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There are several factors to consider when investing in new office technology. Perhaps the most influential of those factors is return-on-investment or ROI. Determining the ROI of business technology is harder than it first seems. InformationWeek recently conducted a survey of C-level executives and found that it is challenging for all of them to agree on the value of proposed tech investments.
Each executive position may have their own vision of what office technology ROI should look like. However, there are some key characteristics that are common amongst successful tech initiatives. Company leaders can use this checklist below to help evaluate the ROI of their technology.

Does it boost productivity?

Over 50 percent of organizations measure productivity when calculating technology’s ROI. Tech solutions that have a steep learning curve or require hours upon hours of training in order to use it effectively can actually decrease productivity. Office technology should make an employee’s job easier and business processes more efficient.
For example, mobile technologies are providing some of the greatest productivity boosts for businesses. Mobile solutions like wireless presentation software, wearable devices, tablets, and collaboration tools mean that employees are no longer confined to working solely at their desks. They can communicate and collaborate from anywhere and at anytime, accelerating the work cycle.

Does it offer measurable value to customers?

Have you connected with customers and target audiences after learning more about them through data tools? Are customers finding your business or communicating with you through technology? Are they using your mobile app to make buying decisions?
When technology improves the customer experience or helps you connect with them, it is providing a big return-on-investment. Attracting a new customer costs as much as five to ten times more than retaining a current one. However, technology that personalizes and improves the customer experience can keep them coming back and spending 67 percent more.

Does it create new revenue streams?

By utilizing big data and new technologies, The Weather Channel is one organization that has created revenue streams that weren’t possible before. With advanced tools like drones and sensors, the weather capturing company’s forecasting range has expanded to over 37,000 personal reporting stations and increased the accuracy of their predictions. Recognizing the value of weather to business operations, it created new revenue by offering accurate weather reporting, alerts and additional services to companies worldwide.
Valuable office technology can not only increase current revenue streams but also create new ones. With the right tech presence, even small businesses can now have a global presence. Tech can open up new opportunities for companies that use it effectively.
There are thousands of tech products that claim that they will bring benefits to businesses. Ultimately, company leaders want to know that their investment will improve performance or increase revenue. If you are investing in new technology, and it doesn’t fit into any of these categories, it is likely time to rethink your purchase.

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It may have been considered the norm to have wires and cables installed throughout company meeting spaces a few years ago. Now, however, cables are more often viewed as an unnecessary clutter. When upgrading working spaces and conference room technology, businesses are thinking wirelessly.
If your organization is upgrading its facilities in the near future, here are some of the top reasons why you should think wirelessly too.

Cables are eyesores.

One of the top considerations when re-thinking a meeting room setup is appearance. When it comes to office aesthetics, cables are eyesores, especially when they are hanging everywhere. In time, they’ll likely get tangled or risk becoming a tripping hazard. Meeting spaces without cables are more visually appealing and secure.

Mobile eliminates installation and maintenance costs.

Cables also come with cost installation and maintenance fees. Adding cables to a meeting room usually means hiring professionals to install them. They often break or simply wear down over time too, which means you’ll need to repair or replace them eventually. Wireless solutions like wireless presentation systems save businesses from the burden and costs associated with maintaining cables and equipment.

Mobility creates more flexibility.

With wireless technology, businesses free themselves from being locked in one place. Should your organization ever decide to relocate, it will not have to unhook the cables or reinstall them in a new location. Instead, with wireless solutions, it can be as easy as moving a mobile device from one room to another.

Wireless is the future.

Companies no longer need to be tied down by cables because of poor wireless performance. Wireless technologies and mobile performance has greatly advanced in the last decade. Cables simply are not as necessary as they may have been in the past. Instead, wireless solutions have become more vital.
According to a recent study by Constant Contact, over 66 percent of small business owners use mobile solutions as part of their daily business processes. Another two-thirds of SMBs say that they would struggle to survive without wireless tech. Collaboration tools, software and other business technology has evolved to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile workforce and population. Renovated meeting spaces should be equipped with cutting-edge technology, which means that they should be designed with mobility in mind.
It is important to be forward-thinking when renovating office space. Cables are a thing of the past. If organizations want their meeting room to remain relevant and useful for years to come, wireless is the way to go.

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Executive conference rooms often serve as a window into your business. As the central meeting spot, it is the most likely place that you will hold important meetings with prospective clients and employees, current staff, board members, press, and other constituents. It is where organizations deliberate, collaborate, and come to important decisions that could have a lasting impact on their future. Therefore, the executive meeting room setup is important to consider.
A meeting room that could be mistaken for a college dorm will have a hard time attracting visitors; a meeting room that looks like it was designed in 2046 will have a hard time turning visitors away. More importantly, a more professional meeting room is often a more productive and more collaborative meeting room. Here are some critical reasons why:

Make positive first impressions.

Even though people often remind themselves not to judge a book by its cover, they still do–at least when it comes to first impressions. Several studies have shown that within seconds of meeting people decide a person’s wealth, trustworthiness, success and other characteristics solely based on appearance. Another study claimed that it is an unpreventable part of human nature to judge based on first impressions. A meeting room setup that is unprofessional could make a poor first impression which could impede companies from closing deals or recruiting the most talented workers.

Host visitors and special guests.

One of the most important necessities for organizations is a shared meeting space that can accommodate visitors and guests. Whether it is through video conferences or in-person meetings, visitors often find themselves in the conference room. Professional areas are more welcoming to an array of visitors and guests.

Establish a conducive work environment.

A more professional meeting room setup helps to eliminate non-work related distractions and boost productivity. It can also encourage the executive team and other employees to be more professional while influencing others to take them seriously.

Hold secure events and presentations.

Having a space to host events and presentations can open doors for organizations. It helps companies network with influencers and prospective business interests. A conference room that is equipped with meaningful and necessary technology like a wireless presentation system, collaboration tools, and other devices shows that your organization is prepared. It also protects company data from being leaked during private presentations and other confidential meetings.
A large portion of time spent in the office takes place in the conference room, so it is important that it reflects the type of business that you are and displays a sense of professionalism. Making your conference room more professional looking doesn’t mean that you need to stifle the creativity and unique character of your organization. It should, however, be more presentable to outsiders and comfortable for insiders.

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Technology has revolutionized the way that we communicate and collaborate with each other, especially in work environments. The instantaneousness of social media and cloud-based apps has raised expectations for response time and communication. Therefore, apps and other technologies are aiming to improve the way that we work together.
Collaboration tools can include video conferencing, wireless presentation systems, meeting room software, instant messenger, cloud technologies, and mobile apps. The goal of these technologies is to turn your meeting room into a collaborative meeting room. When managed effectively they make it easier to access files remotely, to talk face-to-face in a digital environment, and to simultaneously create and edit projects with others.
However, in order to implement them effectively, users must be open to using them to their maximum potential. If users think the apps are useless, then they will be useless. It is crucial to know more about what your users think about collaboration and communication technology at work in order for it to be successful. What do most users think?
Collaboration is crucial
When asking employees about collaboration in the workplace, most of them will agree that it is vital. In one UK study, three out of four respondents said that collaboration is crucial to the way that they interact with coworkers and clients. Studies have also shown that when employees work together closely on projects and tasks, they are more engaged and satisfied with their jobs. In general, users want to use technologies that foster and support collaboration. However, the challenge is finding the right tools for your organization.
Is it easy to use?
Users may want more collaboration, but what they don’t want is just another tool that they have to learn how to use. Technology should promote collaboration, not stifle it. If the technology is too difficult to use, it can do more harm than good.
Users are often hesitant to try a new tool, especially if it has a steep learning curve. This is perhaps the most crucial stage when introducing a technology into the workplace. In order for a tool to be even remotely successful, organizations must first overcome hesitation by ensuring that it is easy-to-use and useful.
How is it improving my job?
Collaboration technology is only truly successful when it improves overall business performance or satisfaction. Users want to know that the tech has had a significant, positive effect on how they do their job. This means that tools must go beyond simply increasing communication or improving response time. They must be embedded into the business processes, making them an important part of everyday operations.
Organizations are trying to increase collaboration and foster communication by introducing new technologies. Knowing what your users think about the tech is an essential step towards successful deployment and implementation. Organizations will know that these technologies are effective, when users begin to say statements like: It’s actually made my job easier, or I never want to go back to the way that we did it before.

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Meetings are often regarded as boring, unproductive wastes of time. In one study by Hubspot, 47 percent of respondents said that meetings were the top time waster in the office. However, that is largely due to how they are conducted. When conducted effectively, meetings disseminate valuable information, increase workplace communication, and boost morale and productivity.
One major contributor to meeting success is punctuality. Punctuality greatly affects the value of meetings. In some cultures, starting a meeting a little later than the scheduled time is completely normal or even expected. However, in general, there are several reasons why starting on time is crucial to its success.
It Fosters Productivity 
According to a recent study by Bain & Company, a meeting that starts five minutes late will be eight percent less productive. When given an exact time limit for completely meeting objectives, people are more likely to work harder to accomplish them.
Keeping the time limit for meetings below one hour can help increase the effectiveness by helping to maintain attention. Online collaboration tools and conference room technology have also helped to decrease the time we spend in unproductive meetings. Save small updates and information for emails, instant messengers or other collaboration tools. This way, you can more easily stay within your time limit and meet the objectives that you set.
It Makes a Good First Impression
Imagine that you are attending a meeting with two different presenters. When you walk into the first one, the speaker is already there. His or her equipment is not ready and not functional, they hand you an agenda with objectives, and they cannot start exactly on time. The second speaker arrives five minutes late and spends another 15 minutes setting up presentation technology.
Which presenter made the best impression? Most likely, none of them. When you are leading a meeting, attendees expect organization and promptness. If your meeting room setup relies on wires and cables and your end users spend the first 15 minutes of their presentation struggling with connectivity issues, they may as well be presenting to an empty room. Individuals can eliminate set up time and worries by using wireless presentation systems and by arriving a few minutes before the scheduled time.
It Shows You Value Attendee’s Time.
By starting a meeting on time, presenters are also showing that they value the time of their attendees. When meetings continuously start and end on time, presenters build a reputation of respect, professionalism, and competence. On the other hand, when the start time fluctuates, people are more likely to show up late, daydream during them, or stop attending them altogether.
Along with a number of other positive benefits, meetings can be an effective way to bring your team together, share updates, boost morale, and improve communications. However, when they start late, presenters already set them up to be less productive and effective. Starting meetings on time is one of the top ways to ensure that they are successful and engaging.
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Congratulations! You have signed on a new technology partner. Now, it’s time to acclimate them to your business and company culture.
CIO/CTOs not only lead technology for an organization. They also set the tone in building relationships with technology vendors and clients. What may be set for a short-term project, all parties would hope to turn it into a long-lasting partnership.
A key factor in positive partnerships is communication. The way we interact and engage with our partners can in itself be an indication of success. When signing on a new partner, both parties should want mutual success. However, to do that, we have to make them a part as much a part of your business as our colleagues.
On-boarding new partners begins before the contract is signed. From early introductions and demonstrations, we’re bringing people into our company culture. For example, requesting a wireless presentation with a potential vendor exposes them to your technology and communication style. Within the structure of the wireless presentation, you show how willing you are to share information and exchange ideas. It sets the team for collaborative work opportunities.
How do you develop an onboarding strategy for your new partners? Here are a few ways:

  • Relationship Management. As an IT leader, your time may be limited. Your partner may assign an account manager to you to oversee activities and address issues. At the same time, you should assign a relationship manager to them. The relationship manager will act as the central point of contact with the partner’s account manager. This could be a project manager, an analyst or a subject matter expert who can speak on your behalf and filter any questions or concerns for your team.
  • The length of a project shouldn’t determine the importance of a partnership. Give your new partner an opportunity to see your team in action. Consider hosting a project kick-off meeting or preliminary brainstorming session. Your new partner can begin to understand how individuals contribute to discussions and tasks, and vice versa. Then, you can together to identify those contributors are best fits for the project to work successfully
  • Productivity: Transparency is often a concern in projects that involve third parties. Productivity tools can promote communication through information sharing. From interactive spreadsheets to knowledge databases, teams can review projects together in real-time from any location. Wireless presentations can become work sessions with partners sharing updates across a secured network. You and your partner can make decisions together to promote engagement and optimize performance of your team members
  • Support: Partnerships thrive on positive collaboration. Both parties need to support each other throughout their relationship. From bug tracking to quality assurance testing, partners need to communicate with each other to resolve issues. How each side offers support will be indicative how successful the partnership will be.
  • Unified Communication System. How you communicate with your partner is just as important as the tools you use. Phone calls, emails, instant messaging and video conferencing offer a number of means to stay connected. However, bringing them together into a system and connecting your partner makes access easier. Certainly, security is a concern, but by setting parameters to make your partner more than a guest in your workflow can promote efficiencies in how information is exchanged and store.

Communication is a measure of success for any relationship. When bringing a new partner into your business, you are working towards the same goal. Therefore, both sides should be open to learning and sharing with each other. It brings two cultures together and could create a new long-lasting one.

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What is growth hacking? For technology startups, it’s using marketing creativity, analytics and social media to build awareness, gain investments and to…well…GROW! Even at a tech startup, your IT team should be present to support the strategy and tactics to expand your company’s reach.
CB Insights reported that approximately 90% of startups fail within the first 3 years. The reasons range from the lack of market need to poor marketing. While it may not eliminate the failure potential, growth hacking can better position a new company to gauge market responses and connect with a targeted audience.
How does IT play a factor here? Growth hacking involves technology. As a new business, startups need IT to create a technical infrastructure that supports growth at a rapid pace. For example:

  • Projects will need productivity tools to connect people to information.
  • Communication tools like wireless presentations will need to support multiple device types across a secure, encrypted network.
  • Remote access to being teams together to a central location or hub
  • Site and application monitoring to ensure optimal performance
  • Flexible technology platforms from open source to development to cloud computing

Growth hacking relies on creativity. Therefore, IT becomes a partner with marketing to find feasible means to support and promote new marketing concepts and activities. From user experience to site speed, IT becomes a “nerve center” to deliver content through various channels. Third party and proprietary tools can be developed and programmed to gather data, exchange ideas and measure effectiveness. Marketing then uses those tools to optimize their efforts.
Growth hacking is that opportunity for partnership. It also is an opportunity to put your operations on display for new business and investments. Marketing and IT collaborating will set your brand’s reputation within the industry. That reputation will translate to your performance level and business growth.
For startups, the first years are critical. It’s not a time to “divide and conquer.” You It’s often “all hands on deck.” Therefore, collaboration and clear communication are necessary for success. For example:

  • A wireless presentation can be monitored by IT to ensure all is working and secure with little disruption to marketing
  • Productivity tools help IT and marketing stay on course with deadlines, rollouts and communication plans for any new products or services
  • Collaboration tools help marketing teams share information, while IT provides the platform and security

As a new business, IT and marketing play significant roles in setting it up for success. It’s that partnership that will move their business forward and create a market demand. Growth hacking allows both teams to make their mark in how the business is received and accepted within their industry.
How has your IT team worked to support a growth hacking strategy? Share with us!

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Recently, there has been some buzz around CIOs and their transforming role and influence in business strategy formation. While some companies are still lagging behind, others are benefitting by utilizing the knowledge and expertise of their CIOs. According to a survey by McKinsey and Company, overall performance increases when organizations involve IT leaders in business strategy.
IT leaders are accustomed to answering questions about technology. However, the evolving role is now often expected to answer new, more strategic questions. What are some of the most common strategic questions that organizations are asking their CIOs?

How can technology help engage our employees?

One of the biggest problems facing company executive teams today is engaging employees. The latest Gallup poll stated that globally, only 13 percent of employees are engaged. Another survey found that an alarming 88 percent are not passionate about their work.
Many organizations have initiated employee engagement strategies and have enlisted CIOs to help. They are asking questions about how wireless presentation software, mobile devices, collaboration tools, smartwatches, and other technology can be used to increase engagement.

How can we improve our business performance?

The era of big data and analytics has allowed companies to more easily track information about their business processes and worker productivity. Technology is often used to collect this data, so some leaders are asking CIOs to help interpret it.
Also, as a result, companies are implementing tech-driven programs to help increase efficiency and optimize revenue. They want to know what types of software and devices are going to be the most cost-effective, agile, and successful.

How can we learn more about our customers━and our competition?

Companies are looking at CIOs to take a more active role in the customer experience. They are increasingly using data and technology to learn more about their customers and their competitors.
The most influential and effective CIOs will be at the forefront of these efforts. In some organizations, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the CIO are partnering together to make more informed, data-based decisions about customer outreach and retention.
Lastly, the role of IT is becoming more prominent as the boundaries between the digital and brick-and-mortar business are breaking down. The knowledge and consultation of IT leaders is essential for many organizations that are launching or revamping their digital strategy.
As the importance of technology in business continues to grow, more companies are asking IT leaders tough strategic questions. CIOs that take an active role in strategic decision-making could help business and IT performance. Organizations that involve the CIO in these decisions are more likely to reap the benefits, while those that do not could fall behind their competition.

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With the number of cyber attacks, data breaches, and other threats increasing each year, IT security is a top concern for organizations. Many company executives and CIOs are spearheading initiatives dedicated to protecting their information. Some are strengthening their IT security measures by upgrading software, hardware, and infrastructure. However, organizations often fail to address one of the biggest and often underestimated threats–their employees.
One study by CompTIA cited employees as a top concern, with 52 percent of breaches stemming from human error. Preventing human error requires creating effective security awareness and training efforts. In a 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey, 42 percent of respondents said employee security education and training helped to deter potential attacks, saving companies thousands in financial losses.
Unfortunately, crafting these initiatives is also a challenge for leaders everywhere. How can organizations improve their employee IT security training? Here are some tips:
Motivate them
The problem with some workers, is that they still do not realize that they play a very important role in the security of the company. For example, if they lose their smartphone or laptop that they use for work purposes, chances are, they aren’t thinking about protecting the company data on it. In order to make training more effective, leaders can motivate employees by praising them for smart security practices.
Break it down
A once-a-year seminar on IT security is not sufficient or effective. This model is unsuccessful, because it is nearly impossible to cover all the ins-and-outs of cybersecurity to your employees in one session. Even if you did, it’s likely that employees would only digest less than 10 percent of the information. Especially, if you start to discuss more technical concepts. Captivating their attention and engaging employees will likely grow more difficult the longer one training session becomes.
A more effective method is to have IT security training sessions multiple times a year. Even reminding employees about the importance of security and sending quick tips throughout the year will help to keep the information from going stale.
Make it easy
Make sure employees know the process to follow when problems arise by showing and engaging them. In order for training to be effective, organizations need to go beyond simply handing employees an IT security policy or handbook. The reality is that most likely no one will read it.
Organizations can use collaboration tools, gamification, and other technology to help engage them. Highlight the most important and most common threats and train on how to prevent those from happening. Organizations should provide supplemental information about security, but it should not be the only source of awareness.
Use secure presentation software.
Lastly, when presenting about sensitive data and company policies, use secure presentation software. If your training session is located out-of-office, you can use wireless presentation software instead of relying on equipment in a meeting room or other space. Utilizing it can decrease setup time and the risk of revealing sensitive information through faulty devices.
Employee IT security awareness and training may seem like an unnecessary or lackluster initiative. However, it is one of the most crucial elements to prevent costly security threats from happening. Improving the effectiveness of training with these tips will help engage employees and protect company data.