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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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Spinitar — Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas from Spinitar

 

2016 has been quite a year around here, and we are incredibly grateful for our employees, partners, and clients who allow us to do what we do best…audio, visual, and communication solutions! The holidays are always a great time to look back and appreciate the gifts of the year. This fun blog shares some of the highlights. Thanks for being a part of our journey!

30 Year Anniversary

Spinitar has been providing quality AV solutions for 30 years now. We celebrated this amazing milestone in May of this year, and are proud to work with all of our wonderful manufacturer partners and vendor partners to keep everyone connected and inspired.

We blogged about it here!

2nd Annual Golf for Hope Tournament

In October, we hosted our 2nd annual golf classic, benefiting City of Hope. In the end, we are incredibly grateful to have been able to support the cancer treatment and research organization through the tournament, including a fun raffle and silent auction made possible by our incredible friends, family, and partners.

Visit our Facebook album to see the fun!

Growing Federal Government Practice

This year, our service to federal government facilities, including design and installation of some very complicated mission control rooms, has expanded exponentially. We are proud to serve our country in this small way, and look forward to providing even more customized AV solutions for state and federal government spaces next year.

New Office Opens in Concord

The expansion continues! We were proud to announce the grand opening of our new office in Concord, CA this November. The new space will help us to serve our West Coast clientele even better, and is a testament to the wonderful successes of our team in California.
Visit our Facebook album to see who joined our office warming party!

Microsoft Surface Hub

The Microsoft Surface Hub is one of the coolest collaboration technologies to hit the market… ever. We are excited to be one of Microsoft’s exclusive dealers for the solution, and really enjoyed launching the Surface Hub at several events this quarter. Look out for your invite in 2017 for more opportunities to try out Surface Hub with your group.

Very Merry Christmas

Here at Spinitar, we place a high value on our business and manufacturer partners. In fact, our partners are one of the top reasons for our success. One way we show our appreciation each year is by celebrating the joy of the holiday season with our annual Partner Appreciation Day.

View our Facebook album to see the fun, food, fellowship and Christmas cheer!

Microsoft Surface Hub

How it Works: Microsoft Surface Hub

 

Based on a Harvard Business Review study of meetings with remote participants, it takes an average of 12 minutes to get any session started. For people with busy schedules who already tend to view meetings as one of the least productive parts of their week, that 12 minutes can feel like an eternity of wasted time.

Finding ways to solve connectivity and content sharing issues for remote meeting participants, and figuring out how to make meetings engaging and productive became a major motivation for Microsoft in the development of its brand new Surface Hub solution. Read more about the basics of Surface Hub in our previous blog.

This post focuses on the details of how the Microsoft Surface Hub solution works to harness the power of the group, whether participants are in the room, or across the globe.

Easy Connectivity

Rather than spending valuable minutes figuring out how to connect, the Microsoft Surface Hub allows remote meeting participants to easily access any meeting from any Internet-connected device via Skype for Business. For those in the physical meeting space, connecting is as simple as a touch. The Surface Hub can also start and end meetings automatically for the ultimate ease of connectivity.

Content Sharing and Real Collaboration

Without the right collaboration technology, the flow of discussion can be interrupted when someone tries to share content or bring in external data, and faces unexpected technical delays. Most other meeting technologies have not been true content-sharing solutions. Too often, the presenter or those in the meeting room are the only participants who can share and modify content.
The Surface Hub solves this issue by allowing easy content sharing via Skype for remote participants, wireless connectivity to share content in the room from any device, and real time collaboration via touch screen technology.

Businesses have advanced their design, manufacturing and engineering processes and technology, but there is surprisingly still a demand for a tool in that delivers an effective way of accomplishing and advancing group communication goals.

100 Points of Touch

Microsoft acquired industry leading interactive display technology firm Perceptive Pixel in 2012, and has since advanced its own touch glass displays beyond any other offering on the market. The Microsoft Surface Hub includes an “infinite whiteboard” that allows for a fluid ink experience on an 84-inch interactive display. It’s a clever mix of technology and practical use that is designed to give educators and business professionals confidence expressing their thoughts immediately, and can be easily shared with participants electronically.

Runs Windows Natively

Powered by Windows 10, one of Surface Hub’s primary functions is to run Windows applications natively, eliminating the need for customization. Similar to how a smartphone operates, applications like Word, PowerPoint and Excel simultaneously run in their own windows. This means a remote user can present his/her screen via Skype for Business, and the people in the meeting room can still use the infinite whiteboard, web browser, or any other application. They can even clip the content from the presenter and interact with it on the whiteboard while the discussion is still happening.
When the meeting is finished, the Surface Hub can email everyone in the meeting with a OneNote and PDF file so the meeting is saved, meaningful, and actionable.

The Surface Hub is a powerful Windows computer mixed with a world class large, interactive display. It allows the end user to be as creative with their ideas as they can imagine, and harnesses the power of the group to create together!

Integrate with Professional AV Environments

The Surface Hub on its own is an excellent solution for huddle spaces and small conference rooms. Its connection ports are designed to integrate with a professional audio visual system. For a larger conference room or lecture hall, it can be complemented with an external audio, mic and camera systems to create a unified communication environment. Look out for our upcoming post on how to integrate MS Hub with your existing professional AV.

Unlocking the Power of the Group

The Surface Hub effortlessly harnesses the collective knowledge and skills of any group anywhere. It was designed as the best-in-class interactive display, a powerful team collaboration device that advances the way people work together naturally. We believe the Surface Hub can be as transformative to group productivity as the PC was for individuals.

To see the Surface Hub in action, connect with us for your demo today.

Microsoft Surface Hub

Microsoft Surface Hub Transforms Collaboration

 

From healthcare to education, legal, government, manufacturing, to construction and every industry in between, the Microsoft Surface Hub updates offices and other workspaces to inspire and engage employees and collaborators. Anyone who has training rooms, huddle spaces, conference rooms, classrooms or any other indoor collaboration space can benefit from Microsoft’s brand new technology that helps workers everywhere to “unlock the power of the group.”

As Forrester Research puts it, “Many enterprises struggle with gaps in their workplace collaboration technology, environments that are not built for collaboration, and cultures that do not fully support teams to achieve better outcomes. The result is teams that are not as effective as they could be.”
The brand new Microsoft Surface Hub addresses this problem with technology that transforms collaboration.

The Microsoft Surface Hub Encourages Productive Meetings

  • Surface Hub can detect when you’re in front of it and will start the meeting automatically as its admin.
  • Everything needed to present and capture information during a meeting is within the Hub, including an infinite whiteboard, presentation platforms like MS PowerPoint, video/audio playback, file sharing and much more.
  • Meeting invites can be sent from the Hub during a meeting as the conversation evolves.
  • The 84” Surface Hub plays video in 4k for stunning presentation of creative assets.

The Microsoft Surface Hub Manages Follow Up Automatically

  • Any information captured in a meeting can be sent automatically when a meeting ends.
  • Leaders can select specific individuals to send to, including those who weren’t able to attend the meeting.

Harnessing the Power of Collaboration

The modern workplace is fast-paced, mobile, creative and collaborative. Smart people working together to solve complex problems in business need technology than can unlock the power of their group. Too often, people view meetings as a time sucking journey away from productivity. The dreaded meeting reminder doesn’t have to be so dreaded anymore with Microsoft’s brand new Surface Hub technology, which assures meeting start and end on time, and provides the perfect tools to capture real time collaboration that moves the business forward.

Surface Hub is the Most Effective Touchscreen Ever Built

Microsoft created Surface Hub to work natively with Windows 10. As a result, it is the most effective version of any touchscreen platform ever created. The built-in computer eliminates the need to toggle through inputs when using third party apps. It’s familiar, it’s fast, and it’s backed by the trusted and relied upon Microsoft platform.

 

Microsoft Surface Hub

Unlock the Power of the Group with Microsoft Surface Hub

 

Microsoft Surface Hub is a brand new presentation and conferencing technology that will transform the way we work in groups. As you know, some of the most productive work happens when you make the most of the collective knowledge and skills of a group. However, effective collaboration can sometimes be hard, especially when some members of the team work remotely, or when a company has several physical locations, all with smart people who should be involved with creating the best work possible.

Microsoft Surface Hub is like an infinite whiteboard that helps unlock the power of the group.

From designers, to manufacturers, trainers, finance directors, marketers, product developers and so many others are singing the praises of the Microsoft Surface Hub.

Microsoft Surface Hub Brings Versatility On Demand

The 55″and 84″ Microsoft Surface Hub both create a true ‘wow’ factor in a room, but collaboration isn’t limited to meetings. A brainstorm can happen anywhere, anytime…and with a single tap on any device. It’s a unique technology that harnesses the power of collaboration through multi-touch, inking, voice commands, even communication capabilities like storing past iterations of ideas, and automatically sending meeting notes to participants.

Harness the Power of the Hub

Spinitar is pleased to host a special event on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 where you can experience this amazing new technology for yourself. Join us at our La Mirada offices, and find out how you can harness the power of the Microsoft Surface Hub.

AV Equipment

What’s Your Outdated AV Equipment Really Costing You?

 

Our clients routinely tell us that technology updates are their largest, unplanned expenses. At first glance, spending money on maintaining and replacing your audio visual (AV) system may not seem like a necessary investment, but an outdated or unreliable system could be costing you far more than you realize. Let’s look at a few of the expenses you may not have considered.

Loss of Potential Customers

A mistake we often see is that companies don’t consider on-site, customer visits a part of their brand experience. In reality, everything from how your receptionist greets visitors to the cleanliness of your bathrooms can make a large impact on how potential customers view your brand. Most importantly, however, where do we most often take our visitors? Conference rooms.
Consider this scenario: your beautiful conference room with leather chairs and oak table is prepared with bottled water and a logoed pen and paper at every seat. There are even snacks, sweets, and coffee at the back of the room. Then you start up your presentation on an old projector that no one can see because of the sun is shining in the room. Throughout the meeting, you have to yell to the people sitting across the room because your audio system went down a few months prior.
Just like a nice website or a chic office space, there’s something to be said for bright, new, shiny, state-of-the art AV technology. It makes an impression on people and can alter the way a company is viewed by visitors.

Space and Energy Costs

We’ve seen otherwise nice, large conference rooms collect dust because the AV system badly needed a refresh. This is an area where cost can be hard to identify, but if conference rooms, huddle spaces, auditoriums, etc. are not being used, you are paying for unused space. That’s money down the drain. Not to mention the loss of productivity that these rooms were designed to facilitate. It really doesn’t take much, a dim projector, a fuzzy display, or poor audio and a room is suddenly no longer useful.
More often than not, failing to make updates to AV systems can lead to a bunch of smaller expenses that make an impact in the long run. The large cost of putting a VP or guest speaker on a plane can normally be avoided using video conferencing methods like GoToMeeting or Skype, but staff members lose this option when AV systems aren’t functioning well. Newer AV systems are also significantly more energy efficient. That means additional savings going directly to your bottom line.

IT Time and Expense

Now let’s look at maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair from your IT staff’s point of view. Although digital options have been available for some time now, there are older systems around that are using analog solutions. Organizations that are still using analog should seriously consider upgrading to a newer, digital AV system because it can be connected to the company’s network. This helps the IT crew monitor the system, complete maintenance tasks, and resolve issues faster. They’d be the first to tell you that networkable systems are much easier to manage, update, and fix when broken. Having network access makes their jobs easier, and it minimizes downtime.
Large enterprise customers and those with multiple spaces or locations will experience significant benefits with network-integrated AV systems. Issues can be fixed remotely, saving time and travel expense. This is also a big convenience for those using managed IT services instead of in-house staffing.

Employee Morale and Retention

Qualified and reliable workers are hard to find and keep these days. AV systems that won’t seem to work, or systems that don’t get repaired in a timely manner, are a huge source of frustration for your employees. Lack of proper training on how to use the systems can also be a big culprit here.
Nobody wants to fight with uncooperative equipment in front of a conference room full of co-workers, or worse, a client. Up-to-date technology and proper training make for a less stressful work environment and can help employees feel valued and happier with their jobs. Hiring and training new staff is almost always more expensive than keeping those you already have.

Upfront Costs vs. Long-Term Savings

When our customers sit down with us to discuss upgrading or replacing their current AV systems, often times they only see the costs of products and implementation services involved. However, there are many benefits and savings associated with newer technology. Today’s equipment can provide valuable opportunities in the areas of video conferencing, remote access, and professional presentations that win new clients. We’d love to sit down and talk with you about these exciting possibilities as it relates to your business.

Spinitar-CTA- Showroom

Classroom Visuals

Building a School Culture Through Positive Visual Content

Students and parents need to be assured by the school’s atmosphere and overall presentation while walking around and engaging with the hallways, classrooms and common areas. What better way to engage them than with quality classroom visuals? Customized layouts of learning materials, poster-sized photographs of the school’s own smiling children & faculty, and awards that recognize exceptional students are wonderful ways to build a genuine community within the school and encourage everyone’s success.

Changing Classroom Visuals Often and Easily

If the collateral the students see around school and classrooms never change, they will eventually tune it all out. In order to create a fresh and exciting atmosphere, a school has to occasionally freshen itself up, and the only way this happens is if a school makes it easy for their staff to create new visuals.

When teachers have to provide their own visuals for their classrooms, it can either be expensive to buy or time-consuming to create. The teacher must come up with designs, find photographs and often will pay for the final product out-of-pocket. When a teacher is busy and paying for their own teaching materials and other school supplies, changing their classroom visuals can be daunting and unfeasible, economically. Finding a way to help teachers create these relevant visuals easily and affordably can provide the support and acknowledgement that what they are doing is important and worth their time.

Better Behavior and a Sense of Pride

Looking at any entity that’s trying to build a positive culture, be it a military group, a sports team or a business, you’ll see they all display their pride. They hang up quotes, mission statements and taglines for motivation, they tout the rules that they follow and the great achievements they’ve had. Schools can do the same. To promote good behavior, a school can hang it’s code of conduct in the hallways and teachers can have their own specific to their classrooms. Pictures of alumnus and mascots can promote school spirit. A mural from a street artist can provide a hip, artistic culture or maybe something black and white for a classic culture. If you want your school to have a culture, the school itself, from staff to teacher has to display it proudly.

Helping the Teacher Show, not Tell, the Students

Everyone can remember being stumped by a math problem. And why not? Math feels abstract until students can visualize it; it’s a bunch of rules and the reasoning behind them can be difficult to understand at first. When dividing two fractions, multiply the divisor by the reciprocal? Why? Shrug.

This “indifference” is how many students feel. It makes them feel less than confident . When they have visual learning tools to help show why a rule needs to be followed, however, it’s easier to remember. Instead of verbally explaining a problem to the class, a teacher can show the student with meaningful classroom visuals. If the rule is displayed on a poster in the classroom, students will continue to engage with the material until it makes sense. By creating an environment conducive to learning, a school creates a positive learning culture.

Engaging the Daydreamers With Their Eyes

80% of what we perceive is through sight. Remember when your attention wandered and you started looking around the room? Savvy, enabled teachers can use this daydreaming to their advantage with posters and cut outs about the battles being taught in History or by setting images behind poems being studied in Literature. Classroom visuals like large photographs of real situations showing us abstract concepts can help engage students.

Making People Feel Special

Between losing recess privileges, getting detention and being sent to the principal’s office, students are getting plenty of discipline, but what about positive recognition? When shiny star stickers lose their allure, professional looking plaques and awards can really make a difference. A teacher equipped with the proper tools can also create games to hang on the wall to incentivize good behavior. Imagine a poster that allows the class to move the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria closer to the U.S.A., if they did their homework and can answer the teacher’s questions that day.

The Right Tools for the Job

Teachers can’t afford to purchase their own classroom visuals, let alone turn them over as the curriculum changes throughout the year. Schools looking to improve their culture need to provide basic tools like a poster and cutout makers for their staff. Many of these tools come with their own design center and design templates that make it easy to generate professional looking visuals for the classroom, hallways, and campus in minutes.

With easy-to-construct classroom visuals, the entire school’s culture benefits. By creating interactive and engaging learning experiences using visuals, students will learn cognitively, teachers can contribute their expertise demonstratively and everyone will actually enjoy and benefit!

Visual Learning Tools

Visual Learning Tools

Q&A: The impact of Visual Learning Tools on Lesson Retention in the Classroom

 

The importance of visual learning tools to lesson retention for students is undeniable at this juncture, as great articles covering visual note-taking by Meghan Everette on Scholastic.com, and 10 Strategies to Enhance Students’ Memory by Glenda Thorne over at ReadingRockets.com demonstrate. We sat down with one of our classroom visual tools experts here at Spinitar to find out how educators are using VariQuest™ visual learning tools to increase lesson retention inside classrooms today.

Q: What are some of the challenges educators are facing when it comes to lesson retention in the classroom or at home?

Michelle: Something we don’t often talk about is the time spent on traditional repetition activities. This allowed students to solidify information in their memory, but has been significantly reduced. One of the major challenges educators now face is more intense course curriculums, which leave teachers with less time-per-topic or time-per-lesson. Larger class sizes, tighter schedules, and increased homework requirements are compounding the problem and leaving educators with less opportunity to put lessons in front of the students’ eyes.

Q: Why is it important to have tools that help with lesson retention?

Michelle: There are two reasons that seem to come up often – time and distractions. The great thing about visual learning tools is that they don’t necessarily require time to be set aside to be effective, like apps and computer programs do. Putting visually appealing and engaging content on the classroom walls and/or into the hands of students makes the lesson more readily available. The repetition of seeing a poster with a particular concept will resonate longer than the blocks of teaching time that are disappearing year over year.

For the kinesthetic and visual learners, these tools can enhance the lessons being given during class and may even trump the lessons given only through temporary visuals and auditory means. These types of learners may have the lesson resonate and remain with them at a higher rate when static visuals are available.

Also, there are many distractions for students both inside and outside of the classroom – family life, social happenings, cell phones, etc. Creating a visual feast in the classroom allows a teacher to transform any room into an interactive learning environment that is different than the world outside. Providing teachers the right tools – like posters, manipulatives, and/or plaque awards for student recognition – will help to reduce distractions in a classroom and to create an environment that is different, engaging, and/or thought provoking. The tools and their effects will have a huge impact on student learning and classroom participation. If for any other reason, because it’s different. It helps set up an attitude of attention and participation when a student knows that the lesson they are about to learn will involve all of their senses.

With visual learning tools, students and parents together can also create their own learning environment at home. Taking the lesson outside of the classroom is also a big factor when it comes to improving lesson retention and impacting critical thinking skills.

Q: In your opinion, what is one of the most effective visual learning tools educators have access to through someone like Spinitar?

Michelle: The Poster Maker/Perfecta gives teachers the ability to create static visual recaps of lessons that students can reference simply with a glance. In some cases, our teachers are even minimizing the visuals into half-posters that students can then take home and display in an area where they spend the most time studying. The ability to create visual content and lessons beyond minimum requirements in the classroom empowers these teachers to go beyond the confines of their classroom, and drive home those lessons.

Teachers are also using the Poster Maker/Perfecta to highlight critical portions of their lessons, incorporating anchor charts and graphic organizers pre-designed within the VariQuest™ software. They are able to put an emphasis on the overarching messages which are critical to helping students understand the value or point of each lesson. Often times, we find that students lose interest in a lesson simply because they missed a key point that could have been better reinforced if the teacher had more facetime with students. Visual learning tools like lesson posters increase that facetime by always being present in the classroom.

Q: What advice would you give teachers struggling to integrate visual learning tools into their lesson plans or routine processes?

Michelle: We know how busy and overwhelmed teachers get in the classroom these days. We work along with Variquest to find ways to simplify the use of these different tools so that teachers can spend more of their time and energy on what to focus their assets on instead of how to create them.

For example, the VariQuest™ software has a number of supplemental learning modules in the subject areas of science, math, language arts, and social studies. These can be used to quickly and easily adapt to the day’s lesson. By removing the requirement of designing, we’re giving teachers back their precious time and removing additional work from their plates.

For more information about visual learning tools, the templates available to VariQuest customers, and how Spinitar can help you in the classroom, email Michelle Cromer at crm@spinitar.com with questions and requests.

Visual Learning Tools

Video Collaboration Takes Human Resources

Video Collaboration Takes Human Resources to New Levels


Human resource (HR) departments are entrusted with an organization’s biggest asset—its workforce. That’s why HR professionals are embracing AV’s most popular solution video collaboration. New tools and technology, including video-enabled business applications, are helping ensure that hiring managers are connecting, communicating, and collaborating in the most efficient ways possible. By becoming adopters of video conferencing and related solutions, HR leaders can make improvements in areas including talent acquisition, training and development, employee engagement, and more.

How HR Departments Use Videoconferencing

The videoconferencing industry has rapidly grown . In fact, the global market for its equipment and services was valued at $3.69 billion in 2014, with projected expansion at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 8.25 percent from 2015-2023.

Take a look at four ways in which videoconferencing can benefit enterprise HR departments, too:

Expand your talent search beyond geographical limits.

To say the workforce today is a global one would be an understatement. Thirty-seven percent of U.S. workers alone report telecommuting either completely or partially. Fortune 1000 companies on a global scale continue to restructure their workplaces to include spaces dedicated to video collaboration with employees or clients who are remotely located. When enterprise companies encourage HR departments to fill vacancies based on aptitude and not addresses, everybody wins.

Train more effectively and more often.

A key observation from top performing enterprise brands—such as those listed in Fortune’s 2015 ranking of the “100 Best Companies to Work For”—is that successful companies invest in training employees. In fact, the hourly employees from companies that made the list received 78 hours of training; administrative staffers completed 94 hours. Videoconferencing solutions allow HR heads, managers and even remotely located subject matter experts to wirelessly share documents in group training sessions (for instance, those on compliance or corporate policy). Similarly, video collaboration makes it more efficient to conduct training for new hires—including sharing files and data mid-session—without losing the benefits of face-to-face communication.

Reduce time-to-hire and cost-per-hire.

Traveling to recruit and conduct in-person interviews can be expensive and time consuming, especially if there are multiple prospects vying for the same position. When HR departments use videoconferencing to conduct interviews and hold virtual recruitment events, the expense is just a fraction of what it would be to complete these tasks in-person—all without sacrificing effectiveness. Candidates can interview from their mobile phones or laptops, making the process user-friendly and dynamic.

Create a communicative and flexible workplace culture.

Replacing an employee who leaves a position is costly from both a resource and financial perspective. For starters, the time and money it takes to retrain someone new can be daunting for HR departments. That’s why more companies are focusing on improving company culture, a key attribute for employee satisfaction among Fortune’s aforementioned Best Companies.

Adopting new technologies like videoconferencing can help illustrate that HR departments care about flexibility and work life balance. And as studies show, creating a communicative and collaborative workplace culture can increase satisfaction and help retain valuable employees.

Video collaboration technologies have a place in many parts of a company, but they’re especially useful when it comes to HR departments. After all, HR professionals are in the people business, and video can help foster more connections and enhance collaborations among those who use it.

Why Video Collaboration is Taking Over Business Communications

Video Collaboration is replacing the video conferencing systems in boardrooms and conference spaces. But why?

The global economy and rapidly evolving technology demands businesses to be more innovative than ever. However, the speed of innovation in business depends on how well their teams can communicate and collaborate with each other.

One of the biggest challenges in today’s business communication comes from having globally dispersed teams. With remote teams, the chance of miscommunication and misunderstanding increases exponentially, and these types of potential errors can have an extremely negative impact on a business, from both and financial and a reputation perspective.

As a technology that has changed the world’s view of workplace collaboration and communication, video collaboration is able to meet the communication needs of today’s organizations, big and small. Video communication and collaboration enables companies of all sizes and budgets to keep pace with the dynamic business landscape cost-effectively, while it weeds out common factors that hinder innovation.

Video Edges Out Other Communications Options

Emails and audio conferences, while useful, cannot reliably bring remote teams together. Why? Because having to sift through endless chains of emails can not only be frustrating but is time-consuming as well, and opens the door to the possibility of important details being missed, and important information being misconstrued. In the case of phone meetings, you can only hope your teammates are not slacking off while “on the call.”  A 2014 survey by InterCall revealed that more than 80 percent employees remain distracted with non-work activities during conference calls.

As opposed to long, tedious conference calls, where you often have to pinch yourself to avoid dozing off, the visual nature of video communications makes it easier for participants to stay focused on the meeting’s purpose. This results in more fruitful meetings. This is one of the main reasons why the popularity of video as a preferred medium of workplace communication is soaring. A Wainhouse Research survey of over 1,000 business executives found that 78 percent of respondents consider online video effective for business communications.

Video is Becoming the Star of Business Communications in Every Sector 

As a low-cost, effective, and highly accessible tech tool, video serves a wide range of business sectors. Video collaboration opens up greater opportunities for retailers and financial institutions to engage with their customers, vendors, and partners seamlessly across the globe. Manufacturers can leverage video to bolster production through faster decision making and improved resolution of customer complaints. And logistics firms can interact more efficiently with their supply chain connections, and improve their quality and turnaround for deliveries using video communications.

Video Plays a Major Role in Critical Business Processes

Businesses are realizing the potential of video collaboration to improve their operations on multiple levels. Let’s take a closer look at how video affects three important business processes.

Marketing. When it comes to marketing, nothing beats honest, face-to-face communication. Video serves as a powerful tool that allows marketers to build and foster relationships with customers in a more meaningful way. Not only that, video offers new communications channels for product launches, customer training, service, support, and more.

Sales. Training is an integral part of sales. Video helps businesses deliver better sales training to new reps. Besides providing the benefits of real-time interactions, video training sessions can be archived for on-demand viewing. Many sales teams feel like they do not communicate regularly with their managers. In fact, nearly 50 percent of sales managers fail to devote enough time to train their sales team. Video conferencing can solve this problem by allowing managers to interact with their teams on-the-fly.

Human Resources. Video helps HR teams function faster, make better decisions, and tap into the global talent pool. Plus, it reduces the cost of operations. An Aberdeen report found video conferencing can bring down recruitment costs-per-hire by up to 32 percent.

With such and extensive list of benefits for businesses, how can Spinitar help you get videoconferencing and/or video collaboration? Video may soon become the standard communication model in Enterprise. As such, the pace of video adoption will be a key differentiator of business success for modern companies. Contact us today! (800) 722-6444

Videoconferencing: Don’t Take Risks with Your Sensitive Data

The way people work is changing, and the use of videoconferencing as a collaborative tool, married with the increasing acceptance of remote workers and flex-time is becoming the norm.

Today, technology has advanced to the point where people aren’t chained to their desks from 9-to-5. Meetings can be held, and projects completed, from literally anywhere. From coffee shops to airports to subway systems, look around and you’re likely to see people hunched over, pecking away at their laptops or other mobile devices. Nine times out of ten, they aren’t checking their Facebook, they’re working—sending emails or drafting RFPs.
And, with employees bringing their own devices to work (BYOD), there is an even bigger incentive to allow your staff to use cloud services for videoconferencing. While this is great in terms of employee productivity, cloud-based software, and software as service (SaaS) applications can bring privacy and security concerns for your organization, concerns you must be aware of, and address.

What’s at Stake?

High profile news stories for a growing list of mega-companies, such as Sony, Amazon or Target, have shown the public the reality of what security breaches can do to an organization’s reputation, and its bottom line.

So what should you do? You want the benefits of videoconferencing, cloud-based solutions and BYOD policies, but you don’t want a heavy security risk. Fortunately, there are measures you can put in place to limit such threats from occurring.

Covering all the bases.

First of all your company must have a firm and clear security policy for all employees. Device encryption is a must. Employees need to understand when it is appropriate to use BYOD and what applications make it safe to do so. In addition, your organization needs to have appropriate security measures in place should an employee lose or have one of their devices stolen.

Next, In order to make sure data is private and users are secure, your company must place your system behind a firewall and use a gatekeeper or session border controller. It can be a bit of a hassle to set up, which is why a lot of companies don’t bother, but this is a grave mistake. For more advanced security, such as in the case of sensitive industries like healthcare and banking, your organization must work with IT security professionals to create custom firewalls and security packages. These professionals should know the ins and outs of video conferencing infrastructure. If your IT team cannot handle this by themselves, consider outsourcing cloud security to a service provider.

Video conferencing in a safe environment.

Do not let your employees use just any application that offers video conferencing. Ensure you have professionally installed equipment on-site, and that you use pre-recommended video conferencing services, that have fantastic security measures in place, as well as an experienced security team to handle any issues that should arise.

The potential ramifications.

The ramifications if corporate or customer information were to leak could be huge. Cyber intrusions for large corporations can lead to millions of dollars’ worth of losses, significant detriment to a brand image, and in the case of government agencies or contractors, could even be dangerous to the public’s well being.

Accessibility frees up room for creativity and innovation, but with convenience comes risk. Don’t allow the possibility of your firm becoming another news headline, embarrassed by leaked confidential company data. Choose a reputable IT security professional to install your videoconferencing equipment, instead of opting for free non-secure applications, and you can rest a little easier at night knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard your data against any future threats.

Spinitar works with businesses and organization from all over the world and understands how videoconferencing, cloud-based solutions and BYOD policies should solve business challenges. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding your videoconferencing systems – (800) 722-6444 or sales@spinitar.com.