Tag Archives: AV solutions

How To Use Technology To Save Money And Increase Efficiency Through Standardization

presentation room ftraining room fThe current sluggish economic climate means that many companies have to be more careful about their spending. While information technology is a necessary cost of doing business, it is still critical for today’s companies to save money on their IT & AV expenditures so that they can do more with their budget. One of the most effective ways of using technology to save money and increase efficiency is through standardization. Standardization can provide organizations with several key benefits, including a reduction in IT/AV downtime, support and lowered training costs for new users.

Reduced Training Costs

Training is a big factor in IT/AV costs. Consider the case of the Arlington Science Focus Elementary School, located in Arlington, VA near the nation’s capital. Charles W. Harvey III, the senior instructional technology coordinator for the school, told EdTech magazine recently that using the same computer hardware, presentation tools, and applications in all 30 of the school’s classrooms has given teachers and students the ability to move between classrooms and grade levels seamlessly, without wasting time and money on complicated training systems. Harvey went on to say that he never has to worry about re-teaching basic concepts on different types of hardware and software and can instead focus on advanced concepts to make learning easier for students.

Lowered IT Support Costs

Another major benefit of standardization is that you can reduce the amount of support costs that your organization faces when it comes to keeping your network systems up and running. If you streamline your technology by purchasing hardware from a single vendor, for example, you will only have to deal with one particular support department and one set of patches or fixes.

One of the big concerns of professionals interested in using technology to save money and increase efficiency is the upfront cost of buying technology from the same place. Critics may point out that it would be cheaper for businesses to shop around and buy each component of their network from a different source so that they can get the best price on their overall network. This argument does hold some weight, but Dana Norton at TechRepublic says that while you may not save money at the point of purchase when you buy from a single manufacturer, having a standardized hardware policy could be beneficial in the long-term when your upgrades and maintenance costs are less expensive. You also will not have to hire as many different IT support specialists when you standardize your technology, which is important whether you are bringing on internal staff or outsourcing your IT requirements.

Decisions about your technology should not be made lightly. Your company’s network is what allows you to communicate, collaborate and get important tasks completed. Standardizing your IT/AV systems is an excellent method of using technology to save money and increase efficiency for your business. The key is deciding which particular provider you will trust with your IT/AV requirements: be sure to do your research so that you can find an IT/AV specialist that can be counted upon to help you with your network requirements.

Jeff Miller

About Jeff Miller

Jeff has been working in the professional AV integration industry for over twenty years. During that time he has served as Designer, Project Manager and/or Account Executive for hundreds of projects. As an Account Executive at Avidex, he specializes in Medical, Education, and Control Rooms. He can be reached at jmiller@avidex.com

AV Technology That Allows Live Video Remote Language Interpretation

ethnic dr on phoneMedicine is universal. The human body suffers the same diseases all over the globe, and a doctor can treat a set of symptoms regardless of language. However, it’s still necessary to communicate with the patient to understand those symptoms. So what do they do when a patient arrives who speaks a different language? Or if the patient is deaf, and communicates using sign language? How can the doctor understand them well enough to help them?

Federal law requires interpreters be available in all healthcare facilities to provide language services when necessary. However, an ordinary interpreter won’t do for such matters. They need a qualified medical interpreter. And there might not always be an interpreter on hand who not only understands medical matters, but also the specific language they’re being called to translate. Fortunately, there’s AV technology that allows live video remote language interpretation from anywhere in the world.

Remote Language Interpretation
Medical interpreters are an important and often rare commodity. They need a variety of certifications to practice and must meet other healthcare regulations. Finding someone who meets all of these qualifications and speaks the languages that you need is a difficult task. Finding them in the area where they’re needed may be challenging and it may also be impossible in emergency situations.

However, through videoconferencing, certified medical interpreters can be located anywhere in the world and brought in remotely to provide their services as if they were in the room. Many organizations have a variety of medical interpreters on call 24/7, ready to teleconference when needed. With the right equipment, they can provide their services through a laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone.

Medical Interpretation Applications
Mobile device applications can simplify the process of connecting with a medical interpreter who speaks a particular language. The doctor can simply select the language they need from a dropdown list and be instantly connected with a medical interpreter who speaks that language, on call from the interpreter provider. The camera allows the interpreter to connect visually with the patient and facilitate the translation process much better than a simple voice call would. And it’s particularly important for sign language calls, wherein it’s essential that the interpreter be face to face with the person that they’re interpreting for.

Remote medical interpreters don’t only need to be used for patients. Doctors from around the world are often called in to consult, or to perform complex procedures in which they specialize. Likewise, doctors from the United States often travel to impoverished nations to provide much needed medical treatment. The procedures themselves are universal, but they still need to be able to communicate with the other doctors and healthcare professionals in the area, about complex medical issues. Remote language interpretation services can facilitate consultation with the best doctors in the world, no matter what language they speak.

Videoconferencing tools break down physical barriers by allowing people to talk face to face, even on opposite sides of the globe. But now, those same tools can also break down language barriers, helping those people to understand one another, no matter what language they speak. And in the medical community, the breaking down of those barriers can save lives.

Joel Harris

About Joel Harris

Joel Harris brings invaluable insight to the Avidex team in his role as CEO, with years of experience leading national technology, healthcare and business organizations. You can reach Joel at jharris@avidexav.com

Healthcare DIGITAL SIGNAGE AND WAYFINDING

hospital-digital-signageWhich healthcare Digital Signage (DS) and Wayfinding (WF) solution is right for you? And is it worth the cost?  There may be no better (or safer) answer to this question than, it depends. To use an example, asking this question is like asking someone shopping for an automobile: Do you want a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle, or a 2014 Ferrari 458GT? Both can get you there, but they have very different looks, features, performance characteristics, maintenance requirements and cost factors. They do the same thing in very different ways, but both are automobiles.

Digital Signage and Wayfinding are a means of communication to inform, educate and/or entertain. Within these product categories there are a wide range of products and services available with a wide range of prices to match.

On the surface, Digital Signage and Wayfinding seem pretty straightforward. Put up some TV’s and send them a signal. But wait, this only brings a flurry of additional questions such as:

• What signal?
• What information?
• Is it public, or private?
• Is it copyrighted, copy protected, or unknown?
• Will more than one thing be displayed simultaneously?
• How frequently will it be shown?
• Does it run 24/7?
• Does the content change with time/date or some other factor?
• Who has responsibility for the content?
• Is it more than one person, or department?
• Should this tie into the EMS (Emergency Messaging System)?
• How much does it cost?

These questions, and more, are part of the process of defining what digital signage can do for your “specific” purpose, or purposes. The good thing is, most products have options, and many systems have built-in flexibility that allows them to be customized to suit your need.

When it comes to this type (or any) of technology, there is no reason investing a single dollar until the goal is defined, and a decision is made on content. This should be priority one. Who is going to create it, modify it, and approve it before it goes to a display? This can be done internally, or outsourced. It can be owned on a private network, or cloud based with a monthly fee.

Digital Signage and Wayfinding at their best are networked and managed remotely. Yes, network topology and bandwidth are critical factors when planning and supporting a successful DS/WF system. The IT Department will be involved in the process. The good news is DS/WF components are similar to many other devices on the network. Content type, resolution, and update frequency will have to be considered to keep the network happy.

Displays come is many sizes, types and resolutions. They can be used in portrait or landscape mode. They can go in spaces that are small or large, public or private. They can even go in elevators, lobbies, waiting rooms, break rooms, and ER’s. When it comes down to it, with a little planning, the displays can go just about anywhere that power and signal feeds can be located.

As for content, this can also come in a range of formats. On the simple side, PowerPoint, or some similar software, can be used to create and update information directly to a display, or to a thumb drive. Some display manufacturers are including built-in digital signage in their product offering. This is often an inexpensive way to do a basic system. For more advanced applications there are a plethora of great software solutions for creating, managing and distributing content.

Perhaps the easiest way to explain this is that Wayfinding is in many ways similar to Digital Signage, with the biggest difference being the specific purpose. Generally, Wayfinding is used to supplement, or replace fixed signage, where information needs to be updated on a regular basis like conference centers, meeting rooms, training areas or other places in the hospital where information is updated frequently.

Just remember these 2 things when planning your Digital Signage and/or Wayfinding project. First, like any successful project, it is best to start with a goal in mind and work back through the multitude of options. And second, content is king. Start with the messaging and the other parts of the system will follow.

Bob Higginbotham

About Bob Higginbotham

Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at bobh@avidexav.com