Collaboration Archives - Level 3 Audiovisual

Collaboration

Video Conferencing Can Fill the Gaps in Your Workflows

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Today’s companies are all about the flow of information from colleague to colleague and team to team. So when work at your organization gets stuck, lost, or forgotten, where does it usually come to a grinding halt? In email? On team collaboration boards? During meetings? If you find that work often stops until the next meeting or until a key team member gets back into town, there are faster, more efficient ways to keep work moving. One of those ways is to get on a video conference call right now.

Video Collaboration Improves the Flow of Work

Video collaboration tools are better quality and more reliable than in the past. Solutions designed for meeting spaces do more than just video. They make real-time information and content sharing easier than ever. Solutions intended specifically for small meeting rooms may include cameras and microphones designed to pick up much more than a laptop, as some employees will try to use—unsuccessfully.

Also look for features like annotation, touch screens, video capture, wireless sharing, scheduling capabilities, video recording, and easy integration with your existing systems and workflows. Companies invest in workflow technologies but overlook the collaboration aspect. Video conferencing helps fill in the gaps.

The latest video solutions improve workflows and processes by:

  • Facilitating faster decision making
  • Increasing productivity
  • Connecting employees of all kinds, including remote, mobile, and in office
  • Merging content tools with collaboration, allowing work to be completed during meetings
  • Cutting costs through preventing project delays

In high-growth companies, 73 percent of executives say that video conferencing improves communication, when compared with audio conferencing. That also means work outcomes are better because there is less miscommunication and mistakes.

Improve Work Efficiency with Video Conferencing

Video collaboration solutions improve workflows and coordination of efforts across teams. It gives you a path to bypass all the potholes, roadblocks, and dead ends in your work because it adds a faster, more accurate means of communication. And with the rise in ad hoc meeting spaces, like huddle rooms, it’s another tool to get work done in the present, without having to organize a formal meeting.

Organizations should make video collaboration available not just in these ad hoc meeting spaces though. Video conferencing capabilities should be in huddle rooms, conference rooms, and virtually any other work or gathering space.

It’s not just workspaces that are changing. The way employees work is changing to be more mobile and more flexible. Employees need the tools to accommodate that kind of agility.

Create Spaces That Make Video Collaboration Easy

The video collaboration technologies that support your workflows should:

  • Work from anywhere using any device
  • Integrate with other technologies in the room
  • Be intuitive for all users

Consumer video conferencing applications, like Skype, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime, are easy to use outside of work and have become part of routine life for many users. In fact, Apple has announced that’s it’s releasing the ability for up to 32 people to participate in a FaceTime video call. That’s a sign that video conferencing and consumer-style tools are overlapping more than ever. However, a FaceTime video call won’t be practical for many professional use cases.

An experienced audiovisual integrator can help organizations decide which tools make the most sense for their needs and goals.

Next Steps

The key to improving work is making video collaboration a part of your everyday workflows. As work becomes more collaborative and more of it is conducted in small group meeting spaces, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that those spaces are equipped with video collaboration tools.  Consider those designed for these modern spaces, like the Crestron Mercury or the Polycom Trio. Download “A Standardized Huddle Space Catalog and Guide” to learn more about equipping huddle and small meeting spaces for video collaboration.

How to Make the Case for Better Video Conferencing

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Is video conferencing at your organization up in the air and all over the place? Maybe some employees love to hop on impromptu video calls with just about anyone from anywhere—even when they’re just down the hall. On the other hand, some resist turning on the camera or using video conferencing at all. You may see different departments favoring different solutions. If there is no consistent user experience and video conferencing has become a big hassle for your IT department, you’ll want to make some changes.

You know you want to provide an easy, standardized experience in your meeting rooms, small or large. But what do you do when executives don’t make video conferencing a priority, don’t understand the benefits, and don’t want to set aside budget to solve your organizations collaboration issues?

Start by gathering user and stakeholder feedback, researching and narrowing down your options, and then presenting the information to those who will make the final decision. State your case by beginning with the “why” behind the push for video conferencing.

Why Organizations Should Invest in Video Conferencing

You already know why an easy-to-use, standardized video conferencing solutions makes sense, but it’s important to let decision makers in on the long-term, big-picture benefits.

Video collaboration:

  • Is cost-effective. Video conferencing has always been a good way to save on travel costs, but the rise of cloud and software-based solutions makes it more affordable than ever. Organizations also save on hardware, data storage, and real estate by accommodating a growing remote workforce.
  • Improves work. With video conferencing available in any room, from any device, employees are able to meet and work with more speed, efficiency, and accuracy. At a moment’s notice they can show remote colleagues an asset, a product, a presentation, or whatever they may be working on and ask advice, clarification, or help. And that’s just one use case.
  • Has more uses than ever. It used to be that video conferencing was seen as suitable for more formal staff, client, and executive meetings. However, now it’s being used to support ideation, innovation, and employee engagement among all kinds of teams. Whether planned or impromptu, formal or informal, video conferencing is being used by nearly all departments, including tech support, production, and field service.

How to Present the Case for Video Conferencing

Let stakeholders know you’ve done your homework, and ask those who already support video conferencing to help others get on board.

  • Identify stakeholders. Determine who will need to approve the video conferencing purchase. Learn what kinds of details they need before making a decision.
  • Explain the problem and solution. Share the user feedback, usage reports, and request for features you gathered early on. This way, you can explain to stakeholders how the problems will be solved with a new solution.
  • Document your research. Track which vendors or solutions you have researched, noting which features align with your requirements. Highlight your recommendations and write an explanation of your decision to share with stakeholders.
  • Justify the investment. In addition to outlining the benefits mentioned above, you will want to include a cost/benefit analysis in your business case that also includes tangible costs and benefits. With this analysis, you should include all one-time and recurring expenses. A qualified AV integrator can also help determine the expected ROI which can help with making that final decision.

Next Steps

Not all video conferencing tools are designed for all spaces. If you’re looking for ways to implement video collaboration in small meeting rooms, consider tools like the Crestron Mercury or the Polycom Trio. Both feature webcams and content sharing capabilities. Check out “A Standardized Huddle Space Catalog and Guide

How the Experts Achieve Video Collaboration Success

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Video collaboration in the workplace is more the rule than the exception. For example, 55 percent of organizations use Skype For Business—but not every tool out there will be the right fit for your particular needs and business case. Here are some best practices; to help you pick the right video collaboration tool and get the most out of it.

How to Achieve Video Collaboration Success

  1. Simple connectivity. Most employees conduct their personal lives on their phones and other personal devices; they want to do the same when it comes to their business lives. The most successful video collaboration systems allow people to easily connect any device to start sharing and collaborating. When employees can use their own, familiar devices for workplace collaboration; they are more likely to use the systems you have in place.
  2. Intuitive workflow According to Zoom, 97 percent of business customers say ease of use is the most important quality for mobile apps, and the same is true of the apps and platforms you use for collaboration within your organization. To increase adoption, make sure your video collaboration platform includes workflows that are intuitive to follow; and make completing projects easier instead of harder. Remember, if it takes too long for employees to figure it out, they’ll stop trying.
  3. Automated experience. According to McKinsey, 60 percent of occupations have at least 30 percent of their activities that are automatable. Incorporating automation tools into your meeting spaces can simplify repetitive tasks and enhance your video collaboration experience. For example, you can install motion sensors that detect when someone enters the room; and automatically turn on your video conferencing system. Occupancy sensors can also detect when no one is in the room; and turn off systems such as lighting and HVAC to save energy. An integrated scheduling tool can also enhance your overall video collaboration experience; by allowing people to easily see what meeting spaces are available when and helping them schedule the space that best meets their meeting goals and needs.
  4. Cultural adoption. Video collaboration is the norm in today’s workplace, but that doesn’t mean everyone is comfortable using it. Instead of assuming every employee is comfortable in front of a camera; companies with successful video collaboration empower employees to use their collaboration systems and feel confident doing it. Leadership buy-in, trainings and opportunities to practice will all help video collaboration become a natural and stress-free part of your company culture.

Next Steps

So, how does your video collaboration system measure up? Are you positioned for success or is it time to consider a new video collaboration platform that will move you closer to success? Level 3 Audiovisual partners with manufacturers including Skype for Business, Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans, Cisco and Polycom to help every company meet their collaboration goals. Schedule a consultation today and find out how we can help you.

5 Crestron Huddle Room Solutions You Need

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These days huddle rooms are the rule rather than the exception, and for good reason. Huddle rooms help mitigate one of the main downsides of open floor plans—noise and distractions—so employees can focus on productive collaboration. Huddle rooms also provide flexibility and are often a more practical use of space than large, infrequently used conference rooms.

However, huddle rooms are only as good as the audiovisual technology they are equipped with. While most huddle rooms include some standard components—a display, a camera, a microphone, a control system, as well as collaboration software and network access—the quality of those components can make or break your huddle room. And their cost can make or break your budget.

Improving Huddle Rooms with Crestron

Crestron, one of the leading AV design and engineering firms, has several low-cost, high-impact solutions that can help you design an affordable huddle room with powerful and functional technology solutions.

  1. Professional presentation solution. A small huddle space doesn’t have room for a large projector or other presentation equipment that takes up a lot of space. But the quality of huddle room presentations should match what is possible in larger conference and meeting rooms. Crestron’s HD Scaling Presentation Switcher & Extender is a high definition AV presentation solution that can connect to computers and mobile devices and route any media to your huddle room’s display. Built-in scaling means this solution can handle a variety of formats and resolutions, and the compact size means you can install the hardware inside a lectern, under a table, or behind a screen.
  2. Wireless content sharing. Struggling to get devices connected takes time, causes frustration, and is a common cause for meetings starting late. Wireless presentation means you can share content from any device, including a tablet or mobile phone, without having to plug it in. The Crestron AirMedia® App not only lets you share content wirelessly, but it can accommodate up to 32 devices so collaboration is streamlined and immediate.
  3. Cable and device management. A small huddle space can easily get cluttered with too many cables and wires. The Crestron Connect It™ Cable Caddy keeps all your connector cables in one place—including HDMI, VGA, Audio, and Ethernet cables—so you can quickly find the cable you need and connect your devices without any hassle. Once you’re connected, press the button on your interface to instantly display your content.
  4. Centralized control. You can pack a lot of technology into a small huddle room, but if each component has to be managed and controlled separately, the user experience is compromised, and people are less likely to use all available features. The Crestron Mercury® is an all-in-one tabletop solution that lets you control all your collaboration and conferencing tools regardless of the application or platform. With a single touch you can also control room scheduling, microphone and speaker volume, and web-based collaboration.
  5. Unified communications packages. If you are just starting to design or equip a new huddle room, Crestron offers UC packages that include all the technology you’ll need for a highly efficient—and effective—space, including a touch screen, camera, and speakerphone, all powered by the Crestron RL® 2 Codec.

Next Steps

Huddle room solutions are one piece of your enterprise AV system, and they should be compatible with other AV solutions for maximum effectiveness. A Level 3 Audiovisual Crestron expert engineer can help you find the right huddle room solutions and make sure they integrate effectively with your other AV solutions.

Minimize meeting problems and collaborate with CoreTouch

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Have you ever had those meetings when you would bring your laptop or tablet but couldn’t connect it to a projector, monitor, or any other kind of peripheral? With a presentation ready to go, you wasted so much time trying to figure out how to make the technology work. It can either transform a meeting into a complete frustration or really make it valuable.

Some of the most common meeting problems companies have are trouble with starting and finishing a meeting on time. Factors like failing technology, silent participants and collaboration dominators often result in a conducted meeting with no decisions made. The results of this survey show that 45% of participants most of the time leave a meeting without a clear understanding of their responsibilities. Also, 47% of workers react stressfully to tech malfunction. With Layer Logic’s CoreTouch, Today, we have a device that’s both easy to use and simplifies collaboration and sharing.

Improved Collaboration

CoreTouch is an appliance that enables collaboration to displays of all kinds from a user’s preferred device. One centralized appliance provides up to four connections for users, each device sending its share of data to the display in real-time. When a meeting starts on time, you get so much work done, and everyone present manages to participate and present their information. You will walk out with an overwhelming sense of productivity. This is rarely the case in small and mid-sized organizations.

Share Like You Had Never Shared Before

Regardless of the type of device or its operating system, CoreTouch provides quick connectivity without any security or software updates to address. Cables connected to a smart device or laptop and to the display provide a wired connection that is more secure than a wireless one, addressing several common security concerns.

Intuitive Touchscreen Display

Because there is no need to install software or configure it, CoreTouch can be controlled in several ways. When all the devices are plugged in, you can jump from full- to quad-screen with simple swipe gestures using a smartphone as a device or an interactive touch screen as your display. You can actively participate in a quadrant, sharing your data through a wireless presentation system. Also, you can use a tablet or smartphone to choose which device is displayed on the screen at a given moment, thus controlling the presenters.

CoreTouch can be mounted on any monitor or HID capable touch device. Layer Logic’s certification process has tested touchscreen displays and certified the following ones to work with CoreTouch: BenQ, LG, Phillips, Samsung, Vivitek, Sharp NEC, Cleartouch, and Christie.

In the past, you used to hassle with all kinds of tech equipment and worried whether you would be able to play a simple 2-minute video. Now, you just throw your laptop in the bag and go on with your day without any worries that a failure to connect will happen again. Smooth and coherent integration can be complicated to achieve. The result of using CoreTouch can be simply getting more work done during meetings and collaborating more quickly and effectively.

If you’re interested in CoreTouch and want to see how it works, contact us to book a demo!

A Crestron and Zoom Partner for A New Meeting Room Solution

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 How Crestron and Zoom Have Teamed Up to Make Meetings Better

There are plenty of times when less is more, including when you are making decisions about your conference room technology. The best meeting room technology is a simple, one-stop, unified solution. But many conference rooms today are cluttered with technologies, including conference phones, USB speaker phones, flat panel displays, laptops or desktops running meeting applications, and lots and lots of cables. Some technologies might be compatible while others aren’t, and integrating personal devices such as mobile phones is complicated at best and impossible at worst. Meetings can already be a drag—a poorly equipped meeting space only makes it worse.

The Crestron Mercury was developed to address those common—and annoying—problems with the typical meeting room user experience. And Crestron’s new partnership with online meeting platform Zoom takes meeting efficiency to the next level.

What Is Crestron Mercury?

The Crestron Mercury includes the capabilities of conference phones, cables, and computers—in one tabletop box. The touch screen console includes a main conference phone and Bluetooth compatibility to support mobile phones, built-in wireless presentation capabilities, and a unique petal-shaped speaker array and integrated microphone for optimal audio quality. The Mercury is also compatible with any web-based collaboration application, so committing to the Mercury doesn’t also lock you in to a proprietary collaboration solution that might not meet your needs.

What Is Zoom?

Zoom is a cloud-based video and web conferencing service that is compatible with multiple unified communications systems and audiovisual hardware applications. It works in any environment any time. This means you don’t need to undertake a costly hardware upgrade to improve the quality and flexibility of your meetings. Unlike other video conferencing solutions that only operate with specific hardware configurations, Zoom will work with various audiovisual hardware components including desktops, laptops, projectors, microphones and digital screens. That means you can use Zoom in a large conference room with multiple participants and not sacrifice audio coverage or video quality. And the same is true for remote participants. Integrated cloud provisioning means remote employees can join meetings from wherever they are using a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone and the Zoom app or website, promising audio and video quality to be the same as if they were in the room. All of this translates into money saved on employee travel and technology upgrades, as well as time saved trying to get meetings started and/or frustrated employees dealing with poor and sometimes complicated meeting room solutions.

Crestron Mercury now integrates Zoom for an improved meeting experience.

A Match Made In Collaboration Heaven

Each of these technologies are useful on their own, but when it comes to meeting room technology, two isn’t better than one. This is why Crestron and Zoom have partnered to simplify the collaboration and meeting room experience for the user. They have integrated Zoom capabilities into the Mercury solution and called it Zoom Room. Instead of connecting a separate laptop or desktop to run the Zoom meeting app, users can run it natively through the Mercury console. And when running Zoom meetings through the Mercury console, you benefit from its superior audio capabilities, as well as wireless AV presentation, room scheduling and meeting control. Other key benefits of the integration include:

  • Single-touch meeting control
  • Content-sharing—including HD video and audio—on any device
  • Improved audio, mic mixing and noise reduction with built-in microphones and speaker
  • Meeting recording capabilities

Setting Up Your Zoom Room

An improved user experience and cost savings sound great but what about installation? If a system is expensive or cumbersome to install, the benefits can be quickly cancelled out. In the case of Zoom Room, Crestron and Zoom have done most of the heavy lifting for you by putting everything you need together in one simple-to-install kit. The Zoom Rooms Crestron Kit includes:

  • Crestron Mercury with the latest firmware update
  • Zoom Rooms license
  • Computer with Zoom Rooms for Mac or Zoom Rooms for Windows installed
  • Mac Mini or a Mini PC
  • Conference room camera

All you need is a flat-panel display, an internet connection, and you’re ready to go. And if you need a little more help getting your new system up and running, there is an AV integrator nearby to help.

Level 3 AV is now a North American Reseller of Montage

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DisplayNote Technologies and Level 3 Audiovisual combine to deliver increased productivity and efficiency into meeting rooms.

DisplayNote Technologies today announced that Level 3 Audiovisual have just been appointed a reseller in Ben for Montage, the company’s new wireless presentation system.

Montage is all about making meeting spaces as productive and effective as possible”, said Paul Brown, CEO of DisplayNote Technologies. “It’s about allowing meeting attendees, whether they’re across the room or across the world, to simultaneously stream what’s on their device to the main meeting room screen, and communicate at the same time via video and voice. Together with Level 3 Audiovisual we believe we can give organisations a solution that really maximises productivity in the meeting room.

“Level 3 Audiovisual is excited about our partnership with DisplayNote Technologies, and their new Montage solution. We are always striving to design and integrate innovative and effective solutions for our customers. We were thrilled to see that Montage truly is a two-way collaborative and interactive solution. DisplayNote recognized a need, and really hit the mark with Montage. By giving the users the ability to control, share content and annotate whether they are presenting from a large multi-touch display, a tablet in a conference room, or attending remotely on their laptop or Smartphone is a real “win-win” for Level 3 Audiovisual, and more importantly, our customers.”

To address the growing need of making meeting and huddle spaces more collaborative, productive and inclusive, DisplayNote Technologies & Level 3 Audiovisual will work together to create awareness around Montage’s unique feature set and to provide the solution to enterprise and higher education customers in North America.

Montage allows multiple attendees, whether they’re in the room or remote, to simultaneously stream what’s on their device to the main meeting room screen.

Once on the main display, attendee screens can be reordered and rearranged so teams can easily view, compare and analyse information from multiple sources.

Montage lets remote attendees communicate at the same time as sharing content using their device’s webcam and microphone.

Other features include 2-way annotation, file-sharing and remote PC control.

DisplayNote Technologies build products that reshape collaboration and make it easier to share information and ideas. Currently there are solutions for collaborative white-boarding, real-time document editing, team messaging and wireless presentation. The company work with and partner with some of the world’s largest display manufacturers and have channel partners across the world.

Founded in 1996 Level 3 Audiovisual is a full-service audio-visual provider, specializing in the design, sale, service and installation of professional audio-visual and video-conferencing systems. In addition to providing high-level technology solutions corporate boardrooms, training facilities and command-and-control centers, the company design, engineer and integrate solutions in Healthcare and Education.

 

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