Easy tips to have productive conference calls with remote teams

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In today’s tech-driven world, employee teams telecommute and work from different parts of the world. Many global companies now allow employees to telecommute or work from a remote location or home. The benefits of a remote workforce stem from allowing employees to spend more time in their comfort zones, thereby enhancing productivity.

Although communication can be accomplished in numerous ways, from email to instant messaging and web conferencing, face-to-face interactions are still pivotal. Today, it is commonplace for teams to meet their remote counterparts via video conferencing platforms.

A conference call executed with everyone’s best interests in mind is the right way to accomplish those objectives with your remote team. Conferencing technologies allow meeting in the virtual space, saving time and money and offering flexibility in location and timing. This post discusses easy tips to make conference calls with remote teams productive and effective.

Keep it short and focused

Let’s not bore everyone to tears with corporate updates and policy changes and what-not. Send that information in an email (with bullet points for easy reading) and refer to the document to make your points. Use your conference calls to help your team members overcome obstacles, hash out ideas and help each other out.

Use the right video conferencing platform

You are responsible for making sure your conference call goes smoothly. Part of that is using the right technology. These days, cloud-based video conferencing offer businesses a license-based “always-available” communication service without the hassle of having on-premise servers and other infrastructure.

Have a clear plan and agenda

Plan an agenda and email it to everyone. It doesn’t have to be formal, but everyone should be aware of your discussion topics and prepared to contribute to the conversation. The agenda can be sent along with the meeting invite. Modern audio and video conferencing platforms feature calendar integrations built-in.

Make the call engage and interactive

Ask your teleworkers question, use their names and make them feel involved. The more they feel like they belong to the discussion, the more they’ll feel like offering ideas. You could also promote the usage of annotation tools available in today’s unified communication and collaboration platforms.

 

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Here’s how video conferencing contributes towards a company’s growth

 

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Technology plays a major role in the contribution of any company’s growth. There are so many offerings by the technology, which has contributed to the growth of numerous companies. One of such great technological inventions which can work as a great contributor towards business growth is a video conferencing solution.

A videoconference is a live, visual connection between two or more people residing in separate locations for the purpose of communication. At its simplest, video conferencing provides transmission of static images and text between two locations. At its most sophisticated, it provides transmission of full-motion video images and high-quality audio between multiple locations. Below are key contributions of video conferencing solutions for growth in today’s business.

Enables quick real-time communication

Business is dynamic and strategic. As a good business player, you have to make sure to arm your team with the tools, which can allow them to take quick decisions. One aspect to keep in mind is that in any business, before taking any decision, it is important to discuss the same with the core committee members. The video conferencing solution is the tool, which can empower the business owners and their team with a real-time communication platform. Using a conferencing solution, the conferences can be conducted quickly and decisions can be taken promptly.

Versatile communication tools

It is a known fact that each business has a different communication need. For example, there can be a need for a quick audio conference within the board members for easy discussions. At the same time, a video conference can be required for a team training for the remote members or to give demos of the product. The conference solution comes with the capability of both audio and video conferencing.

Easy and intuitive remote communication

The conferencing solution comes in a form of a web-based software. This type of conferencing solution can be accessed using a web client. This web client can be accessed from any web browser. This reduces the headache of installing any software on the system and carry that system everywhere to conduct a conference. To use a web-based video conferencing solution what you need is a web browser and good internet connection to support the bandwidth required for conducting the web conferences. So now, even when you or your staff members are travelling and are away from your systems, you and your staff members can still participate in conferences using any device.

Screen sharing

The laptops, desktops and smart devices are part of many businesses. The screen sharing functionality of the conferencing solution allows the teams to collaborate and work together remotely. This can be a boon for tech, manufacturing and IT companies.

Any company or business has a few core requirements to support their growth which includes the following:

  • Uninterrupted communication mechanism
  • Real-time communication tools
  • Strong Collaboration tools
  • Quick decision making
  • Beating the competition
  • High-tech tools

A video conferencing solution is a great platform which satisfies many important needs of a business including communication and collaboration. This conferencing solution will empower the businesses with the real time and a powerful communication mechanism which supports remote communication and collaboration. This improves the productivity of the team remarkably. All these reduces delays, accelerate business processes and contribute to the growth of the company.

Actis’ blog share and discussed key contributions of video conferencing solutions for growth in today’s business. Read this interesting blog to learn more.

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Here’s how VoIP and IP telephony can benefit Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs)

VoIP and IP Telephony

Numerous small businesses are abandoning legacy phones for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and IP telephony at incredible rates. Switching over to VOIP-based offers many benefits over legacy phone systems. The demand for VOIP service providers in India such as Actis technologies has risen sharply in the last decade alone.

Quite often, smaller enterprises are reluctant to switch from legacy phone systems, mostly due to lack of information about its significant offering in business productivity. Our blog discusses how VoIP and IP telephony can benefit Small and Midsize Businesses.

Cost Effective

One of the biggest benefits VoIP and IP telephony offers is cost savings potential. Users need not worry about long-distance fees, expensive equipment or maintenance since, as all of the voice and data traffic is integrated into a single unified network. As internet connectivity is at the core of modern business practices, businesses can reap greater value from their Internet connection.

Added Flexibility

With VoIP and IP telephony, you can easily integrate email, e-fax and remote conferencing over the Internet via the phone. This allows multitasking, thereby enhancing productivity. Modern VoIP and IP telephony platforms allow you to sync all of your devices including smartphone and tablets, allowing to easy connectivity and communicate even out of office.

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Abundant and Useful Features

In addition to making and receiving calls over the Internet, many VoIP providers also offer other features such as emailing voicemails, recording calls, attaching documents, conducting virtual meetings and sharing data via video conferences. All of this frees up more time for employees to focus on other aspects of their job and allows for more multitasking.

Easy Installation and Troubleshooting

And most VoIP and IP telephony utilise software instead of hardware. So, adding new components and scaling the communication infrastructure is very easy. Users can easily control interface through the web to change features, settings, options and services. Furthermore, many VOIP service providers in India such as Actis technologies carefully handholds both large enterprises and SMBs during the entire installation process.

Better Conferencing

VoIP and IP telephony not only provides high definition sound quality and data connections, but also different features such as participants availability, speaking priority, and muting. These features keep conference calls and meeting focused, organised and result-driven.

Small and Midsize Businesses usually find it difficult to compete with larger enterprises in many aspects including communication. Luckily for them, VoIP and IP telephony can be a viable option to overcome communication woes.

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Future of AV: Holographic 3D video conferencing with Kinect

Future of AV

Video conferencing is changing the way we interact with people across the globe. While video conferencing is not a new phenomenon, experimentation with augmented reality in this space is new. Industry experts predict that VC will evolve with visual and aural augmentation technologies.

Recently, a team of researchers at Kingston, Ontario’s Queen’s University have developed a video conferencing tool that works on Kinect cameras letting you see 3D holograms of the person you’re talking to. The device has been named as Telepod. This technology drastically changes the way video conferencing is conducted. Visually, it appears as a piece of technology from futuristic sci-fi movies. The Telepod spices up VC with life-size 3D holograms.

The system consists of a 1.8m tall cylinder with 6 Microsoft Kinect cameras placed on the top and a 3D projector fitted inside. As you may already know, Kinect is a popular line of motion sensing interactive devices by Microsoft for their Xbox gaming consoles and Windows-based PCs. It enables users to control and interact with their devices using gestures and spoken commands. This reduced dependency on external controllers or any sort.

While conferencing, each person stands in front of their own Telepod, which can capture and track their movements in three dimensions resulting in a life-size 3D holographic image projected inside of the cylinder. You can walk around and view from the back and the sides. There’s even a medical version named Bodipod that leverages the same hardware letting you interact with a 3D version of the human body. You can view it from multiple angles and use gesture commands to peel away layers & see different parts of the human anatomy.

As one of India’s leading AV integration companies, this technology excites us. We can’t stop thinking about how beneficial the Telepod would be in the field of visual communications. Here’s to holographic 3D video conferencing of the future! The following video gives you a closer look and small demonstration of the Telepod. Do have a look and share this post with your peers and colleagues.

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4 easy tips to get smart classroom AV solutions

Tips to get smart classroom AV solutions

We’ve come a long way since the most important tool for students was the pencil. Currently, even the younger students take their lessons on tablets or computers. In the last few years, schools have been hard at work in setting up computer labs and installing iPads, projectors and other classroom AV solutions along with developing or customizing learning apps for mobile.

Smart classroom AV solutions are no longer a new phenomenon. Today, schools are integrating classroom AV solutions for a wholesome and interactive learning experience. That being said, IT and administrative staff may be scouting for the next wave of interactive technologies that can be used for improving education infrastructure. Following are few solutions that educational institutions can have on their list of considerations.

1. Interactive Whiteboards

This solution replaces the good old projectors and chalkboards. They are much more visually appealing and allow students to use added hands-on features. They can be used during presentation, discussions and solving problems as a group. Many interactive whiteboards also auto save all annotations and changes to the cloud ensuring any time access to content.

2. Video Conferencing

Educational institutions can use video conferencing to feature remote guest speakers, attend virtual field trips, and offer lessons to remote students. Having AV solutions can also help students connect with other students from other geographic locations. Imagine the learning environment this could create!

3. Content Presentation Systems

They are designed for a variety of applications from Video Conferencing, content creation, collaboration and sharing in educational institutions. These solutions allow students and teachers to share and save content. Opt for features like device mirroring and any-to-any connectivity.

4. Virtual Reality

Virtual and Augmented reality is gaining stellar momentum. Virtual reality learning is an ideal way of increasing engagement with students in a manner they are comfortable with. These technologies are for more than just realistic gaming. They take the virtual field trip to the next level. They can also facilitate other learning activities like 3D modeling and printing. VR technology adds a new dimension to education.

Schools and education institutions are moving away from the era of outdated textbooks. They now have information and powerful tools at their disposal. Schools ought to know what are the latest smart classroom solutions are available. At all times, it is crucial that schools work with a trusted audio video integrator to explore the best options available in the AV industry. Being informed helps make decisions that benefits both the schools and the students in the long run.

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Top Business Benefits of Video Collaboration Solutions

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Effective communication between key stakeholders is vital for businesses to grow and be more productive. In the modern business setting, teams need to collaborate more frequently to drive strategic business objectives. These days businesses operate from multiple locations spanned across the globe. Face to face communication in this scenario involves travel and all its financial and non-productive implications.

Luckily, modern video collaboration solutions are helping business counter this and collaborate seamlessly with anyone from any corner of the world. Video conferencing equipment powered by IP Telephone and VoIP is not making communications fast, but also affordable and accessible to enterprises of all sizes. Let’s have a closer look at all the Top business benefits video collaboration solutions have to offer.

Increase in productivity by faster collaboration
It is imperative that workforces and teams communicate and collaborate for a successful business operation. The current modes of interaction such as e-mail, IMs, phones or workflow applications have virtually no provisions for nonverbal visual cues. These cues aid in understanding, processing, and comprehending communication accurately and quickly. Video collaboration solutions empower real-time, bi-directional communication and quicker decisions leading faster project completions and increases organizational productivity.

Reduced Travel Costs
In today’s globalized economy leveraging new market opportunities is always lucrative. This involves employees travelling to on-site locations engage in face-to-face interactions with partners, team members, customers and other stakeholders. All cost involved in the employees travelling is borne by the business. While physical face-to-face communication is important in critical situations, there is a large chunk on repeated and unnecessary travels that can be avoided. Saving on travel cost is one of the major benefits of deploying video conferencing equipment in offices.

Improved Hiring, Retention and Employee Motivation
Video collaboration solutions allow companies to tap into talent pools from a larger geographic dimension. This particularly helpful for businesses with specific hiring needs that involve multiple rounds and people in the whole interview process. Improved communication solutions and protocols can help businesses creates a smoother more enjoyable workflow. Furthermore, mitigating the need for travel allows employees to strike a right work-life balance, minimize office commute, and usage saved time on productive tasks.

Improves agility in a competitive environment
Video collaboration solutions offer multiple paths for creating agility and competitive edge. Teams are empowered with tools for faster decision making that reduce the time to market and sell new products and services. Video conferencing equipment can be used by all resources be it sales and marketing, research and development and human resources to share time-sensitive information that can help businesses stay ahead of their competition.

Video collaboration solutions can be immensely beneficial to businesses and business users. It has the prowess to make global business environment smaller and well connected.

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Top 5 Business Benefits of IP Telephony

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Although a huge chunk of business communication is scattered over various new and traditional modes, reliable phone access is still paramount. Over the last few years, IP Telephony (Internet Protocol Telephony) and modern VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) have aggressively taken over traditional telephony and modes of communication.

VoIP and IP Telephony offer numerous benefits such as flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency to name a few. As one of the leading VoIP service providers in India, we feel it is our responsibility to educate and empower businesses to recognize and harness these benefits to their advantage. So, what are the actual business benefits of IP Telephony? Allow us to guide you. Here are top 5 business benefits of IP Telephony.

1. Easy to Install, Use, and Maintain
Contrary to popular belief, IP Telephony and VoIP is easy to install, use, and maintain. Even users with limited or no technical know-how can operate it with utmost ease, leading to higher user-adoption. Unlike traditional telephony, there is no complex mesh of wires baffling administrators. Moreover, it seamlessly integrates into existing broadband/internet hardware.

2. Scalability
Most business are aware of their current communication requirements. However, predicting your future requirement is almost impossible and relies heavily on speculation. With VoIP and IP Telephony, businesses have better control over managing their communication requirements as well the hardware/infrastructure. This empowers scalability and protects businesses from added costs.

3. Saves Cost
Cost saving is one of the most revered benefits of IP Telephony. Legacy calling systems are expensive, hardware-dependant, and difficult to troubleshoot with most control in the hands of the telephone service provider. With IP telephony, you can save on installation cost, pay minimized call charges while having complete control over your setup. Whether your business depends on local or international calling; with VoIP and IP Telephony, cost-saving is assured.

4. Seamless Integration
With IP Telephony and VoIP you get all the features of traditional calling system along with provisions of faxing, if required. As IP Telephony is internet-based, it seamlessly integrates with email servers, customer databases, or any applications crucial to your business process. This allows businesses to empower fast and efficient communication.

5. Facilitates Unified Communication
Unified Communications can be described as the integration of real-time, enterprise, communication services for a unified user-experience, easier collaboration and added efficiency. Legacy calling systems reside in the analog domain and usually disparate from electronic communication. Switching over to VoIP is a small yet pivotal step in helping business achieve Unified Communication.

With so many benefits to offers, doesn’t it make business sense to make the switch right away? Take the plunge and embark on your journey to scalable, efficient, and unified calling solution. Count on Actis, one of the leading VoIP service providers in India to help you get started and get a communication system tailored to your needs.

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5 Tips for Creating a Successful Digital Signage Experience

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Today, there are a myriad different technologies to help you study, shop or even travel. One of these technologies is digital signage. With so many options available, how can you create an absorbing experience for your brand using digital signage solutions? Read this guide to find out…So, here goes…

1) Plan your digital signage offering well: Installing a digital signage solution without a plan, is like trying to find a location without a map. Installing every bit of technology without following a plan leaves you with many parts to manage and a difficult system to monitor. It will probably result in a mismatched digital installation. You should look at the big picture aesthetically to ensure that you are telling a consistent visual and display story.

2) Ensure that the digital signage experience you provide extends beyond your physical store or office: In-store digital technologies close the gap between an online and offline shopping experience. For example, certain stores install a 24-hour interactive window display, allowing customers to window shop whenever they want. Customers can also buy items using touchscreen technology, which are then delivered the same day by the retailer. This kind of technology allows customers to choose between an in-store experience and a quick delivery, depending on their preference. This kind of digital experience also enhances the engagement of your in-store customers. However, you should carry the same level of engagement with customers who prefer to shop outside of your brick-and-mortar location.

3) Create trust on social media: A recent research study has discovered that 74% of customers in the United States rely on their social networks to make purchase decisions. If your brand is not captivating customers and creating trust on social media, you are missing a huge opportunity to generate web and foot traffic. For example, as a retailer you can create and install a digital signage solution in your retail location that displays social media posts relevant to your brand. This reinforces that your brand is engaged with customers in the social world.

4) Use technology to make the experience convenient and unique for your customers: Many retailers are offering their customers a personalized shopping experience using the latest in digital signage technology. One such experience is a virtual fitting-room technology that allows customers to try on clothes without having to untie shoes or slink their way out of skinny jeans. Many retailers are also using iPads on the sales floor to allow shoppers to look up inventory levels, purchase online, or purchase directly from the sales floor. These options let your customers shop on their own terms. They also provide your customers with a new and engaging way to shop without slowing them down. In the final analysis, your digital strategy should provide added convenience for shoppers.

5) Keep up with your customers: The in-store retail experience has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. The journey is no longer about only print ads and static sale signage, but is a multifaceted digital experience that integrates social media and in-store technology. Customers expect the latest and greatest in digital signage solutions if they are to engage with your brand long-term.

These are the top 5 things to keep in mind when trying to engage your customers with digital signage solutions. You can be a clothes retailer, a travel company, or then, an online tutoring company. Whatever you business, if you are not using digital signage solutions, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. If you center your digital experience around your customers, success is guaranteed. Here’s to a seamless and successful digital signage experience…

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All about Office Automation

Office automation refers to the different computer machinery and software used to digitally create, collect, store, manipulate, and relay office information needed for accomplishing basic tasks. Office automation helps in optimising or automating existing office procedures.

Raw data storage, electronic transfer, and the management of electronic business information comprise the basic activities of an office automation system. The backbone of office automation is a LAN, which allows users to transfer data, mail and even voice across the network.

All office functions, including dictations, typing, filing, copying, fax, Telex, microfilm and records management, telephone and telephone switchboard operations, fall into this category. The desktop computer has contributed greatly to office automation, which is why the term office automation was popular in the 1970s and 1980s as the desktop computer exploded onto the scene.

Office automation has several advantage, which are:

– It can get many tasks accomplished faster.
– It eliminates the need for a large staff.
– Less storage is required to store data.
– Multiple people can update data simultaneously if there is a change in schedule.

There are three basic activities of an office automation system: storage of information, data exchange, and data management. Within each broad application area, hardware and software combine to fulfill basic functions. We shall now discuss each in detail.

1) Information storage: This is the first area within office automation. It is usually considered to include office records and other primary office forms and documents. Data applications involve the capture and editing of files, images, or spreadsheets. Word processing and desktop presentation packages accommodate raw textual and graphical data, while spreadsheet applications provide users with the capacity to engage in the easy manipulation and output of numbers. Image applications allow the capture and editing of visual images.

2) Data exchange: While data storage and manipulation is an important component of an office automation system, the exchange of that information is another equally important component. Electronic transfer is a general application area that highlights the exchange of information among multiple users. Electronic mail, voice mail and facsimile are examples of electronic transfer applications. Systems that allow instantaneous or “real time” transfer of information are considered to be electronic sharing systems. These include online conversations via computer or audio exchange with video capture. Electronic sharing software illustrates the collaborative nature of many office automation systems.

3) Data management: Office automation systems are often used to track both short-term and long-term data in the realms of financial plans, workforce allocation plans, marketing expenditures, inventory purchases and other aspects of business. Task management or scheduling systems monitor and control various projects and activities within the office. Electronic management systems monitor and control office activities and tasks through timelines, resource equations, and electronic scheduling.

So, this is all about office automation in a nutshell. It has become an imperative for most businesses to invest in office automation system to improve productivity and save both time and money. Here’s to efficient and effective working….with office automation…

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Turning Your Home into a Smart Home with these Smart Home Solutions

Smart Home Solutions

 

If you’ve always wanted the kind of smart home they show in the movies, you’re in luck! Increasingly, a plethora of smart home gadgets are available that will turn your humble abode into a smart home….smart home solutions and all…This guide will talk about some of these smart home solutions and what you can do with them. So, here goes…

1) Smart Door Locks: These are a smart substitute for house keys. You can opt for a more modern entryway by installing a smart door-lock system. Such products will let you lock and unlock your door using your smartphone. What’s more, you can program “virtual keys” for other visitors, such as friends, relative, the cleaning service…the list goes on. These virtual keys will only activate at certain times. Prices are typically in the US $200 range and installation is often as simple as putting hardware on top of your existing deadbolt.

2) Smart Home Network: You can add a network-attached storage system to your home network to boost your home’s intelligence in ways you never imagined. It consolidates, centralizes, and syncs all your music, movies, photos, documents, and other data. It then makes it all available on-demand to just about any connected device, including phones, tablets, TVs, and PCs.

3) Smart Thermostat: You can install a smart thermostat, which automatically learns what temperatures you like and when (during the day, at night, and so on). It also automatically adjusts itself based on whether you are home or not, due to built-in movement sensors. You can also monitor and control everything right from your smartphone. This works well when you’re outside in the cold and want to walk into a warm house.

4) Smart Light Bulbs: Smart bulbs are LEDs all the way! And what’s more, LED bulbs can change colours, connect to apps and the Internet and much more…They do this while consuming considerably less power and lasting for decades.

Now you know how to get started in setting up your smart home. Keep these first steps in mind and understand that you don’t need deep pockets to get started with your smart home…All you need is imagination, flair, and the right products. The latter can range from the right lighting control to the smartest security system, and from the smart thermostat to the smart home network. Here’s to building your very smart home…

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