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

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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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5 Essentials of Office Automation Systems

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

Office automation has several advantages. It gets many tasks accomplished faster, and eliminates the need for a large number of employees. Also, less storage is required to store data and multiple people can simultaneously update data in the event of changes in the schedule.

You may have installed and set up computers, fax machines, and word processing software in your office. However, if you think that’s the very latest in office automation systems you have a long way to go. If you want to make the most out of office automation, you need to look beyond emails. This article will explore the 5 essentials you need to consider when setting up an office automation system.

1) Choose a system that lets you design workflows: Your office automation system should not determine the flow of operations and other processes. Instead, it should let you define your workflows and processes. Every business is different, with different needs and processes and your office automation system needs to keep this in mind when designing workflows.

2) Choose a system that lets you define access privileges: Your office automation system should let you define access privileges not just for yourself, but also for every member of your organisation. Access privileges are critical to every operation. You should look for an office automation system that lets you define access privileges along with the flow of operations.

3) Choose a system that lets you create a structured approval process: Your office automation system should let you approve the processes that you wish to set up. Everyday, numerous processes go through cycles of approvals. So, it is imperative that your office automation system lets you create a structured approval process.

4) Choose a cloud-based system that lets you access it from anywhere: If you have an office automation system that needs multiple approvals before it can work, you need to go cloud. The latter will let the approver access it from anywhere at any time.

5) Integrate your system with other office systems: Your office automation system should not just be yet another software tool. It should integrate with the software tools already being used in the organisation, so that you can save yourself the pain of manually transferring data from one system to another. Using an integrated system, means that you can manage your office accounts, payroll, and leave management systems, all at one place.

So, now you know more about what to keep in mind when thinking of installing the latest in office automation systems. Here’s to seamless management of data and technology for efficient working…

For more information on how to set up the very latest in office automation systems, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at contact@actis.co.in.

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12 Essential tips to achieve better enterprise desktop Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is becoming the preferred way for businesses to conduct both one-on-one meetings as well as group meetings. Employees can use video conferencing to participate in meetings in a more relaxed and comfortable way, whether they are working from home or in the office. Live video feeds let participants interact with each other in real time.

Using video conferencing regularly, results in increased involvement and stronger personal connections. For businesses of different sizes, video conferencing can reduce time spent walking between campuses and buildings, and also reduces travel time for meetings.

More importantly, advances in video conferencing software makes it more appealing and cost-effective than ever before. Also, the advent of cloud-based video conferencing means that businesses do not necessarily need to invest in expensive hardware to make that all-important video call.

However, all video conferencing is not created equal. You will need to choose your equipment carefully depending on your unique needs. We shall talk about the 12 essential points to keep in mind for successful enterprise desktop video conferencing. Here goes…

1) Use a top-notch camera: Use a professional-grade camera to ensure best image quality. Also, do not forget to keep the camera lens clean.

2) Use the right microphones: If you are connecting to your video conferencing system using mobile phones and tablets, you should use a Bluetooth microphone and a wired headset. Another option is using a clip-on microphone that has noise-cancelling features and a wide pickup frequency range. Also, you should mute your microphone when it is in listening mode and conduct video conferences from quiet, indoor meeting spaces.

3) Use the right lighting: You can record and transmit high-quality images only if there is good lighting in your meeting space. You should experiment with lighting by moving it around. Also, avoid direct sunlight on your face or behind you.

4) Use enhanced bandwidth: If you have insufficient bandwidth it will hamper desktop video conferencing quality. Bandwidth problems result in the skipping of video conferencing images and decreased window size. Be sure to enhance bandwidth to the computers you plan to use for desktop video conferencing.

5) Reduce the burden on the memory and CPU of your computer: You should not do any other tasks on your computer, such as processing or downloading while you are on a video conference. You should also close all unnecessary applications to improve memory resources.

6) Pay attention to body language when on a video conference call: You are being continuously watched when you are on a desktop video conference, so pay attention to what you do and to your body language. Do not yawn, clean your ears or cough into the camera. Ensure that you mind your manners when on a video conference.

7) Ensure that your background is clean: Your background, such as walls and furniture appear very clearly on desktop video conferences. Ensure that your background is clean and appealing. A plain, light-coloured background with your company logo looks best.

8) Speak directly to the camera: You should speak directly to the camera and not to the person on the screen. This is most noticeable when incoming video is projected on a large TV screen, but outgoing video is captured via the desktop in front of you.

9) Mute your microphone to eliminate background noise and echoes: If there is a lot of background noise, you should mute your microphone to correct this problem. You should also remove nearby electronic devices, especially phones or other wireless devices.

10) Become familiar with the video conferencing system before the call: Practice using your video conferencing system well ahead of your actual call. You should download the desktop video client and ensure that it installs. You should learn its chat function, try out the whiteboard, and select and deselect the camera or microphone. The more you know, the better you will look.

11) Dress the way you would for a formal meeting: Dress business-like like you would for an in-person meeting. You should wear royal blue, purple or gray as they contrast well with a light-coloured background. You should avoid wearing complex designs that the webcam cannot pick up effectively. Also avoid too much jewelery.

12) Practice using the system beforehand: You should practice your presentation by recording yourself using the video conferencing software and critiquing the presentation. Video conferencing will help you improve your presentations in both the virtual and the physical world.

These are the 12 essentials to keep in mind when setting up and using a video conferencing system.  Do pay attention to these before and during your video conference. Here’s to seamess and satisfactory video calls!

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5 Things To Keep in Mind Before Getting Your Workplace Automated And Work-Ready

Using computer based methods to execute an information-related task is known as an Office Automation system. These tasks include collecting, retrieving and analyzing crucial information related to your business. For example, a machine used to record attendance is an automated system. The information collected is used to track employee attendance and punctuality. Other examples of office automated systems may include an accounting system, a pay-roll system, an email system, and so on.  Further, an office automation system ranges from basic e-spreadsheet software to an advanced integrated system, devising multiple applications like ERP, PPC, forecasting, budgeting, accounting etc. and putting these into practice. This post focuses on 5 aspects to keep in mind when getting your workplace automated.

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  1. Control over operational workflow- An efficient office automated system helps you in streamlining operations, rather than affecting the flow of operations altogether. So, choose a system which lets you control the processes in an operational workflow.
  2. Incorporates approvals- Everyday, a number of approvals are required before a task reaches the stage of completion. It is important to have a system which allows for inclusion of structured approvals.
  3. Access privileges- Some information is required to be shared with everyone in office, while the relevance of certain types of data is limited to a particular department or a team. Further, this could be some data, which is confidential and crucial and needs to be protected. Make sure that your office automation system has all these features that allow you to define access privileges for a concerned person or team.
  4. Cloud based system- Choosing a cloud-based automation system is essential.  Why? Because it would not be completely  productive if you need to come to office every time you want to use an automated system. It would not only be time-consuming but would defeat the entire purpose of business efficiency through automation.
  5. Integration- A good office automation system is not just software used in the organization. It should allow integration with existing software tools, thus eliminating the need for manual data transfer.

Have you tried office automation systems? What are the benefits that you have come across?

Share your views in the Comments section below. For more about effective office automation or even for home automation system, click on (paste link).

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Heard About IP Telephony? Here’s a Quick Guide

IP telephony, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technologically-advanced method of conducting telephone calls over the Internet, rather than using  traditional calling methods. For example, representatives at call-centres resolve customer queries through calls which are seamlessly and inexpensively routed to a satellite location or any other centrally-connected facility. This technology is mutually beneficial as it provides a higher degree of flexibility to the business and a transparent medium to the customer to connect with the company. Continue reading

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Intelligent Lighting Solutions

Lighting is an important feature in office, which can be used in an intelligent way to reduce the lighting cost while optimising its use and creative potential. Lighting systems can be customised to the needs of different offices and can result in a well maintained and organised office. Here are some benefits of installing good lighting systems- Continue reading

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