Tag Archives: AV technology

Spinitar_Blog_BannerHow-to-Plan-For-Your-AV-Project — audiovisual planning

Audiovisual Planning – How to Plan For Your AV Project

Knowing how to plan for an AV project means understanding your AV system needs at an organizational level, connecting with end users, and finding the right technologies. Naturally, audiovisual planning also involves identifying resources, incorporating important stakeholders, and choosing the right partners to help your vision come to life. Audiovisual systems design and integration can be a complicated process, but getting to a seamless end result is crucial for improving productivity and collaboration. This blog outlines some of the most important considerations when planning your next AV project.

Successful Audiovisual Planning Begins with a Well Defined Need

Successful AV projects start with a well defined need, or set of needs. If your project begins with a loosely defined need like “install some big screens in the lobby,” you may be headed for project failure. As the saying goes, “Begin with the end in mind.” Properly preparing for an AV project involves developing a plan that drives all efforts to satisfying the well defined need.

One example of a clearly defined project need could be:

“Provide a user focused solution to simplify presentations, collaboration efforts and room scheduling building wide. Create a standardized experience across physical locations from disparate office locations to connected conference rooms and huddle spaces for collaboration. Produce an inspiring brand experience in lobby spaces through use of advanced technology.”

After defining the needs, some important questions to address may include:

  • Who are the stakeholders and decision makers involved?
  • What needs to be delivered as part of the project?
  • What internal and external resources are required for the project?
  • What learnings can be applied from previous projects?

<<< Get our free project planning checklist to help organize your AV vision. >>>

Involve the Primary User Group in the Audiovisual Planning Phase

Adding functionality at the end of an audiovisual project is a costly expense for all parties involved. Involving the people who will run, maintain, and use the systems (the “primary user group”) at the outset of AV system planning helps to ensure a positive impact for the project. A clear definition of needs from the primary user group aligns your audiovisual planning with end-user operational processes and day-to-day goals. A system that does not support the end users can quickly become just another piece of unused hardware and give the perception of a failed project or wasted expenses.

Talk to Qualified Experts During When Planning Your AV Project

Conversations with qualified AV experts, such as integrators, designers, or hardware manufacturers, are usually free. Having a strong technology partner, outside of your organization, is a very valuable resource for audiovisual planning. A strong AV integrator or manufacturer has the experience, knows the pitfalls, and can provide valuable insight, advice and resources to help you plan properly. In fact, you may want to discuss your project with an AV design-build expert at the beginning of your process.

Unlike IT, AV systems integration doesn’t have the same standardization rules and is therefore usually highly customized. This means that AV integrators must use their knowledge and experience to guide the project’s planning to ensure various components are designed to “play well” with one another. Working with a qualified audiovisual systems integrator can help you to figure out the level of involvement you will need from qualified experts.

Consider Infrastructure During Audiovisual Planning

AV systems planning, design and execution blurs the line between construction and technology. Planning for the AV system infrastructure such as conduit pathways, electrical, cooling and physical layer requirements are equally as important as planning for the type of technology to deploy. Consideration of physical infrastructure is especially important if you are deploying an AV system into an existing building, where the infrastructure is already in place and you have to work around existing conditions.

For example, you’ll need to consider, whether your project will have an IDF (intermediate distribution frame) room where the AV equipment is to be housed, or is each system physically local to each room? Perhaps a combination of both?

In addition to infrastructure requirements, there are likely to be network requirements, both physical and virtual. For example, If you are deploying a video-conferencing system, you will need IP addresses ahead of time in order to set up the systems. If the equipment will sit on the owner’s network, then entire blocks of IP’s and VLAN’s may be necessary. These IP addresses should be set on the equipment during in-house testing and need to be coordinated ahead of time, during the audiovisual planning phase.

Common AV Planning Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Make sure you involve the correct stakeholders, including the primary user group(s) from the beginning! Important stakeholders who change the project scope late in the process can cause increased complication, which adds to project cost.
  • A common misconception exists that the furniture vendors are the last vendors to be in the building. In fact, most times the furniture must be in place before the AV integration can begin the final installation, because many endpoints route through, or end at, a piece of furniture such as a conference table.
  • AV integration projects bridge the world of construction and technology. Plan for physical layer requirement along with technology requirements.
  • A common audiovisual planning pitfall is skipping the network conversation. Oftentimes, AV systems commissioning cannot be completed until the owner’s IT infrastructure, network testing/verification and IP assignments are complete.

What Does Evolved Audiovisual Do for a Business?

  1. Maximizes employee efficiency by making it easier for users to interact more effectively, and streamline ability to collaborate with each other.
  2. Facilitates a culture of productivity by simplifying user workflow.
  3. Allows the company leadership to clearly communicate a message to the entire organization.
  4. Allows for an immersive user experience.

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Future Proofing Audiovisual Technology: What You Need to Know Now

Future proofing audiovisual technology has become a major focus for smart leaders everywhere. While new technology is exciting, it can be too easy to get sucked into making purchases prematurely when you see that shiny new tool, and equally as easy to miss opportunities to upgrade with technologies that keep your business on the edge.

Staying ahead of the competition is about being proactive, not reactive. The only constant is change, and business technology is no exception. A logical approach to the process of future proofing audiovisual technology involves assessing where you are, determining where you want to go in a given period of time, and plotting a clear path ahead into the future.

Audiovisual technology is constantly evolving, just like your business. Your AV tools should be selected to improve your communication capabilities with your audience, your customers both internal and external, providing time and task efficiency, encouraging consistent processes, delivering effective messaging, resulting in a positive ROI to your business operations. Future proofing means staying on top of the technologies your company requires to deliver your message and improve employee effectiveness.

Future Proofing Starts with the Right People

A business is only as prepared as its employees. Start your efforts at future proofing your AV technology by hiring people with a pro-technology mindset, who are savvy, motivated, and eager to use the latest advancements in communication and collaboration technology. These individuals will understand that innovation is a constant and will not hesitate to embrace innovation.

For employees who who may not be accustomed to technology, providing the right tools, training, and time is essential. Such employees may be great contributors to your success, and are valuable, but they must be taught how to use new audiovisual technologies, and be convinced of their utility. A small assignment utilizing the technology is usually an effective means for becoming familiar with something new that will bring benefit to the enterprise at large.

Future Proofing Means Smart Technology Purchases

Follow the early adopters, pay attention to what they are doing, and listen for feedback on what’s working and what’s not. Learn from them, apply those lessons to your own purchases and strategies, and the benefits can be great. Additionally, don’t be afraid to discuss your issues with your audiovisual experts. They know the technology and can find and design solutions to resolve many challenges.

As you know, AV technology can be a costly business investment, and the reality of today’s world is that it changes rapidly. In order to get the best return on your investment, you’ve got to be savvy about technology purchases and understand what will improve productivity, create efficiencies, and improve communications to the point that your new audiovisual technology investment is in line with moving your company forward.

Before making any investments, ask yourself:

  • How does the changing nature of buying habits impact the ways in which employees must communicate externally?
  • What communication tools do employees need so they can be more effective and productive with the time they have each day?
  • Is the technology in your meeting spaces being used so that business moves forward, or is avoidance slowing productivity?
  • Are standards created so meeting room technology is easy to use for all employees from room to room?
  • How are competitors changing products, services, strategies, and/or technologies?
  • How might industry regulation or deregulation impact investment in audiovisual technology?

These are all factors that will drive a decision as to whether and/or when to invest in new technology for your business. These factors also play into implementation and company practices for successful ROI of audiovisual technology for corporate spaces.

Future Proofing Audiovisual Technology to Grow Your Business

Future proofing audiovisual technology is not easy in a constantly evolving business world. However, understanding your business and adapting your audiovisual technology around your company strategy, goals, and processes is an essential step to take. In order to create optimal meeting room environments throughout your facilities, you must start with the right technology and consistently train employees for comfort and efficiency in order to see impacts on ROI.

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Standardize Corporate AV

Standardize Corporate AV to Achieve Gains in Communication and Productivity

Business leaders caught in a web of adapters and cables often wonder if it’s possible to standardize corporate AV to limit the time wasted in adjusting to different technologies and meeting rooms. Standardizing your AV system allows your business to become more connected, creating uniformity across offices and meeting spaces. Simplifying this major business asset or investing in your first standard AV system is a smart move for gains in communication and productivity.

Standardizing Corporate AV to Unite Multiple Locations

If you were an early adopter of AV solutions and have more than one business location, odds are that each office has its own unique setup. While this may have worked for the last several years, it’s likely decreasing your efficiency and ability to collaborate. Managing multiple teams across locations requires seamless collaboration. As you might have experienced, having a situation where every location has a separate AV system can lead to problems and delays. That’s where standardization comes in.

Standardizing your corporate audiovisual system can ensure that all your locations operate using the ideal AV solution. Managing multiple AV systems with many different components can lead to major system breakdown and expensive downtime. According to PSNI, the benefits of standardized AV include:

  • Increase team member mobility. Employees at one office no longer have to surmount the major roadblock of learning new equipment when they switch or visit locations. Instead, employees can immediately continue operations without interruption in the new office, using the AV system as he or she would at the original office. One cohesive system across offices enables greater employee mobility and flexibility.
  • Make troubleshooting a breeze. With just one AV system across all your office locations, individual IT teams will be able to troubleshoot problems with less hassle. Your IT workers will get to know your standardized AV system in and out and solve problems in any office location without having to investigate a brand new system.
  • Enjoy a cohesive system. It’s easier to manage one system compared to forcing two systems to work together. Uniform hardware, software, and operating systems boost business efficiency. One unified AV system optimizes disaster recovery solutions, technology upgrades, and employee training.

Standardize Corporate AV with Professional Help

In 2017, being able to communicate and collaborate quickly and efficiently is key to profitability. Choosing the right advanced audiovisual service provider takes assessing your current AV solutions, defining goals for a unified AV future, and finding a company that offers customized systems and services that fit your needs. Standardizing your audiovisual system will make your life easier. The right provider will make it possible.

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AV in U.S. courtrooms

How AV is Transforming U.S. Courtrooms

The days of old-fashioned, closed off courtrooms are over. While many perceive the legal industry to be lagging behind in technology adoption, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Integrated AV technology, used widely in courtrooms and law firms across the U.S., not only improves transparency in the judicial system, it improves courtroom efficiency, lowers overhead costs, and increases security.

Understanding the Role of AV in Court Proceedings

Historically, court proceedings required everyone involved to be present in the courtroom. Before, during, and after a trial, communication plays a huge role in the legal system. In addition to courtroom activities, depositions, training programs, and many client communications required in-person meetings. Even as some communications shifted to email interactions or phone conferences in recent years, AV technology has the potential to take communications to the next level.

AV technology meets the demand for broadcast trials as well as those behind-the-scenes interactions that take place in the legal field on a daily basis. Video conferencing and telepresence systems make it possible to accomplish many pre-trial tasks remotely, and even to call in witnesses who cannot be physically present in the courtroom.

Meanwhile, broadcast technology can bring trials to a broad television or internet audience. Interactive video monitors, microphones, speakers, touchscreen control systems, and internet-connected devices and networking all play a role in the modern, technology-driven courtroom.

AV setups in the courtroom often feature:

  • Videoconferencing equipment. Video conferencing and telepresence equipment enables courts to engage in remote arraignments and interact with witnesses or court officers who could not travel to provide testimony. Video conferencing technology also supports out-of-the-courtroom interactions such as depositions and client meetings. Remote interactions with defendants, legal counsel, and witnesses reduce overhead travel costs for individuals, government, and law firms.
  • Broadcasting equipment. To improve judicial transparency, many courts are broadcasting trials on local television or via other mediums. Instead of adapting to camera crews who need to set up equipment before each trial, some court systems are investing in their own broadcast equipment. Even if the trial isn’t immediately broadcast, the video serves as an important record of the events that took place and provides more in-depth data than a court reporter’s documentation.
  • Interactive display panels. Large screens placed in strategic locations throughout the courtroom often serve dual purposes as video conferencing screens and interactive whiteboards on which attorneys can display key pieces of evidence and use electronic pens to illustrate a point. Additionally, every important person in the courtroom can be provided with a display to ensure maximum visual intelligibility including the judge, clerk, attorneys, witnesses and jurors.
  • Audio integration. Microphones, digital signal processors and audio distribution such as speaker systems play a crucial role in the courtroom setting. Many courtrooms invest in audio technology before transitioning to video components. Microphones capture the information being shared to support court records, while connected speakers amplify communications and auditory evidence. Intelligible audio is critical for all participants to understand what is being said or presented.
  • Control and connectivity. In addition to these primary AV components, many AV companies are outfitting courtrooms with multi-functional access panels that may include laptop connections, document cameras, and other integration-friendly equipment. Judges, for example, often have access to control panels with intuitive functionality to manage the proceedings from the bench. The judge and/or lawyers may have the capability to turn on specific courtroom cameras, video sources, or displays, mute or activate microphones, and operate the video conferencing system from a touchscreen control panel or even a mobile device, such as an iPad, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Managed services. As AV technology and IT services intersect, many AV providers have started to offer managed AV services. Instead of installing the equipment and relying on the users to manage it, AV companies are remotely managing every component for reduced downtime and improved security, which is a crucial consideration in courtrooms.

AV technology clearly plays an important role in the legal setting, and government entities willing to adopt new technologies have a great opportunity for long-term positive impacts in their courtrooms.





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Custom AV System Design Delivers Delicious Win for LBCC

 

Effective audio visual system design transforms student experiences, leading to increased retention of matriculated students, and improved reputation among potential applicants. In a hands-on environment like culinary arts, being able to see and interact with the material presented by the instructor is crucial especially. When classroom AV systems are well-designed, every student can see and hear. This makes current students stay, and future students feel impressed by the up-to-date look and feel of their potential school.

In partnership with AV system designer Waveguide, Spinitar recently helped Long Beach City College (LBCC) achieve the highest standard in AV System Design. LBCC needed a standardized and simple-to-use instructional media platform for use across all of their brand new Culinary Arts spaces. They wanted students to be able to hear and see the same instruction, whether in the front row of a test kitchen classroom, or the very, very back. The answer would be found in the custom AV System Design Waveguide would create.

Spinitar Audio Visual jumped on board to furnish all materials, labor, control system programming, installation, and implementation of custom AV systems for the LBCC Culinary Arts program.

“We do believe we have built one of the premiere culinary arts facilities in Southern California,”
Terri Long, VP of Academic Affairs.

To find out all the details on how Spinitar brought state of the art AV Systems to LBCC, download the case study.

Long Beach City College - Culinary Arts Case Study

Sound Masking

Fixing the Open Office Floor Plan

 

Not long ago, open office floor plans were the biggest trend in office spaces. Businesses believed they could spend less money creating the space, and also foster collaboration and improve employee morale at the same time. However, the plan seems to have backfired. Open floor plans make no allowance for personal space, or the need for a quiet place to work. Instead of increasing productivity and satisfaction, employees complain of constant distractions and irritation.

Problems with the Open Floor

Specific problems vary from office to office—not all employees working in open office plans experience as many issues with noise or problems with visual distractions. However, there are common problems associated with most open floor offices:

  • Productivity decreases. This happens for numerous reasons, but is generally due to the large number of distractions that occur when many people work in shared spaces.
  • Employee happiness falls. Most people like to be able to work in peace, and open offices deny them that ability.
  • Distractions abound. Distractions destroy motivation, interrupt production, and generally annoy employees.
  • Employees are sick more. Open offices not only increase stress but are also a perfect platform for spreading illnesses.
  • They foster mistrust. Employees sometimes believe open floor plans mean their managers don’t trust them and want to be able to look over their shoulders.
  • Competitions arise. In any open office plan, there are always a few private offices for the higher-ups. Employees will sometimes fight over who gets a newly available private office.
  • They end up costing more. Yes, open floor offices cost less to build. However, because they lower employee productivity so steeply, they quickly result in a net loss.

Restoring Order and Productivity

Companies can do several things to increase productivity and employee morale. These include:

  • Flexible work schedules. Companies that allow their employees to telecommute can reduce the number of people working in an open office space, leading to fewer distractions and an increase in productivity. Flexible work schedules also raise employee morale.
  • Workplace culture. Feeling like part of a larger whole improves employee satisfaction and motivation. Open floor offices can allow for a strong company culture to develop, and organizations need to encourage this.
  • Noise-canceling headphones go a long way toward eliminating noisy distractions that discourage workers.
  • Movable furniture and private spaces. An open floor plan is all about allowing people to collaborate. Movable furniture enables employees to work together as a group, and then separate for individual work. This can help remove distractions and still foster collaboration.
  • Hybrid floor plans. Similar to having an open floor plan with mobile furniture, a hybrid floor plan creates spaces for groups and more private areas for individuals.
  • Alternatives to sitting. Sitting for too many hours a day is unhealthy. Moving around promotes blood flow to the brain, increases thinking capabilities as well as improves mood. Businesses can include seating alternatives such as yoga mats, treadmills, and standing workstations as part of an open office floor plan.
  • Free seating. If a company wants to promote working relationships and collaboration with an open office, they might want to avoid specific seating arrangements. Allow people to discover which colleagues they work best with and productivity will increase.

Open office floor plans have tremendous potential, but managers and business leaders must carefully assess what kind of office plan suits the work done in the office and the company culture as a whole. Done well, an open office can strike a fine balance between flexibility and productivity.

av technology for government

AV Technology Bridges the Gaps between Citizens and Local Government

AV technology is creating higher rates of participation and improved citizen engagement. Learn how governments are using it to involve and inform citizens.

Open dialogue between government and the people it serves is one of the building blocks of what helped build this country. While the public sector hasn’t always been quick to adapt and adopt the latest tech advances, that’s slowly changing. Government entities now understand that technology can increase citizen engagement and help facilitate the flow of information. Many are implementing AV technology in city buildings and public spaces. In fact, experts expect the interactive audio visual market to grow to $114 billion this year.

Today, citizens expect more, faster, from their government, whether it be services or infrastructure. Of course, while technology has made sharing information easier than ever, people still want—no, expect—more transparency in government operations.

If giant corporations such as Amazon and Google can implement technology to make user experiences more honest and pleasant, why shouldn’t the government? That’s the theory behind many recent changes some government officials have made in how they use AV technology to help make their cities run more efficiently.

Westland, Michigan, Makes Council Meetings Accessible for Everyone

One such government body is the Westland, Michigan, City Hall. What was once a mishmash of dusty old machinery and old fashioned ways of working has been upgraded to roadside digital signage and 50-inch TVs that display information for citizens. City Hall employees use a network of videoconferencing systems to broadcast pertinent information to the public; something the government of Westland hopes will increase the public’s participation in meetings by offering more transparency.

Speaking of the public, they are able to interact with the system using their mobile devices or computers. The city televises meetings over the network as well, so viewers can “sit in” on council meetings, without having to leave the comfort of their homes. Council members can participate by pressing a microphone button and can join from the lobby in the event that the room is overcrowded. All the while, 70-inch displays show the meeting in real-time. More accessibility leads to a higher rate of participation and improved citizen engagement.

Cambridge City Hall Gets an Upgrade

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Hall got a similar makeover. The 125-year-old building is now equipped with projection screens, high-definition cameras, and assistive listening devices. Council members can manage lighting, audio, and display settings from a touch screen. Most impressive, however, is the ability to participate in the meeting remotely. Citizens can upload their own documents through the system, either wirelessly or via personal flash drives.

Municipal Airports Using AV to Improve Efficiency

Municipal airports are also implementing AV technology to increase efficiency and decrease stress. The John F. Kennedy Airport in Long Beach recently developed a system of virtual assistants to guide passengers through airport security. Life-sized holographic images offer information and answer questions about screening processes in several different languages. Whether reminding passengers how to prepare for a security screening or what items are not allowed on planes, the holograms are much more engaging than signs.

AV Technology Trends All Over the World

America isn’t the only country using videoconferencing technology to make life better for its citizens. In Japan, the mayor of Fukuoka, Soichiro Takashima, recently expressed his concern for the health of the aging population. Many elderly citizens in Fukuoka are in need of advanced medical care, and as a result, the city will soon implement health-monitoring apps and remote checkups. Across the globe, government figures and entities are using technology to create real connections with their citizens.

The potential for AV technology in the government sector is huge, and this is only the beginning. The incredible technological advances we’ve seen in business and the public are just now reaching the government level. The future of how citizens and their governments interact is about to face a huge change for the better. As technology inches its way into the public sector, it will be inspiring to see how much more engaging and transparent government operations will become.

AV for Higher Education and Colleges

AV Technology and Its Impact on Higher Education

 

It’s rare to find a millennial that isn’t glued to his or her smartphone, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the traditional college lecture format isn’t exactly this generation’s cup of tea. As a result, professors have had to approach student engagement in a different way. Audio-visual (AV) technology plays a key role in connecting students and professors in creative and collaborative ways.

The Shift to AV Adoption

College students use mobile devices to socialize, keep in touch with parents, handle finances, and more. Using technology in the higher education classroom is a natural progression for this generation that clearly prefers to engage on digital platforms.

Student learning isn’t limited to one-sided lectures in confined lecture halls. Learning experiences feature interactive collaboration, flipped classroom activities, and blended classrooms. In an effort to reduce the overhead costs of education, many students are engaging in remote learning opportunities, which utilize collaboration platforms, data analysis, and synchronous and asynchronous video to engage students.

For professors willing to embrace the innovations, the seamless integration of AV technology and IT solutions enhances classroom engagement and can even improve retention levels.

It’s rare to find a millennial that isn’t glued to his or her smartphone, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the traditional college lecture format isn’t exactly this generation’s cup of tea. As a result, professors have had to approach student engagement in a different way. Audio-visual (AV) technology plays a key role in connecting students and professors in creative and collaborative ways.

AV Is Transforming Higher Education

As AV technology progresses, educators are discovering new ways to change the learning environment to optimize student workflows. Some of the most exciting advancements in AV technology for the classroom include:

  • Better collaboration. Most students bring some sort of mobile device into the classroom. With collaboration technology such as the wePresent WIPG-1600, Poll Everywhere, and Google Classroom, students can share their screens and engage in interactive activities without coming up to the front of the classroom or turning in a physical document.
  • Smart audio. In videoconferencing sessions for classroom collaborations, lectures, or guest speakers, sound quality is a fairly common challenge for AV users. New microphone setups from companies such as Shure use strategically placed microphones to reduce ambient noise for a better listening experience.
  • Improved projection. In addition to the screens themselves, projector technology has advanced. Ultrashort throw interactive projectors improve the projecting ability on white boards, while lamp-free projectors enhance quality and machine efficiency.
  • Classroom sensors and Big Data analytics. In 2015, Google provided Carnegie Mellon University with $500,000 to create an IoT platform to support everything from sensor-based data collection to app development. The university used the funds to create the platform GloTTO. Among the platform’s capabilities, the project lead believes the technology may change audio-visual experiences in the classroom by detecting environmental changes and improving technology diagnostics.

While many of these changes are exciting, barriers to adoption include integration and wireless connectivity. For the AV solutions to transform the learning environment, they must work seamlessly and reliably with different consumer and commercial devices.

To create a fully evolved classroom, AV integrators must delve into the changing nature of classroom interactions. New modes of learning, such as flipped classrooms—where students work during class and learn during individual study and assignments—highlight the need for seamless collaboration tools that connect students inside and outside of the classroom. In the next stage of evolution, higher education facilities may also explore the benefits of using augmented and virtual reality platforms to truly immerse students in an educational experience.

We would love to meet with you about your campus’s technologies! Contact us today for a tour or to start a conversation today.