6 AV Tech Upgrades To Pursue When Moving (Relocating)

When a business moves to a new location, it presents unique opportunities for the company to pursue AV upgrades that otherwise might not have been available. If your business is going to be moving soon, it makes sense to look into upgrading your audiovisual systems so that you can improve the efficiency of your operation once you are settled in your new location.

1. Invest In A Connected Communication System
Whether your organization primarily uses video conferencing or audio chats, it is important that your machines are all connected so that anyone can engage in communications internally or externally when they need to. Some platforms allow users to conduct video or audio conferences with anyone on the company network, which can reduce the amount of time spent on meetings and enhance individual productivity.

2. Utilize The Power Of Unified Communications
Unified communications refers to a company’s use of a single platform for communication across several channels, including audio, video, and instant message chats. When your company is moving you can upgrade your hardware systems to ensure that they are compatible with unified communications platforms that will contribute positively to collaboration within your company.

3. Improve Physical AV Security
It goes without saying that security is a concern for companies. The widespread reporting and speculation about the recent hacking of the Community Health Systems hospital network proves that security is on the mind of many consumers and business professionals. While you take measures to improve your online security, don’t forget to physically secure your AV equipment when you move. This gives your company a well-rounded ability to safeguard your important information and devices.

4. Upgrade Display Technology
Moving is a good opportunity to improve the kinds of monitors and television screens that your organization currently uses in its AV strategy. With a better display you can receive higher resolution video and images, which will help you hold more effective presentations that better convey their intended message.

5. Integrate AV With Office Furniture
In the office furniture industry, integrating technology with furniture is a very popular trend. If you are looking to upgrade your AV during an office move, investing in conference tables, lounge seating, or other types of furniture that are integrated with company networks is a smart decision. This helps your entire office stay plugged into your network more effectively.

6. Obtain More Servers
If you are expanding to a new office, it often allows you to have more room for your company’s operation. More room means more space for additional servers, which allows you to improve your bandwidth and scale up your operation while you get more out of your company’s existing hardware and software.

Moving to a new office location requires attention to detail and the consideration of many different kinds of logistics. Fortunately, moving to a new office also affords companies the opportunity to upgrade their systems. These six AV upgrades will go a long way towards helping you maximize the use that you get out of your company hardware to better accomplish your organizational goals.

At Pentegra Systems, we work closely with our clients to provide them the right audio, video, low voltage and collaboration technologies that support their business goals. Serving customers throughout Chicagoland, Pentegra aspires to be the first company you call for your system integration needs. Ready to learn more, connect with us here. We are happy to help!

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How to Manage BYOD on a Wireless Network

In the past, it was commonplace for employees of a business to only use resources provided and owned by their respective employer. Usual examples include computers and company phones. Businesses had total control of how these devices were being used since they were in-house and more than likely that’s where they stayed. Fast forward to present day, things have changed quite a bit. Through the help of wireless networks, a movement called BYOD has become quite popular. BYOD is an acronym standing for “Bring Your Own Device.” This allows for employees of the company to bring their own personal mobile devices to the workplace to use. These devices are most commonly used to carry out usual business practices which often involve the accessing of privileged company information and applications. BYOD has proven to drive employee satisfaction as well as overall productivity. This initiative also saves companies money since they do not have to supply the employee with a company device. The issues are that since these devices are also used for personal use of the employee, companies don’t have that complete control over these devices and how they are used. Since BYOD is a trend that most likely will grow, the question arises: how does one manage BYOD on a wireless network?

When first implementing a BYOD policy in the workplace, the decision needs input from everyone across the board. If valuable company information is going to be accessible on personal devices of employees, collaboration is needed from top ranked management officers, the IT department, human resources, etc as to what extent of information can and can’t be accessed. Every single person involved needs to be on the same page when thinking about what is best for the company. Once these decisions are made rules and guidelines absolutely need to be put in place as to what employees are and aren’t allowed to do on their devices while using them for work purposes. These rules need to be as specific and as clear as possible to avoid any unexpected or unwanted usage issues.

There are several ways to go about managing BYOD. Companies want the capability to monitor what employees are doing with their devices. Many mobile devices already offer a slew of technologies that can monitor usage of multiple features. Such technologies include GPS receivers, camera recorders and audio recorders. However, most companies commonly implement the use services and suites to closely manage how their users are using their devices. These technologies have the ability to act as a safeguard for both outgoing and incoming files and information. If these devices have access to valuable company information, companies wouldn’t want any of their private information to accidentally leak out. BYOD management software has a tight hold on the data traffic ensuring nothing will fall into unwanted hands. The same principal goes for monitoring what comes into these devices such as downloading files or applications that can be harmful to the business.  Alert systems are also incorporated to immediately notify necessary parties of any sort of issue that arises. Tighter security measures must also be in place for CEO’s and various higher ups within the organization due to their access to perhaps more confidential information than that of the average employee.

Any website, hyperlink or e-mail attachment has the potential to be extremely hazardous. As employees browse the web and open e-mails, the possibilities of viruses arise. Viruses are a significant issue when individual users’ devices get infected given the amount of data stored within those devices (account numbers, financial information, personal information, etc.). However, the issues only intensify when an entire company is at risk. Viruses can’t only steal information; they have the capability of bringing down an entire network. Policies need to be in place where all devices need to be running antivirus and anti-malware programs especially if the device runs a vulnerable OS such as Windows, Android or Linux. These programs will be the first line of defense against incoming threats. In addition to companies already securing their data, companies need to deploy a dedicated device such as SonicWALL to manage the security of the network. Relying on simple firewalls is not enough. Your network should be a managed impenetrable fortress to the outside world.

In an effort to manage the system in a much more efficient way, the BYOD initiative should not include “any” device. Employees shouldn’t assume they can bring whatever device they have and expect it to work with the system. There are a slew of mobile devices available and one cannot expect every single one to be able to be included. The business has quite a large task on their hands as it has to oversee what is going on with everyone’s device, the narrower the spectrum of devices, the easier it will be to manage and create policies and security measures.

Security is the big picture when managing a BYOD program, obviously. Decision makers need to also create loss, theft and exit policies. How many times has one of your friends or family members told you that they lost their phone again? When an employee brings their device to work and has access to company information, these devices indirectly become an asset to that company without the company actually owning them. A prime example is contact information. If an employee leaves a company for whatever reason, they no longer just take away the experience from that job; they have information in their device such as important contacts among other things that they can more than likely utilize elsewhere. These policies will need to balance features and risks to protect the personal information of the user as well as the reputation of the business.

If employees are to use their own personal devices for work purposes, policies and security measures must be in place. However, the employees using their personal mobile devices most likely won’t want their phone or tablet on total lockdown. It’s at this point BYOD creates a risk for both the employer and employee. There needs to be a medium. In terms of what a company can have access to, there needs to be a fine line between a user’s company data and a user’s personal data. This is where managing a BYOD becomes critical for the initiative’s overall success and prosperity. The BYOD system has proven to be ultimately successful if this balance can be achieved.

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Trust by Design: Working With The Right AV Integrator

When it comes to AV Technology, most businesses make the common mistake of planning for technology only after their building has been constructed or their remodeling project is at the verge of completion. This leads to yet another grave mistake–equipment design that’s not compatible with their business needs and an infrastructure that is not adequate after the building is completed. This could and often does result in high additional costs or unsightly wires. This is a situation best avoided. But how? The answer lies in ensuring that your technology integrator walks you through the design process while understanding your business needs. The best integrators can sense the bigger picture, so they acquaint their clients with the pros and cons of a particular design while suggesting what is best for them. This can not only cut down the unnecessary cost of unwanted or unnecessary features, but also creates a bond of trust between the integrator and the client.

How important is the design phase?
Proper design has a great impact on the final outcome of your projects. Naturally, a lot depends on your integrator’s understanding of your business processes and your specific requirements. This is where a step gone wrong can cost you not only time, but budget overages as well. To avoid this, choose an integrator who makes you a part of the design process. This eliminates a lot of confusion, missed details, and extra costs. And, as there grows a level of trust and understanding between you and your integrator that comes as a natural result of working together, you can rely on them for your future projects.

Which factors to consider in your design phase?
Before starting your audio visual project, there are several factors you need to consider in the design phase. It’s important that you have multiple sittings with your AV integrator during this phase to arrive at a point where you’ve been able to convey your exact requirements and the integrator has attained a full understanding of your business process and your specifications.
Here are the important factors you need to discuss during the design phase.

Who is your audience?
Determine the primary user group and how tech savvy they are. It’s always best to go a little deeper in knowing what would be the right fit for your audience. Use age group, user habits and other demographics, and a full understanding of their needs as points for discussion.

What is the present condition of your building?
The age of your building plays an important role in deciding the audio visual technologies you would want to integrate. Take your integrator on a tour around your building before the process of design commences, then, as construction and design are underway, make sure you continue to tour and inspect regularly, as it’s not unusual for things to come up that you’ve not thought of in the early phases of the project.

What are your audio requirements?
Both internal and external sound can affect the quality and effectiveness your AV system. Discuss with your integrator about the optimal audio conditions before they can work on them.

Which are the optimum lighting and heat conditions for your technology?
It’s important to assess the amount of natural and ambient light the room receives before planning an AV system for it.

What kind of electrical and cabling would be best suited to your needs?
Talk to your integrator with regard to the specific electrical, IP, and cabling that you’ll require.

What type of screen would you need?
The size of the screen is an important factor. It has a lot of impact on your audio visual experiences and will (and should) ultimately drive everything. The size of the room and the number of people it would seat are critical matters to consider while determining the right screen size.

What are your video conferencing requirements?

Be very clear about your video conferencing preferences when discussing these factors with your integrator. Chalk out every small detail, such the camera placement or what kind of microphone you would need based on your video conferencing habits and requirements.

After discussing the above points with your integrator, both of you can have greater clarity as to what design might work for the benefit of your business. This is not only an important step toward an ideal AV system design, but also a step closer to finding an integrator who will most fully understand your business.

What are your experiences? Have you been an active participant in the design phase of a project? Have you worked with clients who were? We’d love to hear more.

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5 Collaboration Technologies That Millennials Want At Work

Millennials are the most tech-savvy, collaborative, and socially-minded generation in human history.  Millennials have grown up using smartphones, Facebook, and the cloud.  They can navigate the web like the back of their hand.  Millennials realize the future belongs to them.  They are determined that today’s workplaces match their expectations and ideals.

In a nutshell, Millennials seek work environments that foster connectivity, meaning, and social purpose.  They seek work hours and arrangements, which reflect their desire to balance career goals with their family and personal aspirations.  In particular, Millennials view work as an “activity,” not a physical place.  Therefore, they look at flexible hours and telecommuting as prerequisites. They want the workplace to reflect their values and ideals.  In short, they want work environments that provide the technological and collaborative opportunities they expect.  Five collaboration technologies that Millennials want at work include:

1) Video:  Traditionally, business people have opted for in-person meetings as their preferred method of communication.  Millennials value face-time, but they have embraced video-conferencing as an ideal tool for conducting meetings, saving time, and enhancing collaboration.

2) Huddle Rooms:  Millennials want to flatten and dismantle hierarchies.  They dislike and distrust command-and-control environments.  They are more interested in team-building than individual status.  In this regard, huddle rooms are an ideal way to tap the creative energies of Millennials.  What is a huddle room?  Essentially a huddle room is a space where a small number of workers can gather to discuss or tackle a common agenda.  Huddle rooms are an alternative to large, costly, and less intimate conference rooms.  Huddle rooms typically involve a display, such as a flat screen monitor, a table or workspace, and a webcam that facilitates video or teleconferencing with outside parties.  Huddle rooms vary in size, as do their specific features, depending on the needs of the organization.  But basically huddle rooms are designed to foster and tap the creative energies of small but nimble teams focused on common goals.  Millennials distrust top-down environments.  Instead, they value work environments where teamwork and horizontal relationships are more prominent.  Innovative working arrangements, such as the huddle room, facilitate the kind of work experience Millennials expect.

3) Social Media:  Technology is the air that Millennials breathe.  They are accustomed to using services like Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in on a daily basis.  They utilize these platforms throughout the day (at home and on the go) and they expect to use them at work as well.

4) Telecommunication:  By 2025, about 40% of the workforce is expected to work from home.  Millennials value flexibility, comfort, and family time.  Millennials view commuting and the nine to five workday as anachronistic.  Milennialls see working from home as natural.  Indeed more than 90% of Millennials want to work from home, and more than 85% want to work according to their own schedule.  Millennials want to work, but they want technological options that will allow them work from remote locations and according to their own schedules.

5) Gaming Apps:  Millenials have grown up in the world of videogames.  They want work to be fun and exciting; not boring and frustrating like the jobs their parents endured.  According to Adam Penenberg, companies are responding to this reality by developing “gamification applications,” programs and systems that turn the work experience into a something of a game.

Millennials are going to shape the future of work.  Like previous generations, Millennials value work, but they have a different idea of how to get work done than their predecessors.  Millennials value transparency, collaboration, and flexibility.  They believe corporations need to be less hierarchical and more socially accountable.  They want to telecommute and set their own schedules.  They also want work to be creative and fun.   Millenneials will embrace tools that foster collaboration and other ways of interacting creatively with their peers and their work environments.

Resources:

Information Week What Millennials Want at Work

Forbes: 10 Ways Millennials are Creating the Future of Work

 

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National Hellenic Museum

National Hellenic Museum

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The National Hellenic Museum was the first in the country dedicated to the historical achievements and creations of ancient and modern Greeks. The classical ideals of Hellenism involving humanism, reason, the arts, moderation and civic responsibility were at the core of the design and construction ...

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