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Ashley Jones

Recent Posts

The Importance Of Digital Signage In The Time Of Covid-19

We’ve written before about the importance of digital signage in an increasingly dynamic marketplace. The foundation of any public display strategy should prioritize responsiveness and flexibility, and those are precisely the qualities that a digital signage solution will bring to your advertising and customer outreach.

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Making The Case For Video Walls

We tend to focus on digital solutions as a means of collaboration between co-workers, and while that aspect of A/V integration is absolutely crucial, screen technology is also an excellent way to deliver powerful messages to your clients and business partners. In such cases, we are thinking about screens as a uni-directional format, less of a conversation and more of an announcement: this is who we are. And there is no better way to show visitors who you are than with a well-designed and inviting lobby or atrium. But instead of the traditional, inoffensive art and decoration, businesses now have recourse to video walls that boast high-definition images and easy content control. Let's take a look at the advantages of such an addition.

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Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Video And Audio Conferencing

When you think about how the majority of people communicate these days, what do you see? Text messages, right? Or some variation thereof: Slack messages, Facebook Messenger messages, Microsoft Teams chats. Text-based communication is understandably popular. For one thing, everyone already has the necessary infrastructure on their mobile devices. In addition, there is something so delightfully low-pressure about messaging--there’s no eye contact necessary, and you can compose your thoughts before sending them out into the world. Messaging is a true gift for anyone who struggles with shyness or social anxiety, but even the most socially adept among us revel in its ease.

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Take Customer Service To The Next Level With Huddle Room Solutions

The rise of video conferencing and collaboration solutions has been paralleled by a transformation of office spaces and meeting rooms. With more and more employees working from home or other remote sites, the need for large meeting rooms and individual offices and cubicles has declined. Many employees are part time residents of or occasional visitors to headquarters, and so huddle rooms, modest multi-purpose rooms that can be used on the fly, are becoming more prevalent. According to Wainhouse Research, there are approximately 50 million huddle rooms around the world. So huddle rooms aren’t only the future--they are also the now.

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Connect With Customers Using The Cloud

The central tenet of customer service is the same as it ever was: keep the customer happy! Which means: keep the customer coming back. ‘Tis the nature of business. But while the foundation of good customer service remains the same, the strategies and tactics you use to reach out to customers constantly shift and evolve. Staying engaged with and responsive to customers in 2018 requires a set of skills and technical interventions that would have been unimaginable thirty or twenty or even ten years ago.

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The Transformative Power Of The Huddle Room

What if we told you there was a very simple way to increase productivity, reduce your company’s real estate footprint, save money and keep your remote employees happy? Sounds too good to be true, right? It’s not. You must simply embrace the beauty and power of the huddle room.

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Four Key Things To Consider When Planning Your Digital Signage

So, you're thinking about adding digital signage to your company's toolkit. Excellent! It's as easy as sticking a screen in your lobby and loading it up with some cool pictures, right? No, sorry. You'll have to ask yourself (and, hopefully, answer) a few crucial questions before committing to such a undertaking.

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How Poor Meeting Management Impacts The Bottom Line

We all know how annoying and soul-crushing a poorly run meeting can be. Time slows to a crawl. The clock seems to tick backwards. Legs fall asleep. Coffee stops working. Yawns infect the room. Employees throw dagger eyes at the boss, their ire barely contained: why, their faces say, why oh why are we even here.

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Plantronics Acquires Polycom In $2 Billion Deal

In a blockbuster deal announced on March 28, venerable communications giant Plantronics will acquire conferencing and collaboration luminary Polycom for $2 billion. The boards of both companies unanimously approved the deal, which will likely close in the third quarter of 2018, pending regulatory approval.

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Adding Digital Signage With Design In Mind

The benefits of video walls and digital signage are many. Such solutions allow companies to eliminate costs associated with printed matter (like posters, billboards and brochures) while increasing brand awareness in such a way that improves business--80% of brands that use digital signage experience a sales increase of 33%. And with digital signage, you can respond to the ever-shifting nature of the market by updating your displays with just a few clicks.

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Video Conferencing Is A Vital Educational Tool

In recent years, we have seen a revolution in the workplace, as companies come around to realizing that the traditional idea of work--commute to office, work at office, leave office--is a largely outmoded notion that doesn’t jibe with the way we think about time and space in the 21st century. The world we live in now is defined by malleability and flux, as we can take work with us wherever we go and, in many cases, adjust work schedules to meet our needs.

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Is It Time To Upgrade Your Conference Room?

Keeping up with tech developments can feel like an impossible task. It seems like some new innovation is unveiled every other day. It is tempting to throw up one’s hands and ditch the tech news cycle altogether, because the reward for keeping tabs on new developments is too often a feeling of futility and frustration. What’s the point of investing in new solutions if they are supplanted by brighter and bigger and better ones within months? One must strike a careful balance between the past and the future, between the technology that has been working for you and the newfangled solutions that will be necessary moving forward. Finding this balance can be tricky. So let’s take a look at a few of the more glaring signs that it is time for you to upgrade the gear in your conference room.

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Digital Signage

Anyone with a bullhorn and a bright sign can attract attention. And you could easily turn your digital signage strategy into the equivalent of just such a crass attention-grabbing maneuver. But we’ll assume you don’t want to have to scream to get people’s attention. How can you use your digital displays to attract attention in ways that actually make people want to pay attention? Let’s look at a few key considerations.

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Lifesize Unveils New Cisco And Polycom Integrations

Lifesize used the occasion of February’s Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) trade show to announce a host of improvements and additions to Lifesize Cloud. The big attention-getter was Lifesize’s unveiling of new integration features for Cisco and Polycom video systems.

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Doing Business And Driving Profit With Digital Signage

You might think of digital signage as an aesthetically pleasing addition to your design scheme, and you would not be wrong to think this. But digital display solutions are versatile tools that can deepen your relationship with clients while financially benefiting your company. Let’s look at a few ways digital signage can become a vital component of your organization.

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How To Impress Prospective Employers Via Video

With more and more companies realizing that recruitment via video conferencing allows them to save money while widening their employee search, job hunters would do well to modify work on their video interview strategies. The rules of the old-fashioned interview still apply--make eye contact, speak with confidence, express enthusiasm--but video adds a few new demands. Let’s take a look at what you can do to shine on a screen.

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How To Get Better At Video Conference Presentations

Public speaking is scary. When you add video conferencing to the mix, things can get even scarier. Not only do you have to talk to people--you also have to manage, at the very least, the issue of how to present yourself on camera. If you're intent on presenting something people will respond to, you'll also probably have visual supplements (charts, graphs, pictures) incorporated into the proceedings. This can feel overwhelming. But there are things you can do before and during your presentation to pull it off. Here are a few suggestions.

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Crucial Communication Strategies For The Modern Office

So, you’re finally on board with this whole digital revolution thing. You have decided your office might need a makeover to bring it into the 21st century. Excellent! Welcome! Let’s go over a few key communication solutions you probably won’t want to work without.

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The Future of Video Conferencing And Collaboration

Technology changes so fast that making predictions about it can be a fool’s errand, but it’s important to think about where we are at and where we might be going. And in the world of video conferencing and collaboration solutions, one can see a few pretty clear paths into an otherwise uncertain future. If we were betting people, we would definitely put our money on the four following possibilities.

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Solutionz Lands Near The Top Of SCN’s Systems Integrators List

For the last decade or so, the fine folks at System Contractor News have closed out the calendar year with a comprehensive list of the top 50 systems integrators in the industry. Taken as a whole, the list offers a pretty accurate snapshot of the state of the audio-visual integration landscape, and we like to think of it as a picture of where we’ve all been and a sign of what might be to come. Last year, Solutionz landed the number nine spot on SCN’s list, and we are pleased to announce that we have moved up in the world: on the newly released 2017 rundown, Solutionz secured the number eight spot. Another top ten finish!

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Three Key Features To Look For In A Video Conferencing Solution

Choosing a video conferencing solution can be an overwhelming undertaking. That’s why we exist: to help you wade through the options and choose the one that’s best for your company. But whether we’re there by your side or not, there are a few features you should look for in whatever solution you end up choosing. Let’s take a look at them.

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Use Huddle Rooms To Strike A Balance Between Accessibility And Affordability

The meeting rooms in which you host your organization-wide gatherings and formal video conferences have very specific tech requirements--you must offer employees and virtual visitors alike a fairly convincing simulation of a face-to-face interaction. Which means: large screens, powerful speakers, multiple microphones, interactive whiteboards, etc. You name it--it should be there. But you can lighten up a little bit with your huddle rooms. Don’t get the wrong idea--these aren’t crash pads. They are places of business. But they should be seen as opportunities to save a few dollars while giving your employees access to the same collaborative tools you use on a larger scale in your large rooms. So how, exactly, should you strike that balance between accessibility and affordability? Let us take a look at three key considerations.

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Demanding Attention With Digital Signage

We have a tendency to focus our attention on AV solutions that facilitate real time conversation and collaboration between people separated by distance: the boss and her remote employee; the scattered team members working from various coffee shops; the American salesperson and his Japanese clients. In such cases, we are thinking about screens (and speakers and microphones) as tools that can render a digitally mediated experience into something approaching the intimacy and clarity of a “real life” interaction. In these cases, HD displays act as windows onto a world that is still recognizably our own.

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Space Matters: Designing Work Environments That Work For People

The proliferation of conferencing and collaboration technology has changed the way we think about space. With a video solution like Prime Call Cloud UC, anyone with a computer or mobile device can connect to anyone else with a computer or mobile device, no matter where they are. Physical space basically vanishes--you are in the virtual realm, where geography doesn’t matter.

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Polycom VoxBox Delivers Exceptional Audio To Any Space

With the rise of the huddle room and the increasing number of employees working remotely, there has been a growing need for compact solutions that won’t dominate a space or prove too cumbersome for travel. A cloud-based conferencing and collaboration solution does away with so much of the infrastructural heft that used to define video and audio communication technology, but you don’t necessarily want your employees relying on the built-in microphones and speakers on their devices. What’s the point of an exceptionally accessible teleconferencing solution if a laptop speaker makes a mess of sound? With this problem in mind, Polycom has unveiled the VoxBox, a low-distortion speaker system intended to supplement your video- and audio-enabled environments. Consider it a power boost for the wonderful system you already have.

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How To Improve The Sound In Your Meeting Rooms

We live in a world dominated by visual culture, so it makes sense that most conversations about video conferencing and collaboration solutions revolve around image quality. And while it is surely important to see your distant colleagues and clients in crisp high definition, such visual clarity is utterly useless if you can’t clearly hear what they are saying. This isn’t to say conferencing solutions don’t come packaged with great audio. They do. Audio problems often begin and end with the layout and design of the room you’re in. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks for ensuring a top-notch audio experience.

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Education Made Easy With Cisco Spark and Cisco Spark Board

Okay, first things first: that headline is a little white lie. Education is never easy. It never was and it never will be. It doesn’t matter what level of schooling we’re talking about. From kindergarten on up through college, the quest to acquire knowledge is one fraught with pitfalls and setbacks and sometimes insurmountable challenges. That’s just the nature of learning and of teaching. The difficulty is itself a part of learning, right? If we all stopped learning when things got hard, well, we’d all be crawling around dad’s ankles still.

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Don’t Be Afraid of the Cloud

Job satisfaction has never been a simple matter of receiving fair remuneration for services rendered. A paycheck is the prime objective, sure, but people have always wanted more than that from work: a feeling of community, a sense of accomplishment, the satisfaction of a job well done, etc. You get the idea. This will always be the case, but the passage of time has changed the way companies meet these needs. Casual Fridays and vacation time might once have been sufficient to motivate employees and let them know they were appreciated, but expectations have changed, especially among younger people entering the workforce.

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Topics: MeetMe, PrimeCall, cloud

No More Meeting Room Meltdowns

You’ve prepared a seamless multimedia presentation for Monday’s meeting, and it’s going to knock everyone’s socks off. No one is leaving that meeting with socks on.  Heck, they’ll probably lose their shoes, too. You have a perfect plan: first the PowerPoint bit; then a short and informative film highlighting the salient features of your airtight argument; after which you’ll offer a brief yet thorough demonstration of your great idea using a new company laptop; and hey, let’s get Bob in here via Lync, he called in sick today but he should really be here for this. 

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The Skype for Business Article You Must Read

Although Microsoft Lync recently merged with Skype to become Skype For Business, the messaging client has not strayed from its essential purpose: integrating Office programs with, voice and video chat features in order to facilitate collaboration and communication in the workplace. In short, Lync (or S4B) is similar to the chat technology you use on a daily basis, but since it has access to your Outlook calendar and Office documents, it functions as a sort of all-in-one virtual workspace. The newly released Skype For Business version of Lync has added a few nifty features (like slightly tweaked text formatting – can you say more emojis!?!, integration of Skype contacts, and file transfer preview), but the user experience remains mostly unchanged. And while Lync is a remarkable boon for any organization looking to address workflow challenges, the multitude of options available to users can lead to complications and possible communication mishaps. Here, then, are a few tips and tricks for avoiding any unseemly clumsiness while using Microsoft Lync. 

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Topics: Skype

How Not to Look Stupid on Video

Think back to the first time you spoke to someone via video. It was weird, right? Making eye contact, that most natural and essential aspect of interpersonal communication, seemed nearly impossible given the camera’s placement. Delays and glitches made even a best friend or family member seem like a stilted stranger broadcasting from a faraway planet. It was fun, sure, but it didn’t exactly make chatting easy and seamless. Aside from reasonable worries about tech logistics--What if I push the wrong button? Did I just mute myself? Can anyone hear me?--there is the timeless fretting that accompanies any interaction with fellow humans. In other words: you are afraid of looking silly and clueless.  Being comfortable with the ins and outs of your conferencing hardware and software is essential, but there are a few basic matters of self-presentation that are just as vital as any tutorial offered by IT. In our next installment, we’ll run through some strategies for negotiating the sometimes tricky nature of video-assisted conversation, but first, let’s make sure you’re ready to look your best. 

Dress for Success

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Topics: look good on video

10 Secrets of Unified Communications

As little kids we all spent hours playing hide and seek. Nothing quite matched the excitement of gleefully calling out one of our little playmates as we spied them crouching under the stairs or pressed behind a tree.

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Topics: av integration

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