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

Benefits of video conferencing include less travel, but it’s not No. 1
For decades, enterprises have turned to video conferencing in large part as a means of reducing business travel expenses. However, a recent survey by Wainhouse Research of 4,700 end users of video conferencing found that the incentives for using video are shifting: 94% noted that the biggest benefit was increased efficiency and productivity; 88% cited increased impact of discussions; and 87% said video expedited decision-making — the same percentage who said it reduced travel.

Telework Week Saved Feds 14 Million Miles, $13 Million
This year’s Telework Week, which ran March 3-7, drew 163,973 pledges, more than four times the 2011 number. The average Telework Week participant teleworked two days during the week, avoided a 45-mile round-trip commute into the office and saved 4.5 hours and $90 in commuting costs for the week. Nearly all (94 percent) pledges came from the federal government, enabling federal employees to save a collective $13 million in commuting costs, avoid 14 million miles of travel and gain back more than 716,000 hours.

Concierge healthcare services via video – a concept on the rise
Although not a new concept, concierge healthcare services used to be a luxury that only a certain percentage of Americans could possibly afford. Changes in the healthcare system and economic drivers may be changing that. Under this model, doctors essentially work under retainer, being paid monthly fees to offer healthcare services to a patient or family. Healthcare practices operating in a concierge healthcare model could utilize telemedicine solutions to conduct many of their house calls and appointments. This diminishes the travel element and enables medical professionals to see just as many, if not more, patients each day. Telemedicine can also allow doctors to cast a much wider net for their patients.

Mobility Tops the List of Digital Priorities
If you thought either big data analytics or cloud computing initiatives rank at the top of today’s digital agenda, guess again. Mobility strategies hold a clear edge, according to a recent survey from Accenture. The resulting report, “Mobility: Fueling the Digital Surge,” demonstrates how much further ahead “mobility leader” organizations are on their progress toward these goals, compared to the rest of the field. And while the required commitment here is clearly evident at the very highest levels of organizational leadership, there are still many obstacles that CIOs must overcome.

Get ready for new ATM’s
Recently, more and more banks are starting to equip their ATM’s with technological upgrades, one of those being video conferencing. Banks are working on technology tools to give customers new, faster ways to interact with their branches. ATMs with touch screens will soon work with our smartphones. New apps will help zip cash to you as quickly as you can snap a picture. Videoconferencing with representatives in call centers lets banks extend hours for basic services and screen tellers can handle about 95 percent of typical bank transactions. This allows both customers and banks to increase productivity and efficiency when handling transactions and consultations.

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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.

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

School Days 2.0: Connected, Borderless, and Highly Inclusive
Just as the Internet of Everything is disrupting so many other areas of our lives (not to mention business models), its ever-expanding wave of network connectivity promises to upend education as well. Within the context of learning, the very definition of schools, students, teachers, and classrooms is being challenged. Now, your classroom is wherever you happen to be, and your lessons often take place when you want them

How Technology has Changed our Daily Commute Forever
Mobile technology and connectivity has, and still is, changing the daily commute for workers. It’s a combination of smarter, smaller more portable devices and faster, more widely available connectivity that is driving this change in behavior. Commuting on public transportation is a very different experience today. Almost every kind of public transport now either gives passengers access to Wi-Fi or they can use mobile data networks. Similarly, Social media is a booming interactive tool for travel companies to interact with their passengers, alerting them to disruption, delays and fixes.

Building a Successful Mobility Roadmap
Specifically, today’s mobile landscape is demanding constant evolution. From listening and responding to the mobility needs of employees to deploying home-grown apps, a flexible and holistic roadmap for mobility and mobile apps is essential. While mobility continues to be a growing trend that offers businesses new opportunities, many companies have yet to fully realize the true potential of mobility.

Teledermatology as reliable, efficient as in-person consults
Remote consultations from dermatologists using a smartphone app have proven reliable and efficient at prioritizing inpatient consultations for patients with skin conditions. Outlining their study results in JAMA Dermatology, researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania concluded that this method can help deliver dermatology care more efficiently in busy hospital settings.

How Video Makes a Difference in the Way I Work
87% of remote users feel more connected to their team and process when using videoconferencing, according to a Gigaom report on video conferencing and business collaboration published last month. Video gives people insight into people beyond the meeting agenda. These little pieces of information give perspective on someone’s day and they open opportunities to know more about people with whom you are spending virtual time. Similarly, with multitasking at epidemic proportions, collaborating via video helps you know that the people on the other end of a call are paying attention.

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

Deliver what every CEO wants through Cloud Collaboration
CEOs want IT leaders to figure out how technology can help their business transform and expand, as much as make it operate. Thanks to the consumerization of IT and the explosion of mobile and social technologies, there is a unique opportunity to embed IT into an organization’s overall business strategy. When IT leaders define what business problem they are trying to solve and test the right technology solution, they can become an integral part of running, changing and growing a business.

How states can encourage web-based health care in hospitals
A University of Michigan researcher has found that 42 percent of U.S. hospitals use some type of “telehealth” approach. Telehealth seems to be something hospitals use to differentiate themselves. People often think about rural areas when they think about telehealth, however adoption was just as likely in competitive markets. It’s about using technology to lower operating costs and deliver care more efficiently.

Should HR recruit through video conferencing?
While the use of video conferencing to help speed up the recruitment process is well known, a study from the Montage Talent Candidate Report found that 97% of job candidates felt organizations who utilized video interviewing were more innovative and forward thinking. Video conferencing can aid HR in the areas of recruitment, training, and meetings, a report from video conferencing firm Blue Jeans asserts.

Digital Technology and the Olympics: When Is it Cheating?
We take advantage of advanced digital technologies for efficiency, effectiveness, and loftier performance in business, so why wouldn’t an athlete use these technologies to their advantage while in training or on the field of athletic competition? Is this a fair practice? If everyone has equal access to the technology, then is it fair? At what point does technology tip beyond being a clever innovation along the continuum of progress to cross the line into cheating for unfair advantage?

User Behavior and Training Critical to Secure Mobility
Worker mobility has become an essential practice for government agencies. From teleworking on the road to accessing critical data on your smart phone, mobility increases productivity and employee satisfaction. With the increased proliferation of mobile devices comes the need to ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place so agencies can take advantage of increased capabilities while still maintaining high levels of security.

AV-Trends

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!