Empower Your Employees Through Innovative Technology

Insights from your valued employees are priceless. And incorporating them into your organization’s growth strategy is critical to its ability to be competitive.
According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity increased by 20 percent to 25 percent in companies with connected employees. A Gallup study had similar findings. It revealed that organizations with high employee engagement rates were 21 percent more productive than companies with low employee engagement rates.
empower employeesThose types of results have led organizations to explore the benefits of innovative technology as another avenue to encourage overall employee input. By promoting engagement through technology, companies are creating environments in which different types of people are able to effortlessly collaborate. The benefits include:
–       Encouraging employees to think creatively when developing new solutions
–       Diminishing autocratic leadership, which can interfere with collaborative efforts
–       Encouraging personal growth at all levels
–       Increasing productivity and job satisfaction
Embracing Personal Familiarity
Technology often allows workers to increase their productivity capabilities. At the same time, it can negatively serve as a distraction. That’s why, in the past, many organizational leaders have tried to limit the use of technology in the office – particularly with personal devices. However, as research reveals, the benefits of properly used technology far outpace the risks of potential distractions associated with technology.
By entrusting employees with technology, whether company or personal devices, you are giving them familiar tools to work at a higher level of engagement and productivity. And by pairing innovate employees with the right technology, you empower them to work more collaboratively with colleagues and better connect with prospects and clients.
Another consideration is giving employees the flexibility to use their own devices for business communication outside of the office. Several studies, including one cited in Harvard Business Review, indicate that productivity can increase when employees are given the opportunity to work from home.
Collaborative Technology Solutions
During every workday, over 80% of employees collaborate with a co-worker at least once. This percentage continues to grow as technology makes it easier to connect remotely. And, with improvements in interconnectivity, employees can more effectively use cellphones and tablets as communication tools that can be incorporated into platforms and applications traditionally reserved for computers and conference rooms.
Applications that communicate across devices provide opportunities for seamless communication and collaboration, regardless of location or device. When developing a communications plan, organizations must consider which apps and services are the best fit for their organization and their employees.
For example, some clients of Sensory Technologies use on-demand, video conferencing via Meeting on the Move®  for face-to-face interactions. This robust cloud solution offers an easy-to-use interface with remote connectivity to intuitively collaborate anywhere, anytime.
“The benefits can be significant, especially for companies that are connecting with employees, clients and prospects in different geographies,” said Derek Paquin, Principal at Sensory Technologies.
“The ability to communicate, regardless of location, has transformed the way we collaborate and the speed with which we can make decisions,” Paquin said. “Serving global clients, we understand the immense challenges associated with virtual teaming. Our specialization in implementing these types of solutions has allowed us to solve many potential inefficiencies. We have learned from our experiences how to better help clients succeed with their virtual collaboration initiatives.”
Recent developments in this area include large LED video walls that allow for collaborative screen sharing in multiple locations, simultaneously, from a variety of sources – e.g., remote connections via laptops, mobile phones and tablets. These video walls, which can be placed in boardrooms, social areas or huddle spaces, encourage interactivity and engagement.  
They also can be dual-purposed for digital signage and in-room collaboration.
Unleash Employee Potential
“Employees are organizations’ most valuable resources and yet their full potential almost always goes untapped,” Paquin said. “Encouraging creativity and free-thinking can promote critical positive change, but it often needs to be supplemented and supported by technology solutions that allow for better collaboration and organizational alignment.”
Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) companies, including Sensory Technologies, understand the technology options for generating interest and creativity in the workplace. We also understand that technology and creativity are not one-size-fits all solutions.
At Sensory Technologies, we partner with organizations to help them reach their goals. We’re looking forward to doing the same for you. Contact us for a consultation on the custom solutions that can address the specific challenges and needs of your diverse workforce.

Video Messaging is the Key to Engaging Millennials

It’s no secret that Millennials have grown up being entertained by technology for the majority of their lives, quite unlike any other generation that came before them. Research even suggests that Millennials’ brains have been physiologically and bio-chemically altered because of their continuous engagement with TVs, smartphones and tablets.
You could say that it’s practically in their DNA to be in passive mode while receiving information or entertainment. Instead of waiting for the “next episode” of their favorite show, many Millennials know what it’s like to binge an entire season over a weekend using Netflix. They can master a subject without going to a library. Why sit in front of a stack of books when they can study online via Khan Academy?
Having been shaped so significantly by technology, Millennials and the so-called Gen C or YouTube Generation, expect a similar experience upon entering the workforce or buying consumer goods.
A different type of advertising
This interaction with technology has created a special relationship between advertisers and Millennials … one that challenges advertisers to innovate and shift in order to compete for the highly competitive engagement and attention of a tech-savvy audience. One of the most effective strategies has led to the evolution of video marketing.
According to recent statistics cited by HubSpot, adding video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by as much as 200% to 300%. Clearly, the passive and engaging effects of video has some real measureable value with consumers. As a result, the use of video content has been exploding.
In addition to video messaging being more effective in engaging users, it also gets an extra boost from social media platforms. Facebook, for example, will prioritize video in users’ feed if they have a high view count or are part of a video series. With an effective video messaging strategy, you can more readily get your audience engaged with your corporate messaging. It’s clearly an important element in a successful marketing initiative.
While Millennials and Gen C have had unique childhoods that have been immersed in video content, other generations are mesmerized by video as a medium, according to that same HubSpot research. The study revealed that 59 percent of company decision-makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post about a relevant industry topic.
The power of video to quickly engage and capture the attention of audiences deserves some attention. Instead of debating whether people are being lazy or losing their attention span, we can focus on the reality that “time is money.” And videos can help shorten the time it takes to understand a new concept, a new product or a new service.
Whether you’re trying to reach an audience of Millennials or Boomers, follow these five tips to craft a successful video campaign:

  1. Use a storytelling approach. No matter where you turn, you’re likely to be bombarded with some type of advertising – from billboards, bus wraps and online pop-ups to signs in public restrooms. It’s hard to believe that researchers were alarmed that the average person was exposed to more than 500 ads back in the 1970s. That number has been dwarfed by the  5,000 ads the average person is exposed to in today’s media-saturated environment.

Some of those ads, apparently in an attempt to aggressively cut through the noisy crowd, use tactics like loud noises and flashy visuals to get some attention. Think of a cheesy infomercial or the stereotypical approach used-car dealership commercial.
With so much noise and content out there competing for attention, businesses are finding it more challenging to genuinely capture their audience’s attention while delivering their message in a meaningful way.
In growing up in this bombarded advertising world, many Millennials pride themselves on their ability to disregard ads and remain unconvinced by “in-your-face” marketing campaigns. As a result, these types of ads are becoming less and less successful. The antidotes are engaging, quality video marketing that’s focused on storytelling and high-quality advertisements that capture the attention and genuine interest of the audience.
These new advertising strategies uniquely involve storytelling to communicate the message through thoughtful and relatable content. The success of this approach has its roots in the human’s psyche. By accessing the storytelling queues in the audiences’ brains that have developed through years of evolution and historical auditory history, you can tap into their natural interests.
Brands can use this insight to create more impactful and successful communication campaigns. At Sensory Technologies, we have helped numerous companies craft these types of personalized and narrative messages. Take a look at this video about Sensory’s ADOPT™ Video Production solutions to learn more.
Creating stories that connect to human nature allows brands to build trust, generate genuine interest and establish relationships with their Millennial consumers rather than trying to “trick” them with clever and intrusive ads. This higher-quality content will enjoy more successful campaigns and benefit from positive corporate-client relationships.

  1. Cut the cheese-y approach. Choose intelligent, tasteful humor. What do Millennials’ love of watching cat videos and making memes have in common? They provide a comic release from daily stressors. These also speak more specifically to what Millennials want or have come to expect form content and thus what they deem high-quality advertisements or “good ads.” They want creative humor and relatable references. The irony of talking about cat videos and memes while talking about intelligent humor is not lost on us. But we want to connect to those consumers and to do what we must to speak their language, even if it comes with a corporate learning curve.

Organizations have successfully incorporated witty humor as well as over-the-top absurdity to attract consumers. Staying in the box or producing cheesy content will never go viral and doesn’t win business with younger populations.
A perfect example of tactful humor and over-the-top absurdity is the 2014 ‘Un-Super Bowl’ ad from Newcastle Brewing. The video was released online a day before the Super Bowl.  Newcastle ingeniously used the excitement around the Super Bowl ads, witty and ironic comedy and relatable mockery to create a hilarious original video. The ad featured a story worth sharing with friends, which led to the video going viral.

  1. Develop emotionally rich narratives. Surprising twists that make relatively profound commentary for an advertisement have also become extremely popular with the Millennial generation. So-called “gotcha” videos, such as this video from American Greetings, can leave audiences in awe. The ad cleverly tells a story of people interviewing for the position of Director of Operations at a made-up company. The twist is that job requirements are impossible, including 135+ hour weeks, training in finance, culinary science, medicine and constant on-the-job exertion – all for a salary of $0. The benefit? The lucky candidate gets “satisfaction.” These over the top requirements stun the interviewees as the interviewer calmly continues until it’s revealed that the job duties and responsibilities represent those of being a mom. This results in smiles and laughs followed by emotional tributes to and appreciation for the interviewees mothers. The ad both emotionally shocks the viewers, reminding us the powerful role of a mother, while remaining light with comic relief and relatable characters. The ad only mentions American Greetings in the closing seconds, but the message gets across: “How about you get your mom a card this year?”

The subtlety of the branding combined with the emotional story-telling allowed this video to connect with viewers and create a lasting drive to engage with the brand.
Other communication technologies, such as email newsletters, are still a convenient and effective way to communicate daily messaging and manage client relationships. However, videos actually engage and attract customers. Video has the power to create these narratives that connect with and engage people in ways that the written word cannot. Further, as technology continues to evolve, and content becomes more data-driven, the customization of ad experiences will only continue to grow. That means organizations will likely continue using video successfully as a storytelling communication tool.

  1. Empower your mission. The Millennial generation is often vocal about its desire to create change and produce a “better world.” According to a recent Forbes article, 73% of Millennials indicated they’d be willing to spend more on a product if it is produced by a “sustainable” brand. Businesses with a social or environmental cause can connect with Millennials by using video storytelling to encourage viewers to support their cause.

An organization’s brand is deeply rooted in its mission – or the story of its brand. An organization’s values and mission can be used to set the organization apart from the noise and capture the minds and hearts of Millennials.

  1. Educate via video. Videos also can make education engaging for audiences of all ages. Use that advantage to create educational content that helps your employees or prospects learn and understand new concepts. According to numerous students, Millennials are considered America’s most educated adults. The technology they grew up has been a major component of that educational growth, especially since nearly all information is easily accessible from smartphones. With Millennials’ natural drive for more knowledge, brands can use video to teach them something new and unique as it relates to their organization or industry.

Start engaging your audiences today! Learn more about Sensory Technologies’ Corporate Video Solutions at https://sensorytechnologies.com/solutions/video-production/. Or call us at 800-48-VIDEO or email dpaquin@sensorytechnologies.com.

5 Ways Collaboration Spaces Improve Productivity

Whether you call them collaborative spaces or collaboration spaces, these areas show no signs of slowing down in popularity. The open workspaces, shared desks and interactive technology that characterize today’s collaboration spaces are gaining points among employees and employers alike for promoting brainstorming and connections among co-workers and clients.
However, a collaboration space should be much more than a gathering place. With AV integration, companies not only can visually enhance their space: They’re able to provide their team members with effective tools that allow them to easily share ideas, problem solve and creatively innovate.  When developed correctly, collaboration spaces not only enhance connections in the workplace, but they also improve productivity to boost the company’s bottom line.
Here are five ways collaboration spaces are improving productivity in the workplace:

  1. Engage different personalities. A collaboration space should naturally encourage employees to work together when solving problems. However, it’s important to recognize that your team consists of people with different personalities. Therefore, they will require different tools in order for them to do their best work. Some employees may want to access and review group documents in their own space, while others may work best when leading a discussion or presentation as part of a gathering. By providing a mix of collaborative spaces and private spaces, you’re recognizing the different communication and work styles among your team members. That’s a critical step toward ensuring that you’re empowering everyone’s fullest potential.
  2. Recognize the contributions of remote employees. According to a report published in the New York Times, 43 percent of employees surveyed said they worked remotely at some point. As this trend increases, companies must face the challenge of keeping these employees engaged. Conference rooms equipped with intuitive video conferencing capabilities and seamless collaboration technology enable these employees to easily participate – as if they, too, were in the room.
  3. Enhance brainstorming. With flexible and mobile round seating areas (think campfire), along with robust digital whiteboards, your collaborative spaces should make each of your colleagues feel included. And when they’re able to share information using their own mobile devices, employees will comfortably engage with each other using familiar tools. This type of relaxed environment helps to promote employee connection, brainstorming, innovation and creativity.
  4. Create a teamwork mentality. Collaboration spaces also help to create a teamwork environment, breaking down the barriers that can emerge in traditional meeting rooms. Also, with smaller huddle rooms that are more private, you can engage employees who may not be as comfortable sharing ideas with large groups of people.
  5. Increase morale. Employees who are engaged – and who are asked for their input – are employees who are more productive.  They are more aligned with the objectives and purpose, and therefore they feel greater pride in their organization.  They also are more likely to stay with your company. A Gallup study revealed that engaged employees are correlated with overall organizational success..

Many companies are searching for ways to increase productivity among their employees. Creating collaboration spaces can be the key to increasing employee engagement, teamwork and talent retention.

5 Ways Technology is Changing Workplace Communications

While it’s easy to point to face-to-face meetings as one of the casualties of disruptive technologies, the way we communicate at work continues to undergo significant changes. And the latest innovations indicate that there’s more change on the horizon. If you blink, you could miss opportunities to help leverage technology and meet the needs of your organization.
According to Adobe’s Future of Work Report, 81 percent of employees rated innovative technology as more important than perks and amenities. The 2016 survey revealed that employees in companies with state-of-the-art technology were more likely to feel creative, motivated and valued than employees working at companies with outdated technology.
We rounded up 5 of the major ways technology is changing the way people in the workforce are communicating. Whether your team is all under one roof or spread out across different time zones, you may discover some new opportunities to enhance your business communications.

  1. Mobile technology will continue to lead future change. If you haven’t already developed policies around BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) you may be behind the curve – especially when it comes to attracting and retaining Millennials. According to a recent study, about 60 percent of companies allow their employees to use their personal devices for work. Another 13 percent of the respondents surveyed said they would introduce BYOD within a year’s time.

When paired with the cloud, a BYOD policy gives your team the ability to work – whether at home, work or in a coffee shop. When introducing BYOD, don’t stop there. It’s essential to invest in security and privacy strategies to help minimize security threats. (Employee training in security best practices also is a must.)

  1. Cloud connections in the workplace. The use of the cloud in the workplace has been shown to lower operating costs, improve business outcomes, enhance client services and pave the way for future scaling. No matter your industry, it’s become a necessity for your organization’s goals. The adoption of hosted VoIP (Video over IP), which has become a preferred alternative to high-maintenance and costly on-premise solutions, has been increasing in recent years as a result. And integrating VoIP with CRM allows sales reps, marketing executives and other client-facing employees to utilize client data more effectively.
  2. Video as a communications avenue. Your employees are increasingly engaging video to consume content in their personal lives. In fact, the rate of viewing video on mobile devices is projected to overtake TV viewing in a few short years, according to an eMarketer study. Instead of simply relying on email to communicate company messages, companies will increasingly explore ways to connect with employees through different media, including high-quality audio and video. Video will become the preferred way for people to feel connected with their co-workers and leadership.
  3. Internet of Things (IoT) will go mainstream.  With the global IoT market projected to grow to $8.9 trillion by 2020, according to Statista, more than likely it will increasingly make its way into your work environment. Embedded devices, apps, and cloud systems – capable of sending and receiving data located all around your office space – will further disrupt the way we interact with each other in the workplace. May as well embrace it now!
  4. Unified Communications (UC) becomes even more profitable. With the introduction of cloud-based solutions, UC has become more affordable than premise-based UC solutions. That means more businesses and organizations of all sizes are incorporating UC as part of their business strategy.  According to Computer Economics, unified communications is among the technology strategies that deliver the maximum return on investment.

Is More OLED Technology In Your Future?

With technology continuing to accelerate at the speed of light, you may find it challenging to keep up with the latest developments. That seems to be the case with OLED technology, which has been projected to grow at a compound rate of 15.2 percent from 2017 and 2023, according to OLED growth predictions gathered in a recent Markets and Markets’ research report.
To get a sense of the real dollars, the OLED market is forecast to grow to a sizeable $48.81 billion by the end of 2023 – up from $16.58 billion just as recently as 2016.
oled tunnelBefore we get into how OLED technology can transform your future, take a look at a definition if you’re not already familiar with the technical inner workings. OLED, which stands for organic light-emitting diode, is a type of LED that uses an organic compound – instead of a traditional synthetic compound – as the film layer that responds to electric currents creating images.
Currently, OLED-powered displays already are being used in smartphones, high-end televisions, digital signages, digital video cameras, general lighting devices and other top-of-the-line commercial and residential AV solutions,
The rapid rise of this technology seems to be linked to positive user experiences, including  enhanced picture quality, lower power consumption, lighter weight and better durability. In addition to improvements of the technology, the growth of the OLED market has been fueled by growing investments and government support for OLED research and development.
A Look at Today’s OLED Market
While OLED has a bright future, it remains an evolving technology. It’s unlikely that it will take over the digital display market anytime in 2018. It’s simply a matter of supply and demand. With the demand for inexpensive direct-view LED displays still high, the demand for large-scale production of more expensive OLED TV displays will be limited.
Yet, there’s a sign of things to come with increased OLED technology adoption. In recent years, companies like Sony, Philips, Toshiba and Panasonic have continued to launch their new OLED TV products. Meanwhile, Samsung and Apple have introduced flagship phones using OLED technology, including the iPhone X and the Galaxy Note 8.
Regional Competition Breeds Innovation and Growth
The advantages of OLED products may become more evident as a result of regional competition for market share, all of which is leading to the development of more affordable and higher quality OLED displays.
Market research on OLED technology covers four major regions in the world –  Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, and the remaining parts of the world.
Statistics show that Asia Pacific has the larger share, primarily because the manufacturing facilities of several major display panel companies, including Sharp, Samsung and Huawei, are based in that region. Because of those factors, the Asia Pacific is expected to maintain its lead in the OLED market during the forecast period.
According to the report, the North American OLED market also will experience a significant growth rate between 2017 and 2023. Apple,  the world’s leading smartphone vendor, is among the primary consumer of OLED display panels, using them for smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Europe’s market also will continue to grow, with the region expected to be closely competitive with North America.
Integration of OLED and AV Expands
With OLED displays steadily becoming more available, these displays will become standard AV integration hardware.
“The benefits offered by OLED technologies and their potential to improve over the next few years makes OLED displays extremely relevant in the current AV landscape,” said Blaine Brown, Sensory Technologies’ Chief Technology Officer. “OLED technology will play an active role in ushering in the next era of displays, from flexible screens to improved quality, OLED has a bright future and it remains on our radar for future investments and installations.”
With the AV space continuing to be highly competitive, it’s not surprising that AV integrators are exploring OLED and other innovations as solutions for the workplace. The benefits include better experiences as well as potential cost savings for clients, according to Brown.
“OLED technology has a variety of advantages over traditional LED displays and the advantages are only expected to improve as R&D numbers rise, leading to more affordable production and consistent quality,” he said.
That improved OLED technology also will allow clients to better understand how to use it to improve their bottom line,
Guard Against Becoming Obsolete
With everything, including products, services and skills, there comes a point that they will become obsolete – especially in an age of technology acceleration. That’s why change must be a consistent factor in the work environment..
With the underlying technology of OLED continuing to improve, it’s likely that it will continue to make a significant impact in the industry for several years, possibly for at least five to ten more years. However, since technology is built on fast and efficient innovation, OLED likely will have to give way to the next technical advancement, such as micro-LED, which is not yet in production.
But, for now, OLED will dominate future-proofing AV solutions as more products make their way into the market and R&D produces more advances.
OLED vs. “The Next Best Thing”
For a breakdown of OLED and other technology, take a look at this summary compiled by CNET as part of its comparison between OLED TV and the next best thing. Here are the highlights:

  • Brightness (light output): LCD edges out OLED because its backlight brightens up the whole screen while OLED can’t produce as much brightness.
  • Black level: Black level is the other side of brightness or how dark a TV can get. OLED gets the nod over LCD in this category because it can turn off individual pixels completely and produce the perfect black. LCDs only offer local dimming.
  • Contrast ratio: OLED clearly has the edge, with the best contrast ratio over any modern display. Contrast ratio is the difference between the brightness and darkness of a TV and is key to picture quality. The higher the contrast ratio, the more realistic the display will look.
  • Resolution: This one’s a tie between OLED and LCD because both are widely available in ultra HD 4K form.
  • High dynamic range (HDR): HDR is an extension of contrast ratio that improves brightness and darkness distinction. Both models are HDR-compatible.
  • Viewing angle: OLED easily wins over LCD in this category because its images look basically the same even from extreme angles. LCDs have off-axis issues where picture quality changes if you’re sitting off to the side.
  • Energy consumption: LED LCD is the winner, with OLED coming in as runner-up. LCD energy consumption depends on the backlight setting. A low backlight adjustment will draw less power. The higher energy consumption of OLED is related to display brightness. One way to lower OLED power consumption is to reduce brightness, but reduced brightness often affects contrast ratio and picture quality.
  • Price: LCD TV is cheaper than its OLED counterpart mainly due to the greater complexity of manufacturing OLED. However, there are signs that costs are coming down (as they have with other new technologies). LG, for example, has steadily reduced the price of its OLED TVs. As a result, some high-end LCD models are not far in price from OLED offerings.

New digital solutions, including OLEDs, will continue to create disruptions across industries. With Sensory Technologies as your partner, you can be prepared to leverage these innovative solutions to help your organization thrive. Contact us for a consultation today.

Does the Cloud Spell the End for Managed Services Providers?

It’s clear that cloud technology has become an integral part of organizations’ digital infrastructure. With the cloud providing easily accessible data storage securely in off-site servers, organizations are able to significantly cut costs.
While the cloud is hosted offsite, many organizations trust their internal IT teams with maintaining and securing these cloud-based services. As cloud adoption continues to grow, some people are now questioning, “Where does that leave Managed Services Providers (MSPs)?”
cloud computingOpportunities are available for those MSPs who are willing to innovate and become a provider for integrating and managing cloud technologies beyond what internal teams can achieve. Here are a few ways MSPs can improve clients’ cloud services:
Identify Best Service Options for Individual Business Needs. MSPs have been providing service systems to organizations for years. With that experience, they understand how individual needs translate into specific service options. With rapid technology integration, organizations are finding that even after identifying the right tools, they still need a deliberate strategy for the technology.
MSPs not only have the expertise to inform organizations about the right tools for their specific problem, they also can share strategies on how those tools can be integrated into the larger service system and organizational strategy. This improves the cohesion of technological assets and company-wide strategy, allowing for better user experiences and maximizing ROI of tech investments, including the cloud.
Create Comprehensive Solutions by Combining Services. Organizations are becoming dependent on their tech infrastructure for daily operations. As their infrastructure and software needs grow and develop, many organizations are forced to diversify their technology assets across companies and service providers. The diversification can make seamless transitions between technology assets difficult.
In other words, organizations often struggle to efficiently manage the various third-party providers. MSPs can step in to solve that problem. With established relationships with technology providers and an understanding of how to seamlessly integrate complementary service options into one cohesive system, MSPs can improve internal efficiencies – saving time and money for clients.
Referencing developments in cloud software, Andrew Sellers, principal at Sensory Technologies, said, “Utilizing a Managed Services Provider allows our clients to keep their teams focused on their core competencies, as they won’t have the diversions that come with understanding and keeping up with the latest technology trends and processes in another industry.”
He also noted, “By allowing professional AVIXA integration companies to manage their services, our clients can improve their bottom line and remain focused on their actual business rather than getting tied up in communication logistics and inefficiencies.”
Provide a Technology Partner: Service, Management, and Monitoring. Many cloud services, often software or infrastructure as a service, are offered as self-managed services. This appeals to many organizations as they believe it will reduce ongoing expenses. However, it often means little or no support for users and no responsive or timely troubleshooting.
A MSP can provide cost-effective support to supplement the services, by managing a cloud system and applications to ensure efficient use and maximized return. One of the more powerful new tools in the MSP arsenal is remote monitoring and management which allows MSPs to quickly troubleshoot potential problems with software and infrastructure technology off-site. It also allows MSPs to effectively organize and integrate a variety of technology assets into one managed services system.
Deliver Exceptional 3rd Party Customer Service. With self-managed services, customer support is often lackluster as internal teams are ill-equipped to handle the challenges and problems that arise from diverse service systems. MSPs are positioned to provide a more complete and capable support team. MSPs often utilize 24/7 help desks with dedicated technical staff, such as Sensory Technologies Client Solution Center. These complete service and support solutions work nicely with cloud and managed services options.
“I can’t imagine how in-house teams can compete with the quality or support provided by our certified 24/7/365 Client Solution Center,” Sellers said.
The ongoing development and rapid adoption of cloud offerings illustrate the power of innovation and advancement in technology. MSPs have the exciting opportunity to evolve and adopt similarly, offering more comprehensive services.

5 Ways to Show ROI From Your Digital Signage Strategy

With new innovations in digital signage, an increasing number of organizations are exploring the many ways it can be used to engage prospective clients, employees and visitors. As a marketing or communication tool, digital signage also is gaining more recognition as an essential way to reach a more digital savvy audience.
digital signage roiBut, as with many other marketing plans, it may be challenging to show ROI with your digital signage strategy. Whether you’re using it to showcase products, drive traffic to your business or engage internal audiences, you may find it difficult to show improvements on your organization’s bottom line due to the complexities of business operations and the subtle nature of marketing solutions.
Derek Paquin, Principal at Sensory Technologies, noted that there’s a lot of buzz around engagement. However, he said, that buzz is valid because engagement is one of the single most important aspects of a successful company.
“With engaged audiences, you’re positioned to improve the bottom line of your company by getting discretionary effort from employees and clients interacting with the brand and driving sales,” he said.
So, the question is, how can you demonstrate the ROI of your digital signage efforts? Here are 5 key ways to reach that goal.

  1. Define a specific ROI. A digital signage solution isn’t one size fits all. It’s essential to get a good understanding of your organization’s objectives since there are many different metrics and returns you can measure. Depending upon your industry, you may value some ROIs over others. Talk to key stakeholders in your company to determine how and what type of digital signage components will add to your existing marketing plan; enhance your current business practices and, ultimately, improve your bottom line. Consider metrics like increased traffic, revenue growth, and safety milestones. Keep in mind that you can define ROI using a  combination of various metrics.
  2. Create measurable goals. After defining the goals you want to hit with a digital signage strategy, start setting measurable goals. Keep your expectations realistic so that you’re accurately measuring the strategic execution and benefits of the signage solution. For example, it’s unrealistic to set a goal of 100% growth in sales from an initial digital signage integration alone. However, recognizing that digital signs increase impulse buys, increase sales, and motivate customers to take action, a realistic set of goals could include  consistent sales growth and developing repeat business relationships with new and returning customers. Setting realistic goals that are in line with the growth of the company  will help you see ROI clearer and sooner.
  3. Fostering and measuring engagement. If your digital signage strategy includes a measurable call to action on the display, such as a link to the Intranet or feedback options, you’ll find it easier to measure ROI. Consider ways to invite your audience to engage, such as visiting a specific page (with metrics embedded) for information, discounts, special offer codes, or to like a Facebook page. Don’t just focus on prospective clients. Explore ways to foster engagement among your employees as well. By fostering a more engaging and connected work environment, you’ll give employees incentive to perform – which, in turn, can help improve the company’s bottom line.

A study featured in Harvard Business Review revealed that companies with measurably engaged employees experienced a 22% higher rate of productivity, along with many other benefits. The study also cited 25% lower turnover, 48% fewer safety incidents, and 41% fewer quality incidents (defects) among companies with engaged employees.

  1. Test different strategies. When creating digital signage and engagement strategies, various communication avenues and styles should be explored to measure and understand what your audiences are more likely to respond to. Using coupons, internal servers, and social media accounts and call-to-actions from signage solutions encourage audience engagement and interaction that drives feedback metrics. As a result, you can review those interactions and make adjustments and improvements.

“Digital signage offers our clients the ability to be adaptable and responsive to the unique and often evolving demands of their clients and employees through data-driven solutions,” Paquin pointed out.

  1. Analyze and incorporate metrics. Analyzing data is a crucial aspect of creating responsive and effective engagement and signage plans. Data allows you to see the effectiveness of the plans in a real and measurable way. Metrics inform your team of areas where you need to improve, cut costs and measure brand recognition. If your company implemented a social media campaign, analyze whether a hashtag trended and how many likes you received on the page since the launch. You can also track interactions, comments and shares. Depending on what you are measuring, there are several other options for data collection as well.

Develop a custom approach to ROI
One of the most important things to discuss when talking about the benefits of digital signage with your organization is that ROI can be measured in many ways depending on your organization’s goals. Further, digital signage and engagement strategies can be thought of as one big experiment to see what works best for that specific business.
With numerous resources and options, the potential for creative uses of digital signage is virtually limitless.
When revamping or creating your marketing and communications strategy, talk to Sensory Technologies. We’ll help you explore digital signage strategy, metrics, delivery and content. We can also give you insights on the type of digital signage strategies that have boosted ROI for other companies.

How to Ensure Audio Quality That Supports Workplace Productivity

At one point or another, it has happened to everyone. You’re sitting in a large conference room, training room or auditorium, listening to someone speak. It sounds like they’re saying something quite interesting and, more than likely, pretty important. Maybe even transforming.
But you can’t understand a word of it. Why? The audio quality in the room is subpar. The poor audio quality could be traced to a number of issues. Maybe the microphone isn’t set at the right volume. Maybe there’s no microphone at all. Or it could be that the microphone is too far from the speaker’s mouth. Audio quality could be impacted by feedback, echos or other distortions that result in an unintelligible mess.
Unfortunately, it’s a challenge many companies regularly face when hosting small meetings, announcements, large conferences or any other host of gatherings. After devoting the time and resources to schedule and deliver a critical message, your audience can completely miss it because of poor audio quality.
Substandard audio quality ruins knowledge transfer, interferes with the overall experience, and reflects badly on everyone involved – from the people putting together the presentation to the speaker (even though it’s not their fault).

The Importance of Audio Quality

If your company holds meetings or gatherings of any type, you need to analyze your audio quality. It’s one of the most important elements of an effective meeting, no matter the workplace type or size.
Many people neglect amplification, thinking it’s only necessary for an auditorium, stadium or other large spaces to ensure people sitting in the very back can hear the presentation. However, this doesn’t even come close to telling the whole story. For one thing, even in a small space, it’s important for the speaker to have a microphone. Particularly if the room is crowded. All the people packed tightly in a space will absorb sound, making it difficult to hear the speakers without amplification.
But it’s also important to realize that there’s much more to audio quality than just microphones and amplification. Many presentations and performances involve video and other sound cues besides just the voice of the person speaking. These additional audio elements must be heard by the audience as well.
There are other considerations. If you have a band or music as part of your presentation, you run into even more complexities. For example, one of the most common problems with musical performances is that one (or even more) of the instruments is too loud, drowning out any vocals or other instruments. With good audio quality, those audio elements will be properly balanced – ensuring that everyone can get the full effect of the performance or experience.
Larger spaces present additional audio quality challenges. The sound might echo around the room, bounce off hard surfaces and become distorted or simply distracting by the time it reaches your audience. With that in mind, it’s essential that those in charge of organizing company meetings or events take into consideration the impact that audio quality can have on the overall experience.

Planning for Quality Audio

So, how do you ensure good audio quality for a presentation or performance? It takes careful preparation and design. Here are some important steps to take to enhance audio quality.
Assess the space. Invest time in reviewing the intended meeting place. Make sure you have a working knowledge of the acoustics as well as the elements of your presentation to ensure you’re prepared for any potential problems. You should have the right audio equipment to accommodate whatever performances or presentations may be made..
Be prepared with adequate equipment. Always have more microphones than you think you’ll need for any particular presentation or space. Even if you have only one scheduled speaker or one person scheduled to speak at a time, it’s important to have at least two microphones ready in case someone decides to take questions from the audience. And, of course, you should also have a couple of wireless microphones in your solution as well as a couple of lapel microphones. And don’t forget speakers that are the right size for the venue –  not too loud or too soft. With proper preparation and the right audiovisual system for your space, you can accommodate any type of presentation, and ensure that the audience can hear you loud and clear.
Test the equipment. This may seem obvious, but many presentations have fallen short of expectations because the organizing team failed to take the time to test equipment. Awkward situations could have been avoided with a simple test. Make sure you perform tests well in advance so that you can address any issues before the presentation starts.
Develop a comprehensive solution. With the increasing focus on video conferences and virtual meetings, it’s critical that you don’t neglect the quality of audio in these areas. Ensure that audio quality is clear. If possible, test the system with coworkers offsite beforehand to ensure that the experience delivers to expectations.
With the right preparation and equipment, every presenter can be assured that their message will be heard.
Sensory Technologies specializes in the design, implementation and support of technology solutions with any workplace space. Learn more at www.sensorytechnologies.com, 800-48-video, or email dpaquin@sensorytechnologies.com

Why You Should Be Having Conversations About AV-over-IP Technology

The underlying idea of AV over IP (or AV/IP) has been around for years. But, with the growing number of improvements and practical uses of this technology, it’s once again starting conversations and capturing the interest of both solution providers and customers.
What exactly is AV over IP? It stands for Audio-Visual over Internet Protocol, a different processing approach to transmitting audio and video information using standard IP mediums or put more simply, it is the communication of AV over a network such as a LAN, WAN or the internet. Traditional AV requires wired connections and limits the number of displays to an equal number of sources (inputs) located within a single online network.
On the other hand, AV over IP creates encoded information in specific packets, which includes some portion of content with control information – source, destination, and sequence processing instructions. This “packet” style encoding allows for utilizing the IP, which essentially is a set of rules governing how information is exchanged between different networked displays, often geographically separated.
Earlier this year, at the Rochester Tech EXPO 2018, Sensory Technologies’ CTO Blaine Brown presented on the developments surrounding AV over IP. He highlighted the need for businesses to consider making the transition.
“If you aren’t having AV over IP and network security conversations along the way, you need to recalibrate your approach,” Brown said. “The sooner conversations occur with your AV partner, the better; they will be able to design a solution that can measurably meet specific business initiatives.”
International interest in AV over IP
AV over IP also was a hot topic of discussion during Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2018, an international conference hosted in Amsterdam earlier this year. New products, solutions and developments were showcased at ISE 2018, demonstrating the potential for AV over IP to become an invaluable asset for many different industries.
Although AV over IP is improving and growing, experts at ISE debated several unresolved issues with the technology, including appropriate protocols and network options. The protocols for controlling multi-media content created a divide at the conference, with the widespread use of Digital Audio Network through Ethernet (Dante) still being debated as alternative products are entering the market. For example, Audio Video Bridging (AVB) was presented as a practical alternative to Dante products.
Different network capacities also were a focus of debate as the industry is facing decisions about infrastructure: Should network capabilities of 1GB or 10GB minimum be required? Experts and professionals at ISE 2018 were divided, but these debates illustrate that AV over IP will continue to grow and evolve, making it an efficient and cost-effective technology for networked AV content for years to come.
Reasons to consider AV over IP
As the insights and themes from ISE 2018 highlight, the market for networked AV is expanding and products are improving. Here are some reasons why AV over IP might be the right solution for you:
Simplicity, speed, capacity and quality. AV over IP eliminates the hassle and expense of the digital infrastructure and the tangled mess of cables that traditional AV requires for connecting displays to players and other inputs. These solutions allow organizations to manage a variety of different displays with more control and higher-quality content through faster information processing and networked communication. Additionally, the centralized control over AV content and processes – via IP – allows for simplified and remote troubleshooting, as displays and wires are no longer potential points of failure and the control is in a single location. Additionally, content updates can be distributed across all displays effortlessly. And network processing cuts hardware and maintenance expenditures, allowing for cost-effective scalability and simplified AV transitions.
Recent projects in the higher education sector have made a compelling case for AV over IP for any industry. Universities around the world have introduced IP options in building and renovating work spaces. Projects include labs, theaters, lecture halls and libraries that have been transformed into some of the most advanced facilities in the world, fully equipped with collaborative technologies and displays for instant connectivity and heightened productivity.
Scalability. AV-over-IP solutions serve companies for extended periods of time and as businesses change, their solutions must change with them. Therefore, scalability is a fundamental component of an organization’s cost and production efficiency. AV-over-IP platforms are easily scaled by supplementing additional IP switches to the existing packet switch network. These matrix switches increase the availability of AV sources, such as PC outputs, cameras, media players and satellite boxes, as well as destinations, including laptops, PCs, smartphones, tablets and receiver boxes connected to displays.
For example, a recurring audiovisual presentation can be easily integrated into newly added displays. If the content is originating from a central player. it can be routed through existing AV transmitters to the matrix switcher which is connected to numerous receiving devices or displays. This configuration allows teams to distribute the AV content with real-time updates and refreshes.
Sensory Technologies’ CTO Blaine Brown emphasized the benefits and the future of the technology. “AV over IP allows businesses to centralize their AV messaging, creating more efficient AV asset management while removing the constraints of traditional AV messaging,” he said. “It’s the next logical step towards creating centralized control and streamlined content messaging in ways that will be incredibly beneficial for growing businesses.”
Security. Many organizations are concerned that cloud-based or networked services expose them to additional security concerns. This fear is not unwarranted, as unauthorized access to AV resources could impact confidentiality, privacy, integrity, availability and the entire IT network. However, with the right policies and safeguards in place, IP can actually improve an organization’s security situation. For example, defenses such as encryption codes, passwords, firewalls and administrative authorization are all part of the growing list of protections that enhance the security of companies using cloud and networked services. This wave of improved protections allows for multiple layers of security within a single system; providing fail-safe checks in case the first line of security fails.
The growing trend of AV over IP is creating opportunities for businesses to improve their communication infrastructure and remain protected from the negative effects associated with rapid growth and online security. Reach out to Sensory Technologies to help you easily and safely benefit from centrally control communication via AV over IP.

Why You Need to Rethink Unified Communications in 2018

What is Unified Communications (UC)? Over the years, I’ve heard all kinds of definitions – especially as technological advancements continue to introduce new ways of communicating in the workplace. No longer just for the largest enterprises, Unified Communications solutions have penetrated their way into education, healthcare as well as small and medium business markets (SMB).
With the proliferation of internet and bandwidth, coupled with powerful free applications such as Skype and Google Hangouts that allow for high quality, real-time communication, the bar for paid Unified Communications services is set pretty high.
On the surface it may seem that competing with “free” is a tough endeavor. But when you consider security, flexibility, unique business requirements and interoperability, the enterprise UC market is still growing and positioned to continue to grow rapidly.
The leaders in the UC space know they must continue to push the envelope for what they deliver to their clients. They understand the significant need and opportunity for those clients who currently have systems that they’re seeking to improve and those that are looking at hanging up their old PBX or Key System to move into a next generation Unified Communications solution.
But when it comes to pushing the envelope, what does that mean?
It means being ahead of the curve – building tools and applications to extend UC services beyond traditional Voice, Video, Instant Message and Presence. It means spotting the trends and implementing them into your organization’s suite of products and systems.
With technology moving so quickly, trends can seem to come and go. But right now, there are five significant trends that are shaping the Unified Communications space. This includes Web Real Time Collaboration (WebRTC), Mobility, Bring your Own Device (BYOD), Hosted (Cloud UC) and Social Integration.
Here’s a rundown of these game-changing technologies.

  1. Web Real Time Collaboration (WebRTC): The ability to move from a call to a collaboration session has never been truly seamless. Services like WebEx and GoToMeeting have existed for some time and their service capabilities have not evolved as quickly as the collaboration industry. These older technologies require the creation of a meeting, an email to the invitees and a login to the service – which leads to extra steps and extra time for collaboration to take place.

Now this is all starting to change.
UC providers are building the capabilities for group chats in a desktop; the client is able to launch a web collaboration meeting or a screen share right out of the browser – giving them instantaneous capabilities to collaborate. This allows companies to collaborate faster than ever before – and all seamlessly within their UC environment.

  1. Mobility: Being connected anytime, anywhere is increasingly the goal for business communication. While a cell phone, more or less, provides this ability, the requirement to be fully connected to the office requires more than a disparate device on a wireless network.

Whether you are riding on a train on your way to the office or sitting on a beach in Florida, you can be fully connected as long as you have access to the Internet. While perhaps the most mature of the five trends, mobility still has room to grow because it hasn’t fully been embraced among Unified Communication platforms.
Starting with applications that ride on the mobile device, such as Meeting on the Move® from Sensory Technologies®, companies are giving the mobile device instant connection to contacts, communication tools and services that are typically available when logged in from the office.

  1. BYOD: This may be the most discussed trend in workspaces. The ability for users to integrate their personal tools into the business environment is an exciting, yet controversial, subject as IT leaders and business leaders feud over the ups and downs of BYOD. The bottom line is that these IT leaders’ battles will likely be futile because CEOs are among those seeking to bring their tablets to the office. The one thing that is for sure is that this trend will continue to evolve. More and more personal devices will enter the workplace, with companies having little impact on restricting their use. For UC providers, the goal is to make this trending service useful and accessible.
  2. Hosted (Cloud): Cloud was long viewed by IT departments as less secure and less reliable. With equipment being hosted elsewhere, the lack of control for many IT leaders was unacceptable. But with top down pushes for cost cutting, increased security protocols and the growth of cloud as a viable business model, resistance has been dwindling. For UC, the cloud now offers everything on-premise solutions can offer, and more. For instance, scalability with cloud is rarely an issue as the only requirement on the user side is bandwidth and QOS on the switch. Those are items you would need whether on or off premise, so their cost becomes a non-factor. The great thing about cloud for UC is that upgrades and growth are often included and don’t require much in the way of technical resources on the user side. The technology provider or integrator takes care of those things so businesses can focus on their business rather than technology.
  3. Social Integration: Of the five trends, this is the one that still has the longest way to go, but companies are more intertwined with their social media than ever before. Early on, the distraction associated with social media in the workplace was seen as a reason to keep employees at arms-length from social sites. However, with customers’ pervasive use of social networks, businesses can no longer opt to divorce social media interaction from their communications strategy. In fact, they need to be integrated now more than ever.

We’re currently seeing social integration into CRM. Tools like Salesforce, Nimble, Batchbook, Sprout and Microsoft Social Listening have fully aligned social and traditional CRM together.
With UC plugins for CRM apps becoming more widely available, the logical next step is to allow instant communication through UC applications to social sites. This is a trend to keep an eye on. The company that leads in this area may see rapid growth in adoption since social communication is widely being used within organizations of all sizes.
Sensory Technologies specializes in the design, implementation and support of Unified Communications. www.sensorytechnologies.com, Contact us at 800-48-video or email dpaquin@sensorytechnologies.comto learn more.