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What Is AV?

AV refers to audiovisual, and when professionals talk about AV, they mean the audio and video solutions used for improved communication and collaboration. You might find an AV system in the front lobby of a business, promoting the company’s image. You might see AV solutions in a university visitor center helping new students find their way around campus. You may see AV on display at a concert, displaying vivid, mesmerizing imagery.

Just as there is a limitless number of ways to communicate, the potential with AV is nearly limitless as well.

What is AV used for?

AV, in all of its forms, is designed to make communication more interesting, more productive and easier to manage. To do this, an AV solution provides a few key elements, including:

Simplicity

AV solutions are designed for usability because technology shouldn’t get in the way of communicating. In this context, simplicity means an intuitive user interface, a system that responds to voice commands or gestures, or even specialized training to ensure that anyone who needs to use the technology, can. Simplicity is improving with time, as every new generation of AV products is easier to use than the one before.

Scalability

An AV solution isn’t effective if it can’t be scaled up, because organizations grow. If their AV solutions don’t grow with them, then they no longer provide value. Scalability is therefore a major focus for AV manufacturers and integrators. On the manufacturer side, intercompatibility and widespread adoption of AV over IP has boosted system scalability. On the integrator side, proper system installation, configuration and forward-thinking planning makes scalability much easier to achieve.

Impact

The ability to wow an observer is at the core of what AV represents, whether that impact is delivered in the form of brilliant visuals or seamless communication. AV solutions are bringing the future into the present, with the ability to instantly connect multiple parties during a conference, offer a unique, interactive brand experience, or provide remote assistance with a push of a button. Increasingly, AV solutions are the “glue” that bring multiple streams of communication into a single, more effective whole.

What audio technologies are part of AV solutions?

Simplicity, scalability and impact are what define an AV solution’s value, but what technologies make that happen? AV includes audio and visual components, and when it comes to audio, some of the most important components include:

Microphones

Microphones are where people and technology meet, as they take in audio and direct it to other components for processing. Microphones come in many forms, so they can be mounted in any room, for any purpose. For example, gooseneck microphones can be mounted to a table and pick up individual speakers extremely well. They are also better at reducing ambient noises like paper shuffling.

Boundary microphones are smaller than gooseneck mics but can also be placed on a desk or even on the edge of a stage to pick up performances.

Ceiling microphones minimize table clutter, as they are mounted off of the ground. They can also pick up sounds around the room, but careful placement is needed to reduce environmental noise.

With smart placement and proper configuration, microphones can be placed in any space and maintain excellent audio quality.

Speakers

Speakers are what deliver audio into a room, and like microphones, they can be mounted in most spaces without interfering with the room’s function or audio quality. Speakers are also integrated into various conferencing systems, displays and phones, and audio technology has approached the point where excellent sound quality is possible in smaller devices. This is partly due to the advanced sound quality features that modern conferencing phones and systems are designed with.

Amplifiers

Advanced AV solutions, like integrated conferencing systems, require additional audio technologies to output excellent sound. Amplifiers are one such technology and work by taking a small electrical signal and boosting its potency while retaining its quality. Amplifiers are necessary in larger rooms, where more volume is needed without compromising how the audio sounds.

Signal processors and audio mixing may be required in some solutions, too, but the above are standard audio elements in AV systems.

How is video technology used in AV solutions?

Video is the other part of the AV experience, and designers utilize it to some extent in nearly every AV solution. For example:

Video conferencing solutions

Video conferencing is one of the most in-demand AV solutions, and is used in business, education and government institutions. Modern video conferencing solutions make use of ultra-high resolution LED displays that can be sized for any conference space, including auditoriums.

In addition to the display, video conferencing systems include a camera for capturing video, audio technology for accompanying sound and a conferencing platform, whether software- or hardware-based.

Interactive displays

Interactive displays look like standard commercial displays, but function like giant touchscreens, which makes them powerful presentation and educational tools. An interactive display is frequently added to conferencing solutions for whiteboarding and presentation purposes and can be used to deliver lessons to students.

Current generation interactive displays are built with an onboard PC for running software, storing media and accessing online resources. Educators can use these capabilities to create compelling lessons, engage students with learning-focused games or to grab media online to reinforce learning.

Digital signage

Digital signage solutions are a low-cost, high-impact form of visual communication that can be used in nearly any industry. Digital signage can be found in office buildings, restaurants, automobile dealerships, concert halls, sports stadiums, airports, museums, zoos – there is no limit.

With digital signage, businesses, schools and venues can help people find their way around a building, deliver news and weather headlines, provide event or travel schedules, deliver advertising, run promotional videos or just entertain guests.

Digital signage also relies on sturdy, commercial-grade displays, designed to be in operation around the clock, for weeks at a time. AV integrators typically group these displays into networks for easy, remote management on the backend.

AV solutions can be designed in countless ways and designed for any venue, but they’re all dedicated to the same mission – to communicate something in an engaging way. Whether found in the conference room or the classroom, a concert hall or city hall, AV is everywhere.

Smyser Kaplan & Veselka Bench Trial Via Zoom Case Study

The Problem

Smyser Kaplan & Veselka (SKV), like many law firms, has had to balance dealing with the pandemic with maintaining contact with their clients. With cases to manage and courthouses closed, SKV needed a way to communicate remotely with their clients and with court officials.

SKV already had Skype and Cisco Webex in place, but no unified solution that could be utilized firmwide. Further, SKV was anticipating a move into a new office, so there was an opportunity to unify communications and prioritize a user-friendly, reliable conferencing system.

The Solution

Data Projections has integrated conferencing solutions for a variety of clients in an array of settings and was able to provide an ideal solution for SKV right away. SKV’s system consists of a Poly Group Series 500 room system, which includes a hard codec for reliable conferencing, 160-inches worth of high-resolution digital displays and Poly’s EagleEye cameras, which offer full pan-tilt-zoom capabilities, along with automatic face tracking and framing.

Zoom was Data Projections’ and SKV’s choice for conferencing platform, as it is designed for ease of use, reliability and security – everything that SKV was looking for in their new conferencing solution.

The Result

SKV’s video conferencing upgrade was finished in August 2019, just a short time before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. However, SKV was ready and was able to keep working without any delays. Mohamed Rehman, SKV’s IT director, was particularly happy with the solution’s simplicity.

“Whenever you roll out new software, you get 10 to 20 calls a day for a month from people asking how it works,” Rehman said. “I sent some videos from the Zoom website on how to start a meeting and that was it — people were able to teach themselves.”

With their new conferencing technology, SKV was able to meet with clients, conduct depositions and litigate cases without issue. In fact, SKV’s founding partner, Lee Kaplan, and a team of attorneys were able to successfully litigate a five-week corporate dispute case, entirely over Zoom. During the case, SKV examined 18 witnesses on live video, shared hours of pre-taped depositions and presented hundreds of exhibits. This was made possible without a single delay and with no security lapses, resulting in a $147 million judgment in SKV’s favor.

Given the successful trial, Rehman believes Data Projections’ solution may be even more valuable going forward.

“Virtual trials are more cost-effective and save time, and they also improve efficiency and focus. Our attorneys have said this was one of the most focused trials we’ve had, and we didn’t have to stop our business during the pandemic.”

Data Projections Is Now A Premier Partner With Zoom Communications

Data Projections is proud to announce that we are now a Premiere partner with Zoom Communications. That means we can help you with the full suite of Zoom products, as Zoom offers more than just meetings.

Data Projections decided to partner with Zoom for several reasons. For example:

  • Zoom was founded in 2011 and now has more than 18 global offices and more than 2,500 employees. In short, it’s an established video conferencing and communications platform that has gained worldwide trust.
  • Zoom supports more than 400,000 companies on its platform, including everything from tiny startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. Zoom is also used at universities and K-12 schools around the nation.
  • Zoom can be integrated into more than 200 workflow tools, including popular options like Microsoft, Salesforce, Hubspot, Zendesk and Dropbox. This allows your teams to keep working with tools they’re comfortable with through Zoom.
  • The Zoom Phone is the next evolution in cloud telephony and is used by thousands of SMBs and enterprises. That includes massive enterprises like Exxon-Mobil.

How can businesses and schools communicate better with Zoom?

Zoom has provided voice, video, chat and content sharing services through a reliable cloud for nearly a decade. This experience is in high demand now, with social distancing in effect and organizations looking for an alternative. For thousands of businesses and schools, Zoom has been that alternative, for several reasons. For example:

  1. It’s designed to be simple – Setting up and joining a meeting in Zoom is easy. Users can organize a meeting in advance, setting the time and the password needed to enter the conference. If desired, the meeting can be toggled to be recurring, so users only need to organize it a single time.
  2. It’s designed to be secure – In addition to advanced security features like end-to-end encryption, Zoom allows users to secure their meetings using several easy to use settings. When creating a meeting, for instance, users can create a unique password that is only given to meeting participants.Zoom’s “waiting room” feature puts participants in a space separate from the meeting before they join, so no one can join without host approval. The host can let people in one at a time using this feature, or everyone in at once.The host can also prevent people from joining, so they retain full control over the meeting. Hosts can also control who can screen share, mute participants and block their camera, before they can enter the meeting. The host can even disable file transfers, so malware can’t be sent to others in the meeting.
  3. It’s designed to be reliable – Zoom’s platform is lauded for its stability and consistent, high quality calling. It also comes with performance monitoring tools, so IT can troubleshoot potential network issues before they become actual network issues.

A closer look at the Zoom Phone

The Zoom Phone offers phone, meetings, video and chat through a single platform, using Zoom’s cloud instead of a traditional land-line system. VoIP technology is nothing new, but the Zoom Phone is an evolution on the form. Why?

  • It unifies communications – With the Zoom Phone, your teams can access all of their communication tools through a single, familiar interface. That includes phone calls, video meetings, content sharing and chat messaging.
  • It is compatible with other business applications – The Zoom Phone comes with native applications for Windows, Android, iOS and MacOS, and is compatible with an array of mobile business applications. No matter how your team prefers to work, they can do it using the Zoom Phone.
  • It allows users to switch from one communication channel to another – The Zoom Phone is the only phone that allows users to switch from a call to a Zoom meeting without stopping the call. A face-to-face meeting is only one tap or button press away.

The Zoom Phone is also built with several features that people expect from their phone system. This includes intelligent call routing, call management, caller ID, voicemails and call recording. Together, it makes for an impressive feature package that connects your teams better, gives professionals more control over how they communicate and improves administrators’ efficiency.

How can Data Projections help integrate Zoom into your communications?

Zoom is known for its ease of use but integrating a new communication platform into your organization’s workflow is still a challenge. That challenge, though, can be overcome with an integrator’s expertise, and along with that expertise comes the following:

  1. Optimal system configuration and design for your Zoom needs – With so many Zoom products and systems to choose from, getting started can be overwhelming. If your organization needs something customized, that will add to the project’s complexity. Our AV integrators are familiar with all of Zoom’s product offerings, so we can help fit your team’s preferred workflow to the ideal Zoom system.
  2. A Zoom system that will scale easily – Many schools and businesses find their new Zoom system to be so effective that they want to expand on it. AV integrators design their solutions so that they can be built upon as needed, so if your school has a sudden need for distance education, for example, this need can be met without starting from scratch.
  3. Prompt system installation – With the educational and professional landscape both in a stage of transition, organizations need their AV solutions launched quickly and without incident. AV integrators have the resources and experience to ensure system installation is as efficient as possible.
  4. Ongoing support and maintenance – Following system installation, integrators will train users on its function, so your people are ready for Zoom from the start. If needed, an AV integrator can also monitor and maintain AV assets, preventing performance lags, network issues and security holes.

Zoom is a leader in video and voice communications, and Data Projections is a leader in AV solutions. As a premier partner, we’re ready to help your organization make room for Zoom.

Workplace Technology Mid and Post-Pandemic

As the world approaches the last quarter of 2020, it is apparent that the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic has forever changed the technology landscape of the workplace. While initially entire workforces working from home amidst a quarantine made for some cumbersome hurdles to clear, in many ways it has empowered and equipped companies to navigate emerging workplace technology mid and post-pandemic.

Most of the globe went from daily meetings, frequent domestic and international work trips, and business as usual in 2019 to the stark contrast of working solely from home, every day, all day. Although in the beginning this change caused companies to drastically change how they conducted daily business, it is yielding a resiliency that most are now hoping to capitalize on as they emerge and embark on yet another journey—workplace technology mid and post-pandemic.

How Employees Are Feeling About Returning to The Workplace

Not all employees feel the same about returning to the workplace according to the U.S. Work from Home Survey 2020 conducted by Gensler in April and May of the same year. The survey showed that:

  • 44% employees prefer to work no days at home
  • 26% of employees prefer to work one or two days at home
  • 18% of employees prefer to work three or four days at home
  • 12% of employees prefer to work five days at home

Data revealed that most employees wanting to return to the workplace felt that daily activities such as socializing, meetings, and client interaction were leading reasons to do so.

The survey noted that two of the primary takeaways about the workplace are:

  1. A majority of workers want to come back to the office in some capacity
  2. Most employees expect significant changes in the workplace before they are comfortable returning

Gensler’s survey also noted that some of the top practices that employees expect to feel more comfortable upon returning to the office include:

  • Stricter policies regarding working in the office while sick
  • Increased opportunities to work from home
  • Increased cleaning of office spaces
  • Better spacing between workstations
  • Provision of hand sanitizer
  • Touchless doors, bathrooms, etc.
  • Air purification systems
  • Less in-person meetings
  • Increased private office space
  • More defined private space
  • No shared workstations

Age also seemed to play a roll in returning to the workplace, with younger generations reporting that they felt overall less productive at home and less satisfied with a work from home experience. In contrast, older workers on average tended to feel more accomplished when working from home.

What This Means for Your Office and Workplace Technology Moving Forward

Based on Gensler’s survey, it seems that as employees slowly return to the workplace now and even potentially in a post-coronavirus pandemic world, the way workplaces operate will be forever changed. It is highly unlikely that things will be business as usual moving forward.

Although the survey shows that some employees do want the opportunity to work from home one or more days a week, there are some preliminary indicators that working from home on a permanent basis may not be sustainable in terms of both culture and talent development. That said, some form of a hybrid-model that combines work from home and in-office interaction may be adopted by employers going forward to better accommodate their workforce.

Particularly with this in mind, employers will have to be strategic about putting practices in place that help employees feel more comfortable about their return to the workplace, which may include new protocols, but more specifically, new technologies.

Specific Considerations Needed for Workplace Technology Mid and Post-Pandemic

Employers should think about the way their office is set up and consider the following:

  • What technology changes can be made that will support employees’ work environments?
  • Will employees need new or improved technology devices to support a hybrid work environment?
  • What technology will the office need to support both in-person and virtual employees?
  • How can employees participate in workplace meetings while still observing social distancing protocols?
  • Is there a way to group smaller departments together for meetings while observing social distancing protocols?
  • How can you facilitate client meetings with your employees?
  • How can employers effectively budget for all these technology provisions?

In many ways, this list is simply a starting point for employers to consider. In reality, the needs of virtual and in-person employees will likely fluctuate as the nation progresses through various stages of the pandemic.

How Data Projections Is Already Helping Businesses During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Data Projections has been committed to assisting companies with audio/visual solutions that enable them to affordably connect and collaborate with other businesses and institutions for more than thirty years. The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic brought with it an opportunity to serve businesses in new and innovative ways during a time of crisis:

  • In March of 2020 as most of the United States quarantined at home, we accepted a contract to work with the Texas Department of Information Resources to assist in providing information technology products and related services to public and government entities during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
  • In April of 2020, many senior living communities across the nation found that their residents were experiencing increased loneliness and depression due to being isolated from loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic. Since we are in the business of connecting people, we equipped Belmont Village Senior Living with user-friendly and portable technology that enabled their elderly residents to virtually see and interact with their loved ones from the comfort of their own room to help alleviate those feelings of isolation and loneliness.
  • In June of 2020, Data Projections Inc. wanted to help employers better navigate communication and collaboration challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic via the SimplyConnected Huddle and Home Office Starter Kits. The SimplyConnected Huddle package facilitated small groups of employees in the office to effectively work with clients and remote colleagues. The Home Office Starter Kits were specifically designed for companies with nothing in place to help create a successful work at home environment for employees.

What the Data Projections Difference Can Mean for Your Business

When it comes to technology that can help your business run more smoothly during and post-pandemic, we offer a variety of technologies and solutions that can help bring your employees and clients together:

  • Video/Audio Conferencing: A solution that allows businesses to provide their employees with video/audio conferencing that features excellent quality, compatibility and usability.
  • Video Streaming: Allows a client to seamlessly stream video. Live video streaming may also allow real time interactions depending on available technology.
  • Projectors: Many business meeting rooms utilize LCD projectors which provide bright color saturated images.
  • Interactive Flat Panels: This technology enhances communication and collaboration between colleagues and clients.
  • Digital Displays and Screens: We can provide LED and LCD technology that allows for digital displays and screens to be used for outdoor signage, interactive displays, video walls and microtiles.
  • SimplyConnected ZoomRooms: Allows a business the ability to seamlessly set up private audiovisual conference areas so that groups of various sizes can interface with other colleagues and clients.
  • SimplyConnected Huddle Package: This package allows small groups of employees to work with clients and remote colleagues while in the office.
  • Home Office Starter Kits: These kits can be particularly helpful for companies with nothing in place to help employees build a successful work from home environment.

One the aspects that sets Data Projections apart from others in the audiovisual industry is its ability to make technology solutions more affordable for employers. Most of our technologies offer modern AV solutions without requiring a large upfront investment. This typically means a business can make smaller monthly payments instead of a large upfront sum, and this can have a number of benefits, including:

  • Smarter use of cash flow
  • Better credit preservation
  • Reduction in risk
  • Better budgeting

If your company is ready to tackle and simplify the challenges of technology mid and post-pandemic, please reach out to Data Projections today to see how we can help with a user-friendly and affordable solution.

How To Choose An AV Integrator

What should organizations look for when choosing an AV integrator?

AV integrators are responsible for complex, public-facing systems, so you’ll want a reliable AV expert to execute your organization’s projects. A reliable integrator gets the job done on time, on budget and with options for ongoing support, so your solution remains viable well into the future. Continue reading “How To Choose An AV Integrator”

Why Organizations Should Consider Video Concierge Solutions

What is video concierge technology?

People prefer a human-to-human connection, but when that’s not possible or preferable, video concierge solutions are ideal. Whether in a hotel lobby, a hospital waiting room or at the restaurant counter, video concierge provides a human presence, even if it’s not a physical one. Continue reading “Why Organizations Should Consider Video Concierge Solutions”

AV Standardization And Scalability

What does AV standardization mean?

AV standardization is key to scalability, and both are important to ensure AV works for your organization, present and future. Most businesses already have standards in place, including standards in their IT departments. AV standards are an extension of this, outlining which technologies are used where, how they are used and how they fit into a larger enterprise network.

With AV standardization, businesses can provide a consistent AV experience for their employees, no matter where they access the system. There are multiple benefits to this approach, including enhanced scalability.

Continue reading “AV Standardization And Scalability”

Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning

What Is Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning?

Distance education is no longer the future—it is the here and now, and school districts nationwide are quickly establishing an online presence for their students and teachers. In Texas, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is pushing districts into quickly adopting distance learning and has outlined what schools can do to maintain funding for distance learning students. Continue reading “Asynchronous vs Synchronous Learning”

How To Safely Return To The Office

How can businesses safely return their employees to the office?

Many businesses have already rallied their employees back to the office, and in the coming weeks, many more businesses will make the transition. For everyone involved, the focus will be on safety, and AV integrators can help with that.

In addition to the CDC’s guidelines, which include wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing, employers can safeguard their employees with AV solutions like the following: Continue reading “How To Safely Return To The Office”