How is audio-visual technology helping businesses?

The business world is constantly changing and in recent years we’ve seen a shift in the ways in which businesses are run. The workplace is no longer a single physical space where all employees are present since a large percentage of businesses have employees and clients scattered across the world.

This causes issues with communication. With employees scattered across the globe, how are businesses able to ensure that they maintain a good level of communication with clients and employees, and keep them fully involved with the performance of the business? The solution is audio-visual technology. AV technology facilitates communication in numerous ways which increases productivity in the workplace and enables international corporations to maintain close relationships with overseas departments, ensuring that each department works cooperatively and efficiently. The following types of AV are particularly useful if you are looking to improve communication within your business…

Video Conferencing

The fast paced nature of business means that decisions need to be made quickly and communication needs to be fast. Video conferencing facilities allow for businesses to instantly connect with others as and when needed, and even when they are on the go. The benefits of video conferencing include more efficient meetings with the exchange of non-verbal communications and a stronger sense of community among business contacts, both within and between companies, as well as with customers. The face-to-face connection allows participants to develop a stronger sense of familiarity with clients/colleagues they may never actually meet in person, which helps to improve working relationships.

Other benefits of video conferencing include lower travel costs, especially for employee training, and a reduction in the amount of time spent on projects as a result of improved communications among team members.

Interactive Technology

SMART whiteboards are a great way to engage with others in brainstorming sessions and they help to reinforce the learning process since they offer a clear and captivating means of presenting information to others. People respond well to visual aids as well as being able to collaborate on ideas, meaning interactive technology is the perfect solution for certain meeting spaces.

Digital Signage

Digital signage is an effective way to display and promote content around your organisation and is swiftly becoming one of the largest areas for growth within the B2B audio visual sector. Content can even be disseminated from a central location and sent to screens in other offices owned by your business.

Digital screens can be used to share values, information, examples of work, staff information, and important industry news. Signage is also extremely useful for visitors to your organisation since screens positioned around waiting areas can be used to showcase important information about your company, such as recent projects and successes.

Why have Huddle Rooms become so popular?

Huddle Rooms: who needs them?

Huddle spaces have become all the rage and have made collaboration in small groups easier than ever. They are not only a cost-effective alternative to a single large boardroom, but they eliminate the cumbersome process of room booking and facilitate informal closeness and ad hoc conversation for those who want to meet quickly. Considering that there has been an increase in collaborative workflows, huddle spaces have become the perfect solution for many corporate spaces. 

Key features of Huddle Rooms

Regardless of installed furniture or technology, huddle spaces are:

  • Small and intimate — they typically accommodate groups of 2 – 5 people.

  • Versatile — huddle spaces are available as-needed to support any business objective and they are outfitted with a range of furniture, equipment, and AV technology (such as videoconferencing and touch screens) to support these needs.

  • Informal — if you need a quick conversation with co-workers, huddle rooms let you drop-in and out when needed.

  • All about spontaneous collaboration — they enable a spontaneous, collaborative flow of information.

So why are Huddle Rooms becoming so popular?

Business people meeting informally to strategise and share ideas is nothing new, but several key trends are fuelling the desire to create more huddle rooms. Among these are:

Flexibility

Many smaller meeting rooms eliminate issues with scheduling meetings since it is more likely that a room is available immediately, meaning that there is less need to book in advance. This also increases productivity because meetings can be called spontaneously to resolve urgent problems, and colleagues who are out of the office can be contacted and included using the AV facilities. 

Productivity

Often, when meetings are held in large boardrooms, time is wasted because a large number of attendees are invited, even though their presence may not be required. Contrastingly, smaller meeting rooms increase productivity since only the relevant employees are in attendance with a smaller group of people. This means that there is a higher chance that definite plans can be made in a more concise and effective manner. 

Mobility

Huddle rooms provide a space where employees both in and out of office can share information quickly and efficiently. In a smaller space set up with the correct AV technology, it is easy to contact others no matter where they are and include them in team discussions to provide updates and resolve problems.

Economical

While large conference rooms are expensive to set up and are not cost-effective if the facilities are rarely used, huddle rooms are just the opposite. This is because they are smaller rooms which do not require powerful AV technology, such as microphones and video equipment, and there is a greater chance that the space will be used more often for its intended purpose — therefore increasing productivity among employees.  


The Benefits of AV Technology in Education

In the past decade, audio visual technology has made huge progress in the education sector by creating an exciting and interactive environment which is more conducive to learning. Studies have proven that students react well to audio visual aids since they are found to be more attentive and retain information better, increasing productivity in the classroom or lecture hall. 

So what are some of the benefits?

  • AV engages students who may otherwise be disengaged or bored and makes learning more enjoyable. 

  • Promotes collaboration and communication between students — education is increasingly being seen as a collaborative exercise between educator and learner, rather than a one-way broadcast of information. Teachers and lecturers must work with their students, and students must be able to flexibly explore and learn in order to get the most out of their lessons. For smaller learning environments, such as huddle spaces, there is a growing trend for turning larger display screens into interactive surfaces. Touch-screen overlays for high quality professional displays are creeping into classrooms and enabling more flexible, collaborative learning through interactivity. Numerous providers have introduced interactive displays that come with an embedded Android operating system which enables teachers to download a variety of apps and means that learners can easily share content from their own devices on these larger screens — once again improving collaboration amongst students and teachers!

  • Helps students visualise rather than guess — with an AV solution in place, students who learn from seeing and interacting can thrive just as much as those who love to listen. 4K laser projectors which produce extremely high quality images are becoming increasingly popular and serve to enhance presentations and captivate the attention of the class. 

  • Promotes a wider selection of teaching tools — when a teacher is stood there with a marker pen and a whiteboard, they are on their own in terms of tools. Tools such as WePresent allows up to 64 users to all share and present content on a screen at any one time, making it easy for students to contribute without having to crowd around a whiteboard. 

  • Encourages students with various learning disabilities — students with hearing impairments are able to hear more clearly with audio enhancement systems. Audio systems can be integrated with an interactive whiteboard to boost a teacher’s voice via a microphone worn around the educator’s neck, allowing their voice to be distributed evenly around the class through wall mounted speakers. This technology helps students with hearing impairments to understand what the teacher is saying and gives them the opportunity to learn more effectively. Furthermore, for students with dyslexia who may struggle to process information when reading a textbook, interactive whiteboards enable teachers to create lesson content with colourful text, video clips and images, making the lesson content easier to digest. Pupils with ADHD can also benefit from what interactive whiteboards and touch screens have to offer since this technology encourages them to get involved and helps them to remain focused throughout the lesson. 


Home Cinema Projector Guide

Setting up your own home cinema has never been as easy as it is today, but there are a few things you need to take into account in order to get exactly what you’re looking for.

This guide will discuss a few important things you need to consider when making your choice…

Resolution

The most common resolution for home cinema projectors is currently 1080p, however there are now 4K ultra HD projectors which have a much higher resolution. 4K delivers the best results for home cinemas since on most screen sizes you won’t see the individual pixels, meaning it produces a smooth, high quality image.

However, don’t forget that your source material will make a big difference to the quality of your projected image. High quality sources are best viewed on projectors that do justice to high definition source material. Therefore, if you’re investing in 4K content such as Blu-Ray, then you might want to consider investing in a 4K home cinema projector to get the most out of what you’re paying for. 

Contrast Ratio 

This is the ratio between the white and black areas in an image. The larger the contrast ratio of a projector, the greater the difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks a projector can deliver. In practice, higher contrast ratios mean a better image because there is a higher level of projected brightness, which means your image appears less faded.

Brightness

Projector brightness is measured in ANSI lumens. Home theatre projectors generally start out at about 1000 lumens and range upwards to 2500 lumens and more. The number of lumens your projector needs depends on your viewing environment. It is better to have the room dark with as little ambient light as possible since this will not require as much brightness. 

Throw Ratio

Throw is the distance between the projector and the projection surface. Throw ratio is the relationship between that distance and the width of the projected image. For example, if a projector has a 2:1 throw ratio, then for every  2 feet increase in distance, the projected image will widen by 1 foot.

Therefore, depending on how far away your projector will be, you should make sure the throw ratio is sufficient to fill the surface you’ll be projecting onto.

Lamp Life 

Finally, don’t forget to consider the ongoing maintenance and cost requirements of your new home cinema system. Most home cinema projectors typically have a lamp life of between 2,000 and 5,000 hours, but this refers to the "half-life" of the lamp which is the point at which the lamp is half as bright as it was when it was new. Longer lamp life means lower maintenance costs as you won’t need to replace the projector lamp as frequently. 

However, if you want to avoid maintenance costs, laser projectors are an increasingly popular alternative championed for their cost efficiency and high quality images.

New Products Catching Our Attention

The first product featuring on this weeks blog is the OpusCube Fine Pixel LED Video Wall, designed by Opus Brilliance.

Opus Brilliance are planning on unveiling a fine pixel pitch LED video wall called the OpusCube. The OpusCube panels have a flat back and will be two inches thick when installed on the wall, as there are zero external cables.

Notable features of the OpusCube include:

- Seamless panel integration

- Low/no heat

- Fan free and quiet operation

- A six-axis perfect alignment system 

Each cube display is 640x360x55 millimeters and it uses 24-bit color processor has a refresh rate of 3840Hz. Each cube is also fully front serviceable for easy maintenance and includes a specially designed magnetic tile removal tool to easily remove and replace the modules. The video wall can either be wall or hanging/flown mounted and is only 2 inches deep with no external cables and a flat back for mounting. 

 

The second term featured on this weeks blog is Extron’s new TLP Pro 525T tabletop TouchLink Pro Touchpanel.

Their new 5″ tabletop model features a high-performance·quad-core processor as well as promising eight times more memory and an 800×480 capacitive touchscreen built with scratch and smudge-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass.

The TLP Pro 525T accepts PoE — Power over Ethernet, which amazingly allows it to receive power and communication over a single Ethernet cable.

All TouchLink Pro touchpanels can be customised using Extron’s GUI Designer software. This interface design software offers ready-to-use templates for a wide variety of rooms and presentation environments. These designs may be used as is, or equally can be customized for the application by simply changing individual graphic elements.

How Voice Control is Starting to Impact the Workplace

The average boardroom meeting starts 10 minutes late due to technology-related challenges. 

Whether it’s a memory stick not working or failing to get clear audio on a videoconference, everyone has experienced a meeting room horror story that completely destroys any hope for a productive meeting. However, gone are the days where employees just accept this as an inevitability of work. Employees, and to that end employers are now demanding easy-to-use technology in office spaces of all sizes and functions.

A shift in power over the past decade has meant  also meant workplaces must now listen to what employees want, and as a result workplaces have had to become more flexible in how, when and where employees do their jobs. This has meant that tools that aid in real-time collaboration are becoming a necessity, not a luxury, in maintaining productivity levels. 

By bringing the home to the office employers are now starting to use technology such as Alexa to provide the convenience of voice control in an office setting, without having to provide any training etc, as this is technology many are already comfortable with using. For instance, employees can now start a meeting simply by saying, “Alexa, start my meeting.” From launching a web conference to pulling up on-screen presentation materials, Alexa and other voice controlled technologies can help ensure meetings are timely, productive and free from the “technological fumbling” that usually plagues meetings. 

Voice control is no doubt transforming the way that we live and work, as one of the first personal—and, now, professional—forms of artificial intelligence to play a key role our daily lives. 

However the demand isn’t just in traditional homes or offices, but rather,in every space in which we live and work, whether this be in the hospitality or corporate sector…

As voice controlled systems become smarter and possess a greater number of skills and capabilities, we will soon be able to offer a nearly touch-less living and working experience. Soon enough, the idea of having a virtual personal assistant in any environment, trudging through our emails and organizing our everyday schedule, or just adjusting room settings to our liking, will no longer be a fantastical dream but, rather, a lived, and very real reality.