Our workplaces are managed behind the scenes by ERPs, CRMs and advanced accounting systems. To manage our personal work schedules, we use smart phones, tablets and laptops to access our calendars, e-mails, corporate documents and even Twitter accounts. But there is a third type of corporate technology that can be used to sell, display, and communicate information — audio/video. Audio/video systems are widely defined as technological tools that either project or display images and sound and can be found in most successful organizations.
At the forefront of advanced workplace audio/video solutions are conferencing systems. Video conferencing solutions provide near-in-person communication while eliminating travel expenses. Systems are typically used for customer, vendor and employee meetings where a standard conference call is not sufficient or it’s too expensive to meet in person. Additionally, videoconference calls are used when last-minute meets are scheduled or logistically it’s impossible to organize a face-to-face meeting. Though it is difficult to replicate an in-person meeting, video conferencing allows all users to see the body language of the meeting attendees and better communicate information — often with the use of video images. Conferencing systems were initially used to reduce long-distance travel costs, though companies today understand that video conferencing systems are effective even on a local level. Whether used for local or internal purposes, video conferencing eliminates travel and, thus, productivity improves.
While construction paper poster and information boards were once used to display important information in work settings, today digital signage is used. Ranging from touch-screen kiosks displaying hospital floor information to flat-screen panels showing restaurant menus to displaying real-time manufacturing statistics, digital signage is everywhere. The users of digital signage are typically organizations that recognize that as the scale of their organization grows, so does the need to amplify communication. This can be efficiently done by displaying digital signage in hallways, entryways, cafeterias and conference rooms.
Electronically presenting information through digital signage provides eye-catching and instantaneous communication and advertisement. By allowing for numerous messages to be displayed on multiple, fixed points, digital signage can be customized to allow for organization or location information. Further, in the event of an emergency, many organizations choose to use digital signage as an emergency communication system. While technical in nature, controlling digital signage is typically very easy, and a single user can instantaneously control messages across the world. This real time customization can allow for different images to be presented based on the time of day, location, event, or almost any other condition — allowing for the right message to be put in front of the right audience.
Conducting meetings by displaying information on projection screens or large flat panels is another way to provide impressionable and clear information. Typically meeting settings use these technologies to allow participants to review the same information, at the same time, with the meeting facilitator providing a controlled presentation. With many of these video products allowing for connectivity to the Internet or an internal shared network, almost all information can be displayed. For larger conference rooms, it is typical to have audio/video systems that allow for the use of multiple presenters or interactive presentations.
Control systems for audio and video products make an entire room automated from one location. The single point might be a wall touch panel or a portable unit like an iPad. Control systems make using intricate A/V systems user friendly and enhance presentation by dimming lights, closing shades, turning on a projector, or dropping a screen. All of this can be done by touching a single icon. Switching between laptop computers, playing a DVD, or starting a video conference are now tasks that anyone can perform. Most successful salespeople have found that by creating an impressive audio/video presentation, their likelihood of a sale significantly increases.
Audio and video systems are used by organizations to improve communication with customers, vendors and employees. Used correctly, conferencing systems, digital signage applications, and imaging displays (flat screen panels and projector screens) can increase sales and communication for companies. Many companies focus on improving ERP, CRM and smart phones, though audio /video products are additional tools organization can use to differentiate.
Tim Czyzak is president of Industrial Video, a leading audio, video, conference and broadcast solutions company founded in 1968. Industrial Video is one of the largest Midwestern companies within its industry and has provided solutions for thousands of customers. Reach him at [email protected].