Tag Archives: wayfinding

Consumer Service on the Cutting Edge: Virtual Customer Assistance

In 2014, Amazon introduced Mayday, a video chat feature aimed at supporting users of the company’s Fire Phone and Kindle Fire devices.  Customer support via video is not widespread yet, but many analysts believe Mayday could be a game-changing sign of things to come.

Video Chat:  Today, customers expect help to be just a click away.  Recognizing this trend, companies like Best Buy have encouraged their employees to answer tech questions using social media channels such as Twitter.  Similarly, texting live with customer service agents is becoming routine these days.  Video takes this kind of instantaneous customer service to a whole new level.

Product support is becoming multichannel; customers want tech-help through whatever platform or device is handy to them.  Younger consumers, in particular, want their problems solved in real-time.  Video chat offer the possibility of a simpler, but also richer form of customer service experience.  However, getting face-to-face help is just the begining of a more extensive interactive support service.  For example, Mayday includes a screen sharing feature, which allows customer service representatives to see the customer’s display.  Furthermore, both parties can use point and draw tools to highlight helpful information or instructions.

Digital signDigital Signage and Wayfinding:  Digital signage represents a quantum evolution of the traditional sign.  Today, corporate buildings, hospitals, government agencies, campuses, museums and many other organizations are utilizing digital wayfinding maps and interactive kiosks to help guide users through their facilities.  Using touchscreen technology, these displays have interactive maps, video tour guides and special announcement features, which help users to navigate their way.  Additionally, these digital signage systems often incorporate QR tags and SMS options so that directions and other pertinent information can be sent to visitors’ smartphones.

Video Kiosk Check-in:  Digital kiosks are interactive computer platforms that allow users to service themselves.  Popular at malls, airports and car rental agencies, video kiosks are now being used to supplement healthcare staff in many medical facilities.  For example, kiosks are now used in hospitals ambulatory environments and emergency rooms.  They can be used to smooth the check-in process, screen patients, collect payments and much more.  In fact, today’s medical kiosks can do far more than just collect patient information from insurance and ID cards; they often include video linkage to care providers, monitoring equipment, wayfinding information for patients and data analytic capabilities for providers.

Undoubtedly, kiosks offer cost-saving benefits.  However, their primary purpose is to improve customer service and satisfaction.  Medical organizations, for instance, have found that kiosks reduce patient wait time while improving convenience and medical privacy.

Video communications are taking customer service to an entirely new level.  Today, consumers expect organizations and brands to address product and service inquires expeditiously and through whatever channels the digital user finds convenient.  Increasingly, this means connecting to consumers via their mobile devices, digital signage and IM chats.

Video, digital wayfinding and computer kiosks are just a few of the high-tech methods organizations are utilizing to streamline and improve the customer’s experience with their companies.  In particular, providing face-to-face customer service via video means companies can combine cutting-edge technology and the human touch.  As it happens, using these forms of video assistance is a great way of enhancing the consumer’s experience with your company and building brand loyalty.

Resources:

#1:  http://www.citeworld.com/article/2378580/sales-marketing-tech/mayday-yet-another-customer-service-channel-is-upon-us.html

#2: http://www.visix.com/interactive-wayfinding-digital-signage.html

#3:  http://www.kioskcts.com/healthcare-kiosks/

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

The AV Advantage in Healthcare

Why is healthcare one of the fastest growing markets for AV technology?  Nowhere is it more critical for people to share, learn and apply information.  As most know, AV is short for audiovisual or audio video. It includes a wide range of technologies including; video conferencing, telemedicine, digital signage and wayfinding, telehealth, video streaming/recording/archiving/on-demand, audio reinforcement, collaboration systems, and control. All of these are used to meet, train, communicate, collaborate, review and share information in person and through the use of technology. Hearing, seeing and understanding this information transaction is key to the successful exchange of information whether it be secure patient information, or the latest development in cancer treatment. AV technology done right can speed up the process and save time, cut cost and improve lives.

AV applications and technological innovations for healthcare are happening at a phenomenal rate.  Telehealth, computerized simulation systems and cloud-based solutions are just a few of the hottest developments in the high-tech healthcare pipeline.  It is hard for healthcare providers keep abreast of AV innovations so that they can better serve their patients, improve efficiencies, and run their businesses.  Here are several AV trends that are impacting healthcare today.

Healthcare is Reaching Out to Underserved Markets and Areas:  Government is continuing to fund the use of telemedicine, and now telehealth to serve rural residents.  Similarly, hospitals are finding better ways to deliver care to patients in their homes (i.e., outpatient services via video consultation).  However, the multiplicity of end-user videoconferencing formats presents many challenges.  Cloud-based solutions can solve issues of video interoperability, which is important not just when it comes to connecting care facilities and consumers, but also for linking medical training programs to hospitals.

AV and Training:  AV is an ideal adjunct in the medical education process.  Video is often used to help simulate and analyze training sessions.  In a somewhat similar vein, many medical schools are experimenting with the use of video games to supplement the teaching process.  The gamification of education has proven successful with the military and the aviation industry.  According to Jeffrey Taekman MD., there is evidence to suggest that simulation-style learning is better than the traditional lecture and listening method.

AV and Automated Management:  AV technology can be used to automate and manage many healthcare facilities from one central location.  Radio frequency identification tags, electronic scanners for tracking equipment, and control management software allow organizations to monitor the location and status of equipment, no matter where it is on the network.

AV in healthcare is a lot more than using Skype to have a virtual consultation.  Remote and virtual attendants, wayfinding, digital signage, skills based routing and medical kiosks are just a few of the ways video technology is enhancing the delivery of healthcare.  However, the technology needs to be customized to the needs, not just of healthcare consumers, but to the unique requirements of the organizations that deliver medical education and services.  AV companies that know the medical field can help health providers ascertain what technological systems will best meet their needs and how to implement those solutions.

Resources:

#1:  http://www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/31945.htm

#2: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/usda-awards-millions-telemedicine

#3: https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/reporter/june2011/250894/games.html

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

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