Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Digital Media Improves Healthcare

As a part of this blog series, it has been my continuing goal to help our team understand what digital media is and where the industry is going. I also want to help give an understanding of the application of this powerful technology and have thus far provided several examples. My blog today will look specifically at the application of digital media to the healthcare industry, one of the fastest growing aspects of our economy.

Digital media provides great opportunity to streamline the flow of information wherever healthcare is provided. Digital signage outside the patient room can provide essential information for doctors, nurses and visitors. This quick summary can be very effective in helping to streamline care and reduce errors. Additional information can be included in interactive digital signage in the room where the patient and hospital staff can view information about treatment plans.
To facilitate a smooth flow of traffic throughout a hospital, lobby and hallway signage gives information about visiting hours, interactive way finding and directions, and contact information for emergency personnel. This technology can also be used to create a digital directory that allows a user to locate staff , find a department or contact an organization the hospital. Providing up-to-date information in this way has the advantage of freeing up vital staff resources. Moreover, by being interactive, visitors are able to view the information they need quickly and easily.

Digital Media technology is also a great way to provide learning and the distribution of important information. Video can give patients a new option for learning about pre and post-operative procedures, provide entertainment, and educate about healthy lifestyles. When implemented online, patients can even watch at home to help prepare questions for their doctors. Research has shown that easily accessible information about procedures helps to increase patient satisfaction and confidence. The ability to watch multiple times may help people who are nervous about a procedure to feel more comfortable.

All of these uses help to improve the flow of information, reduce time demands on staff, and help to improve patient and visitor satisfaction. Digital media is thus a very cost effective way to improve the quality of Health Care.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Consulting, project management, and engineering services

The exciting possibilities are endless when it comes to the application of digital media technology to business today. The transition from legacy to cutting edge, however, can seem daunting to a company without significant IT and content management resources. For this reason, and to help businesses implement the technology in the shortest time frame possible, AVI-SPL offers consulting, project management, and Engineering services. Our professional services group can also help your company to bridge the gap between contract people that create the content and those that manage the technology. Combined with our complete, end to end digital media solution, we enable businesses to meet their digital signage, web presence, and / or video objectives.

In the early stages of the process, our design group will help you to define the scope of your project including application requirements, hardware requirements, defining the end user experience, and assessing a budget. This is where we can help you to decide if a cloud subscription or an on-premise application server is more appropriate. To present the media, our team will help you decide what type of media players will be used and how to set up digital signage to build a complete system. We can then take a look at your existing data or content sources to plan out how to best utilize those via AppSpace.

Once the scope of your project has been defined, our technical teams can begin application, audio video, and IT system design. If your project requires special enclosures, their design will begin at this point. Our creative teams will typically now get more involved to create the applications for digital signage and or web, creating the right combination of visual appeal and functionality. And with content being the engine that drives the applications, our professional designers will create persuasive content that resonates with your target audience.

Integration is the next phase where applications are tested followed by training in their use and maintenance. Hardware procurement is an essential step in this phase followed by full system integration (installation, configuration and testing). To prepare the viewing environment, our fabrication shop builds the actual enclosures. At this stage we build your entire system, install your applications, and test all content and scheduling.

The final stage is management where AVI-SPL offers network monitoring, hardware maintenance (when required), technical support, and management of your content if desired. Through this full complement of services, we can help your company to bring your digital signage, media, and pervasive video strategy from concept to reality.

Monday, March 21, 2011

If you have been following my blog, hopefully you are starting to see the benefit of digital media as it pertains to pioneering innovation and transforming business communication in new ways. And as an extension of this, I hope you are seeing how AppSpace can make content management and distribution relatively painless and easy. At this point, I wanted to go into more detail about the hardware that makes this possible.

Appspace runs via either a cloud subscription, or an on-premise server license that utilizes the client’s hardware. When implemented via cloud subscription, no server hardware or software is required and the client pays either an annual or monthly subscription fee. Purchasing an on-premise server license, by contrast, allows the client to install the application server on their network. This allows for increased speed, alignment with existing IT policies, and virtualization, thus allowing for a higher degree of scalability and customization.

To display digital media on-site, a media player or video wall player is used. The PC based media player runs either Windows XP, Vista, or 7, supports full HD at 60 frames per second, and can handle multiple content layers. It also offers interactive capabilities and support for many different media types. The PC based video wall player has the advantage of handling up to 24 megapixel resolution in a single device, flexible display orientation, and edge blending for projectors. We also offer the Cisco to digital media player that supports interactive applications, multiple users, enhance scheduling, and the management of different data sources.

For those businesses interested in help with the installation and configuration, my next blog will provide details about professional services offered by AVI-SPL. I also plan to provide background on the tremendous application Digital Media has to the rapidly growing field of Health Care in a future posting. As always, I welcome any comments or questions you may have, and encourage you to sign up!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A More in-depth Look at AppSpace

About a month ago, I gave an introduction to AppSpace, our digital media platform that operates out of the cloud and allows our clients to build their own Enterprise video strategy. I discussed how AppSpace enables the client to create applications that store, manage, and transmit digital media to desktop computers, mobile devices, television, and / or on-location digital signage. In this way, clients are able to invest in a single, highly scalable platform that enables the sharing of digital media throughout the Enterprise. My goal today is to provide a more in-depth look at the capabilities and application of AppSpace.

The challenge with traditional system infrastructure, as it relates to the running of digital media applications, is the lack of cross-platform integration. Content (information) is produced by each department within the company: administration, IT, HR, etc. Each “owner” then maintains their media and data content independently, using their own server space. Making the challenge even greater, desktops apps, digital signage, mobile apps, and TV are typically handled by separate servers. This creates a very inefficient and problematic system architecture to maintain: the desktop app server has independent access to each data store (Admin, IT, HR, etc.), the digital signage app server must also have access to each, mobile app server must have the same access, etc, etc. Sharing of content is very difficult and the flow of information very inefficient in this scenario.

The solution AppSpace provides is to bring content creation and distribution management for the entire company together into one, centralized location. As a unified digital media communication platform, AppSpace enables the intelligent flow of relevant and timely information among teams while minimizing costs and complexity. Each owner can still produce their own content, but sharing and collaboration becomes a lot simpler. As a further advantage, the platform eliminates the need to maintain application servers for each type of content. Four-Screen Coverage is enabled and pervasive communications is produced for desktop, mobile, signage, and television. Content is distributed in a variety of formats, as needed, and includes Microsoft Direct X, Adobe Flash, and iPhone / iPad.

AppSpace offers a number of attractive features beyond a unified design. Implementation can be either cloud based, or on-premise, whichever meets the business requirements of the client. New features, functions, and upgrades are done automatically each month, in the background, without playback interruption, thus eliminating the need for down-time and scheduled maintenance. Content creators can easily build their own visual message via AppSpace’s extensive library of templates and widgets. Or, they can use our intuitive application design tool to create content from scratch. Content can then be scheduled to playback at different times throughout the day, week, month, etc. when it will be most effective. And, after content has been active for a while, the client can easily monitor all player devices through a central, online dashboard.

Bringing so many features and capabilities together into one unified digital media platform, AppSpace has tremendous application for a variety of industries and the versatility to grow for the future. I believe it truly is one of the best investments a company can make to meet their digital media needs while minimizing costs and complexity at the same time!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More business application of pervasive video

Last week I presented details about several business applications for video, including corporate communications, online meetings / telepresence, and adaptive training. These applications of video can help a company to improve its culture and build stronger collaboration within the organization. This week, I want to take a look at advertising and the way video can change on the fly, to respond in a more impactful way to every segment of the target market.

Video based advertising on a company's web site is being used more and more to capture and engage the visitor with content of their interest, and as a powerful supplement to the textual marketing content. Video is far more dynamic than static text and can communicate a powerful branding message through visuals, text, sound and music. Video can convey humor, tell a story, relate facts, give warning, create a new perception: for the purpose of either educating or persuading. As a result of its impact, people may be more likely to view a video than read long blocks of written text. Video can create a strong impression in the mind of the customer, thus increasing retention rates and helping to create top of mind awareness for a business. And from a cost perspective, the investment required to produce high quality video and then enable it, on the web site via proper bandwidth, are both dropping significantly. As a further benefit, web site enabled video makes it easy to create automated analytics that measure number of plays and effectiveness per demographic. Such information can be invaluable when developing the knowledge of how to reach the businesses target market.

As another application of pervasive video, digital signage can be a very powerful, context friendly method of communicating with the customer. Digital signs and displays within a store, hospital, or school location can help the viewer get the information they want, when they want it. In this way, content finds the customer and the message is delivered in a format that is easy to consume. Making digital signage even more adaptable, the technology can be setup to vary content to suit time of day, location, and inquiries by the person using them. Two key benefits of digital signage are: one, creating an excellent augmentation to online ads and two, helping to create consistent branding by delivering the same content that the customer sees on TV, billboard signs, and the web. This makes digital signage a new, highly effective medium for advertising.

Both of these applications of video can be employed as a very powerful component of a company's branding and marketing plan. And the best part is, the technology that makes this possible is becoming more and more widespread within the consumer market and well within reach of most corporate budgets. In my next blog posting, I will give examples of how this technology can be applied to several industries.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The power of video in transforming business

Today , video is not just about slick TV commercials and YouTube music videos. Pervasive video can enable business to be more efficient, more cost effective, and more successful for their customers. This week I will illustrate some of the ways video can make this happen.

The application of video can enable a more versatile form of corporate communications and better change management. Executives have the option of pre-recording critical messages that are then delivered directly to employees for a more personalized approach than allowed by email. As another example, video can be utilized to handle the note taking chores during meetings. After the meeting, text can be automatically transcribed and then translated to any languages needed.

Video can also help expand the reach of business meetings by way of point to point calls where people interact “face-to-face”, even from thousands of miles away. This type of interaction helps to build trust, streamline collaboration, and reduce the time required to make effective decisions. Meetings can be scaled to any size, require reduced set up time, and are often recorded for later viewing. And the best part is, video allows full functionality on any device, be it a PC, cell phone, tablet, or conference center display. This technology can save businesses thousands of dollars in travel expenses each year and help to bring key players to collaboration.

Furthermore, as a more specialized form of communication, video allows for on-demand training that can be adapted to suit the audience and provide just the right amount of information when it is most needed. This might include live internal training that takes place in physical classrooms, with an attending instructor. Video also allows for external training so that people may access the training at their own convenience via the Internet. Being very busy during the day, people may not be as receptive to the training during normal work hours. As a solution, video allows them to do the study at a later time, when they are more comfortable and can be more focused on learning. One of the most exciting forms of video training / knowledge sharing is the use of virtual reality simulation where real world scenarios are simulated and trained.

As you can see, pervasive video has great application for business today. We offer a variety of scalable video platforms that can help a company achieve the great potential benefit of video, as applied to their business needs!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How Companies are Utilizing Social Media Today

As described in my last blog, Social media has been rapidly growing in popularity as a new form of digital communication that leverages the power and widespread availability of the internet. And as social media gains acceptance at home, companies have been using the technology to pioneer innovation, transforming their communications in new ways that:

- Bridge the gap between a company and its customers
- Improve promotional campaigns
- Demonstrate thought leadership
- Co-opt influencers
- Collect market intelligence
- Educate their customers and create opportunity awareness

And it does not end with interaction with the customer. Companies have also been developing social media as a way to improve communication throughout the enterprise. This has created the opportunity to:
- Promote collaboration among teams beyond traditional boundaries
- Solve business problems faster
- Optimize process
- Improve culture and work environment
- Address challenges more effectively
- Spur business model innovation

Examples of the value that this brings to an organization are numerous: Customer relationship management is enhanced by better listening to the customer, solving problems with the knowledge gained, and then educating employees about best practices. Human Resources can use social media to improve employee training and tap into the pool of “passive” job seekers that is so richly presented by professional social networks (LinkedIn, etc.) Product development and innovation is accelerated by sharing of ideas, opinions, and perspectives and then incorporating that learning into new products and services.

As a result, companies that are taking the leap and building social media into their daily business practices and culture are reaping great benefit. It’s just a matter of time before most companies have a social media team.