We Need Collaboration Technology

AV/IT solution providers hear it all the time.  “This is our new collaboration area, so we’ll need some technology in there.”  Those same tech providers must be disciplined enough to reply, “To do what, exactly?” […]

How Automating Office Controls Can Save You Time and Money

When looking to increase their bottom line, company leaders inevitably will explore ways to boost revenue, increase efficiencies and cut costs. That’s why companies can’t afford to overlook the benefits of ‘automated controls’ as a variable in the equation that can save them time and money […]

Staying Digitally Organized

Summer is reaching its halfway mark, and the company’s interns will be leaving soon. It’s time to start preparing your computer and mobile devices so that you can stay digitally organized. Depending upon the organization you currently have, it might seem like a daunting task […]

Give Your Meeting Spaces Names that Inspire, Motivate, and Clarify

The same could be said for the names you give to meeting rooms, huddle spaces or conferences rooms. If you’re simply settling for a name like “Room A-310,” you probably should give more thought to it. Are you indicating what goes on in those spaces are generic or a bit boring? With more attention being paid to the power of collaboration in the workplace, it’s a good idea to assess what your meeting rooms are conveying about your company’s brand and values.

eBook Download: Digital Signage – Effective External and Internal Communication

Curious as to how digital signage can improve your business? In this latest eBook, we discuss how exactly the various functions of digital signage work, both internally and externally. From keeping employees motivated and engaged to enticing potential business partners with the use of digital signage, this eBook covers the many angles of the rapidly evolving usage of digital signage.

Create Meaningful Business Video Solutions

eBook Download: How to Attract Engage and Retain Millennials

How to Implement a DIY Video Strategy That Pays Off

So, you’re thinking of producing a video for your company. Your timing is great. With Facebook prioritizing  video content, your audience already is primed to consume information through video more readily than ever before.

You might be a manager seeking ways to break up long meetings with something a little different. Maybe you’re a social media manager looking for ways to boost your online presence. Or you could be a trainer hoping to reinforce key learnings a few weeks after the fact. All of these are scenarios in which you might want to choose video messaging. The question remaining is “how?”

Full-scale marketing companies with video production require a large investment of both time and money, so it may be tempting to pull out your smartphone and just do it yourself. Before you do, take a moment to come up with a plan: A successful video is a video that meets your strategy, regardless of whether it’s DIY or professionally produced.

What do you mean by DIY?

When I talk about a DIY video, I mean the video you would capture on a smartphone or webcam. This type of video is low quality. It may be grainy or shaky, and may have little to no post-production editing. If there’s editing involved, it may be simple – making use of a smartphone app or the presets from a consumer-grade editing software.

These sorts of videos populate your feed on Facebook or Instagram. They definitely can be informative. Low production quality doesn’t negate good content but it certainly can distract the viewer.

The flip side is a professional video. This video has been produced carefully, paying attention to lighting, composition and quality. The editing here may appear minimal but is done carefully to maximize the impact of the content. The professional video gets traction on social media as well but will be posted by brands more often than by individuals.

In order to help you develop your video strategy, here are five things to consider before choosing DIY video.

  1. Resources: What do you need to make a video? One of the biggest determinants of whether or not you should choose DIY video is the resources you have on hand. Without the proper infrastructure, you won’t be able to make videos at all. This is a broad category, and runs the gamut from equipment to available hours and know how. DIY suggests that you are responsible for every aspect of video creation, so you’ll need to have an answer to the following questions.
  • Do you have a camera?
  • Are you comfortable with its settings and configuration?
  • Can you troubleshoot while people are waiting for you?
  • Do you have lighting?
  • Audio equipment?
  • Can you direct people on camera?
  • How are your interview skills?

In a recording situation, you have to be confident that you’re getting the footage that you need.

In post-production, it’s important to ask the following questions:

  • How much experience do you have in editing?
  • Can you do it quickly?
  • Do you have video editing software?
  • What about hardware? Longer or higher resolution videos will be more resource-intensive.

When a coworker of mine began editing video alongside his customer service role, he quickly found that he could not be successful at both because of the massive time commitment video requires. Are you prepared to devote your time to produce videos? Are you prepared to lose a team member to video production?

If you answered yes to a majority of the above questions, or know that you can make the financial and time commitments to turn “no” answers into “yes” responses, you’re ready to choose DIY video. If not, you should look for a professional.

  1. Audience: Who will be viewing this video? Determine your audience before you start making your own videos. When considering DIY video, this can be as simple as identifying your audience as internal, such as employees of your own company – or external, people outside your company.

Generally, if the video will be internal only, go ahead and make it yourself. Members of your own company will be the target of a different strategy than your customers or other members of the industry. Members of your own company are a more forgiving audience as well. People who have a relationship with you, either by knowing you as a coworker or recognizing your mutual relationship through the corporate hierarchy, will see DIY as authentic.

I once worked with an executive to produce a year-end video but the messaging, to her, was irrelevant. It was apparent in the production process that she was an introvert and, in her position, that made her seem disapproving. Her employees spent more time focused on their approach than their content, which created a negative feedback loop and interfered with everyone’s ability to get work done. Paradoxically, by mediating her image with video, she was able to bypass the personality games, and refocus her team on their work. This sort of strategy is one in which she could have utilized DIY video because she was focused less on production than on breaking down barriers with her team.

A video for an external audience will have to meet much higher standards. You must consider how your video will fit into the larger image that your company is trying to promote. It will also have to satisfy a much wider range of critics. There’s always the risk of your DIY video for an external audience feeling unpolished, like a bad public access television show. When making a video for an external audience, it’s a safer bet to get help from professionals. Your marketing team will thank you.

  1. Occasion: What is prompting you to produce this video? Consider the occasion that prompts your video in the first place. Is it a formal event or an informal event? You want to match your video to the tone of the event. As a result, formal events get more professionally produced videos while events that are more informal can make use of DIY video. There are exceptions, but they need to be informed by your video’s strategy.

For example, my sister was recently hired to run social media engagement for a fashion blog. Her first large project involved the launch of a new clothing line – a very formal event. Readers of the blog had a ton of questions and all wanted to see the new clothes. She could have answered all of those questions after the fact with a recap video and tons of runway b-roll, but that wouldn’t have been very engaging. Instead, my sister hosted a Facebook Live event at the launch to answer her audience in real time. She also had her coworkers to model the clothes in real life, outside the realm of overproduced fashion videos.

The launch of a new product line is a formal event, but by choosing a DIY video solution such as Facebook Live, my sister was able to make that process more accessible to her audience and meet her strategic goals.

  1. Timeline: How much time do you have to make your video? As I mentioned earlier, full-scale video production takes time. Not counting the logistics of contracting and project management, marketing agencies can require weeks of post-production editing to deliver a polished final product. If you’ve been asked to generate video content on a short timeline, your only option might be to do it yourself.

No matter how streamlined your DIY video process is, though, video editing takes time. In my experience, each minute of finished video requires an hour of editing. Further, it takes at least half an hour to record what will end up being five minutes of content.

Once in a blue moon, when I have no distractions, I’m able to record in the morning, spend the whole day editing, and send a client the video before I leave for the evening. I produced videos for a pharmaceutical company; so once I finished the editing process, the video needed to be approved by legal. While a DIY video is quick, getting a video completed in one day is next to impossible.

  1. Frequency: How often will you be doing video? Frequency is a bit of a challenge to consider when approaching DIY video. On one hand, if you’re doing videos infrequently, say, less than one a quarter, it may not be worth it to invest in the resources necessary for a DIY video strategy. It also doesn’t seem worth it to spend a lot of money on a professional video if you’re only going to use it once.

On the flip side, if you do many videos, say, more than once a month, utilizing a professional quickly becomes costly. At the same time, frequently losing a team member from one area to edit video becomes inefficient. It’s important to always return to the strategy you’d like your video to achieve and work from there.

The economics of corporate video production are subjective. Each company or manager will approach the topic with different goals in mind and will evaluate the efficacy of a video with different criteria. As with all business decisions, it’s important to make a case for and against each approach. Hopefully, the five things I’ve highlighted here will help you to successfully strategize and implement your video messaging, whether it’s DIY or professional.

Finding a middle ground. One of the areas where Sensory Technologies has been very successful is in developing the ADOPT Video Producer role. I am onsite with the client for work every day, meeting their video needs. I understand their strategies and jargon. My skill set allows me to split the difference and produce full-scale agency work at DIY costs.

How Technology Can Positively Impact Workplace Communications

It’s not hard to see how much the Internet, mobile devices and social media have profoundly changed the way we communicate on a day-to-day basis – no matter our age. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of U.S. adults owned a smartphone in 2017. And that was just 10 years after the iPhone first hit the market.
work technologyThat same study also revealed that people are using their smartphones for a lot more than texting, calling and checking the latest Tweets. People relied on their smartphones to look for a job (28 percent), shop for goods (51 percent), check reviews (45 percent) and even seek a significant other (9 percent).
With technology impacting our personal lives to this degree, it’s no wonder that it’s revolutionizing the way we engage our colleagues and customers.  Therefore, it’s important to take time to ensure that your digital experiences in the work environment benefit your company’s bottom line – rather than work against it.
Here are a few ways technology can positively transform how employees communicate today – and in the future.
Experience More Comprehensive Internal Communications
The ‘silo effect’ is one of the top communication challenges that have perpetually perplexed organizations.  However, according to a recent Ombono survey, a digitized approach to communication can help tear down those walls. With an increasing number of businesses devoting their resources to digital avenues for communication strategies, progress is being made. Many companies are reporting increased efficiencies in internal communications from real-time messaging tools like Slack.
Also, with video collaboration tools, the way organizations are conducting meetings is evolving. Companies report being able to save on travel costs by opting for virtual video meetings. With high quality video and audio solutions, employees still gain the benefit of engaging in face-to-face meetings — but without the travel expenses.
Training and onboarding of new employees represent another area that is undergoing significant transformation through a digital experience. Instead of heading to a room with a speaker and a PowerPoint presentation, employees can attend trainings at their convenience from anywhere. Executives can streamline the hiring process by conducting initial interviews via video conference – saving the finalists interviews for an in-person engagement. With modern digital technology, companies are able to collaborate, train and hire much faster and more efficiently.
Enhance the Customer Experience
Companies are not just exploring technology to engage existing or prospective employees. They’re also aggressively seeking ways to connect with existing and prospective clients as the general population is primed to embrace the latest technological advances. Everyone is looking for convenience, immediacy and engagement. And companies need to be poised to offer all of them.
Here are a few digital avenues that can help companies deliver on those demands:
Chat bots, which continue to gain in popularity, have been used to customize experiences for consumers. Starbucks has been effective in using a chat bot on the Facebook Messenger app, representing its Pumpkin Spice Latte. While it serves as a great marketing tool, it also is very functional in providing real-time customer support.
Live video feeds have been used by many companies, especially those in the B2B sector, to educate customers. However, they also can be used effectively in B2C communications. For example, companies can provide videos that detail assembly instructions or tips for troubleshooting common problems with products or services.
Social media platforms, perhaps the most familiar digital form of business communication, have been used to generate and convert leads. With consumers using social media extensively in their personal lives, companies have a natural avenue for connecting and engaging with consumers.   
Email marketing has become more automated and customized in recent years. As a result, companies have more opportunities to leverage big data to create targeted messaging for their prospects. And they can deliver them more efficiently – significantly cutting down the time it takes to convert them into clients.
With the digitization of communication, organizations have a wealth of opportunities to connect with their employees and prospects. But they also have unique challenges –some of them rooted in the need to manage both instantaneous positive and negative feedback. As a result, many companies are investing in reputation management techniques that support real-time responses.
As technology continues to change the way we live and work, companies must continue to find opportunities to leverage digital avenues to streamline internal communications and enhance customer experiences and expectations.

Critical Tips for a Successful Cloud Unified Communication and Mobility Plan

Have you taken a look recently at how your organization is approaching employee mobility? With technology that enables people to make connections in their personal lives – no matter where they are, your employees may feel as if it’s a step backwards to have to go into the office simply to join a web conference or a video conference call.
Also, the benefits as part of your overall growth strategy can’t be ignored. According to a recent study, mobility in the workplace has been credited for a 23 percent hike in productivity, 30 percent better processes and 100 percent employee satisfaction.
unified communicationsTechnology innovations have paved the way to increased employee mobility without a huge investment. Organizations, both large and small, should be implementing strategies that make the most of tools and solutions like cloud unified communications (UC). Mobility in the workforce should go beyond simply giving people the ability to connect when they are plugged into the office. The focus should be on implementing tools that work for your employees, no matter where they happen to be – at home, on the road or at a local coffee shop.
However, before simply buying into a UC system, it’s important to compare your options. Just like anything else, all mobility applications are not alike.
When developing a mobility plan as part of your UC strategy, consider the following:
Compatibility: Make sure the mobile application you select supports various tools, including those that run on Windows, iOS, Android and any other platforms preferred within your organization.
Functionality: Does the mobile version of the tool function nearly the same way as the full version? You shouldn’t compromise on functionality just because you’re using the mobile version. Also, consider advanced applications like high-definition video and web collaboration to enhance your team’s mobile connections.
User-friendly: Connecting should never be a struggle for your employees. Test different applications for user-friendliness. If possible, strive to get solutions that are similar in their experiences and required learning curve. Employees shouldn’t have to devote a lot of time trying to understand how to use the different applications in your organization’s UC strategy.
Support: With an increased move to mobility as part of your workplace communications, it’s important to include strategic support to avoid interruptions. Your UC platform of choice should include well-supported mobile applications, as well.
Transferability: The ability to easily connect, as you move from a wired in-office call to a mobile one, should be an expectation. With a quality UC platform, your employees should be able to make those type of transitions seamlessly.
Choose carefully.  Seek consultative guidance, if necessary, to help maximize the effectiveness of your UC and Cloud platform thereby maximizing engagement and productivity within your organization.