There is great value in investing time and resources into the things that will help increase productivity, creativity, security and enthusiasm. Integrating business technology into the customer experience can have many benefits. When you know what you are investing in, your business will benefit from technology such as video surveillance, sound masking/speech privacy, background music, digital signage, paging systems and wireless presentations. In this article, we will explain how these technologies will help your business and how to implement them effectively.
Video surveillance is about more than just monitoring for criminal activity or breaks ins. Systems today can be used for management, training and accountability. Video surveillance systems are extremely versatile, allowing cameras to be placed almost anywhere, whether inside your building or outside. Cameras have become much more affordable over the last decade. Cameras with high-resolution and features like night-vision are more readily available.
IP cameras, or network-based cameras, have many advantages over old analog systems including:
- Video Storage and Software: You have several options for storing and controlling video. The best software allows you to get access to live and recorded video anywhere, anytime on almost any device. Software can switch between high and lower resolution and detect movement for auto recording. You will be able to play back and search for specific events. Video can be stored on the main server or a secondary system.
- Cabling: One of the biggest advantages is cabling. With an analog system cable lines had to be run to every camera. This becomes costly quickly, especially when the building was not designed to have cameras. IP cameras, however, work with network cabling. Most buildings today have network cables run throughout.
- Upgrading: IP cameras are easy to upgrade. They all use the same cables, and most software is not proprietary.
- PoE: You can design your system to use Power over Ethernet (PoE). This means that the camera uses the Ethernet cable for both data (video) transfer and power. These cameras use the 802.3af standard. You will need either a PoE capable network switch or PoE injector, which connects a standard network switch to the cameras.
Sound Masking/ Speech Privacy
Sound masking increases privacy and improves productivity in an office environment. Sound masking injects unstructured sound into a space or environment and fills in the sound spectrum. It makes speech, phones ringing and typing less intelligible. Usually the sound imitates something like airflow of a HVAC system so that it does not intrude on thought or conversation. To make sound masking and speech privacy effective, remember the ABCs: Absorb, Block and Cover. Most office environments will need various combinations of the three to create a productive, private and pleasing work environment.
- Absorb: To absorb sound you want to use a product that has a high Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). The higher the NRC, the more proficient the product will be at absorbing sound. Ceiling tiles and acoustic wall panels must both have high NRC ratings.
- Block: To block sound you need partitions, panels, walls and windows with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC). Partitions with high STC ratings are better at blocking sound from traveling between sides. Experts suggest using an average value of sound frequencies between 125 Hz and 4,000 Hz.
- Cover: Unwanted sounds can also be covered by adding unstructured, low-level background sound. This should be white noise or music without distracting lyrics.
Whether you run a retail shop, healthcare site, restaurant or focus on beauty and wellness you can use background music to create a more positive and welcoming environment.
- A study from the University of Birmingham, England, shows that music is effective in raising efficiency in repetitive work.
- Another study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discovered that adding a natural element could boost moods and focus, optimize the ability to concentrate, and increase employee satisfaction.
- A study from the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia found that radiologists improved in their work and mood when they listened to baroque music.
Due to copyright laws, caution should be used when deciding to play music. The best background music software will allow you to customize the music you play by genre and beats per minute. You should choose a service that does not depend on an internet connection, is commercial-free, and has original music to avoid any copyright violations.
Digital signage is a powerful and versatile tool. It can be used to grab attention, advertise, display critical information, and work as a communication tool. Signs are effectively used in lobbies or break rooms to pass information to employees. They are used in health care settings to display wait times, news and helpful information. Fitness and beauty centers use digital signs to stream live videos or share relevant information. All of these uses keep employees and customers engaged.
When implementing digital signage you need to make a plan and answer a few important questions such as:
- Who is your audience?
- How will you decide on and create content?
- Who will control the displays?
- What hardware will you use?
Your screen will likely be either a smart TV or a screen paired with a device that will connect it to the internet or network. You will need to decide on software that will allow you to create content such as short videos, slides, webpages, reports, company information or even social media. When creating your plan, think about compatibility and how to scale up. Outline clear goals and a timeline for reviewing content.
Paging systems are used for fast and convenient communication between employees, and as a way to market to and entertain customers. Paging systems guarantee instant communication. These systems are useful in a variety of environments including healthcare, offices, schools, warehouses and manufacturers and retail locations. Much like video surveillance systems, paging systems have moved away from clunky old analog setups to IP or network devices. IP paging devices end the need for separate data and voice lines and they make installation easy. Various products are available including speakers, horns, intercom, clocks, and speakers combined with digital signs.
One area of the office that is often overlooked when it comes to new technology is the conference or meeting room. Many companies still use clunky old projectors and screens, connected with dozens of VGA, HDMI and RCA cables. All of which generally makes for an IT nightmare. There are too many connections and components prone to failure. The technology is often outdated and lacking helpful features. Wireless presentations solve these problems. There are several different wireless presentation systems available. You want to choose one that is versatile and easy to use. The best systems are quick to install, allowing you simply plug them in and connect them to your screen or projector. Apps are available that allow for remote monitoring, conferencing and control. These systems are used to display almost anything you could want in a meeting including:
- Graphics like spreadsheets, tables and forms.
- Videos, slide shows or PowerPoint presentations.
- Video conference calls.
- Live interactive presentations.
Some apps allow employees to sign up for time slots to use the conference room or sign in from remote locations. The systems work over the network where different users can be permitted specific access and controls. This allows IT to support a secure environment.
The Bottom Line
The audio and visual technology available today is capable of helping you create a more productive, comfortable and secure work environment. You can use these tools to engage and excite employees and customers. You can create the ambience and environment right for your specific company. You are able to use this technology to set your business apart from the competition. The systems enable better communication, more creativity, help with management and training, boost mood and performance, and increase customer interest. There are many options and configurations to choose from. You need systems that work well, are easy to use, are cross compatible and do not compromise security. Tie National, LLC is here to help you choose the best equipment for your needs. We provide flexible end-to-end IT consultation and solutions to businesses of all sizes. Please contact us today for more information on audio and visual technology for your business.
Michael Durante spent his teenage years into his early 20s climbing the ladder in a branch of a successful banking firm, starting as a teller and ending as a Sr. Branch Manager within 6 years. In 2003, he left the banking world to join his father and create TIE National, a telecom company 60 years in the making. Together, they grew the company from a two-man operation solely working on telephones to a multi-million dollar international business with employees in over a dozen states, covering everything from phone systems to cloud products and computer systems. You can find Michael on LinkedIn.