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AV Integration

Do You Need a Video Collaboration Expert?

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Even if skinny jeans are “in,” they may not be the best choice for you if you don’t like the way they look and feel. The same logic goes for choosing video and other collaboration technology—just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for your organization.

Providing employees with technology-rich meeting and collaboration spaces is important, but the most commonly used video collaboration and conferencing tools might not be what’s best for supporting productivity and user work styles at your organization. Here are some ways to ensure you choose technology that is the right fit for your huddle spaces and conference rooms:

Plan Before You Purchase

The most efficient and cost-effective way to shop is to decide what you need before you go and then stick to your list. That way you don’t impulsively choose things you don’t need or won’t use (like gummy bears or skinny jeans). The process for choosing and buying new audiovisual (AV) equipment should be the same.

First, determine your goals. Don’t begin by thinking in terms of technology. Think in terms of capabilities, work styles, and the kinds of work your teams want to accomplish. That way you won’t be influenced by what’s popular. Do teams need to live stream? Do they need to present to remote groups? Do they use or ignore the technology already in meeting spaces? Do they walk past the current presentation system and just use their laptops? If so, why? Are existing solutions too hard to use? Consider all the applications and use cases within your organization and remember that not every department or team will use a tool in the same way. User suggestions, requests and complaints, as well as any usage data captured by your current video conferencing system—if you have one—can help you accurately identify requirements.

Once you’ve uncovered clues about how employees want to work—and actually work—you can begin to research which hardware and software tools are available to meet their needs. Consider which ones will work with other systems in use at your organization. Regard how users will work in your designated collaboration spaces. Because audio considerations are often overlooked when evaluating video collaboration solutions, review your spaces to see if there are acoustical limitations, unusual room dimensions, etc. Is there an option to choose ongoing management, maintenance, or support? Narrow your choices down to ones that won’t require customization or enhancements—you’re trying to make work easier for everyone, including yourself.

How to Choose the Right Solution

Once you’ve done some initial research, it can still be difficult to make the right choice. This is a good point in the process to solicit the help of a certified AV design engineer. An expert can help you review considerations such as:

  1. Set-up complexity. A qualified integrator can help you understand how long it will take—and how much it will cost—to install each of the solutions you are considering. They can also help you with related items such as understanding network requirements and planning for future upgrades.
  2. Features and functionality. No user has a good experience with a solution they struggle to use. An integrator can walk you through how to start or join a meeting, how to connect multiple devices, how to share screens, how to use recording features and how to include and accommodate remote users.
  3. End-user experience. Is the software intuitive? Can meetings and collaborations be launched quickly? Will meeting organizers have all the tools they needs to accomplish their goals? If you—or your integrator—answered no to any of these questions, keep looking.
  4. Budget and ROI. If it’s not in your budget, it’s not the perfect solution for you no matter how great it seems. How do the benefits compare to the price—both now and in the long term? Remember to consider both one-time and recurring costs, such as maintenance, repairs, and upgrades. The best solution will also allow you to gather usage data that shows how people are using the tool, what problems they are experiencing, and how well the tool is helping them meet their goals.
  5. Infrastructure requirements. A qualified AV engineer or integrator can help ensure you are implementing a holistic, flexible, agile and future-proofed system.
  6. Access and security. Ensure that those who need to access your system can—and that others can’t. AV design engineers can make sure your system is web-enabled, mobile-compatible, and cloud-accessible, while also ensuring your network isn’t overburdened and your assets stay secure.

Next Steps

The right video collaboration and AV tools help even the smallest company enjoy a large, global presence. Video can be used to engage anyone, anywhere while also maximizing productivity. Contact us to speak with one of our certified AV professionals to discuss solutions by Skype for Business, Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans, Cisco, Polycom, and many more and help you determine which video collaboration solution will best fit your needs.

5 Ways Display Video Walls Beat Projectors

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If you’ve ever had to choose a display option for an office, venue or event, you’ve probably asked yourself this question: Which is better, a flat panel display video wall or a projector video wall? The short answer is, it depends. There are certainly applications where a blended or rear projection video wall might be a better fit. But the longer answer is, while a projector isn’t always a wrong choice, a LCD or direct view LED video wall has plenty of advantages worth considering.

Image quality

If you want a large display, for example in a big, open lobby or foyer, a LCD or direct view LED video wall is a better choice than a projector. With a projector, you sacrifice image quality to size. Video walls, however, are built from multiple displays all working together to act as a single display, so image size can be scaled up—or down—without sacrificing image quality. Video walls also provide brighter colors and greater contrast, further improving image quality.

Flexibility

A front projection system requires unimpeded space so nothing—like a low hanging light fixture, for example—obstructs or interferes with the projected image. Rear projection systems require several feet of structural space for installation, so a room would have to be retrofitted with space carved out of the wall to accommodate it, or the unit simply protrudes into the work space. Video walls, however, can be configured in small or oddly shaped spaces, and the overall video wall image can be arranged in a variety of shapes, including a cube or pyramid. In addition, ambient light doesn’t impact the quality of a video wall image the way it does a projected image, so video walls can be placed outdoors or in areas with a large amount of natural light and the image will stay crisp and clear.

Installation and Maintenance

Video walls are made of thin, lightweight displays. The video wall displays can be easily moved and reassembled in practically no time at all. Video walls also provide an easier and less disruptive maintenance experience. Because video walls are modular any problem— for instance, a burned-out light or pixel—only affects one tile or screen. The rest of your video wall will operate as normal while you make a repair. When a similar issue comes up with a projector, the whole unit goes down and the repair is often expensive and time-consuming.

Capabilities

Projectors do one thing—project an image. Video walls on the other hand are more than a one trick display. For example, video walls can use touchscreens, wands and electronic pens to create an interactive, personalized experience.

Cost

Cost is one place where projectors might appear to have an advantage, but don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. Yes, the initial cost of an LED video wall is 15% to 20% higher than a projector, but those upfront savings are erased by higher maintenance costs within the first five years. LED walls also consume about half the energy a projector does, bringing the break-even point to just two years.

At Level 3 Audiovisual we have the expertise and vision to make your video wall dreams a reality. Let us know how we can help with your next project.

Top 50 AV Integrator

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Top 50 AV Integrator

Thank you to all of our clients and the business that you bring us. We have been ranked 36 out of 50 Top AV Integrators for the year of 2016. While the bottom line is important, the Top 50 is just one way to view the AV industry and where success and efficient installation providers rank. We look forward to continuing our award-winning services for the years to come!

What makes us a Top System AV Integrator?

– AV9000 Standards
– On-Site Visits
– No Job is too big or small!
– In-House Design & Engineering
– Project Management with AV Backgrounds
– Control Systems Programming
– Project Commissioning
– Third Party Commissioning
– Skype for Business Integration
– Development Enterprise Standards

Our goal as an award-winning AV integration service is to provide best use case solutions for your tough audio visual needs. With an in-house team of Project Managers, Design Engineers, Programmers and certified Technicians you can trust your next AV project is in good hands. We don’t stop there, with a 20,000 sq ft staging facility we pre-stage all of our installs so we don’t arrive on-site with equipment that hasn’t been fully tested.

Read more about the awards on SCN.

Making the Switch from Print to Digital Signage

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Three Reasons Retailers Should Make The Switch From Print to Digital Signage.

The way retailers communicate is changing. Print ads are no longer the flashy, new guy in town. In fact, making the switch from print to digital signage is increasing everyday as more and more companies realize the power and impact HD digital signage has on their branding message.

With the ability to change content on the fly, schedule and arrange advertising and messages based upon the time of day or by client facial recognition, savvy organizations are starting to make the switch from print ads to digital signage. And for good reason. HD digital signage provides brilliant bright colors and rich, deep blacks of LCD and LED technology and combines the ability to play videos, animations and custom, interactive messages. Digital signage opens up a whole new world of instant, meaningful, custom communication.

Where once we had fixed billboards with custom built extensions coming off of the tops or sides, we now have digital billboards with geo-fencing, LED pixel pitch technology and the ability to change content and schedule content on the fly. And at a fraction of the cost of traditional, printed billboards.

And it’s not just the Out of Home industry that has been affected. The switch from print to digital displays can be seen in retail markets with digital, interactive POP (point of purchase) displays, higher education facilities in the form of video walls and corporations where digital signage plays an important role in branding and messaging.

Digital signage does one thing very well, and that is it engages your audience. And ultimately, in advertising and marketing, a solid branding message is what everyone is after. Planning, executing and measuring engagement is more powerful and much easier on an interactive display as opposed to a traditional print ad. Making digital signage the no-brainer for organizations worldwide.

So what are the three reasons retailers should switch from print to digital?

1. Increased Savings

The cost of digital signage is a bit different from print costs. With digital signage, you have a higher cost up front, but a better ROI in the long run. Really the only costs with digital signage is the one-off installation costs, some minor support and maintenance costs and the cost for having an in-house designer who can push and schedule content, which you probably already have if you are designing print ads.

The other benefit to digital signage costs is getting rid of the recurring printing fees you see in normal print ad production. From magazines to newsletters to posters and murals. The cost of printing these ads, installing them or distributing them, removing them and redoing it all over again can be daunting from a print perspective. Digital signage removes these recurring costs as it is now basically free to put any image, advertisement or interactive display up once you get over the initial installation cost.

2. Real-Time Updates.

Imagine in a world of print ads where you had to schedule having posters shipped all over the country to your retail locations for your campaigns. Not anymore! With the click of one button you can now send digital content to displays all across the country or the world that reside on your network. Or you can send specific information to specific displays based upon the time of day, the demographic standing in front of the display or branded to a specific group. Or all three within a matter of hours.
This instant way of advertising with digital displays is very cost effective because you aren’t printing and shipping printed ads. Not only that but you have much more control over your content then you did with print. See a typo? No biggie, just make the change and push the refreshed content back out. Bam, instant cost savings with real-time updates, does it get any better? Oh yes, yes it does.

3. Truly Engaging Content

When was the last time you physically engaged with a print ad? Yeah, we thought so. And that is why digital signage is becoming so popular. Look around you, everyone is already using digital displays of some sort, whether it’s their TVs, computers or smart phones, people are touching and engaging with digital screens every day.

So it’s no wonder that digital signage is becoming so popular. Universities are using interactive displays to show students and potential students what is going on in and around campus as well as how to find their classrooms or other facilities. Students can stop and use wayfinding on interactive maps to get a good idea of where to go. And they do all of this by touching the screen, just like they do on their smart phones. The transition of our culture from print to digital ads is almost seamlessly built in.

Interactive, engaging content is also hugely popular in retail locations where brand can literally interact with their consumers. Want to try on a new pair of clothes but don’t want to step into a changing facility? No problem, have the display take a picture of you (via it’s built in camera or one that has been mounted under or over the screen) and viola, you are now wearing the outfit you wanted to try on, virtually, on screen. Smart digital signage systems can also utilize facial recognition to determine the demographic of the customers currently standing in your retail store, bar or outlet and will push media content to that demographic. It will be able to determine the age, sex, height, weight, hair color of the clientele and will use that information to determine what digital media content gets played on the screens.

This kind of “out of the box” thinking regarding the way companies interact with their consumers is the reason engaging content is getting so popular in digital signage. The possibilities are almost endless and you are no longer pigeon-holed into a piece of paper that never changes its shape, size or motion.

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Are you ready to change the way your company interacts with those around them? Reach out to Level 3 Audiovisual today and let’s discuss how we can help you ditch the paper and go truly digital with bright, high definition digital signage.

New Tech for Classroom Collaboration

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We, at Level 3 Audiovisual have the opportunity to work with some world class educators in various pedagogical disciplines in our pursuit to provide next generation technology solutions for higher education organizations. In 2015, several of these organizations are leading the learning technology evolution and changing the way they approach classroom technology configurations.

“Flipped Classrooms” are breaking away from the traditional teacher centric layout and shifting instruction to a learner-centered model in which class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating meaningful learning opportunities. With the ability to easily capture and stream live instructional content, today’s higher education leaders are depending on delivering much, and sometimes all, of their curriculum online. No longer is it just an option to take an online class, it is built into the everyday coursework and is often preferred by the next generation of college students.

Learning spaces are changing to accommodate the needs by creating a digital collaboration experience that enable teams with technology for presenting, sharing, capturing, and annotating as small teams or as one large group. Instead of a teaching station or lectern at the front of the room with several rows of front facing chairs, you may find several team huddle tables seating between 4-8 people with a shared interactive flat panel display at the end. Each huddle group is able to present and share content at their respective table/flat panel among themselves when working as teams. If the instructor wants to share content from one table to another or all others, just a few clicks of a button is all that is required.

I know that we have been talking about this BYOD thing for a while, but the game has changed again with wireless network based presentation devices and software. These gateways enable instructors, students, guests, and any device connected to the network to present audiovisual information on a shared screen. Laptops, smart phones, tablets, and pc’s can all be wirelessly connected and sharing content simultaneously in a presentation that, when coupled with an interactive touch surface – like a video wall, creates a truly collaborative experience. These systems redefine what it means to “Cut the Cord”.

Speaking of video walls, this is another new area of excitement and growth in higher education. Replacing projectors in large group rooms, digital signage, and interactive touch collaboration systems are just a few of the applications for video wall technology in higher education. Looking at one image is great, but the new norm is multiple sources of content displayed simultaneously with the ability to annotate, re-size, and interact with content with multiple peers. Lower total cost of ownership is driving these technologies into the hands of today’s educators and we will continue to see a major rise in this area.

Video conferencing continues to play a role in distance learning applications, but now the ways of connecting, streaming, recording, and reaching remote interactive audiences has simplified even further. Desktop conferencing and remote learning software allow instructors to provide video collaboration, capture, and instant publishing to online content delivery platforms for later viewing in case you could not make it live. Most modern classrooms are equipped with a dedicated PC that can be used to turn a classroom into a learning studio with global reach.

As you can see, the future of education enhancing technology is bright and continues to enable learners to consume content from anywhere at any time.

Looking for new Classroom Collaboration Tech? Fill out the form and we will reach out ASAP!


Digital Signage for Advertising is HOT!

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Digital Signage is perfect for marketing and advertising, it’s like a match made in heaven!

The new primetime for advertising means constantly being able to reach your desired audience during their daily commute, in their office building, at the gym and at the bar – all while complementing other media channels. It also means accepting nothing less than ease, performance and accountability from digital place-based networks. Digital Signage is the path of reaching this advertising primetime.  If you want to maximize all benefits to your consumers and company this strategy of technological displays is the way to go.

When ‘Digital Signage’ is spoken of, it should be known that it is referred to as digital displays. These displays are great resources for marketers to use. With the ability to show advertising, branding, way-finding, entertainment and multitudes of other information, digital displays are literally everywhere in our lives. Retailers and corporate advertisement companies using digital displays are increasingly common. Every-day healthcare organizations, hospitality corporations, higher education campuses, and government administrations are investing and utilizing the strong appeal that Digital Signage presents. The variety of benefits that digital signage brings to the table are endless.

Reduce the costs

Digital Display screens can vary in price due to the dimensions, brands, number of panels, resolution, etc. Although, before an investment of a projector occurs, consider the costs for lamp and filter replacements, unexpected color-wheel failures, mounting options, resolution, and reliability. The upfront maintenance of projection systems can be 5, 10, or even 20 times the price for a comparable LCD or LED Video Wall, with identical resolution, and similar features. To learn more about the pricing or to receive a quote for a Digital Signage installation fill out your contact information below.

Maximize the connection

Remote access to digital displays is even easier now with integrating into your existing network. Digital monitors can be connected to the web allowing news feeds, Twitter feeds, currency and weather updates and more to be incorporated into the display. Blog posts and video content from video sites such as YouTube and eHow may be included in the display as well. For example, in a doctor’s office a monitor could display general health facts, tips and feature via real-time news RSS feeds.

Increase the engagement

63% of people report that digital signage has captured their attention more than TV, internet, & billboard advertising. The audience engagement of displays have an immense ability to increase the sales of products and services while captivating the attention of a customer. The capability to break news in real-time, change screen presentations daily, and present a variety of engaging content all at once, are all possible while utilizing digital displays.

The bottom line is that a direct view of a digital display is an obvious choice. The razor thin margin between panels comes at a substantial cost savings, dramatically increased reliability and flexibility. Your display will deliver unsurpassed contrast, brightness and overall maintenance free performance for years. Simply turn it on and that’s all. Digital signage is an obvious, cost effective and full featured choice, superior in almost every respect to the overpriced projection based alternatives.

 

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