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A step-by-step guide to better virtual meetings

June 28, 2017 in Blog, Virtual Meetings

used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Thanks to advancements in conferencing technology, your business can connect with customers, employees, and contractors all over the world. Successful collaboration with dispersed teams requires virtual meetings that run smoothly and enable easy communication—something that is not always easy to achieve.

We’ve all experienced virtual meetings plagued by technical difficulties, sound problems and gaffes. Follow these six steps to make sure your next conference call or video chat goes off without a hitch.

1. Plan ahead

A successful virtual meeting starts with planning. Develop an agenda and share it with attendees before the meeting starts. Let participants know what is expected of them—for instance, do they need to read background material or prepare a presentation ahead of time? Make sure your meeting invitation is clear and concise. If participants are expected to join online, make sure the virtual meeting link is included in the invitation.

2. Choose the right technology

Depending on meeting goals, some virtual meetings can take place over the phone, while others require video conferencing and screen sharing for effective collaboration. Before each meeting, assess your technology needs and make sure you have the appropriate equipment to facilitate the meeting. To avoid unpleasant surprises, test your systems before start time to mitigate any technical difficulties during the meeting. Choose collaboration software and hardware that works with your platforms and meets the needs of your remote participants.

3. Be prepared to share

Virtual conferences are about more than just talking—they’re about sharing. If you share a piece of visual content with your meeting attendees, they’ll retain 65% of that information three days later (versus remembering only 10% of that information without visuals).Solutions like the HP Collaboration PC, display, and accessories2 allow multiple users to simultaneously share visual meeting content, instantly switch between content without switching users, annotate viewed content, and distribute files to attendees.

4. Lose the cords

Leading a meeting or giving a presentation can be stressful enough without throwing complex technology into the mix. (If you’ve ever forgotten an essential cable for an important presentation, you know this firsthand.) Instead of fumbling with a tangle of cords or figuring out which dongle goes where, simplify by using PCs that wirelessly connect to your display or projector. Plus, going wireless eliminates cord clutter so you have more room to work.

5. Think about your audio

Background noise often makes virtual conferences hard to hear, especially when you have several attendees. First rule: ask all participants to mute their audio when not speaking to eliminate feedback or background noise. Second, speak clearly and stick close to your microphone so that participants can hear you.

If you’re looking to update your audio equipment, the HP Elite Slice for Meeting Rooms Audio Module converts the desktop into a speakerphone.3 It delivers 360-degree immersive sound with bi-directional HP Noise Cancellation, a dual-microphone array with far-field 5-meter range, three speakers, and HP Audio Boost. HP EliteBooks offer premium audio by Bang & Olufsen and remarkable performance in every mode.

6. Follow meeting etiquette

Attendees should join the virtual meeting from a space where they won’t be distracted or interrupted, especially if they’re working from home where children, pets, or outdoor noise can be a factor. Avoid speaking while others are talking (it causes confusion) or typing (it’s noisy). Even though it’s tempting to multi-task, turn off email and mute text notifications to stay as focused as possible.

How We Can Help

Teceri offers solutions in video conferencing and IP telephony that will help take your virtual meetings to the next level. Contact us today to review the options that are best for your business!

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[1] HubSpot, 42 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2017
[2] Sold separately or as optional features. Mounting options sold separately.
[3] HP Slice for Meetings includes HP Slice with Intel® Unite™ software, HP Collaboration Cover and HP Audio Module. Other modules are sold separately. Covers are optional and require factory configuration and cannot be combined with other Slice covers.

Tools for Better Communication and Collaboration

June 8, 2017 in Blog, Telephone Solutions

used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs

Today’s workforce is spread across more locations than ever before: 37 percent of workers telecommuted to some degree in 2015. Companies occupy multiple locations, and business
partnerships span the globe. In addition to physical separation, teams in the same company are separated by projects and departments. These barriers unfortunately lead to communication silos, furthering separation and limiting teamwork and collaboration.

Silos can have a significant (and detrimental) effect on your business. They create barriers between teams, often disrupting communications across your entire organization. But that’s not all. Let’s look at the wider impact silos can have across your company:

  1. Limits communication and impedes culture—Siloed teams eventually inhibit your company’s culture. Employees crave communication, collaboration and a thriving work environment. They want to feel comfortable being themselves and feel like they’re part of a team. In fact, 47 percent of workers find it motivating when colleagues discuss workplace success.
  2. Creates repeat work—Often, you frustratingly discover that someone else at your company (most likely on another team or in a different department) is doing the same work or looking for the same information. When teams are in the dark on other teams’ projects, it can severely impact your business’s productivity
  3. Blocks information from those who need it—The average interaction worker spends nearly 20 percent of their workweek looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.

Here’s how you can harness communication tools to break down these silos and enable employees to share ideas like never before.

Streamline file management and storage

Sharing files should be seamless between teams, tools, devices and departments. A platform or suite of well-integrated tools will allow clear connections between people, content and business apps across the organization. As a part of such a suite, team sites can help employees collaborate on documents, store information and manage projects. This will allow for cross-team, real-time document sharing and editing to support collaboration on several levels, while providing one easy place to find it all.

To improve productivity, team sites should be accessible from virtually anywhere, making information securely available and enabling collaboration across distances and from mobile devices.

Broaden the use of team- or project-based communication tools

Teams that don’t interact on a regular basis are often unaware of what the other is working on. Enterprise social networks built for cross-organization communication can help break down these silos and walls. Employees can create cross-company and cross-department groups on topics of shared interest, successes and learnings to solve problems or crowdsource ideas.

Organizations also often face management and executive silos, created by organizational hierarchy, internal communication practices and company culture. These hierarchical barriers can be broken down by creating groups within team-based communication tools to empower employees to engage in two-way conversations with executives.

Improve interpersonal relationships

Easily accessible communication tools, such as IM, voice calls and video conferencing, give employees multiple ways to reach out to their peers. If they are allowed to choose their method of communication—and can connect with peers from nearly anywhere—employees are more likely to reach out and build stronger interpersonal relationships.

The right collaboration tools can help reduce barriers to communication, provide better access to resources and help teams be more productive.

The Power Combo of Teceri and Networking Technologies
If you’re ready to improve communication within your organization, we have the solutions and services to help you! The benefit of having our two divisions – Networking Technologies and Teceri – is that our team can put together a seamless communication package using IT and network solutions and video conferencing and voice/telephone solutions just to name a few. These customized packages will allow your staff to work from anywhere, anytime.

Schedule a free consultation
or give us a call at (814) 836-0000 to see how these solutions can work for you!

IP Telephony Can Save You Money and Headaches

June 1, 2017 in Blog, Telephone Solutions

Your business’s telephone system is probably something that you don’t think about often. As the saying goes, “If it isn’t broke, why fix it?” Unfortunately, this old sage may end up costing you precious time and money.

Spend a few minutes to answer these few important questions:

  • How reliant is your organization on your telephone system being up?
  • Does your current telephone manufacturer support your telephone system?
  • How easy is it to bring a new phone online or move an existing phone number to a new physical location?
  • Do your organization’s employees work remotely or from multiple locations? If yes, can they be reached by phone where they are working?

The answers to these questions may surprise you. If your telephone system is more than 10 years old, chances are it is no longer supported by the manufacturer. This means that the clock is ticking down to the day that the system goes down and you are scrambling to find a replacement while the organization is unable to make or receive calls. Even with supported phone systems, you may have realized the costs of maintaining the infrastructure and the challenges with mobility and office moves.

IP Telephony solves these issues. This engagement everywhere technology allows individuals to connect anywhere, at any time, from any device. IP telephony uses Internet Protocol (IP) to transmit voice over a data network. This method of transmission opens up opportunities for seamless integration with other productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, Google and Salesforce. This can mean a single inbox for voicemail, email and fax.

This technology also allows employees to take their phone and plug it into any port on the system and have immediate access to their number. This promotes the flexibility to work from branch offices and the ease of permanently changing office spaces.

Additional benefits come from the customer experience. Today’s customers operate in a “right now” commerce where they want to reach the employee when the need arises. This is coupled with a workforce that includes 59% of companies that are using remote agents and more than 54 million employees working remotely. IP telephony allows calls to be answered wherever the employee is. This saves precious time and enhances the customer’s experience. Additionally, studies have shown that this method of unified communication realizes 25 to 40 minutes of additional productivity per day.

Businesses that have moved to IP telephony have realized return on investment. In addition to softer benefits like mobility, improved usability, time savings and enhanced customer experience, more direct returns have been demonstrated in a 30% reduction in carrier communication expenses and a 10-15% savings on trunking costs.

If you would like more information, visit our website or contact us. We can talk through some options with you at no expense.

Three Reasons to Consider Digital Signage

April 28, 2017 in Blog, Digital Signage

Whether you have an older slide-the-letters in sign, a bulletin board full of memos, or no sign at all, your business may be missing opportunities that digital signage can provide. Is a digital sign worth the investment? The simple answer is ‘absolutely’. The longer answer includes hundreds of reasons, but for brevity’s sake, we’ve boiled them down to the top three:

Visibility

Getting your messages to the public, your employees or your existing customers is essential in day-to-day operations. But, chances are, the messages you’re sending aren’t reaching your intended audiences. This is because the methods that we choose are often not a good match for the way people prefer to receive them. Our brains are wired for visual data, especially if that information is in motion. In fact, the recall rate from digital signage, which uses a combination of text, images and motion, is 83%, much higher than other traditional forms of communication. Digital signage allows our audiences to focus in a way that their brains appreciate.

Emergencies

We don’t like thinking about emergencies, but preparing for them is critical. In times of emergency, or even urgency, you want to broadcast your messages to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Digital signage allows you to quickly update messages on all your signs quickly and simultaneously so anyone in and near your sites can quickly understand what is happening and what their next steps should be. These updates can be made from anywhere there is an Internet connection, which is crucial in emergency planning.

Efficiency

As mentioned, digital signage is more effective for getting your message across to your audiences. Because of this, you are able to convey information that is often missed in email, memos or bulletin board signs. The time it takes to update a digital sign is seconds, saving employees who need to communicate precious time. (And, if you’re communicating to multiple sites, the time savings is amplified.) Digital signage allows important information such as meetings, performance, safety stats and tips, and other vital information to be communicated across your organization in real time. As a bonus, digital signage is energy efficient and helps the environment by saving paper!

Are you ready to make the switch? Teceri Technologies can help! Give us a call today!

What You Need to Know About Voice and Video Conferencing

April 14, 2017 in Blog, Telephone Solutions

used with permission from Cisco

Combining your company’s voice and data systems makes it easier to keep in touch and share information. By unifying your business’ phone and computer network, team members can easily find each other, wherever they are, and customers and prospects can be quickly routed to the best resources.

As your business grows, IP based communications technology lets you add new employees, remote offices and teleworkers with minimal effort and expense. At each step, your team has the communications tools it needs to help your business succeed.

Bring It All Together

To understand unified communications, consider all the tools that your business uses now: office phone system, mobile phone, fax, Internet, voicemail and likely others. Then, think about all of the productivity applications you use: calendars, conference and meeting clients, e-mail and messaging. Now, instead of separate, distinct tools, they’re all working together as one solution that makes it easy to:

  • Hold meetings from remote locations using audio, video or Web technology
  • Help team members find each other right away-no more telephone tag
  • Access key technologies through wireless devices
  • Connect customers with the right person at the right time
  • Allow employees to work from anywhere
  • Easily add and integrate new employees saving you time and money
  • Safeguard your business from hackers, viruses, and other security risks

Here’s how each piece of a unified communications system – featuring voice and conferencing – works together to make it happen.

IP telephony

Phone service – including dial tone, transfer, hold, phone conferencing and other standard features – connected via your data network. Employees can transfer calls to anyone in the company, regardless of location, and remote employees have access to all phone services through a secured Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection to the office.

Software

Voice and conferencing software lets your employees easily set up conference calls for meetings, share presentations, see each other through video conferencing, and message each other instantly, among other things. All of this becomes available through one, easy-to-use front end.

Presence solutions

No more telephone tag or wasted time trying to reach someone who is out of the office. “Presence” applications (which provide real-time status of who’s available online) let you check the availability, location and contact information of a coworker in real time.

Unified messaging

Imagine getting all your e-mail, voice messages, and faxes right from your e-mail inbox. Unified messaging allows this, giving you an easy way to stay connected with the tools you use everyday.

Rich-media conferencing

Conferencing solutions let remote workers and teams hold conferences using voice, video, the Web or a combination of all three. Rich-media conferencing enables meetings where everyone can participate easily and collaborate better.

Give us a call to discuss which options work best for you, or learn more about the unified communications services offered by Teceri.

The Highways of Communication: Network Cables and Structured Cabling

February 20, 2017 in Blog

What are Networking Cables?

Networking cables are networking hardware used to connect one network device to another network device or to connect two or more computers to share information over multiple devices.

Different types of network cables, such as coaxial cable, optical fiber cable, and twisted pair cables, are used depending on the network’s physical layer, topology, and size.

What is Structured Cabling?

Structured Cabling is a complete system of cabling and hardware, that provides a comprehensive telecommunications infrastructure. The infrastructure serves a wide range of uses, such as providing telephone service or to transmit data through a computer network.

The US cabling industry accepts the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), in conjunction with TIA/EIA, as the organization responsible for providing standards and practices within the profession. To help ensure a proper cabling system, a series of standards were published to design, install, and maintain cabling installations.

The benefits of these standards include:

  • Consistency of design and installation
  • Conformance to physical and transmission line requirements
  • Uniform documentation

Teceri Technologies structured cabling offerings include:

  • Category 5e, 6, 6a and 6e, Shielded/Unshielded, Twisted-Pair, Voice/Data
  • Data Center specialization/design and cabling
  • Copper and Fiber Connectivity for Campus & Data Center Applications for the fastest networks
  • Fiber Optic Cabling and Fusion Splicing
  • Data cabling for Wireless Networks as well as Access Point Installation and configurations
  • Racks, Cabinets, Cable management Cable Trays and Accessories
  • Bicsi Corporate Member certification

Teceri provides our customers with true flexibility. With an efficient, professional service department, no project is too big or too small. We handle moves, additions, and changes, as well as small drop installs, while equally excelling in large installations, such as high-rise buildings and multi-facility campuses. If your business or organization is interested in additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

The State of the Modern Meeting

December 1, 2016 in Blog, Virtual Meetings

used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs

Love them or hate them, meetings are here to stay. As a communication tool, meetings provide team insights, real-time bonding and constructive conversation. But sometimes, meetings can become unproductive. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor estimates that businesses lose $37 billion in unnecessary meetings every year.

Because 37 percent of employee time is spent in meetings nowadays, it’s worth considering how we meet in order to inform our growing management styles and business strategies.


The modern meeting satisfaction factor

When considering your business strategy, you should recognize both the hard and soft costs of meetings, whether digital or physical. Balancing the benefits of each will result in an integrated approach to new technology and traditional business practices.

As technology has advanced, so has the pace of the modern workplace. In an organization where every minute counts, using services like audio- or video-conferencing reduces your employees’ need for time management. With audio-conferencing, employees and stakeholders alike can simply join the conversation, offer input and resume their workday, without ever leaving their office. With video-conferencing, you no longer need to gather your remote employees; screens enable you to converse personally with multiple employees across time zones. In addition to unifying your teams, these resources may also replace business travel, which eliminates unnecessary expenses.

Of course, face-to-face-meetings still offer a human element, something unavailable through virtual interfaces. When interacting with a new client, meeting in person can build rapport and establish a foundation for an enduring professional relationship. And despite negative press about meetings, 92 percent of meeting attendees value meetings as providing an opportunity to contribute, suggesting that successful meetings may be a contributing factor to employee job-satisfaction. And greater employee satisfaction means reduced turnover.

According to Verizon’s survey, over 90 percent of meeting-goers admitted to daydreaming, missing entire meetings, or parts of meetings, while 70 percent said they have brought other work to meetings. It’s obvious the meeting as we know it needs a change. Imagine the new productivity we could unearth if we
redefined the concept of the meeting as a whole.

Changing definitions of the modern meeting

Situated within new technology, employment trends and economic shifts, meetings today are ever-evolving. A recent study by BlueJeans found that 25 percent of meetings have at least one mobile video participant on the call. This increase in mobile video could be attributed to the rise of part-time or freelance workers. In the past few years, these contract workers comprised an estimated 40.4 percent of the modern workforce.

The key takeaway? That for businesses and their employees to enjoy future success, meetings today must be integrated with both digital and physical technology.

But what would this look like? Where is the ideal meeting place, whether physical or digital? The answer is not always the same for every business, but some innovations have been crafted for increasing productivity across organizations.

  • Digital technologies are popularizing simple, one-touch connections, which will bring projection and audio together. Surveys and telemetry for measuring success and connection time have already demonstrated improvement in connection from an average of three minutes to under one minute.
  • Advancements in physical technology will provide A.V. service based on device type, whether calls are wired or wireless, inside or outside corporate networks. Ideally, these improvements will provide a high-quality meeting experience for remote attendees and in-house employees alike.
  • Some organizations have adopted new methods, such as digital whiteboarding, to ensure that these advancements deliver. Innovative team collaboration solutions like multi-touch
    displays, responsive pen and inking experiences, and built-in
    video conferencing will enhance the state of the modern
    meeting.

As it stands today, 28 percent of managers believe meetings  to be a waste of time. But, when used effectively, meetings provide more than just a framework for honing your business strategy; they create opportunities for connection, innovation and synergy between your team. No matter the role in your organization—whether employee, executive or freelance—all can benefit from a holistic approach to a high-quality meeting experience.

 

Top 6 must-have video conferencing tools

November 1, 2016 in Blog

used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs
Top 6 must-have video conferencing tools

Whether your company has offices scattered throughout the country (or the world), relies on a team of road warriors, has embraced telecommuting, or has clients in cities near and far, video conferencing can make the miles between you virtually disappear.
After all, with today’s newest video conferencing tools, you can connect, share, see, hear and collaborate—no matter where you are. In fact, it’s almost better than being in the same room.

But how can you achieve such a feat of collaboration within your own organization? With technology that boasts all the right features, it’s easy.

Here’s our list of six must-have tools for seamless video conferencing for businesses of every size:

  1. Screen sharing/editing—When you choose a web video conferencing tool that allows you to share your screen with others, you can not only show them the data, document or file you’re discussing on the call, but with built-in editing tools, you can collaborate on the files in real-time. By allowing you, and others, to edit information on the fly, the right tools can help ensure that all of the updates discussed are accounted for. In addition, it gives you the power to review documents in their entirety and get buy-in from all of the stakeholders on the spot.
  2. Multiple monitors—Many of us use multiple monitors to keep files organized and get a clear view of a project—but when video conferencing, all of those monitors may be displayed. However, with a conferencing tool that allows you to select which monitor to present, you can keep your presenting notes open and private on one screen and deliver your presentation to your audience from another.
  3. Built-in notetaking—When it comes to collaborating or brainstorming for a project, in-person
    meetings are the traditional winners. But if you need to host a video conference online that’s just as productive as a face-to-face meeting, choose a tool with features like built-in notetaking. It gives you the online equivalent of a whiteboard that everyone can see. It will help keep your team’s ideas organized and inspire new ideas, conversations and meaningful collaboration.
  4. Planning options—Sometimes meetings are scheduled, sometimes they’re impromptu. In order to allow you to meet formally, you should look for a tool that interfaces well with internal and external email systems, so that you can send invitations and sign on information that, once accepted, will be posted on your team’s calendars. However, you should also look for a tool that gives you the option to meet spontaneously—without requiring you to complete a myriad of steps in order to “jump on a quick call” with a handful of people.
  5. Record meetings for posterity—When you choose a video conferencing tool that allows you to
    record meetings and post them on a team site, participants can refer back to the discussion to refresh their memories, and those who weren’t able to attend can watch and/or listen to the meeting as their schedules allow. This way, everyone can get the same information first-hand.
  6. Put a face with a name—Whether it’s because of distance or schedules, you may rarely see your clients and colleagues, but with web video conferencing, even if you’re separated by several time zones, you can still put a name with a face. By choosing a tool that allows you to tap into your video camera and share your screen, you can more easily convey emotions, build personal relationships and create trust among team members and clients. And with the ability to see who’s speaking, video conferencing allows participants to more easily gauge when someone has completed a thought, which means fewer awkward interruptions.

To help further your collaborative efforts with your team and your clients, try to select a video conferencing solution that allows participants to choose which devices to use. With the ability to “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD), users can connect via their desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone—and it makes it easier for everyone to attend meetings and share ideas virtually anywhere.