Big data is one of the biggest trends in enterprise organizations today. Everybody is talking about how it can provide valuable insights and assist organizations in making better business decisions. But what exactly is Big Data? Where do you find it? What can it do?  Let’s start from the beginning:

What is Big Data?

According to SAS, (along with Wikipedia), “Big Data is a popular term used to describe the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured.” Structured data is, in fact, structured data; think of transaction history at retail chain or an error log at a manufacturing plant. It is easily organized and interpreted. For example, one can look at the data, see that sales spike from 12-1 pm, and infer that it is because people are shopping on their lunch break.

Unstructured data on the other hand, is not easily organized or interpreted by traditional reports or data models because of it’s typically text heavy nature. Forbes mentions Metadata, Tweets and other social media posts as good examples of unstructured data.

Where Can You Find Big Data?

The cost of storing information, or data, has significantly decreased over the past ten years. As a result, many organizations have compiled significant amounts of data around many aspects of business from finance and operations to sales and marketing. However, as Gary Audin said, “Big Data is nothing until it is analyzed so that conclusions can be gleaned and its meaning determined.” So, while organizations have amassed all of this data, it is providing relatively little value until it can be analyzed.

A great way to do this is through data visualization, or taking the massive amounts of data and creating graphical and other pictorial representations. Combining structured and unstructured data sets in a visualized format can help discover hidden correlations which can provide valuable insight on different trends within a market or organization.

How Can Organizations Use This Data?

Big Data can be used in a multitude of different ways depending on what data organizations have and what goals they are looking to accomplish. Here are a few examples of how different organizations can use Big Data:

  1. Discover Market Trends: Organizations can track keywords, early adopters and other influences on social media sites to uncover hidden market trends. For example, if a brand starts seeing a lot of social media chatter on features or enhancements to a product genre, they can utilize this data to create a new version of the product or release a software update.
  2. Track Buying Behaviors: A hotel chain can use data visualization models to track room rates and usage by location and date. Combining this with consumer buying behaviors when they visit specific locations, the hotel can uncover different buying patterns and behaviors.
  3. Analyze Productivity: Manufacturing companies can combine data on plant efficiency, raw material cost, and other contributing aspects, to discover different ways to cut costs and enhance efficiency.

These are just a few use cases for Big Data; there are countless other applications and ways to utilize this data. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can visualize your data tweet us @IVCiLLC or click here to send us an email.

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Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

7 steps to unified comm – and control over mobility services
In the three years since passage of the Telework Enhancement Act, government agencies have been spending a significant share of their time and budget to make sure they have what they need to support their exploding mobile workforce. Even so, all too often, agencies have launched mobile and collaboration technologies irregularly and without coordination, largely because new requirements popped up or budget became available.

Staying Ahead of the Collaboration Requirements Curve
Collaboration applications have a purpose: to bring people together whenever there are decisions to make and information to share. The experiences of our customers have shown that regular fine-tuning of a collaboration infrastructure is necessary in how IT organizations look at optimization. Using Optimization services can pave the way for a smooth transition – and prevent unpleasant surprises — when new applications are ready to move into production.

Bringing healthcare services to students at school
For communities that don’t have access to local healthcare providers, or for families that simply can’t afford to visit doctors and specialists, the local public school can be the primary healthcare provider for their children. Unfortunately, the healthcare services available in these schools are often limited. To help increase the access to quality healthcare services, many schools are looking to telemedicine solutions. Utilizing advanced video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions connected to scopes and other medical devices, these telemedicine solutions enable an on-site nurse or aid to consult with a nurse practitioner or doctor via video to deliver care to a student.

3 Tips for Overcoming Open-Space AV Challenges
One of the many challenges facing commercial audiovisual professionals today is the lack of space for installed equipment. The move to open space in the corporate world has burdened many design engineers with the challenge of where to put the gear. Today’s office spaces are taking on the characteristics of living rooms, home-style kitchens and dens. Gone are the cookie-cutter, four-walled conference rooms and cubicle spaces. This switch in office design is pushing us in the AV industry to change our traditional approach to system integration.

What Is the U.S. Digital Government Office?
According to a press release from Rep. Anna Eshoo (Calif.), “Studies show that 94 percent of major government IT projects between 2003 and 2012 came in over budget, behind schedule, or failed completely.” Congresswoman Eshoo, a member of the communications and technology subcommittee, along with Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.), proposed that a U.S. Digital Government Office be created to fix what has become a major problem for the federal government. The bill, known as the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology Act (RFP-IT), would be a key step toward eliminating wasteful spending in the government.

Social media and content marketing are two of the hottest trends in marketing today. Not only can consumers interact with brands and products in an informal setting, they can conduct research, connect with other users and provide both positive and negative feedback and experiences. Unfortunately, this produces a significant amount of data, Big Data as it’s come to be known, which can be extremely difficult to monitor and track.

The ability to organize, prioritize and ultimately analyze this data in a visualized manner can provide tremendous advantages for organizations including valuable insight into trends that may otherwise remain undiscovered. This also allows brands to respond in real-time to support requests or negative experiences, drive brand engagement, and simply interact with consumers and a fun and informal atmosphere (think Marc Jacob’s Tweet Shop during New York Fashion Week).

As a result, IVCi and Cisco have teamed up to provide the Social Media Listening Center, a robust solution that tracks, organizes, and visualizes social media data on interactive touch screen displays. This can include real-time mentions, popular hashtags, global conversation data, most common keywords and more. Organizations can then use this data to engage and develop relationships with a broad range of customers worldwide.

Watch the video below for a quick demo!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Social Media Listening Center how IVCi can help you visualize any type of big data tweet us @IVCiLLC or click here to send us an email.

Additional Resources: 
Social Media Listening Center Data Sheet

In part one of this series we reviewed the 4 core design and technology components that are important for creating an effective AV room including video, audio, control and lighting. Although those are very important aspects of an effective environment, the technology “behind the scenes” is equally as important for creating a quality collaboration experience.

Understanding these background components is essential to recognizing what makes an AV room effective as a whole.

Wireless Mic Receiver: Used to pick up the signal broadcast by the mic transmitter and change it back into an audio signal. The output of the receiver is electrically identical to a standard microphone.

Audio DSP Processor/Mixer: A Digital Signal Processor, or DSP, is a special-purpose digital circuit that acts on digitized signals, such as audio. DSP circuits can replace traditional analog functions, such as filtering and more complex functions that are difficult to accomplish in the analog domain.

Amplifier: An electronic device for increasing the amplitude of electrical signals, used mainly in sound reproduction.

Video Matrix Switcher: A device for switching between multiple video sources including cameras, cable television, Blu-Ray, DVRs and more.

Control System Processor: A device that processes every signal sent out on an audio visual network and makes the signal available to all elements of an AV solution.

Surge Suppressor: An electrical device inserted in a power line to protect equipment from sudden fluctuations, or surges, in current which can damage equipment.

Codec: A device or program that compresses data to enable faster transmission and decompresses received data.

Seamless Video Switcher: A device used to select between several different video sources and, in some cases, composite video sources together to create special effects.

UPS Battery Backup: An electrical device that provides emergency power when the main power source fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from power interruptions, by supplying energy stored in batteries or a flywheel.

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With 2013 solidly in our rear view, 2014 is presenting some exciting new developments in the world of audio visual integration and technology. Based on what happened in 2013 from a product perspective, as well as new habits of users, we see several key trends emerging this year.

1. Content is King
For many years, AV rooms have focused upon the users participating in the meeting and ensuring that they look and sound as good as possible. Especially in rooms that feature video conferencing, clarity has been a priority. The world is changing quite rapidly and with the maturity of big data, the content of a meeting is becoming just as, if not more important, then the participants.

Meeting participants will want to review items as simple as a spreadsheet or as complicated as a 3D rendering of a new product. Providing the highest fidelity visualization of this data is a trend that many manufacturers have focused on. Solutions from Cyviz, Oblong, and others have brought data front and center through the development of high resolution displays and content centric interfaces. Additionally, the added resolution of 4K displays will only help to enhance the viewing of content that requires the highest fidelity including medical imagery (MRIs, etc).  

2. Collaborate Anywhere
The elaborate conference room with the latest in AV technology is certainly not going away but many organizations are looking to expand beyond that. Collaboration rooms, huddle rooms, teaming spaces or whatever you want to call them are emerging as the next phase of AV for many organizations. These implementations are often quite simple; a display with some sort of content sharing device. Furniture is plays an important role in these spaces as well and companies such as Steelcase and Ashton Bentley are focusing on delivering the type of furniture setups that help enhance the collaborative experience.

3. BYOD in the Room
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has come of age and countless organizations are now supporting a myriad of employee owned devices including tablets and smartphones. Users are empowered to connect to their corporate email, load personal and company apps, and interact both inside and outside the company. Solutions continue to come to market that allow individuals to bring their device into an AV integrated room and interact with fellow participants and content. 2014 should see this trend continue.  Crestron’s AirMedia allows up to 32 meeting participants to share content simultaneously from iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows devices. They can also receive content from the room and interact with it.

4. 4K
More affordable 4k displays (displays with resolutions of 4000 pixels) are making their way to the market and have already started to reach high end consumers. 2014 will see 4K integrated into more and more AV rooms. On the consumer side the challenge is the availability of 4k content. This is changing rapidly, though, with several streaming services announcing plans to offer this. Netflix has recently announced that its original series, House of Cards, will be shot and produced in 4k for its second season. This will then enable Netflix to stream it in 4k as well. With consumer adoption coming at a rapid pace, 4k will find its way into a myriad of applications in both the professional and consumer world.

5. Wires are so 2013
2014 will continue the trend of wireless communications protocols taking over in AV integrated rooms. Recently, 1080p streaming has been announced from several manufacturers. In addition, wireless audio continues to improve. Even consumer technologies have added wireless content capabilities, including the AppleTV and Chromcast from Google.

Not only will technology trends influence AV in 2014 but so will users and their habits and preferences. By this time next year we could see incredibly high resolution content as the norm and many of the familiar AV signals (audio, video) moving in a room without wires. It’s an exciting time for the industry and the end user!