Blog-Post-AV-ROOM-GRAPHIC

What is an AV Room? A place to collaborate? A place to meet with remote team members? A place to present PowerPoint slides?

While the correct answer may be all of the above; none of these functions would happen without the proper design and configuration of the space. Technology integration and the actual room environment  are essential considerations when designing an optimal meeting space. As stated by Tim Hennen, SVP of Engineering at IVCi, “An audio visual integrated room is a meld of art and science. The art is in the design of the room itself; the lighting, furniture, and the selection of the right technologies that will eventually come together. The science comes in with the building of those technology connections and making each device work together as if they were one.”

That being said, there are 4 core design and technology components that are imperative when creating an effective collaboration environment. Understanding these will also help with determining what you would like to accomplish within the room.

Video
“What do you want to see?” Video in an AV room is about the display of content, how you see meeting participants on the other side of the video call,  and how remote participants see you. The equipment associated with video includes cameras, displays, a matrix switcher, a digital video processor, and a codec.

Audio
“How do you want to hear/be heard?” Audio in an AV room is about how audio is projected in the room, how sound is sent to remote participants, and how you are heard to remote participants. Equipment for audio includes speakers, microphones, acoustic panels, and an audio control system.

Control
“How do you want to control the room?” Control in an AV room is about managing what you display, where you display it, and who is heard. The equipment involved includes a control processor and the control panel.

Lighting
“How will the room be lit properly?” Lighting in an AV room is about where the lighting is placed, where current natural light sources are located, and where you want your furniture and equipment placed. Lights, shades, and lighting placement are the essentials associated with lighting in an AV room.

Understanding how these components affect the collaboration space is as important as selecting the the technology itself. Poor lighting or acoustics impact the collaboration experience just as much as not having the right video conferencing or presentation equipment. Download a copy of our AV Buyers guide for detailed explanations of each core component in addition to some handy tips and tricks.

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This-week-in-collaboration

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

1. Using collaboration as a sales tool

New technology is transforming meeting rooms. Important aspects needed to be taken in to consideration when selecting the right collaboration technology. These factors include ease of use, ability to collaborate with meeting participants, content sharing capability, and quicker start up.

2. Extending Video to the Web through Open Source H.264

Up until now video has not been natively possible through a web browser. WebRTC has been the answer to that, however, speed bumps have been hit around choosing a video codec for the browser. In response, Cisco has announced their plan to open-source their H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the internet.

3. Reducing Risk by Way of Cloud

Increasingly, UC premises-based solutions are not physical, but instead software based on standard or virtualized servers. The reason for this move to the cloud is actually so the buyer can shift the responsibility for actual results to the provider.

4. The Therapist Will Skype You Now

School of Social Work professor Namkee Choi brought psychotherapy to aging adults’ homes through Skype. This study used a method called Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) and compared the Skype videoconference to in person and telephone support calls. Results showed a significant reduction in depression symptoms and highe evaluation scores from the tele-PST group than the in-person PST group.

5. Clemson University library unveils classroom of the future

The new digital resources laboratory at Clemson University includes a supercomputer connection 10,000 times faster than the typical home Internet connection and synchronized ultra-high-definition video screens that span 60-square feet. This lab offer students and professors a place to share ideas and enables up to 4 remote audiences at a time via video conferencing.

 

Last week Cisco hosted their 2013 Collaboration Summit where Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM of the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, delivered the key note address which included Cisco’s collaboration strategy as well as new product announcements.

Trollope started with memories of his first computer; how technology at work surpassed what was available to him at home. In the past few years though, with the advent of the smartphones and tablets along with Facebook and other social networking sites, technology available to consumers at home has surpassed the technology available at work which has led to a sense of frustration. There is significant opportunity for advancement in the enterprise technology space and Trollope stated that Cisco is working “to make the technology we have at work as great or better than the technology we have at home.”

Trollope also stated that at Cisco, he not only had access to a lot of different collaboration technologies but the opportunity to use them. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not have this opportunity due  to different barriers; a lack of access, cost of implementation and complexity to name a few. Therefore, Cisco is committing to three goals; to make technology easier to use, easier to buy and to bring it all together. By making the technology more accessible, reducing the complexity, and delivering it at the right price more people will be able to take advantages of the benefits collaboration has to offer.

The goal, in Trollope’s words, is to “Make Collaboration Simple” and drive the next innovation cycle. Cisco will do this in the following ways:

  • User experience:  integrating the technologies they have and making them more intuitive
  • IT support: making the technology easy to deploy, manage, and run
  • Partners: making it easy to buy, sell and support Cisco solutions

Finally, Trollope announced and demonstrated a few new products.  Two key themes were cloud and mobility; hide the complexity of technology in the cloud and embrace mobility in the enterprise.  A few noteworthy announcements include:

  • Collaboration Systems Release: Cisco is testing everything together to make sure all components works together.
  • Cisco Expressway: Offers a secure tunnel into collaboration technologies without having to VPN into the network.
  • Cisco Jabber Guest: Turns virtual customer service into a reality by allowing organizations to integrate video into their website.
  • Intelligent Proximity App (currently in testing): Provides the ability for someone to walk into a room and pull the content to a smartphone or tablet. Users can also bring their personal directory with them and use it on the intelligent device in the room.

In closing, Trollope said “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” The products being unveiled represent a new direction in collaboration technologies and I, for one, can’t wait to see what they come out with next!

Watch the full replay of Trollope’s speech here.

Social collaboration is about the casual interactions among colleagues, business partners and even customers that enable creativity and drive innovation.  When an organization embraces social collaboration, interactions come alive and innovation can explode across the business!

We created the below Infographic to illustrate the power of social collaboration and the innovation that is possible when people are given the tools and environment to work together.

After you take a look at the Infographic, read our new white paper: Driving Innovation Through Social Collaboration.

Social-Collaboration-Infographic-Small

Download Now!

 

I saw a news clip about the rise in telecommuting on CBS the other day and I echoed many of the sentiments from my fellow telecommuters. I also have a confession to make, what I looked forward to the most was the ability to wear sweatpants to the “office.” The first week or two I would go to my closet each morning grinning as I bi-passed my slacks and skirts en route to my sweatpants drawer.

However, I quickly learned that getting ready in the same way I would when going in to an office, was very important for my “workday” mindset. Now being fair, I can’t say that I put those nice slacks and skirts on everyday, but blouses paired with yoga pants was a definite step up.

That was just one lesson I have learned about effective telecommuting. Here are a few others:

Location Is Key:
Having a designated office, or at the very least a designated office area is imperative for productivity. Having a place that I can go to and close the door, is an effective way to keep outside distractions at bay. Creating a professional work environment also helps increase my self-discipline during office hours.

Visibility:
Being online and available during work hours is another component that is very important when telecommuting. Since I work for a collaboration company that means being online and available for instant messaging, phone, and video calls. This visibility and ability to have spontaneous or informal conversations also creates the feeling of being in an office.

Regular Communication:
Along with visibility, comes regular communication. Routinely speaking to colleagues on video mitigates the “social isolation” challenge that some remote employees feel. Communicating often, particularly via video conferencing, increases productivity by allowing me to brainstorm and collaborate face-to-face.

Earning Trust:
Regular communication, increased productivity, and consistent office hours all help in earning and maintaining my manager and coworkers’ trust. Mutual expectations between both a manager and remote employee, along with other team members, are essential for successful telecommuting.

Taking Breaks:
Another important lesson I have learned while telecommuting is the importance of taking breaks. Although I am not very good at putting this piece in to practice, getting out of the “office” and taking a lunch break or running an errand helps increase productivity by giving your brain a chance to relax. Plus, it helps reduce the feeling of never leaving your home.

These lessons have all helped me create a successful telecommuting strategy. Although working from home is not for everyone; many folks, including myself, have found increased productivity and an improved quality of life by being able to telecommute.