713.781.1999
866.CALL.DPI (225.5374)
Contact DPI via Email

What Innovative Solutions In 2020 Helped Businesses And Schools Manage COVID?

For most businesses and schools, 2020 was the year of COVID, and the pandemic forced organizations to transform the way they do business or education. AV solutions were and continue to be the engine behind these efforts, as they simplify remote work, promote social distancing, enhance online education, and help organizations keep their spaces clean and their teams healthy.

Video conferencing platforms, presentation systems, better lighting, document cameras and various health and safety technologies are among the AV solutions that organizations have integrated into their workflow, in response to the pandemic.

Video conferencing and presentation systems are making remote learning and working possible

Video conferencing was already a top AV target for businesses, government, and school districts alike, but with the COVID pandemic, they have also become irreplaceable in how they support remote workforces. Even better, though, is that video conferencing and other AV systems are now being built with simple, wireless operation. Wireless presentation systems minimize physical contact, which is good for physical hygiene, and minimizes frustration, which is good for mental hygiene.

Some notable wireless presentation solutions include:

Creston’s AirMedia

Crestron is a trusted brand in conferencing systems and its AirMedia products facilitate wireless presentation. Just enter the room, connect wirelessly, put in a code and being a meeting. This can all be done from the user’s own device, too, so there is zero contact with shared surfaces. The AirMedia can also be connected to the room’s controls, so it can bring up lighting and greet people as they walk in.

Barco ClickShare

The Barco Clickshare also allows people to present with zero contact and is engineered for ease of use. For example, the ClickShare is triple agnostic, so it can work with any device, any AV peripheral brand and any unified communications technology.

ScreenBeam

ScreenBeam is another wireless presentation solution, but one that’s also designed for education. It can switch between wired and wireless mode instantly, so students can connect nearly any type of device when sharing work. It also comes with Ghost Inking, which removes the lag between finger and annotation, and allows educators to make notes cleanly.

Mersive Solstice

The Mersive Solstice allows users to connect via Miracast, AirPlay, Solstice’s own app, using an HDMI cable or through a browser. That’s because the Solstice is meant to be as intuitive as possible for streamlined team conferencing. It’s also optimized for performance, as the system can utilize both the corporate network and guest network to draw resources from. This is done with maximum security in mind, and Mersive subjects its technology to third-party penetration testing to ensure security.

Improved lighting is also improving workspaces, both remote and in office

Video conferencing and collaboration is tough to do in the dark, and many professionals have found that their home’s ambient lighting isn’t enough for their workspace. One simple solution to this is the LumeCube. Originally engineered as a photography accessory, the LumeCube is ideal for providing additional illumination for better clarity and communication. It can be mounted to a monitor or on a mini tripod so it can be positioned anywhere.

Certain forms of lighting, specifically UV-C lighting, also has potential in combating COVID. According to the national Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, UV light is likely effective against COVID as it is a proven weapon against other coronaviruses. Now, it is being used in some offices to sanitize work surfaces periodically. One product that uses this technology is the Nemesis Hydra, which comes with various controls and timers to detail exactly when sanitation occurs. Outside of these times, the Nemesis functions like a normal office light.

Better cameras and audio ensure everyone can be seen and heard

Professionals and educators are also improving their conferencing capabilities with better audio and camera technology. Some examples include:

Poly’s headsets

Poly is a leader in the conferencing industry, with decades of experience in connecting professional teams. Much of Poly’s renown is due to its excellent handling of audio, and its headsets take full advantage of this. For instance, Poly’s headsets are designed with ambient noise suppression, which helps block out distracting noise. They’re also durable and intercompatible, as they can be used with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, RingCentral, 8×8, WebEx, and GoToMeeting.

Logitech’s cameras

Logitech manufactures a variety of cameras for every professional environment. This includes everything from its Poly Eagle Eye Mini, which can be quickly mounted to a laptop or PC monitor, to its sophisticated PTZ cameras. Many of Logitech’s PTZ models are designed with face detection and framing technology, so it tracks whoever is speaking, even if they are moving around the room.

Biamp’s CrowdMics

Biamp’s products include some of the industry’s best microphones, and its CrowdMics technology allows people to utilize any smartphone as a microphone. If granted permission, users can connect their device to the system and run their audio through the room’s PA system. With CrowdMics, there is no need to pass a microphone around the room, which keeps things cleaner.

Some 2020 technology solutions were aimed at better workplace hygiene and safety

A handful of 2020 solutions were aimed at controlling the spread of COVID itself. Some of them include:

Protect98

Keeping sick people at home is essential, and Protect98 makes it easier for businesses to protect their employees. The app can be used with most devices and scans body temperature with excellent accuracy and speed. It only takes a couple seconds per person, and pass or fail indication is done with sound and light. People are guided through the process with visual instructions, too, so it’s also simple.

Creston’s meeting room flags

Crestron’s meeting flags are already used to help with room booking and faster meetings, but now they can also guide cleaning teams to rooms that require sanitation. Designed to provide simple information quickly, Creston’s flags can be color-coded to denote whether a room is in need of cleaning, is already clean, or is occupied.

iCloth

iCloth isn’t an AV solution, but it does keep AV solutions clean. iCloths are pre-moistened with a 70-percent isopropyl solution, which is what the CDC recommends for disinfection. They are approved for aerospace use, as well, because they will not scratch surfaces and are individually packaged.

2020 was the year of COVID, but it was also a year of innovation to ensure safer workplaces that could still be productive when teams work remotely. With some of the industry’s best AV manufacturers put to the task, they were able to develop many technologies that are helping companies and schools maintain safe operations, even in the face of a global pandemic.

Cut Through the Noise: What Equipment Does Your Hybrid Learning Environment Include

With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the way educators teach and children learn has changed significantly. Most school districts have either adopted a completely virtual classroom setting or they have combined it with in-person educational options, both of which can require a hybrid learning environment at times as schools close and reopen due to changing coronavirus cases.

As a leading audio visual solutions designer and integrator, Data Projections is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of school districts, teachers, and students to help ensure a hybrid learning environment can yield success whether at home, in the classroom, or both.

The Importance of Providing A Hybrid Learning Environment for Teachers and Students

School districts across the nation are already making plans for next year’s curriculum, which may still include working around a pandemic. For this reason, most districts are planning to still offer some sort of a hybrid learning environment to their students.

As our students and teachers have adapted to school amidst a pandemic, they are learning what works and what doesn’t, and we can help improve the solutions a district chooses. One of the main obstacles of learning in-person and remotely is the teacher wearing a mask when instructing. Some studies show that students can miss up to a staggering twenty-five percent of what the teacher says if they are wearing a mask. Not only can the teacher be difficult to hear, but with a mask covering their mouths, students are not able to read their lips either.

Perhaps most concerning is that these roadblocks can impact how students learn. Many children report that when teachers are wearing a mask it can make it harder for them to learn. Ultimately, challenges in learning can yield frustration for both teachers and students and may cause students to fall behind.

To help address this issue, we now offer several solutions designed to help teachers communicate more clearly when wearing a mask, live streaming, or recording digital lessons with this technology. This allows virtual students to participate in a more meaningful way with better audio. The following are some of the solutions designed to be a win-win for school districts, teachers, and students:

Audio Enhancements VIEWpath for Remote and Blended Learning

Audio Enhancements VIEWpath Blend for Portable Audio and Video

Front Row Solutions

Audio Enhancements VIEWpath for Remote and Blended Learning

One of the biggest challenges for teachers in the classroom amidst the coronavirus pandemic is figuring out how to streamline remote and blended learning. Many teachers have classrooms with both in-person and virtual students, which can make teaching a challenge.

Enter Viewpath (Video Interactive Education Window), a simple solution for remote and blended learning. This setup addresses some of the most significant problem areas for teachers, including:

  • Options for creating content
  • Delivering content
  • Mastering the live stream

When it comes to creation, VIEWpath offers four main recording options for teachers so they can create video lessons with ease. These include:

  1. A mobile app accessed from a smart phone
  2. Web cam accessed from a computer
  3. Portable camera
  4. A camera installed in the classroom that can provide a nearly 360-degree view

Delivery of the digital content teachers create is designed to be shared via:

  • Downloads
  • Embed codes
  • Streaming through popular channels such as Zoom, YouTube Live, or Google Hangouts

When using VIEWpath, the goal is to make creating and sharing content more accessible and user-friendly for teachers.

VIEWpath Blend for Portable Audio and Video

Without enhanced audio programs, a teacher’s words can sound muffled and fuzzy to students, whether they are in the classroom or at home, which can make it difficult for children to learn. The VIEWpath Blend balances portable audio and video to provide teachers and students with the tools they need to transcend communication challenges.

The audio component of VIEWpath works with classroom microphones. Teachers can wear a wireless microphone designed to transmit their voice as clearly as possible, even while wearing a mask. This keeps teachers from straining their voice or having to speak extra loudly to compensate for wearing a mask. Microphones can help students in the classroom and at home hear the teacher better, which improves engagement.

Other audio perks can include a portable speaker system and blue tooth capabilities. Although the portable audio solution is a popular option, we also offer an installed audio solution.

The video portion of this tool includes utilizing a portable classroom camera that can record a teacher’s lessons and make this content easily shareable with students across various outlets as mentioned in the VIEWpath for Remote and Blended Learning section.

Front Row Solutions

Front Row video conferencing integration is another popular program for hybrid and remote learning environments. It allows both teachers and students to get more out of the learning environment.

Here are some of Front Row’s standout features:

  • Video conference functionality on a teacher’s computer via a USB cable
  • Teacher microphone to amplify their voice for in-person and virtual students

This alone would make the solution worth it, but the additional benefits are what can really make Front Row a fantastic solution:

  • Teachers can mute virtual students
  • When unmuted, virtual students’ voices are also amplified in the classroom
  • In-person students may access a student microphone to amplify their voices so that remote students can also hear what they have to say
  • A screen share option allows teachers to seamlessly share learning content with students
  • Recording functions allows a teacher’s lessons to be archived for convenient access

If you are a school district or teacher who is interested in creating a hybrid learning environment to better support your classroom and virtual learning experiences, please reach out to Data Projections today to see how we can help.

Has Your School Defined The Best Solution For Front Of The Classroom Technology?

In the modern classroom, front of class technology generally refers to interactive displays, which have true multi-use potential for teachers. An interactive display is a powerful lesson creation and presentation device and can drive student participation as well. With these advantages, interactive displays were already emerging as a valuable pedagogical tool, but the transition to online education for many districts has accelerated the trend.

It’s essential that your district makes the right choice in interactive display technology, as there are several models worth considering.

How can interactive display technology drive better learning?

Chalkboards and overhead projectors have become relics of classrooms past, as interactive digital technology has rendered them obsolete. What do interactive displays bring, though, that older visual learning tools couldn’t?

Compelling visual demonstrations

Older tools like overhead projectors only served as a medium for teachers to annotate or produce simple images. Interactive displays, however, are built on the best digital display technology available, which gives teachers an endless variety of images to work with. With vivid pictures, photography, videos and animations to mix and match, educators can engage students with greater ease.

Interactive lesson elements

Interactive displays simplify the lesson building approach, as teachers can quickly piece together a lesson that includes interactive demonstrations, quizzes and games. With multiple forms of engagement going at once (visual, audio and tactile), students can build knowledge in the way that works best for them.

Collaboration potential

The modern economy places big value on people who can work together, so teaching students to collaborate is a priority. Interactive displays are much more effective at this than alternative tools, with apps designed for use by multiple students. Interactive displays also drive collaboration through their use as a presentation tool. With a display at the front of the classroom, students can present their own original media using the display as the engine.

An expanding role

Interactive displays and the apps they utilize are continuously being updated and improved on, so they retain their ability to engage years after they have been installed. The display can also be used as a communication tool, with instant messaging and signage features built in.

What are some of the best front of the classroom displays?

Interactive displays are a natural choice for the front of the classroom, but which one should your district invest in? There are several viable models to choose from, including displays manufactured by Clevertouch, Promethean and EPSON. Here’s a closer look at what each brand has to offer:

Clevertouch Boards - Data Projections - 725x544

The Clevertouch

The Clevertouch Impact and Impact Pro, manufactured by Clevertouch, first achieved success in Europe. In recent years, though, they have become more common in U.S. classrooms. From the start, Clevertouch has built its displays for educators, with an interface that’s easy to learn and software that enhances lessons.

The Impact and Impact Pro can both output up to 4K resolution and are available in multiple sizes, up to an 86-inch diagonal. Both panels have the capability to add an onboard PC that can be used to store files for lesson delivery or to browse the web for additional resources. The Impact and Impact Pro utilize a user interface that closely mimics the Android interface, so students and educators alike are able to control it within moments of being introduced to the display.

Both models allow for up to 20 independent touch points (important for collaboration) and are compatible with Clevertouch software. The Impact Plus and Pro are built with a microphone array for superior audio pickup, proximity sensors, a subwoofer for richer audio output and upgraded RAM. This makes video conferencing via Zoom or Teams very easy to implement, and joining the Clevertouch to the session allows the remote group to see the entire presentation.

Clevertouch’s software suite is headed by LYNX Whiteboard, which is the display’s primary lesson building, presentation, and annotation software. LYNX Whiteboard can be used with any device and stores lessons in the cloud, so teachers can build their lessons from anywhere and then open them on a panel. Students can also scan presented QR codes with their own device to participate in lesson activities and quizzes. It’s a simple, streamlined way to keep teachers and students connected during each lesson.

The ActivPanel

Promethean’s ActivPanel is also designed for educators and comes in a pair of models, the Nickel and Titanium. Both are pre-loaded with everything teachers need right out of the box, so usability is the priority. Promethean has made interactive displays for educators for a long time, and they know which tools teachers need easy access to. Those tools, like various annotation tools, are available front and center and are simple for teachers to access.

The ActivPanel is available in sizes ranging up to 86-inches, like the Clevertouch, and can be mounted in one of several ways, including fixed-height and adjustable-height wall mounts and stand mounts. Its Vellum handwriting technology allows for precise handwriting reproduction and allows teachers to use the display like a dry erase board.

Promethean’s interactive display also allows for up to 20 touch points, forward-facing speakers for enhanced audio production and dual proximity sensors. Promethean also makes use of ClassFlow as a lesson-building and educational resource tool. With ClassFlow, teachers can access millions of teaching resources from around the world, designed by educators for educators. ClassFlow can also be utilized to send quizzes, activities and achievement badges to students in order to encourage engagement.

EPSON Brightlink Educational Technology

The Brightlink

EPSON’s Brightlink series of ultra-short throw, interactive projectors can also bring much-needed interactivity into the classroom. The Brightlink stands out for its size because it can produce an interactive space 120-inches long on one side. This is a major advantage for larger classrooms, where students may have trouble seeing if they are sitting in the back. The Brightlink ensures all students can engage visually with the lesson.

The Brightlink can also be utilized in conjunction with Zoom and other video conferencing platforms for students learning from home, so it’s ideal for schools using a hybrid classroom model. With split-screen capability, the Brightlink can be used to present content and whiteboarding simultaneously.

The increased lifespan of interactive flat panels has made them an attractive choice over projectors, but the Brightlink is designed with value in mind, with a maintenance-free build that can provide excellent performance for 20,000 hours.

Also, the Brightlink comes with EPSON’s iProjection software, which makes sense for the emerging BYOD classroom. With iProjection, students and teachers can share content to the projector with any device, including iOS, Android and Windows devices.

The Clevertouch, ActivPanel and Brightlink are all designed for easy lesson creation and engaging lesson delivery. With their superior visuals and access to educational resources, they belong at the front of the classroom, where the lesson happens.

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”