Have you ever gone to a craft bazaar, art exhibit or car show and totally underestimated the time you’d spend browsing around? That’s what happened to me last month during The Chariot Group’s 2nd annual Collaboration Showcase. Goodness, there was a lot to see. Guests were invited to RSVP for an hour time slot over a two day period but many folks, like you at the art exhibit, spent quite a bit more time here.
The Chariot Group learned a long time ago that people need to “see” tech in action to better imagine how it can enable their work or improve their communication. The Chariot Group established three conference rooms outfitted with collaborative solutions so their Sales Team could demo certain technology to current and potential clients. For the showcase, The Chariot Group invited certain manufacturer representatives to bring their latest and most applicable solutions. These representatives “set up shop” in The Chariot Group conference room and public spaces. The result is a miniature “tech expo” – guests get to roam around, accompanied or not, watch the equipment being demo’d, ask questions about the tech’s use, pricing, compatibility, etc.
As I wrote earlier, I was a bit overwhelmed…I’ve had the chance to use much of the technology in The Chariot Group conference rooms but I haven’t really be exposed to the depth of what is available, what is possible and what is on the horizon.
For instance, I had never seen a big video wall display up close. The clarity of this PlanarTWS series was amazing; it uses ultra-fine pitch LED technology to display crisp images at a viewing distance as close as 9 feet. I could picture it being used in a show room or lobby or even in conference spaces if the content needed to be crystal clear.
Digital signage is super cool and has tons of applications in a workplace. It can be used to continually and efficiently communicate relevant and up-to-date information to your customers and employees. Comprehensive wayfinding systems often combine signage, maps, symbols, colors, and other communications and, increasingly, they integrate mobile applications, digital displays, RFID, and other wireless technologies.
Interactive projectors help individuals share, communicate and collaborate “in person” or across distance. Many of our clients think that such innovation is cost prohibitive but this Epson Brightlink proves them otherwise; it turns almost any wall into an interactive whiteboard and lets you annotate displayed content from mobile devices. It is a great solution for those businesses that aren’t in the market for fully integrated and complex rooms but still need a way to share documents, thoughts and ideas easily.
Epson also impressed the Showcase guests with its line of new laser projectors. Beyond picture quality, lasers last longer than traditional projector lamps, aren’t as fragile, and offer nearly instant on/off. With these benefits, lasers will certainly be the future of front projection. This Epson large-venue projector provides the audience with true-to-life images…I wish you could have been here to see the colors and crispness!
For those of you who need fully integrated systems, SMART offers a variety of solutions. Whether it’s interactive displays, conferencing software such as Bridgit, or collaborative software such as MeetingPro, SMART helps employees work more efficiently. Heather Cortez, an Account Manager with oodles of SMART experience, had fun demonstrating not only the boards but the conferencing software, Bridgit, that helps amplify their use.
Ideation software is a great solution for teams who often brainstorm, collectively and creatively solve problems, or “invent” and “innovate.” Nureva SPAN software can be used with interactive displays or simple projection areas. It is a great solution for collaborating across distance and it frees up valuable real estate traditionally “locked down” by project committees. I used it to communicate and gather ideas regarding The Chariot Group’s sister company, The Strive Group and the Account Managers used it in similar ways to showcase design, install and service projects.
AV and collaborative technology comes with a lot of “stuff” that needs to be managed and organized. Whether it is your networking and power cables, mounts for your displays or charging stations and furniture, Middle Atlantic can provide a solution to you. Fun fact for ya…if they don’t already have it, they can make it. Yep, they fabricate to meet your needs. Coolness!
Visual and collaborative displays are great because seeing our colleagues’ faces and seeing what they are looking at helps to shorten the perceived distance between us all. However, if we can’t hear them clearly, much of the value is lost. That being said, quality audio is imperative to shortening the distance. The Polycom RealPresence Trio 8800 IP conference phone is easily deployed for huddle rooms and board rooms. It shares video as well as audio easily with a “ready to go” collaboration kit.
As a long-time adult educator in a state as large as Alaska, I have used various audiovisual technologies over the years to train “long distance.” However, I have recently been using a different type of innovative solution, “lecture-capture.” Think of this as an opportunity to capture your thoughts and insights, team them with the content or images you need to show, and make them available either “live” or on-demand. Add the ability to edit, add content and interactivity and you’ve got a pretty nifty training platform that can be used by a variety of “educators” in your organization as well as anyone needing to share timely and consistent information. Add the ability to manage audience participation/enrollment and you’ve got a fantastic compliance/record keeping solution. Mediasite by Sonic Foundry offers these functions and I love it!
Finally, The Chariot Group teamed up with Capture Interactive to showcase its ability to create interactive, multi-dimensional and virtual reality content. I was blown away by what I was seeing here and could easily imagine customer centers, cultural centers, engineering and architectural firms, and healthcare benefiting from this type of digital content.
All in all, it was a fantastic event. If you missed it, don’t despair. Contact The Chariot Group and I am positive someone on the team will be happy to help.