV technology can help improve your organization’s meetings:

Video Conferencing: Noise Blocking and Automatic Framing Features

Top video conferencing solutions come with a variety of meeting-enhancing features, including features that can minimize distractions and improve the conferencing experience.

For example, Poly’s video conferencing systems come with Noiseblock AI and Acoustic Fence. Both detect and suppress ambient noises inside and outside the conference room. They work instantly and automatically by identifying non-human sounds through the room’s microphones and muting them before they are outputted. Features like these are valuable for maintaining an ideal meeting environment.

Camera framing can also be a distraction during conferencing, but professional-level cameras are designed with AI-assisted framing features that keep the speaker in frame and centered. No need to waste time positioning with such a camera.

AV Control Systems: Simple Touch Controls Speed Up Meeting Management

Technology should never get in the way of a productive meeting, but this can happen in rooms with insufficient AV controls in place. Room control solutions, like those offered by Crestron and Extron, are designed to centralize solution handling from a single control interface.

Extron’s TouchLink control panels, for example, provide a crisp visual interface that users can intuit right away. And as intuitive as they are, AV touch controls can be customized to an impressive degree. With a couple of taps, the meeting’s presenter can set the room’s lighting, audio, shades, and thermostat for the perfect collaboration environment. And when that’s set, the presenter can launch a conference call with another tap. During the meeting, the same control panel can be used to mute participants, share content, share another screen, launch an application, or anything else AV-related with a tap or two.

This is just one example, but the point is AV controls can eliminate the time-wasting technology fumbling that outdated conference rooms sometimes present.

Room Scheduling Software: Set the Agenda and Get Off to a Quick Start

Sometimes, meeting inefficiencies are baked right into the planning phase. If important team members aren’t notified of the conference, if too many people are invited, if the location and time settings aren’t clear, if the agenda isn’t clear – you get the idea. Part of running an effective meeting is ensuring everyone arrives on time, in the right place, and is ready to go.

Room scheduling solutions can help with all three. There are numerous scheduling solutions on the market, but they offer similar features. Specifically, room scheduling software can be used to schedule a new meeting (using calendar integration to find the perfect time), set the place and time, list everyone who will be involved, set the agenda, and provide any meeting-related content that can be used to brief participants before the meeting starts.

Planned meetings are efficient meetings. Room scheduling software makes planning simple and effective.

Remote System Management: Ensure Each Room’s Technology is Ready for Meetings

Almost all remote AV technology can be remotely managed, including room conferencing technologies. Remote management is a powerful way to consolidate AV oversight and allows your IT crew to handle hundreds of conference room systems wherever they are.

Every AV manufacturer has their own approach to remote management, but standard features include remote updating, performance monitoring, network status monitoring, troubleshooting, and some remote controls, like powering on/off, restarting, or locking the system for security purposes.

With remote management in place, it will be easier for IT to maintain conference room assets and quickly respond to any technical issues. This adds up to more reliable, and therefore more efficient meeting spaces.

Interactive Displays: Keep the Whole Team Engaged in More Effective Collaboration

Interactive displays like the Clevertouch may seem like a conference room luxury, but they can dramatically boost meeting engagement – and engaged teams are more effective collaborators.

The Clevertouch, and other interactive flat panels, allow for multimodal presentations. Sound, vision, and tactile senses are all engaged while using the display, whether it’s being used to drive a traditional presentation or used for small group collaboration at the screen. And with endless whiteboarding space, a built-in browser for bringing in content, and simple wireless connectivity for content sharing, the Clevertouch facilitates more interesting, more impactful meetings.

More Efficient and Effective Meetings Are Possible Through AV Solutions

Every organization could benefit from better meetings. And while many organization’s meetings aren’t as productive or expedient as they could be, there is a solution. Actually, there are many solutions available. AV solutions are designed to improve the meeting experience in many ways, including speeding them up and enhancing communication during them. In short, there’s an AV tool for every meeting-related obstacle.

How AV Integrators Provide Control Room Solutions

How AV Integrators Provide Control Room Solutions

Control rooms are the brains of any facility. Designed to receive torrents of information, control centers rely heavily on technology to keep things organized and efficient. That way, control room personnel can monitor and respond to situations as they arise.

AV solutions form the backbone of control room technology, as they’re built for communication. They’re also scalable to any degree, so no matter how expansive or sophisticated your control room is, there are AV solutions designed to fit.

What AV Technology is Found in Control Rooms?

Control rooms are kind of like the frontier of AV solutions. No other setting pushes AV quite as hard, given all the solutions involved and the scale at which they are implemented. For example, here are several AV technologies that are common in control room environments:

  • A massive video wall or direct view LED panel – The majority of control and command rooms rely on large displays to deliver high-level data to everyone in the space. Termed the “backbone,” these displays are what you see when you first walk into a command space, and they provide general situational awareness for personnel.

There is no single best display solution for every command room, but standard options include an ultra-thin bezel video wall or a direct view LED wall.

Direct view LED walls are quickly gaining prominence in control rooms for a few reasons. They support UHD video resolution, provide superior brightness and color quality, are seamless, can be scaled or shaped to any degree and are easier to maintain than previous display options. Direct view LED systems are the future of large-scale displays.

  • Multiple workstations and display clusters – The backbone is only one part of the system, though. Control rooms house many workstations, each one an interfacing point for in-room personnel. It’s common for facilities to dedicate multiple smaller monitors to each workstation, and to attach these monitors to switching technology so operators at each workstation can parse through information quickly.
  • Conferencing hardware – Although it’s not always necessary, conferencing solutions allow control room managers to communicate with other decision makers in the organization. It can also be used to quickly communicate with field personnel when a situation is developing. Using a dedicated hardware solution ensures better security and offers a layer of redundancy in case other communication options are unavailable.
  • AV control systems – Control rooms may have hundreds of AV components in operation at once. Operating all of them in an organized fashion is a must, and AV control solutions make that possible.

On the user’s side, AV controls may be hardware switches, such as wall switches. More commonly, though, touchscreens are used for controlling AV equipment. These touchscreens are programmable, vivid, and can be easily integrated into workstations for clutter-free control over in-room hardware. In control and command spaces, there’s lots of input and output switching. This can be tied to touchscreen controls, making it simple for operators to cycle through any number of inputs and outputs.

  • AV-over-IP deployment – AV-over-IP isn’t new, but it’s just now catching on in control room applications. With AV-over-IP, AV encoders and decoders are placed at input and output sources. These encoders and decoders can take any input signal – like a surveillance camera – and deliver them to any output source – like a digital display. This is done over the existing IP network, so additional cable doesn’t need to be run.

Also, AV-over-IP minimizes intercompatibility issues and greatly improves scalability, as there’s almost no limit to the number of devices you can attach to the network when using AV-over-IP. Bandwidth is a concern, though, so this should be done with expert guidance.

With this set of AV tools, facilities can cover all of their information and communication needs.

Five Types of Control Rooms Where AV Systems Make Sense

The above AV solutions are appropriate for any control or command space, including:

  • Network operations centers (NOCs) – NOCs are used by large institutions, like corporate or university campuses, to monitor network performance and status. A lot of display space is needed in NOCs, as operators must monitor network details, any alarms, and a news feed for forecasting potential issues.
  • Power plants and utilities – Performance and incident monitoring are also critical for utility and power plant control rooms. Multiple displays are ideal here, for monitoring plant safety, output, and for detecting any field issues, such as a downed transformer or major water leak.
  • Municipal services – Municipal services include monitoring transportation networks and emergency responses. Police stations may use their AV displays for dispatch purposes, while a fire department may track incidents and where department assets are deployed.
  • Large industrial or warehouse facilities – Control centers are also common in major industrial and warehouse facilities. Here, they can be used for security purposes or for monitoring operations. For example, a warehouse control center may monitor where heavy equipment is deployed or to keep track of where certain goods are stored.
  • Call centers – Control rooms are a popular addition to call centers, too, where large displays are used to monitor call load and to route calls to the right workstations.

In every application, AV technology is what operators use to monitor and respond to what’s going on in the field.

Building a New Control Room or Upgrading an Existing Room? An AV Integrator Can Provide Technology and Expertise

Command and control rooms are some of the heaviest networked spaces in existence. It takes miles of cable, hundreds of components, and an expert team to bring it all together. That expert team should be a certified AV integrator. Certified integrators know what hardware and software to source for each control room project, and how to integrate those assets into your operations.

A certified integrator will also sidestep compatibility issues and ensure your system is properly interconnected, so the technology doesn’t get in the way when your operators need to react quickly.

How AV Solutions Can Help Teachers Plan Better Lessons

How AV Solutions Can Help Teachers Plan Better Lessons

Lesson planning eats up a lot of time for teachers. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, K-12 educators spend around seven hours of every work week just on lesson planning. Teachers can reduce that burden with experience, but those new to the field often find themselves overwhelmed with the process.

One way schools can help their teachers out is with AV technology. AV solutions aren’t just effective lesson delivery tools – they’re powerful support and planning tools, as well. They don’t just work inside the classroom – they also provide value outside the classroom for educators. Here’s how:

AV Opens up Multisensory Lesson Options

A primary challenge with lesson planning is getting the information to stick. Teachers are often creative here, with rhymes, songs, games, and other activities. Another proven approach is with multimodal learning.

Multimodal lessons encourage students to engage multiple senses at once while learning. These methods are similar to the learning styles concept – VARK foremost among them – that group students based on how they prefer to learn.

The research behind VARK and similar methods suggest that people aren’t confined to a particular learning style, but instead benefit from a multimodal approach.

AV is well-suited for multimodal teaching. Ultra-high-resolution displays are the ultimate visual aid, audio enhancement ensures everyone can hear, and interactive technologies add a tactile element to the lesson. With sight, sound and touch all represented, educators can get creative with how they introduce various subjects.

With additional lesson delivery tools at hand, teachers can keep lessons fresh without spending too much time on planning.

AV Allows Teachers to Go In-Depth with Their Note Making

Interactive displays have become a mainstay in K-12 schools, replacing chalkboards and overhead projectors as the go-to note-making medium. Why have interactive displays like the Clevertouch taken over?

  • They provide unlimited space for teachers to make notes.
  • They come with excellent handwriting recognition for neater penmanship.
  • They have a built-in browser that can grab media and bring it to the whiteboard.
  • They have a save feature that allows teachers to pick up where they left off.

Together, these features mean interactive displays support a dynamic note-making process that is more visually appealing for students. Think back to your days in class and how difficult it was to stay focused while the teacher made notes. Interactive displays change this up by making mere note-making more visually interesting.

On the lesson planning side, educators can rely on the above features to keep students engaged even during long note-making sessions. The benefits are especially important for older students and more advanced lesson concepts that cannot be easily summarized. With more note-making space and tools, teachers can confidently build tough lessons around them without losing student interest.

AV Education Software is Full of Lesson Planning Resources

AV’s lesson planning potential is directly supported through various educational AV solutions. The Clevertouch, for example, comes with the Cleverstore – an online marketplace for additional lesson planning resources and applications. This software is completely unlocked, feature-wise, and contains no in-app transactions. There are thousands of apps and ideas to choose from, including quizzes, interactive games, and media packages that include all lesson content.

There are numerous lesson planning software tools also available. Planbook, Planboard and Nearpod are three, but there is a dozen more quality offerings behind them. Regardless of which software solution your school goes with, it should provide the following important features:

  • Lesson templates for quick planning and building.
  • The ability to link content to the lesson for quick reference.
  • Set up lesson schedules for the entire school year, including alternatives for early dismissal days and other special school days.
  • A calendar feature that allows teachers to easily reschedule or reorder lessons.
  • A library of educational standards, strategies, and accommodations to reference.
  • Lesson sharing functionality, with other teachers and with students.

Leading solutions like Planbook provide a host of additional features on top of these. With their robust customization and scheduling options, lesson planning solutions help educators remain organized and efficient.

AV Can Allow Students to Lead the Lesson

Student-led instruction flips the classroom around and gives students the chance to lead their own learning. Having students take ownership of their education in this way improves engagement and allows those students to set the right pace.

AV technology can facilitate this approach, giving teachers yet another lesson delivery option for their class. Interactive displays are useful in this area and effective for students in every grade. Elementary students, for instance, can use the display for creative purposes or to drill basic math or reading concepts.

For older students, interactive displays are an excellent group work facilitator that can be used for STEM projects, science labs, or other collaborative projects.

However, your school’s displays don’t need to be interactive to leverage the flipped concept. For example, a standard display can be used to run a how-to crafting video and guide students through their own hands-on projects. If you’ve got a room with multiple displays, learning stations can be set up that each introduce an important lesson concept or activity for students to follow.

From a lesson planning standpoint, it doesn’t get much simpler than this, and simpler means less time-consuming.

Lesson Planning is a Big Part of a Teacher’s Job, and AV Helps Teachers Do It Efficiently

To do their jobs properly, educators regularly invest hours outside of the classroom. Many of these hours are dedicated to lesson planning, but AV solutions can help teachers save some of that precious time.

If your school is considering AV initiatives, a certified AV integrator can recommend the best lesson planning solutions for your teachers so they can develop high-engagement lesson material in a fraction of the time. That way, your educators can spend more time teaching and less time organizing everything.


Four Ways Video Walls Transform a Space

Four Ways Video Walls Transform a Space

Video walls are ideal, impression-making masters. With their scaled-up size and compelling visuals, video walls attract attention wherever they’re installed. In professional settings, this has obvious positives in influencing customer behavior, but a video wall can do more than sell products.

When expertly integrated, video wall technology can serve in a variety of applications, some of which are critical to business or organizational operations. Here, we’ll address four reasons why organizations are prioritizing video wall solutions, and how those solutions can transform a space.

1. Video Walls Attract and Retain More Customer Traffic

Video walls can be a powerful replacement for print signage, providing eye-grabbing attention for sales, specials, and new product arrivals. This approach works in grocery stores, department stores, car dealerships, specialty and boutique retail shops. There are few limits to how video walls can be applied in this way.

But video wall displays also work to improve the customer experience – another reason why they attract additional foot traffic. Their vivid colors, graphics, and animation are extremely effective in a window or storefront display, where they can draw people in. Once inside, video walls keep people from leaving, especially if those screens support interactive customer experiences. For example, with an interactive LED wall, customers can search through the store’s inventory, model products, search for buyer’s guides, or simply be entertained and engaged. All of this adds up to more in-store time for customers, and therefore more time to convert traffic into sales.

2. Deliver Multiple Streams of High-Priority Information

Visual information is dense, and video walls can provide more of it than any other AV solution. That’s why you’ll see video walls in airports, museums, tourist destinations, concert halls, sports stadiums, and other large venues. Here, they can provide critical information like schedules and wayfinding. In this way, a large format screen works like an info kiosk and can reduce the amount of man hours needed to help visitors. That can have a big impact on visitor experience and overhead.

There are additional ways to use this video wall advantage. Utility companies, municipalities and enterprise companies make extensive use of large format screens in their control rooms. Whether it is to monitor network status and performance, pressure readings, surveillance cameras, or something else, video walls are the centerpiece of control room spaces.

And speaking of spaces, video walls offer extensive screen space for multiple source inputs. A single video wall can be used to monitor dozens of input feeds at once, in an organized fashion that’s easy for control room operators to interpret. If boosting control room performance or consolidating multiple control rooms is a company goal, then investing in improved video walls makes sense.

3. Support Live or Virtual Events

The 2020 pandemic caused many organizations to start organizing their events without people in attendance. And even as the pandemic fades from view and live events are returning to prominence, virtual events remain quite popular.

Webinars, in particular, are in widespread use among companies. They’re perfect for communicating with thousands of employees at once, delivering important announcements, and helping people further their training. They’re also more effective with video walls. With a video wall backing a webinar presentation, presenters have the ideal visual aid behind them. And because virtual events are filmed in a separate space, without a live audience, the presenter can stand right up against the display.

For the same reason, video wall technology is also effective for live events. You’ve probably seen them supporting live performers and displaying powerful visuals. This isn’t limited to A-list groups, though, as the same application works for any company event. Award ceremonies, regional meetings, major product launches – these are all good reasons for a company event and all good reasons to have a video wall solution in place. It can be used to display a variety of supporting content during presentations. During an award ceremony, the video wall can display the names and pictures of recipients. During a major company meeting, the display can be used to run videos of the company’s teams in action. During a new product launch, the video wall can be used to display critical pieces of information or data about new company offerings.

Whatever the focus of your next event, a video wall can increase its impact.

4. Add an Interactive, Compelling Element to Meetings

Video walls can also be scaled down and used in more routine settings. Specifically, they’re an excellent way to improve meeting engagement and efficiency. This is especially true if your new solution supports interactivity.

Interactive video walls are the ultimate meeting delivery tools for managers. It’s easy to see how they improve engagement as it’s hard for participants to peel their eyes from the screen.

As for meeting efficiency, interactive video walls can boost it by giving presenters additional mental bandwidth during the meeting. They can use their voice to deliver the presentation, eye contact to maintain engagement, and their fingers to control the screen – all at once. The presenter doesn’t have to break their visual focus to keep the meeting moving.

If your meetings aren’t providing a good ROI on invested time, a video wall may decrease the time they take while increasing their effectiveness.

Video Walls are Purpose-Built for Visual Communication

Every organization can benefit from better messaging, whether it’s delivered at the point of sale or delivered internally among your teams. Visual messaging can greatly influence how customers and your own employees perceive your brand.

AV integrators are visual communications specialists, and video walls are the most powerful video-based tool in their arsenal. Whether deployed in a professional setting, in a retail shop or at a world-class performance venue, video wall solutions can make a huge impact for your organization.

How Lu Interactive Effectively Engages Students

How Lu Interactive Effectively Engages Students

Built for high activity spaces, the Lü Interactive is an immersive, interactive learning technology that fits perfectly in K-12 school gymnasiums and recreation centers. As soon as it’s switched on, the Lü fills the room with compelling audio and visuals, delivered through a mix of hardware and software components.

What really drives the Lü, though, are the activities that the system comes with. These activities can be seamlessly integrated into physical education classes because they combine movement and games – two things all kids enjoy.

Interactive Activity Spaces Like the Lü Interactive Encourage Children to Move

According to a report by the World Health Organization, 80 percent of children between 11 and 17 do not get enough exercise. Another report, by the CDC, states that 18.5 percent of children are obese.

Compounding this problem is the lack of physical education in schools. Cuts in P.E. are affecting schools around the U.S., driven by increased standardized testing and additional academic programs.

There’s nothing wrong with an academic focus, of course, but CDC research shows that higher physical activity levels also correlate with better cognitive performance, including memory. By prioritizing better physical education, students will do better in their classrooms.

Where Does the Lü Interactive Fit in K-12 Schools?

The challenge is coming up with an engaging form of physical education. P.E. can be intimidating for students that don’t thrive in a competitive environment, but the Lü is an effective solution to that problem. That’s because the Lü comes with a collection of activities, including competitive and cooperative applications.

With its versatility, this technology fits well in any K-12 gym, no matter the size or layout. It’s also a fit in fitness centers, recreation centers and as a rental service. In any space, the Lü is an effective activity-driving tool.

What Does a Lü Interactive System Come With?

The Lü Interactive is available in three models – the UNO, the DUO and the MOBIL. Between the three, it’s a difference of scale. The UNO is designed to run on a single wall, the DUO runs on two facing walls and the MOBIL is a portable version that can be run on a single wall. Both the UNO and DUO are designed for permanent placement.

All three come with the following components:

  • One or two video projectors
  • One or two computers (to run activities)
  • One or two 3D cameras
  • Static lighting
  • Computerized lighting (responds to student actions during activities)
  • Speakers
  • One or two remote controls
  • Hanging and installation hardware

During operation, the 3D cameras and projectors work together to detect when an object touches something projected on the wall. This can be used to drive a variety of activities, though many of the applications do not require interaction with the projection.

What Activities Can the Lü Interactive Run?

What makes the Lü an engagement engine is its activities. The system comes with dozens of activities and utilities, designed to either engage students with fun and action, or facilitate other P.E. tasks. Some of those activities include:

  • WALL – During WALL, students work together to knock down walls by throwing balls at them. Educators can change the strength of each wall, so groups of all sizes can succeed through proper collaboration.
  • NEWTON – NEWTON is a math-focused activity that challenges students to answer math questions by throwing a ball at the right solution. The competition is friendly and fast-paced.
  • SHAPES – During SHAPES, students compete with each other to bump the right shapes into the opponent’s goal. Like with other Lü activities, this is done by throwing a ball at the right shape, at just the right spot. Precision, shape recognition and quick action all in a single game.
  • PHYS – PHYS tasks students with helping Newton the mouse reach the cheese. To do this, students solve physics puzzles by throwing balls at the right objects and starting chain reactions.
  • DANZA – DANZA gets students moving and moving quickly. During a DANZA session, an on-screen guide dances along to music, and students are encouraged to match its moves to the rhythm.
  • GAIA – While most Lü activities encourage movement, GAIA uses lights, sound effects and geometric projector designs to lull students into a meditative state. During this 12-minute cooldown period, teachers help students progress through a series of meditative movements, which produce a state of relaxation.
  • TARGET – TARGET is a simple activity that can be tailored to students of all ages. During operation, students take aim at targets as they appear on screen, which works out that hand-eye coordination.
  • GALACTIC – GALACTIC is a throwback, Asteroids-like game that requires students to work together. During a GALACTIC session, students throw balls at asteroids as they careen forward, aiming to turn them into space dust.
  • PUZZ – PUZZ is more of a thinking game. A jumbled puzzle needs to be put back together, and students do this by throwing a ball at each piece and rotating it until it fits.

In addition to the above activities, the Lü also includes several utilities that can help coaches organize other P.E. activities. Those utilities include:

  • BRACKET – BRACKET makes it easy for coaches to set up a tournament-style competition, as it automatically builds and fills out brackets. Merely enter the names of all participants and BRACKET does the match making.
  • SCOREBOARD – For those times you need to keep score, SCOREBOARD provides a handy way to track a game’s progress.
  • VOTE – With VOTE, teachers can survey the class for what to do next. Decide between different exercises, team formats or types of competition – and allow students to direct some of the action.
  • CHRONO – CHRONO is a simple time-keeping application. It’s perfect for timing exercise sets, rounds of competition, or to keep track of the class.
  • TACTIK – Coaches can use TACTIK to build out team strategy, just like they used to do it on old school chalkboards. Put together custom teams, position them on the court, and save plays for future reference.
  • WORLDS – WORLDS cycles through a series of ambiance-enhancing images and sounds, which is perfect for supporting other activities.

An Active Student is an Engaged Student, and Lü Interactive Can Fuel That Activity

Research is clear that children need more movement, for their health and to support their academic progress. The Lü Interactive can be one of your school’s most powerful tools in this regard because it engages while it encourages activity. With Lü’s immersive sound, lighting and interactivity, no one will want to be left out of P.E. class.

Better Classroom Communication with AV Solutions

Better Classroom Communication with AV Solutions

Education isn’t possible without communication. The better an educator is at conveying important lesson content, the more their students will learn. However, modern classrooms and schools are filled with communication disruptors that interfere with the learning experience.

Whether it’s poor audio, distracting noises, or a group of low-engagement students, it’s critical for educators to get any communication obstacles out of the way.

AV systems can help teachers in this mission, with solutions that offer additional communication tools or just make existing tools work better. Here, we’ll detail a few of the most popular and easy solutions to set up, so your school can meet the communication needs of its student body.

In the Typical Classroom, Students Face Several Communication Challenges

From the teacher’s perspective, poor audio or engagement may not be immediately obvious. If you ask teachers if they believe their classroom is set up well for learning, most will likely say “yes.” However, communication obstacles are frequently invisible and difficult to pinpoint. If any of the following are present, your students may have difficulty engaging during class:

  • Classrooms that are larger in size than normal
  • Classrooms that have a lot of windows or cinder block walls
  • Classrooms that border high traffic areas in your school
  • Classrooms close to carpool or bus staging areas
  • Classrooms that don’t feature technology for visual learning reinforcement

In spaces like these, excessive noise and lecture-only pedagogy can limit the effectiveness of teaching. In fact, this is exactly what multiple educational studies have shown. One, published in the November 2021 edition of Frontiers in Built Environment showed that higher sound levels in classrooms were correlated with lower math test scores.

Three Ways AV Technology Can Improve Communication Between Teachers and Students

Schools face a variety of communication-disrupting problems, but there are also a variety of audio and video technologies that can solve those problems. Three of the easiest to set up and most effective include:

  • Audience response systems (clickers)
  • Audio enhancement technology
  • Multimodal learning solutions

Here’s a closer look at each of them:

Give Students an Alternative to Raising Their Hand

Audience response systems, also termed clickers, are already popular on college campuses. They’re gaining traction in K-12 classrooms as well. In K-12 classes, audience response solutions allow students to respond to the teacher’s questions without putting their hand up and speaking in front of the class.

We’ve all been in a class where one or a few students always raised their hand with confidence. Most students, though, are less enthusiastic about the idea. That’s a shame, because answering questions correctly and getting positive feedback is a good way to keep students engaged.

Clickers give students a low-stress way of providing answers, so they’re more likely to provide them. This can be done anonymously, so if students answer wrong, they aren’t put on the spot in front of the class. Even better, teachers can use clickers with a variety of question types. This could be classical multiple choice, fill in the blank, polls, or even short written answers. Educators can use these responses as a guide to direct the discussion or even factor them in as part of a student’s grade.

An audience response solution can be tied to student or classroom devices as well, so teachers can track each student’s answers over the school year. If there are students having trouble keeping up with the rest of the class, clickers alert the teacher to this early on, so steps can be taken before engagement is lost.

Improve Information Reception and Recall with Better Audio

In some classrooms, the problem isn’t confidence – it’s audio. Whether the room is too big or the instructor too softly spoken, it’s common for students in the back to have trouble picking up on everything being said. According to multiple classroom studies, students in the back rows may miss up to 40 percent of everything the teacher is saying. That’s a lot of information not reaching its intended target.

Audio enhancement solutions, like those provided by Audio Enhancement (the manufacturer) and FrontRow, are designed to fix this. Audio enhancement systems consist of a microphone and speakers. Most of the time, this microphone is worn, but it may be mounted elsewhere in the room.

Both Audio Enhancement and FrontRow offer several audio-boosting solutions. These solutions blanket classrooms with crisp sound and can be integrated with the school’s paging system for two-way communication. With improved audio, the teacher can be clearly heard by every student in the classroom, no matter where they’re sitting. And they can do this without having to raise their voice – which strains the speaker and can intimidate students into not participating.

Engage Students with Multimodal Learning Strategies

Most people learn better when multiple lesson delivery methods are utilized at once. This pedagogical approach is known as multimodal learning and it’s designed to engage every type of learning, whether visual, aural, or tactile. The results speak for themselves, according to a study published by Cisco. It found that students experienced a 10 percent increase in performance when multimodal strategies were used in the classroom, compared to unimodal teaching techniques. For more complex, higher order skills, improvements were even better.

Multimodal learning can be delivered using high quality digital displays, including interactive displays. Digital displays are excellent visual reinforcers, but interactive displays like the Clevertouch are even better. That’s because students can use touch, sight, and sound to answer quiz questions, solve math equations, create art, write notes and much more.

The Clevertouch is particularly effective for educational purposes, as its interface and method of control are designed after the devices that students are already familiar with. The learning curve is gentle, in other words, so students focus on understanding the lesson, and not on the technology.

Classroom AV Solutions Power More Effective Communication and More Effective Learning

Learning is easier when teachers and students can easily communicate with each other. Unfortunately, that connection can be elusive in classrooms where distractions are present and where ineffective lesson delivery is a problem.

AV equipment and solutions can solve these problems in many classrooms, giving teachers and students more flexibility in how they pose, or answer questions. In this way, AV solutions support the classical conception of education – one that’s driven by communication between educator and student.

AV and Security: Safer Buildings with Technology

AV and Security Safer Buildings with Technology

Security is a priority for building managers. Whether it’s a school, an office building, a hospital or something else, more facility managers are turning to AV solutions for better security.

AV’s role in this area is still being developed, but its influence is growing. AV technology can play a role in multiple aspects of security, from deterrence to response. Here, we’ll take a look at how AV can improve your facility’s security and safety, at every level.

The Four Objectives of Building Security and the AV Technologies That Support Them

Facility security rests on four principles. They include:

  • Deterrence – Security measures that deter an intruder keep them from gaining access in the first place. This term is usually applied to physical security, but it can also be associated with cybersecurity measures. In both cases, deterrence technology is designed to stop a security threat before it begins.
  • Detection – If an intruder does gain access to the facility, quick detection is key to minimizing any damage they may cause. That’s what detection-based technologies do – notice when an unauthorized person has gained entry, and alert building personnel.
  • Prevention – While deterrence is typically used to refer to physical security, prevention is used in a cybersecurity context. Specifically, technologies that prevent intrusion slow down an intruder’s attempts to access data or sensitive hardware.
  • Response – If an active situation is underway, a prompt response may neutralize the intruder before they have a chance to do harm. There are several technologies that can help with a facility’s response and make it difficult for an intruder to evade capture.

Next, we’ll address how AV technology can support all four pillars of this security strategy.

Deterrence: Video Surveillance and Single Point Access and AV Communication

Ideally, security threats are deterred before the threat is realized. This is fertile ground for technological development, as decision makers look for ways to secure schools, universities and other potential targets.

Video surveillance remains an effective (and cost effective) deterrence technology, reminding would-be criminals that their actions are being watched. If your video cameras are tied to smart lighting controls, your cameras will remain effective at night. In fact, they may be more effective, as criminals may not see the camera until they are in range of being captured on video.

Single point access is quickly gaining traction among schools and apartments, as it forces all visitors to enter through a single, monitored entry point. A proven way to implement this is to set up an airlock-style, double door access point. When people enter through the first set of doors, a two-way communication system (many with audio and video) is used to interact with each visitor. If there are any concerns about a particular person, building personnel can keep the doors locked and alert security to a potential threat.

Detection: Instant Alarm Systems and Forced Entry Detection and Occupancy Controls

Modern locking systems can be programmed to automatically lock at certain times and detect when someone has forced their way through the door. Forced entry detection can be tied to building security systems so security knows exactly when and where someone has gained unauthorized access to the facility. Occupancy controls can also serve in this role, by detecting IR or motion, and sending an alert when someone is detected in an unauthorized area or during an unauthorized time.

Another way to quickly alert an entire building is to equip employees with panic buttons. In schools, for example, panic buttons can be integrated into worn microphones that teachers carry with them. If they spot an intruder or if a student becomes a threat, pushing the button sends an instant alert to the front office and security personnel. If programmed, pushing a panic button can also trigger the building’s alarm systems.

Prevention: Better Password, Data and Hardware Protection

Cybersecurity and data security are quickly becoming critical aspects of organizational security. Prevention starts with having the right software solutions in place, like antivirus software, firewalls, and other forms of network protection.

Improved access control is also recommended. This could be as simple as training personnel on better password creation, or it could be as complex as installing biometric scanners and short-lived security tokens.

Don’t forget about the physical aspect of cybersecurity, either, as this prevents access to the hardware that contains your organization’s data. Timed and remote locking systems are an effective security measure, as are hardware cabinet locking systems and the use of covers to shield your surveillance cameras from view.

Response: Digital Signage, Remote Access Control and Building-Wide Communication

If your facility is breached by an intruder, an immediate response can still stop the threat before it causes significant harm. Response technologies include both remote and automatic locking systems. If programmed, all of your building’s electronic locks can be primed to engage as soon as an alert is sounded.

Digital signage can also play a response role. Whether it’s an active intruder situation or severe weather, the building’s digital signage can be used to display emergency alerts and instructions to the building’s occupants. Individual displays, or groups of displays, can be used to communicate with specific rooms or parts of the building. This can be used to send direct instructions and updates to people who are locked down. The digital signage can also be used to guide emergency responders when they arrive at the building.

AV Can Empower Security Personnel and Practices with Technology Solutions

The future of facility security relies on technology. AV technology solutions improve security in several ways. They deny access, deter criminal activity, give security personnel better monitoring capabilities, and enhance response.

Better security is built in layers and must account for everything, including physical and network points of access, better credential upkeep, response procedures, and constant facility monitoring. AV solutions can support all of those measures, and your facility’s overall security strategy.

Ticker systems: How AV can deliver financial data better

Ticker systems: How AV can deliver financial data better

Ticker systems have been around for more than a century, and today’s version of the technology still serves the same purpose – monitor high volumes of data. We’ve come a long way since the ticker tape days of the early 20th century, though, as current ticker systems are powered by modern AV tech.

This includes LED displays that can be shaped and sized endlessly. With this flexibility, ticker systems can be effectively integrated into any space.

What are Ticker Systems Used For?

Ticker systems have long been used to relay data from financial markets. Traditionally, this has mostly involved NYSE or AMEX-listed companies, but there are tens of thousands of assets that can be tracked in this way.

This financial information is of particular value to brokerage firms and banks, but you’ll find ticker systems in places you wouldn’t expect. Universities, business schools, sports stadiums, hospitals, and airports are some examples.

Modern ticker systems can deliver more than financial data, too. They can also display news headlines, weather forecasts and sports scores, among other information. A ticker system’s multifunctionality means the technology can be placed wherever people are catching up on current events.

Ticker Systems are Also Found in Retail Settings

Although LED tickers are still predominantly used for financial data, many retail brands are utilizing the technology to deliver on-brand messaging. Install the ticker in a window display and attract people with color and motion. Place tickers high up and around the room’s perimeter, and it can be used to advertise product specials. Ticker systems can even be scaled down to fit in individual product displays, where they can provide additional information for customers – like price, model or intended application.

Ticker System Displays Can Be Customized for a Variety of Spaces

The vast majority of ticker systems, though, are still intended for financial institutions. Here, they provide instant information for traders to pull from.

AV has modernized the way ticker systems operate. Here’s how the industry is making better ticker systems:

  • Leveraging reliable LED engineering – Given the critical nature of real-time financial data, your ticker systems cannot fail. That happens to be a major advantage of LEDs. LED technology is valued for its reliability and longevity, and you can expect several years of performance from your LED tickers. Also, LEDs age gracefully, so even as they near the end of their rated life, they still provide like-new visual performance.
  • Using vivid, high-contrast displays – LED displays offer superior color contrast and brightness, so they’re easily read from a distance. As many brokerage offices are arranged in an open-floor design, this improved visibility will help your traders make better, faster decisions.
  • Adapting ticker displays for a wider range of settings – A major breakthrough with LED displays is their flexibility. LED tickers offer a modular-like design, so they can be scaled up or down in size as needed. LED tickers can also be shaped to bend around sharp corners or into curves, so any interior space can accommodate one.
  • Supplementing ticker systems with additional AV – And if a lone ticker isn’t enough, additional displays can be attached to the system and used to provide additional information. There’s only so much data a ticker can output – additional display space will provide even more for your firm.

In control room settings, where an entire wall may be available for displays, an AV integrator can install oversized displays or video walls for maximum visibility.

As you can see, modern ticker systems have leveraged the best of AV design practices. To ensure your ticker displays are properly designed and installed, though, consider working with a certified AV integrator.

A Certified AV Integrator Can Maximize Your Ticker System’s Effectiveness

As simple as ticker systems appear to be, there are several things to consider before setting one up. For example:

  • How will the ticker system be powered? – Ticker systems are installed in sections and snap together for streamlined placement. Each section is also designed to carry power and data to the next, but it’s not always easy determining where cable should be run. This can be a big challenge for systems that aren’t wall-mounted but suspended from the ceiling instead.

Certified integrators are cable-pulling experts and will ensure no power or data cable is exposed following installation.

  • Can your ticker system provide all the information you need? – An integrator will also match your data-delivering needs to the best possible solution. If a ticker alone won’t get the job done, an integrator can customize your solution with additional display hardware and ensure it is configured to output the data you’re looking for.
  • Can the ticker system be comfortably seen by those who need to see it? – A common mistake when installing displays is placing them in a spot where people aren’t looking. If your tickers are elevated off the ground too high, placed at suboptimal angles or not properly sized for the room, they may blend into the background instead of standing out.

AV integrators know ideal display placement and positioning, so they can account for where your audience will be.

Every project comes with its own set of challenges, but an AV integrator can help take them on. And once your ticker is up and running, your certified integrator can support the system to extend its useful operating life. That’s getting maximum return on your ticker system investment.

Whether your organization needs better financial reporting, branding or just needs to make a visual statement, LED ticker systems are a proven solution.

How AV Can Prepare Students for STEM Careers

How AV Can Prepare Students for STEM Careers

U.S. students are having trouble competing on the world stage in math and engineering. According to data collected by the National Science Board, U.S. students’ math and science scores are in the middle of the pack globally, and dead last among G-7 countries, China and Korea. This poor performance means America’s students are at risk of falling behind in the global, tech-charged economy.

The answer is better STEM education for K-12 children, and that can be achieved with AV solutions. AV technology fits perfectly into K-12 STEM initiatives, as they can engage students of all ages and relate complex mathematical and scientific concepts in a compelling way.

Why is K-12 STEM Education Important for Students?

The benefits of STEM education go beyond career preparedness. In addition to giving students a better footing in the workforce, K-12 STEM can help students build the following skills:

  • Problem solving – STEM lessons require students to solve complex problems that they don’t encounter in other subjects. These problems require strategizing, planning, teamwork, and execution to handle, and this requires students to think about problems in-depth. STEM lessons don’t just transmit knowledge to students, they show people how to think for better problem solving.
  • Creativity – While STEM is math and science heavy, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for creativity in STEM. Some forms of engineering, like robotics for example, require students to stretch their imaginations and produce unique solutions for unique problems. In doing so, children get better at tackling a wider variety of obstacles with a greater variety of tools – a skill the modern fast-paced economy demands.
  • Collaboration – Many STEM projects require teamwork to execute properly. Students must work together to visualize solutions, plan out execution, divide tasks among the team and collaborate with each other to solve issues that come up during the process. In this way, STEM content provides opportunities for individuals to function as a group. Something that professionals are expected to do in their jobs.

Students also get familiar with a wide range of technologies while they’re engaging with STEM lessons. Those technological tools may be relevant for certain job tracks, giving students a leg up in nailing down a fulfilling career.

Three AV-focused Ideas That Can Drive Better STEM Learning in K-12 schools

AV systems make STEM learning more effective and more engaging by delivering lessons in a multimodal format. Compared to a traditional stand-and-deliver approach, AV solutions are much more visually and aurally interesting for students. Some solutions also include a tactile element that enhances the multimodal approach further.

There are many ways to leverage AV for STEM initiatives, even for schools operating on a restrictive budget. Here’s three of our favorite approaches:

Break Makerspace into Pods and Pair Each Pod with a Quality Display

If your school has an interest in STEM, it may already have a makerspace in place. Makerspaces are dedicated areas for students to pursue STEM-related projects individually or with other students. Some makerspaces are designed for open accessibility, so students can work on their projects when not engaged in other classwork.

Others, though, are designed to function much like a traditional classroom, with educators providing STEM lesson content while students follow along.

If this is your school’s preferred approach to STEM learning, consider dividing your makerspace into pods and fitting each pod with a display. This is convenient for both students and teachers, especially if there is a document camera or other presentation technology in place. The document camera can be networked to the displays, allowing teachers to present various objects, paper handouts and notes to every display at once.

With this approach, students get a close look at everything, which can be extremely helpful for science experiments and engineering projects. And the instructor can demonstrate important lesson concepts to every student, including those in the back of the room.

Create a Mobile STEM Station Loaded with Primitive Crafts and Instructional Displays

If your district needs to boost STEM learning for multiple schools, consider going mobile with your STEM resources. This could be as simple as rotating portable AV technologies from building to building. The approach could be scaled up, though, if your school is willing to invest in converting a school bus into a STEM bus.

STEM buses are gaining in popularity, as they allow multiple schools to cover their STEM lesson needs. And when the STEM bus pulls up, it’s instantly engaging to K-12 students.

Enhanced audio technology and digital displays can drive a high-tech STEM bus and outfitting your bus with multiple primitive craft stations can also communicate important STEM concepts. Stick a small digital display at each station and teachers can run crafting demonstrations that help younger students step by step.

Provide High School Students with Professional-quality Training with AR and VR Solutions

Older learners will need something a little more sophisticated to engage them. For high schoolers, AV can introduce complex, even professional-level content through augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology.

The challenge with some STEM learning is that it requires a tactile component to really take. It’s difficult to learn how to make something, for example, without actually making or working on that item. AR and VR gives students opportunities to get hands-on, virtually, with the kind of the equipment or technology they’ll encounter in the working world.

If your school invests in vocational options for its students, AR and VR solutions provide your students with tactile-rich multimodal learning, giving them an edge during future professional training.

Is Your School Prioritizing STEM Learning? AV Technology Can Support It

If your school’s STEM education needs to be addressed, a certified AV integrator can help you get started. Certified integrators are experts in system design, installation, and support, including systems built to support K-12 STEM programs. Your AV integrator can take your school’s STEM needs and develop a customized solution that meets those needs, even if your school needs to be creative with its budget and space.

12 Ways Video Conferencing Will Improve Your Organization

12 Ways Video Conferencing Will Improve Your Organization

The last few years have seen a rapid development in video conferencing technology. Video conferencing solutions are a critical part of the hybrid and remote revolution, so they’re mandatory for many organizations.

However, the benefits of video conferencing go much further. In fact, we’ve got a dozen reasons why your business should consider the technology.

1: Save Money on Office Space and Travel

According to TravelBank, the average cost of a domestic business trip is around $1,000 per person. If people need to fly internationally, the cost will more than double.

At that rate, companies may spend more on a single business trip than they would on a new video conferencing system. And once video conferencing is in place, your organization can eliminate much of its travel and directly connect with clients and team members.

Also, video conferencing makes some meeting spaces redundant. If your employees are comfortable conferencing from their desks, you can find another use for that meeting room.

2: Build Better Connections Between Employees and Teams

Video conferencing allows employees and teams to instantly connect with each other. If a new hire has a question, they can talk to their manager, mentor, or trainer wherever they are. If your teams need to collaborate on a project, they can do so face-to-face without leaving their desks.

Video conferencing also connects remote employees to onsite teams, so they remain engaged and feel like part of the team.

3: Make your Employees Happier

Professionals are prioritizing work/life balance more than ever. According to Gallup data, 67 percent of U.S. workers admit to some degree of burnout. That’s a major problem for organizations because burned out workers are much more likely to take sick days and suddenly quit.

Video conferencing can support your workers’ work/life balance by allowing them to perform some of their duties remotely.

4: Improve Meeting Quality and Engagement

Modern video conferencing solutions come with robust content sharing features. With these features, managers can support their meetings with images, videos, slideshows, and other media. And because the meeting’s participants are right in front of their screen, they can follow along closely. Attendees can also ask questions using voice or through chat, which allows introverts to make their thoughts known.

5: Make Meetings Easier to Manage

Businesses struggle with efficiently scheduling and running meetings. This inefficiency starts before the meeting starts, with scheduling. Someone has to handle scheduling, and it can take several hours out of a manager’s week arranging the meeting agenda.

Video conferencing solutions can be integrated with various scheduling platforms, including calendar integration. It takes only a few moments to schedule video conferences in this way, and when it’s meeting time, participants need only launch their video conferencing software and jump right in.

6: Improve Employee Efficiency and Productivity

As mentioned above, video conferencing can support better work/life initiatives inside your organization. That means happy workers, and happy workers tend to be more productive, efficient, and passionate workers.

According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), workers with adequate work/life balance are 21 percent more productive than workers who do not have this balance. What could your organization do with employees who are 21 percent more productive? A lot, most likely.

7: Keep a Comprehensive Log of All Company Meetings

Video conferencing solutions come standard with meeting recording features. Every meeting your company runs can be saved indefinitely for future reference. No more note taking and no more excuses for missing anything brought up during a meeting.

8: Facilitate Large-scale Communication with Live Streaming

With video conferencing, companies can support live video streaming events. This is useful for both customer-facing and internal purposes. On the customer side, video streaming can be used to introduce new products, demonstrate products, and receive valuable feedback.

Internally, video streaming is effective at making company-wide announcements and providing employees with much-appreciated transparency.

9: Access Better Talent from Around the World

A major advantage of video conferencing is its global reach. With the technology, organizations can extend their network and reach out to talent all over the world. That gives your company a deeper pool to hire from and additional options when filling an open position.

10: Deliver Better Training

If your organization regularly onboards new hires, it needs a robust training program in place. Video conferencing can be one of your most powerful training tools, as it can be used to instruct hundreds of individuals at once. With a video conference, your organization can connect the best possible instructor, no matter their location, to new employees, no matter their location.

We’ve already addressed how video conferences can power better meetings. The same holds true for training sessions. With content sharing features in place, instructors can use images, videos, and other media to support training content.

11: Provide Another Reliable Communication Channel

Every professional has their preferred communication tools. Some reach for the phone, some tap out e-mails at light speed, and others like the face-to-face experience that video conferencing offers.

But when a communication channel is unavailable for any reason, organizations need a backup for their employees. Video conferencing can serve as communication redundancy in this regard, so your teams can keep working with each other even when other communication channels are down.

12: Retain Younger, Technology-savvy Employees

Digital natives are entering the workforce in waves, especially as Gen Z comes of age. These younger workers aren’t just comfortable with technology – they can’t imagine working or living without it.

If your company is invested in video conferencing, it will serve as a recruiting tool for younger professionals. That’s another way the technology expands your potential talent pool.

The List Could Go on For Video Conferencing

That’s a dozen advantages that video conferencing can bring to your organization, but this list is by no means comprehensive. Once integrated, many businesses find that video conferencing solutions provide benefits that weren’t forecast ahead of time.

The only challenge is selecting, sourcing, installing, configuring, and supporting your new video conferencing technology. Your certified AV integrator can take the lead on that, as experienced integrators are the top experts in video conferencing solutions.