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Afgiftekantoor 9099 Gent X / P.508718/Bimestriel

Nr 44 February - March 2015

Do you speak Business ? Of course, SMEs rarely have the same concerns as big international companies. However, they must remain ready to deal with any eventuality.

One sticky issue that big companies are faced with is that of simultaneous translation when holding meetings with their counterparts from foreign countries.

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The log book of a « typical » businessman? The following is a testimony that we are

When the whiteboard can share its content realtime….everything can be viewed everywhere!

The Evolution of Hybrid Meetings

Whiteboards are that indispensable tool in every meeting. You

Meeting planners will always rank increasing face-to-face

it and begin again. To capture the content maybe you furiously

leaders in the industry are working to put a portion of that

write and draw, ideas on it. You erase what you have written on

type notes, or more recently you’ve started taking pictures with your phone.

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publishing, that of Thomas Gregg, vice president

registration numbers as the top priority, but many of the

of Partner & Solution Enablement. It is interesting in more than one respect… Let’s listen to him.

F2F (Face-to-Face) experience into a virtual package. .

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A Very Practical Video Conference Room! Top-notch technology and design! Those were the

specifications Axeos had in mind when creating XPOD. It’s a nice small booth fitted with a sliding door. Measuring roughly three meters in diameter, it can hold

up to three people. It is designed specifically to meet high quality standards.

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What Are the Future Trends for Digital Signage? Page 16

Measuring one’s feet to save oneself a lot of trouble!

Finding one’s way …. Three reliable methods!

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The six crucial elements of a meeting room Do you want to refurbish your corporate meeting room? Perhaps you are even prepared to create


one from scratch.

o many elements are required in a modern meeting room that it is becoming increasingly difficult to know…..where to start! However, good equipment can have a large impact on the effectiveness of your meetings.

No « spaghetti » effect! The good projection screen….is a key element… Large screens have assumed a leading position in recent years, taking the place of the traditional projector. Nevertheless, there are still some places, generally very large, that require images of larger format and where projectors still rule the roost. The fact remains that choosing the right screen requires preliminary reflection. Size, technology, contrast, luminosity and capabilities are to be taken into account. You need to do some research and opt for the equipment that you think will best meet your expectations. Connectivity has become wholly indispensa-

Multitouch ble. In absolute terms, all electronic devices must be capable of working together in a transparent manner. It must be ensured that every device is able to send its information to the screen, for example. A direct cable connection will be needed, but provisions should also be made for WiFi, Bluetooth, and all the wireless technologies that enable tablets and smartphones to have their say (and display an image)! Avoid hindrances caused by cables! Despite the « wireless  » era we are now living through, there are still a lot of them about. You must make sure they remain invisible, not only for aesthetic reasons but also to prevent them from becoming entangled (the famous «  spaghetti effect  ») and interfering physically with the work and the connections!

Create….discomfort! Be particular about the furniture used. Contrary to preconceived notions, it is not always a good idea to opt for er-


iboardtouch alternative meeting gonomic and comfortable chairs! If you want meetings to be shorter, the chairs must be designed in such a way that it is difficult, even impossible, to lean back in them. With the same goal in mind, the meeting room table should not offer extensive leg room. The slight discomfort this causes will ensure that the participants stay focused, leaning forward and not inclined to relaxation. On the other hand, if you favor longer meetings, comfort will be all-important and the chairs will be well-padded and have armrests. As for the ideal shape of the table, experts agree that it is trapezoidal. This unusual shape ensures that no-one

can impede visibility towards the screen or the speaker. Lighting…..it must be plentiful enough to allow the taking of notes and reading. It must not create interfering shadows. The light must be diffused so that it is distributed as evenly as possible. Spotlights should never be the principle source of light in a meeting room. They will be used, at most, for aesthetic purposes, while making sure that none of them is directed at the screen. Finally, sound…. Loudspeakers arranged in the ceiling are the most common solution. But if the room is used for videoconferences as well, they should instead be positioned next to the screen to avoid confusion (images and sounds coming from different places). Curtains, plants and tapestries are welcome, as they reduce reverberation and the echo effect. With this aim in mind, we also advise you to avoid glass tables, which reflect sound waves and, in this way, cause distortion. Prysm E-mail: sales@prysm.com Website: www.prysm.com Stand: 11 - E64 at ISE

A perfect meeting room…. It is the first and foremost ingredient of communication in the enterprise. It is important


that it be equipped with state-of-the-art technologies.

s usual, the first stage consists in evaluating the needs of the end users. What do they need to achieve their objectives and support their activities? It is a key stage requiring the gathering of comprehensive information from a wide range of people who will use the system.

« Outside the realm of technology » Here we are « outside the realm of technology», for at this stage it is not a question of determining the make or quantity of the microphones that will be necessary. You simply try to find out what the user will do in the meeting room. Once this information has been gathered and processed, the different technologies that will be necessary have to be presented diagrammatically and divided into segments. Integration will be the watchword. Both the meeting room table itself and the layout of the room will have to allow « natural » integration, without problems, of the different technologies. Cabling, monitors and microphones will have to be an integral part of the whole. It should be noted that the physical characteristics of the room will influence the

4K Display Prysm Prysm E-mail: sales@prysm.com Website: www.prysm.com solutions that will be chosen. Is it long and narrow? What are its original acoustics like? Is there light entering from outside (regular windows or bay window)? What about the background noise? Does the room tend to be warm? All this, of course, must be taken into account and potential problems mitigated.

The user interface is king! Then comes the choice of presentation equipment. Monitors or projector? Monitors, as we know, are less sensitive to ambient light. If the ceiling is high enough, the projector solution is often the best choice for very large rooms. It is easy to use shutters or drapes to block out, partially or totally, the light from outside. Microphones. You will have to choose between wired (the wires must be integrated

in the table) and wireless microphones. The latter are more sensitive to interference but allow the user to move about the room freely. The acoustical design will be elaborated according to the characteristics of the room, the aim being to avoid excessive reverberation and reduce background noise through the use of sound insulation. Care should be taken to ensure that ventilation is optimal. Air conditioning is not indispensable, but often advisable. The lighting must be adjustable and variable according to needs. Also keep BYOD in mind: with ever greater frequency, participants come with their own devices (notebook, tablet, and smartphone). The integration of these devices must be supported and their users must be able to recharge them easily and share their content without problems. Connector technology will play a key role, as well as the user interface. It is the user interface that is king! And, generally, it is the user interface that is the source of all the problems, as it tends to be able to do everything, but via complicated commands and menus. You must choose a user interface that is as user-friendly as possible and never skimp on its design.

Keizershoevestraat, 26 2610 Wilrijk - Belgium Tel: +32 478 948951 Fax: +32 3 2397516 Email: jp.thys@cbsmedia.biz Website: www.cbsmedia.biz Publication Manager Jean-Pierre Thys Editor Jean-Claude Lesuisse Translation Babel Ophoff Vertalingen Printing Lowyck Publisher Jean-Pierre Thys Keizershoevestraat, 26 2610 Wilrijk - Belgium Communications Business Solutions is published 5 times a year. Online registration forms on our website will be considered for a regular free copy. Subscription Print: 55 € (Belgium) – 60 € (Europe), 85 € (other continents). All reproduction rights reserved for all countries. Reproductionof the texts (even partial) is prohibited without permission of the publisher. Member ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) Communications Business Solutions is available in print in french and dutch and online in english, french and dutch.

When the whiteboard can share its content real-time….everything can be viewed everywhere!


Whiteboards are that indispensable tool in every meeting. You write and draw, ideas on it.

ou erase what you have written on it and begin again. To capture the content maybe you furiously type notes, or more recently you’ve started taking pictures with your phone. It is used in this way by facilitators of group discussions, leaders of creativity groups all day, office workers in meetings all week and all year long. Whiteboards are really indispensable. However, in the case of new SMART kapp, they will be even more indispensable.

erasing, adding or removing a graphic or a drawing) is displayed instantly on the screen of the mobile device. The participants can therefore be kept up to date (and in suspense) in two ways: by looking at the screen in the room and by viewing their own screens.

is connected via this system and who, while following the meeting, can also intervene where necessary and submit comments vocally that can therefore be taken into account immediately by the facilitator, who changes the contents of the board in response- the changes then appearing on all the screens.

Another excellent piece of news: this capability of reproducing the display is also available on mobile devices all over the world. From the mobile device, the

And that’s not all. SMART kapp also allows you to record the complete session by taking digital screenshots. No more fuzzy photographs. Those screenshots can be saved in high resolution PDF or JPEG files and downloaded to online accounts (Google Drive, Evernote etc.) or they even be downloaded on a USB stick to be sent anywhere instantly. This means that participants no longer have to spend time taking notes – they remain fully responsive and attentive.

SMART kapp is a real revolution to the traditional whiteboard - SMART kapp allows you to operate in the traditional way. The user experience is so simple it even encourages you to continue using the board just like a regular whiteboard – pick up a normal pen and start writing. But then it offers a lot more. For starters, with SMART kapp you can do straightforward remote sharing. It is well known that participants in discussions increasingly bring their mobile devices with them. These may be personal smartphones, tablets or notebooks. SMART kapp offers an app that can be downloaded for free. Located at the bottom of the whiteboard is a QR code that you only need to scan to start the download or an NFC chip you can swipe if you have an Android device). Once started, the application faithfully reproduces the whiteboard on the screen of the mobile device. All this happens in real time. This means that the smallest action by the facilitator (writing,

SMART Technologies E-mail: kappinfo@smarttech.com Website: www.smartkapp.com session leader can easily share the SMART kapp session to anyone via URL. Anyone with a browser on any device can then also view the board’s content in real-time. This means that sharing of the provided information is therefore done remotely as well, which allows absent collaborators to participate in the meeting and be fully responsive and attentive. It is then easy to imagine a remote collaborator who

SMART kapp is a new way of approaching collaborative work, with no restrictions being attached to remoteness. There is no learning curve. If you know how to use a traditional whiteboard, you will also know how to use SMART kapp. No training is necessary. All you have to do is plug it in. Download our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSN0a-Hh1zk SMART Technologies Website: www.smartkapp.com



Hotel with Conference Room: A Perfect match! More and more hotels in the world are integrating conference rooms and business equipment. They have good


reasons for doing so…

ndeed, businessmen and businesswomen who travel frequently say this type of offer makes their life easier as it is clearly a « one-stop shop ».

Completely Hassle Free The conference rooms of a hotel can be easily booked since one is already present in the establishment. One can easily find out what will be provided and what facilities will be available as part of

working order. The hotels of major world-renowned chains, indeed, consider it their duty to offer topnotch services and superb equipment. Obviously, that also goes for their conference rooms. It is also a question of reliability: Renowned hotels have operational services at any time during the day and night. This means businessmen and businesswomen are sure they will be able to use their conference room when they want to. Also, it is increasingly possible to use high-quality videoconferencing services in hotels. Connectivity there is very good and one can communicate with companies around the world as well as with, obviously, the other hotels that are part of the same chain.

Catering and Networking the various packages offered by tel. Maintenance is guaranteed equipped conference rooms are ed as a turnkey solution and in

the hoas the providperfect

The problem of travel is completely solved. The conference rooms are just a stone’s throw from the bedrooms, which means the time spent travelling between them is reduced to a strict min-

imum, thereby using the corridors of the establishment without having to worry about the weather and the outside temperature. Similarly, the question of the coffee breaks and meals can be solved in a very effective way. The establishment can provide buffet services, if necessary also in the conference room. Additionally, the hotel infrastructure houses several restaurants which, obviously, can be frequented or booked – again without the need to travel and waste time in traffic jams. Moreover, often the solution is mixed: people order sandwich meals and light beverages at noon, only to find themselves going to the restaurant in the evening. The « buffet  » formula is particularly appreciated as it allows participants to find the type of food they are looking for. These moments, too, are important because networking, which has been known to be essential for informal exchange of information, has a perfect place there. What’s more, since the bedrooms are never very far away, talks may continue beyond that.

Flat screen or projector? A dilemma. Once one has decided to buy an AV system destined for one’s conference room, one is often faced with a dilemma.


hat should one choose? A projector or a large screen? Is one solution better than the other?

A flat screen is often the more logical choice In fact, not necessarily - it depends on how you want to use the device. The choice will be determined by space constraints, the size of the room, the ambient light present there and, obviously, by how much you want to spend on it. Rodney Laney, vice president of Display Technology, makes this same point: « In most present-day conference rooms, a screen is often the more logical choice. However, there are cases where the projector solution is the more suitable one ». « A flat screen is necessarily limited in size, which will be a maximum of 95 or 100 inches. This means that if a larger image is needed, a projector will be the right choice ». Rodney also points out that there is a sizeable price difference when one turns to the larger flat screens. A projector is less expensive when large images need to be displayed. He also points out that projectors are not as sensitive to ambient light as they were at the outset, and can therefore be used satisfac-

torily in quite luminous environments, while nevertheless excluding direct sunlight.

For large audiences, a projector is the right choice! With regard to the choice of a « monitor-projector », Rodney’s advice is even clearer: « The key factor is the size of the audience. If it is larger than 50 persons you will need to resort to a projection system, with the size of the screen being limited by the height of the ceiling. If the ceiling is too low, you can opt for the alternative that consists in setting up multiple screens located strategically around the room. If a large quantity of data is projected, the projectors have the advantage of being able to vary its size (zoom function) so that the most distant participants can see it properly. Videos are more suited to flat screens, which nowadays are almost all high-definition ». Finally, Rodney thinks that it is preferable to choose professional equipment rather than resort to consumer devices. Professional equipment is designed

to run permanently and offers a higher level of security in tougher working conditions. A final word concerning the BYOD trend (employees bring their own devices – smartphones, tablets and computers). There is no need to be concerned about connectivity: smartphones and tablets will be able to synchronize to the network and display the images and videos they contain.


How to Promote a Hybrid Event? Promoting a hybrid event is quite similar to promoting a face-


to-face meeting.

he cannibalisation of the actual presence by the hybrid version is a myth – that has been demonstrated many times; so get this idea out of your head for once and for all!

Change Tactics as the Event Approaches Determine the best time for your event. Registration will need to occur taking this element into account. People are interested in an event because of its content. Consequently, you must be able to provide key information: the programme and content of the speeches as well as the names of the speakers. Once the date has been set, advertising will occur through various media. By website. If you have a website for the event, use it also to promote its hybrid version. Set up a « registration » page offering two options: « faceto-face » and « hybrid ». By e-mail. Its aim will be to promote the « faceto-face  » meeting and the hybrid version at the same time. But be sure to devote the majority of the message to describing the face-to-face meeting. Dedicate just one short paragraph to the hybrid version. However, as the date of the event draws nearer and once your participants have registered, change tactics and start thoroughly promoting the

hybrid version. Remember to customise your messages to the target public you have previously segmented. Keep the hybrid registration open as long as possible, even until the very day of the event, with a message to the effect: « Join us TODAY ». Typically, the closer one gets to the start of a hybrid event, the more people there are who are interested.

Keeping Alight the Sacred Fire In order to « keep alight the sacred fire » among those who previously already registered for the hybrid version, it is recommended to regularly send them reminders of how to connect, offering various tips and tricks. Include a contact address

in case they experience any difficulty. Advertising will also occur through social media. Here, it will be a question of choosing the most effective medium (the one most used by your target public). The words « tell your friends » will be your ally and will allow for the modern version of « word-of-mouth » to be activated. Print. Paper is certainly not dead; it too is your ally. It lends « substance », « credibility » to your offer. So it would be a shame to do without. Send your documentation (pay close attention to the design and keep it simple) to a public chosen. In it, also mention the hybrid version, but do not discuss it too much. Finally, contact groups, organisations and associations that might be interested in your event and offer them « bonuses »; these can take the form of a reduction, partnership or sponsorship.

Videoconferencing in a few simple questions If you were planning to make use of videoconferencing, now is probably the right time to do it! The


technology is increasingly affordable and offers many benefits in innumerable sectors.

t the same time, it is still a new concept for a large number of interested parties. A few questions and as many answers……..

An incredible return on investment Does my company need videoconferencing? The advantages of videoconferencing ensure better communication with remote employees, any existing affiliates, and business partners. At the same time, it reduces travel costs (only those trips remain that must really be undertaken physically) and enables greater responsiveness in decision-making. And….how much does it cost? Its price varies considerably depending on the needs of the customer. But one of the main characteristics of videoconferencing is that it offers a very appreciable ROI (return on investment). A videoconferencing system can « pay for


itself » within a few years, even months. And the difference compared to Skype? It’s not exactly the same thing. Although today’s videoconferencing systems can integrate Skype, videoconferencing offers much more. It enables two persons or more to connect with one another in private rooms (point to point) or at several sites (multipoint). If it is true that basic videoconferencing only requires a camera and a microphone, the most sophisticated solutions enable entire groups to communicate in a transparent way with office computers and


shared data. Meetings and seminars can also be recorded.

Continuous presence and multiple windows Local or in the « cloud »? It depends on how you will use the system. A growing number of companies are turning to the cloud since it allows employees to use the system from where they are located. The cloud also allows savings to be made in equipment and maintenance, and it works via an all-inclusive monthly fee. But if the personnel are located mainly in offices or other fixed places of business, a local videoconferencing system can always handle the task. What is « continuous presence »? This, in fact, is a common phrase referring to a feature available during video conferences that allows all participants to be visible on the screen at the same time. If there are six persons, for example, the screen will be split up into six windows, each one offering a live video display of one of the participants. Continuous presence is very popular nowadays, for small groups. Obviously, continuous presence is not achievable with large groups. However, each window can contain the image of a remote group and the camera can zoom in on the image and show one of the persons in the group when he or she addresses the meeting.

When the cloud favors video communication Cell phones abound and smartphones are seeing their market share increase


continuously. hey are being used with every greater frequency by consumers to take photos and shoot videos.

Seeing videoconferencing differently Today we no longer need to use our imagination in order to guess what our remote dialog partners are doing, since we can see them « live  » on our screens. And this is true whether we are sitting on our couch, travelling, or on the way to work. But when we want to communicate in the same way with our work colleagues, things are often different. Two thirds of the information we communicate during a discussion is non-verbal. That is why audio telephone conferences are so stressful: it is impossible to know what the other participants are thinking. Are they smiling or are they skeptical, for example…. As a result, we are unable to adjust our words and our behavior as we would spontaneously do if we were participating in a real meeting at one spot. This is especially bothersome in the business world, where it is a question not only of trying to communicate but also of working together with others on a daily basis. In fact, humans need to be able to see one another. That is the reason why, as with what happens in our private sphere, businessmen do not see videoconferencing the same way as in the past.

Beware of the downside Especially since things have changed tremendously in this field. Already, we are accustomed to several applications (such as Skype) and recognize the importance of vision, which considerably enriches speech. Naturally, those who use Skype, Google Talk, Facetime or other applications for their personal communications tend to want to use them at work. This phenomenon is similar to that of « BYOD » (bring your own device) since it involves using « one’s own applications » at the office. These solutions are good, in spite of their different qualities, and they can be used to make short calls. Because they can be run on a computer (or tablet), they are convenient. But the downside is that they are not covered by the IT department and pose a security risk. In fact, it is not advisable to launch a video collaboration program that is based solely on Skype. This would be like building your complete email system on Hotmail.

A much richer experience Today’s video communications are designed to meet the new demands of users. They require less bandwidth and are supported by a hardware infrastructure that is less expensive than in the past. In addition, telepresence and, more generally, high definition (HD) offer a much richer experience. The interoperability between different systems is also significantly better. It is possible to develop a strategy that employs the most advanced technology for high-level meetings but also enables its everyday use on workstations, tablets and smartphones. It would also enable support of Skype (or others) when desired. If a company uses Microsoft Lync (today Skype for Business), there is a way for remote workers to participate in a meeting from their device (desktop, notebook, tablet or smartphone), through creation of a suitable place in the cloud. And since Ovum (an analyst firm) notes that 45% of European companies intend to rapidly

accelerate deployment of Lync (Skype for Business), this seems set to become the business method par excellence.

Using the cloud! The cloud and mobile services have changed the way technology is used. Using the cloud means that companies no longer have to make large investments in order to acquire and implement the technology they need. And this also applies to video collaboration technology, which is now accessible as a complete service. With a solution based on the cloud, the cost is attractive (affordable monthly fee) and there are no additional charges (« per call »). Budget planning is therefore more efficient and the user-friendliness of the system encourages employees to use it, so much so that productivity is improved by better communication. These monthly fees include maintenance, which means the end of continual worries. Some providers even enable use of any legacy equipment that may be at the company’s disposal by integrating into it the latest technology. The world of work is changing. It is frequently the case that employees travel the world to conduct business while needing to continue working efficiently with their base. The more video communication is used, the higher the profitability.

A Very Practical Video Conference Room! Top-notch technology and design! Those were the specifications Axeos had in mind when creating XPOD. It’s a nice small booth fitted with a sliding door. Measuring roughly three meters in diameter, it can hold up to three people. It is designed specifically to meet high quality standards. It is well ventilated; its ceiling and interior walls (furnished with blue fabric) are soundproofed, as is the wooden floor (the color of the carpet can be chosen). Additionally, the booth features a presence detector which controls the lighting (two positions as standard) as well as Auto Standby. Xpod can be easily installed anywhere in the world and the concept allows for strictly identical rooms to be set up. Xpod offers several ‘à la carte’ options. You can go with a complete, turnkey solution; choose the chairs (finish, type of base, fabric, wheels or headrest); opt for a table with integrated connection box, a universal support for a 65-inch screen, a casing which incorporates the video conference technology, or you can demand specific lighting. Have a look to our videos showing how easy you can assemble our furniture on: https://www.youtube.com/user/AxeosFrance Axeos E-mail: rheissat@axeos.net Website: www.axeos.net


The Evolution of Hybrid Meetings Meeting planners will always rank increasing face-to-face registration numbers as the top priority, but many of the leaders in the industry are working to put a portion of that F2F (Face-to-Face) experience


into a virtual package. .

ue to conflicting schedules and shrinking budgets, their members and prospective attendees are searching for remote learning opportunities.

ty to engage the globe with a virtual offering, too. With a theme of “As One” at its 2014 Worldwide Convention, McDonald’s debuted a new hybrid meeting to help bring the theme to life and welcome its worldwide network of owner-operators to the experience.

As the industry looks ahead to the next generation of attendees, it’s clear that hybrid programming will play an essential role in building strong communities with connections that transcend the traditional borders of a three- of four-day conference. What brought us to this point? And where are we heading next? Let’s take a look at the past, present and future of hybrid meetings.

Then: Navigating the Past Pitfalls of the Hybrid Landscape Before looking ahead to the next wave of hybrid innovation, it’s important to remember the faint initial pulse that started beating when the pioneers of hybrid technology began experimenting with a virtual offering. As the worldwide economic recession rewrote the rules of budget decisions, organizations feared the unknown. What if the face-to-face audience decides that the online component satisfies the same set of motivations they had for traveling to the in-person event? How could an organization with already limited resources commit staff members to designing a virtual program? Would remote attendees actually want to sit behind their screens for the event? And of course, the biggest question of all: where was the money going to come from to pay for the hybrid event?

Carolyn Clark, VEI Leadership out worrying F2F attendees will stay home to save money. Organizations are expanding their reaches further than ever before. As North American and European associations and corporations alike outline international growth strategies, hybrid meetings are playing a powerful role

Cannibalization fears have faded into the rearview. Consider PCMA’s (Professional Convention Management Association) Convening Leaders. When the organization launched its first hybrid meeting, just a few hundred attendees logged on. In 2014, the meeting’s hybrid portion reached a record number of nearly 1,000 attendees. At the same time, the face-to-face component in Boston also reached a record-breaking attendance number of more than 4,000. Other meetings are seeing similar results, proving that virtual and face-to-face sectors can coexist with-


Next: Previewing the Next Steps in Hybrid Progress While hybrid meetings have come a long way, these offerings are still in relative infancy, and the road ahead is crowded with massive potential. To capitalize on those possibilities, meeting planners are facing a new set of questions. Are you keeping up with your competition? With more organizations adopting hybrid programs, meeting planners must apply internal pressure within their own teams to make sure they are adequately investing in an engaging virtual experience to satisfy attendee needs.

Now: Unlocking the Opportunities of Online Engagement Over the past five years, meeting planners and technology suppliers have worked together to address those challenging questions and find solutions to pave the way toward successful hybrid initiatives.

Revenue streams are starting to flow. The monetization question is finding many potential answers. From sponsorship dollars that cover some of the tech expenses to virtual product showcases, hybrid organizers are finding partners who are willing to pay to align their brands with hybrid experiences. Other organizations have proven that their hybrid meetings are worth hard-earned attendee dollars. At RSNA, after not charging for three consecutive years, virtual attendees now pay a fee that ranges from $100 - $300 (depending on member status) for access to online content. For non-medical societies with no accreditation restrictions, the monetization opportunities live on well beyond the live streaming of the event with OnDemand sessions available to purchase for attendees who need continuing education credits.

in advancing those plans. At the Radiological Society of North America’s most recent hybrid meeting, nearly 50 percent of the virtual audience was from outside North America. Other organizations are recognizing the abili-

Are you offering enough content? As the costs of technology decrease, hybrid organizers will need to explore giving virtual attendees even more access to educational courses. Do you have the right training? Technology is constantly changing, and hybrid meetings require the most up-to-date knowledge of which tools and tactics will deliver the best experience. Are you working with the right venue? From power needs to connectivity speeds to the level of staff expertise, meeting planners must research prospective host venues to ensure the building can meet the demands of a hybrid meeting. As the hybrid landscape continues to grow more sophisticated, meeting planners can count on virtualedgeinstitute.com to stay ahead of the curve.

People are gathering and meeting in a way that differs from the past! Today, the way people gather and meet has changed. The typical event goes beyond the simple goal of bringing


people together at a given place and moment in time.

or event professionals, it has become crucial to invest both in the value of the physical meeting AND in its impact over and above the event. Amsterdam RAI has tracked the major trends, which it already follows, and has publicized these with the aim of inspiring organizers, exhibitors and all professionals active in the event business. Here are a few excerpts…..

Value is all-important Value must be created for the visitors. Physical meetings are still essential for promoting trust between people and creating and strengthening relationships. They enable a fruitful exchange of inspirations, innovations and knowledge that boosts our business. At the same time, virtual applications enrich this exchange with an « on-line  » «  off-line  » ballet that offers an unparalleled value - before, during and after the event. In fact, technology has changed the way we remain in contact with one another. Events are fully interactive and create value by linking physical meetings to « on-line » possibilities. The success factors of an event include the following ingredients: an attractive destination, a personalized approach, an enjoyable experience - with business being blended with a touch of leisure, and the provision of world-class services. The ROI (return on investment) must be measurable and high-quality structures and amenities are required. Meetings, which are increasingly important, must be facilitated and optimized. The tools made available by the organizers must help the participants to find relevant contacts. Through the use of hybrid elements it must be possible to

Amsterdam RAI E-mail: welcome@rai.nl Website: www.rai.nl ensure the continuity of conversations and dialogs between all visitors, on the site and « on-line  ». The Internet and « apps » provide support in this respect.

Technology delicately weaves the event Each event must use technology to enhance the experience of the participants. Augmented reality, holograms, and digital signage will all come into play, as well as small robots that the visitors (real and on-line) can control remotely. Physical visitors must be catered to on both the professional and personal levels. It is also becoming indispensable to create programs dedicated to virtual visitors, with a view to

Amsterdam RAI E-mail: welcome@rai.nl Website: www.rai.nl

hybrid events, which are expanding at an increasing rate. Personalization too will be a watchword and will enable « tailor-made » programs to be offered. In effect, on the site of the event, person-tracking technology enables per-

Amsterdam RAI E-mail: welcome@rai.nl Website: www.rai.nl sonal dissemination of relevant information that is adapted to the place where the participant is actually located. This tracking, coupled with the profile of the visitor (who will have the opportunity to list his needs beforehand), will enable him to be supplied with news tailored to his interests. It will be the same for the exhibitors. This is an intelligent segmentation, to which other variables (« young people  », «  elderly people  », «  man  », «  woman », «  nationality  » etc.) will be added via « natural » filters. These, therefore, are a few important points among many others. We would add that the well-being of the participants must also be taken into consideration. Specific areas must be provided for resting, the breastfeeding of babies, reading and relaxation. Modern techniques, including music, aromatherapy, colors and images, must also be used to stimulate all five senses and, in this way, promote well-being.



Why hotel supplied AV is a huge No-No With tighter budgets being the new norm, conference organisers today are often tasked with seeking out lower cost alternatives or even to avoid certain budget items from the conference planning process altogether. When this happens; it can be so tempting to think of using in-house, hotel-supplied AV equipment. After all, it’s just a projector or two, and a bunch of clip on microphones, right? Surely, nothing could go wrong with those…?


on’t ever make the mistake of believing that in-house audio-video is the route to follow in preference to hiring the services of professional AV company. It will only take you along a sure fire route to conference failure. Here’s why… Hotels aren’t really in the conferencing business. They really are in the venue, accommodation and food business; but that’s not the same thing as being a true conferencing

Michael Jackson Email: michael@theotermichaeljackson.com Website: www.theothermichaeljackson.com http://about.me/theothermichaeljackson supplier. Most hotels, or even meeting facility venues, in truth only offer AV services as an ‘add-on’; like they did (and continue to do in desperation) with the landline telephone next to the bedside table that no-one really wants. Bedside landlines were nothing other than a blatant attempt to generate additional revenue, in the pre-mobile days, from travellers who had no other way of phoning home to tell loved ones they were safe. Do you remember being outraged at what they charged? I do; and that memory will live with me a very long time.... (I’m also reminded that hotels get it wrong so often… even when they aren’t trying to extract additional revenues and want to be seen as offering valuable additional ‘services’. Like the ‘time-distracting’ free shoe-shine machine you often see parked next to the hotel elevators. You know the ones; you’ve even stood there and used them whilst you’ve waited for an elevator to descend from the

15th floor. They just don’t work well; and you know it. Reminding yourself, as you did whilst last using one for the umpteenth time, that you even knew this from the previous time you’d stood and waited for the damned elevator.) There’s even a new price gouging scam in hotels that relates to the provision of Wi-Fi services for both guests and conferencing delegates alike, which is currently causing as much anguish, if not more, than the great bedside phone rip-off ever did – but that’s the subject of another article on another day! Let’s get back to the in-house audio-video issue. I find, on average, that hoteliers install woefully inadequate technology levels by purchasing low cost projectors with insufficient lumens for large group projection as well as the cheapest forms of microphones that they can find. Invariably all this equipment tends to be outdated and has been constantly abused by people who have had no idea how to use it, store it or protect it for years on end.

As to having someone dedicated on-hand who is meant to assist and help set-up the in-house technology for your conference or meeting; it’s invariably going to be a lower level employee who is actually on the pay-roll under a totally different job description and generally wouldn’t know a lumen from a lamp post. The real meat of any conference or meeting day is in the audience enjoying the (hopefully) professional polished delivery of the presenters’ content. The message really needs to be seen; and heard. Professional speakers, like myself, come to learn very quickly that the presence of a (usually) black T-shirted AV technician in the back corner of the room responsible for installing, driving and supervising the sound and lighting for the day is absolutely essential in terms of supporting their own performance. If we rate them so highly, it’s a good reason to remember that for any presenters you might have who perhaps aren’t so competent, they are even more necessary. Professional AV suppliers who specialise in providing high quality modern, up to date and relevant audio and visual equipment are there to deliver you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your event can run without any glitches. Never ever cut them out of your budget. Michael Jackson Email: michael@theotermichaeljackson.com Website: www.theothermichaeljackson.com http://about.me/theothermichaeljackson


The log book of a « typical » businessman? The following is a testimony that we are publishing, that of Thomas Gregg, vice president of Partner & Solution Enablement. It is interesting in more than one respect… Let’s listen to him.


really enjoy traveling on business and I can say with some pride that in recent years I’ve improved the way I work remotely, with regard to the managing of a team scattered throughout the world. In fact, for me there is little difference between working in an office, in a café in Berlin or in a good pub in London. All I need is my MacBook and a good Internet connection ».

Changing priorities « Over the past ten years I’ve taken a plane at least once a week and spent three to four days in a hotel in the same time. Although I love traveling and working with people from different cultures, I recognize that traveling can be difficult and exhausting. Waking up at 4 am in London in order to catch a flight and flying to Berlin with the last plane in the evening before having to take another one again the next morning… is pretty tiring. Over the years I’ve noticed that my personal priorities have changed and during my business trips I now prefer high-speed Wi-Fi and a seat in the first row, which enables me to get off the plane more quickly, to receiving a lukewarm meal on board ».

Benefiting from a good night’s sleep « I’ve always been quite choosy when it comes to hotels. Certain criteria seem to me to be very important, such as cleanliness, good beds, quiet surroundings and a central location. But having concluded that every good 4 or 5-star hotel meets these demands, I’ve some extra ones: I need a high-speed Internet

Thomas Gregg distinguishing characteristics between hotels in the past and that made them more expensive, such as a swimming pool, a fitness room, a minibar or a huge breakfast buffet, have become less important to me. Moreover, companies are less and less inclined to pay for these amenities. That is the reason why I’m happy to see that more and more establishments are embracing modern concepts devoid of all these cumbersome services. These establishments concentrate on cleanliness, on the modern and practical side of rooms, and on the « friendly » side of the environment, with all this being offered at fair prices ».

Collecting loyalty points « I’m not a tightwad, but being forced to pay 6 euros for a soda at the airport seems ridiculous to me and neatly sums up what you’re like-

an upgrade for the rental car or other advantages that make the trip more enjoyable. It’s becoming harder than in the past to achieve these statuses and there’re a few tricks that you can use to increase your chances of being awarded them, in particular with airlines that share their frequent-flyer programs with others ». «Make sure you collect miles with a specific airline, not with numerous airlines that share the same program. Subscribe to airline newsletters and take part in promotions that regularly offer double or triple miles for a specific route within a given time frame. Compare the requirements for the awarding of statuses by airlines. For example, both Lufthansa and Aegean are part of Star Alliance and the number of miles required to achieve the gold status – which grants access to lounges worldwide – is fewer with Aegean than with Lufthansa. Also remember to always collect miles or points when renting cars or staying in hotels, so as to obtain upgrades ».

Travel light! « Taking only light luggage, traveling with only carry-on baggage - it isn’t always convenient but it enables you to move about quickly and save a lot of time if you have to attend a meeting or want to get home earlier so you can say goodnight to your son before he goes to sleep. I travel a lot to foreign places and I’m dependent on my technology items. I must take an international power adapter, laptop and phone charger cables, and various video adapters for the MacBook etc. All this becomes heavy quickly and I try to eliminate any extra weight such as a newspaper or magazine. I’ve also learnt to always pack a change of clothes in case the time planned for my trip is unexpectedly extended by a day due to an additional meeting or a canceled or missed flight ».

Look for alternatives « Consider alternatives (Uber instead of a taxi, for instance). If you are traveling in a city where you have an old friend, why not spend the night at his place instead of at a hotel? You should also inform yourself about the local options. For example, in Istanbul it is a better idea to take a ferry rather than a taxi to cross from the European side to the Asian side of the city. Having your meals in the hotel restaurant is convenient, but it is interesting to venture out and discover the culture. I’ve spent some time in the Middle East and it was very enriching to see how local people eat and celebrate lunch and dinner as social events rather than treating them as occasions for the mere consumption of food ».

connection and a quick check-in/check-out ». « After a 14-hour work day, I don’t have the patience to hang around for 10 minutes just to receive my room key. A conversation with the receptionist is certainly pleasant, but not really necessary ». « Quite a few services that were


ly to encounter if you travel a lot. This means that advantages like free entry to lounges can make a difference. Even if you travel a lot, that does not guarantee you one of the « special» statuses (« elite », « senator », « gold » or others) necessary to obtain access to lounges,

« In conclusion, I’m happy to see that the transportation industry and the hotel world are responding and adapting their concepts to the modern lifestyle of today’s businessman. In fact, those who understand what is really important are already experiencing success. The others, those who do not want to change… will they be in business much longer? »

For Those who Value Calmness and Privacy Open-plan offices are very effective; they provide all the space necessary for good team work, group


projects and brainstorming sessions, among other things.

owever, they are not meant for everyone. Indeed, many employees can be distracted by the bustle, noise and constant activity.

Hectic Meeting vs Deep Thinking? Needless to discuss in detail the harmful effects of noise when you are working. The brain is engaged in a constant battle against these sound intrusions, resulting in additional fatigue which quickly leads to headaches. At the same time, productivity diminishes and the number of errors, incidents, and even accidents, increases. In recent years, the furniture industry has examined the needs of these people who look for privacy and calmness to do the best job they can. One man’s joy must not become the other man’s misery! Today, fortunately, there is furniture that allows you to create these tranquil spaces that guarantee confidentiality. Fitted with sound-absorbing materials, this furniture can be arranged according to the needs. There are also acoustic panels. Easy

to install, they are elegant solutions that keep you from having to carry out a complete overhaul of the space to guarantee soundproofing and privacy. This way, one could imagine a lively meeting in one part of the room, with “insulated” cubicles in another, the whole working in harmony.

Personal Cocoons There are also personal soundproof cocoons. They are the easiest way to create spaces of tranquillity and allow people to make phone calls, take a short break and keep out all unwanted sounds. All of these components are modular, so you can arrange them according to the current needs. You can create, in the blink of an eye, a resting space or mini-office, even a small reception area away from the noise. These « instant creations  » (easy to set up) are thus meant for a single person or for very small work-

ing groups that value privacy. We must never forget that, ultimately, privacy constitutes the « great distance between what employees have and what they want »… Another advantage is that these furniture components look fantastic! Obviously, you can choose from a very wide range of colours and shapes.

Sonic Chair By Designatics Production GmbH E-mail: info@sonic-chair.com Website: sonic-chair.com Of course, you can go one step further and insulate an entire floor, thus creating a level specifically designated as a « tranquillity zone ».

Expensive Wi-Fi at Exorbitant Prices! ‘That is downright scandalous’, a reader of The Telegraph recounts, in the British newspaper


of the same name, his “Wi-Fi experience” at the Majestic Barrière hotel in Cannes.

t’s probably an all-time record: He received a bill of… 300 euro (three hundred!) for a Wi-Fi connection for one night!

Three Options, but Little Explanation According to Oliver Smith, the author of the article, the hotel has indeed confirmed that it charges considerable sums for the use of its Wi-Fi at 50 Mb/s. An « average speed  » (10 Mb/s) option is available for 110 euro per day. There is also a basic service (2 Mb/s) which is free during the first two hours, and then costs 9 euro for 24h. The latter rate is much more reasonable. However, and therein lies the problem, it would appear that, according to the customer, no information was provided about the cost. So it came as a big sur-

prise when he noticed 300 euro had been added to the bill! Fortunately, all is well that ends well as the hotel management backed down and ultimately charged only 9 euro. Diane Pagnard, responsible for PR at the hotel, explained that the three options concerned had only existed for two months and that previously there was a daily charge of 15 euro. The « high-speed  » option was introduced to allow business customers

(mainly during the Film Festival) to quickly download movies and photos in HD.

The Usual Debate This event rekindles the big debate about internet connectivity in hotels. A recent study suggests that most European hotels offer the possibility to connect via WiFi and that 90% of them do not charge for this access. In this respect, it would appear that British hotels are the worst. Let’s not forget, and this has been confirmed by a survey conducted by AMBA Hotels, that Wi-Fi access is a more important criterion than location when searching for accommodation. We have written it often in these columns: the solution is, indeed, to offer totally free standard (lowand average-speed) connections that allow « normal  » use of the internet (sending and receiving e-mail, using websites, making phone calls). It is conceivable to allow the option of a faster connection, at a cost, to enable users to download large files (e.g. VOD or transmission of large files).


Meetings and conferences WANT change Are we changing quickly enough? The question seems absurd in today’s world where one has the impression of


being permanently on the alert, but it is appropriate in the world of meetings and conferences.

oo often, these latter begin « losing their shine », taking place exactly as in the past, while things are evolving by leaps and bounds.

time slots for « networking  », that very useful activity that is increasingly talked about and that constitutes the salt of physical presence.

Preference for an « all in one » venue

Technology in the service of communication

An event of this sort is an occasion for a group of persons to come together for the purpose of learning and networking. Whether the event is held by an association or a company, these are privileged moments that should be accorded the highest value. Increasingly, these large gatherings take place without the pomp that surrounded them in the past. Gone are the lavish receptions, the gourmet food and the pantagruelian meals. Today we are living in the age of content – this is what must guide all actions. In choosing a venue for the event, the economic reality faced by everybody is taken into account. Destinations are less distant and more pragmatic, and the focus is on the ease of operations. The choice often falls on an « all in one » venue, where accommodation, meals and meetings can all take place under the same roof. Change therefore involves providing for content that is both dynamic and tailored to the expectations of the participants, making the best use of communication technologies, AND reserving

But change also involves thinking of all those who are interested in the event but, for some reason or other, are unable to attend it physically. Here again, technology can be a great help. The audience of an event can be significantly enlarged by creating a « hybrid meeting ». On this topic the Americans do not beat about the bush. For them, « Hybrid meetings will just become normal meetings  ». A hybrid meeting is an event transmitted live via the Internet and open to all who wish to take part. Virtual participants must have a code to be admitted. They can be allowed (or not) to join the discussion (either via a written message, verbally or by video), and it may even be decided that remote groups, located in hotel rooms equipped with the necessary technology, will be able to appear on screens during the event. In the same way, change involves daring to

invite specialist speakers who will make succinct contributions to the discussion in a virtual manner, from wherever they may be in the world. This will save time and it will be a gain in terms of content, for not everybody can afford to attend the event physically. In addition, change requires that the event be recorded, so that it can be viewed nonlive and according to the video-on-demand principle at a later date.

But, in fact, change….. is nothing more than putting the existing technology in the service of communication, content and effectiveness!

TV is in the pixel race Televisions have long been used in the business world to disseminate information. Moreover, they experienced a « golden age » in the times when audiovisual solutions for business were popular.


e have progressed from large television sets (with greater depth than width) to « slim line  » models, and high definition has enabled us to get to a situation where excellence is usually expected. What should one think about the advent of the 4K televisions that have recently appeared? In the following lines, we do not adopt a « consumer » viewpoint but one that is well suited for enterprises.

currently available to companies are not implemented in 4K. This latter is therefore only interesting for future productions, which require the use of suitable filming equipment. The quality of the source is decisive and re-sampling pixels to replace those that are absent is

A giant TV set? A profitable investment, if… These new TVs swept through the exhibit space of the recent CES. Every manufacturer presented, more or less, his 4 K model. The response seems to be simple at first sight: if the company disseminates its own productions, filmed in 4K, and if it wants to use giant screens (for example, at least 84 inches, or +/- 2.15m in size), the investment will be profitable in that the impact of projection will actually be greater with a 4K than with a simple HD television. However, the size of the screen involves the use of a surface as extensive as a real « wall ». This must be taken into account. In all other cases, an HD television will do the job just as well. It is important to note that, obviously, the content must measure up, and the productions


Microsoft reveals the “Surface Hub” an 84 -Inch 4K all in one only an artifice. Nevertheless, these 4K televisions will offer exceptional photographic renderings and enable superb visualization of the photos produced by high-end reflex cameras. A thumbing of the nose at history: we could then return, paradoxically, to the AV « slides » of yesteryear.

Soon…..no more choice! In any case, the technology is like a mad horse and it forges ahead inexorably. It is

highly probable that all televisions will migrate to 4K technology and that, in the not-too-distant future, it will be impossible to obtain anything else, a situation we have already experienced with 3D televisions, which, however, interested only a very small number of people, contrary to the wishes of the manufacturers. We will then find ourselves in a situation where HD will be projected regularly on 4K TVs without there being any visual advantage. The film production lines will adapt to the new technology - but little by little, due to the extent of the necessary investments. One could imagine that the 4K TV has a bright future in telepresence (upscale videoconferencing that literally creates the illusion that distant discussion partners are really present) rooms. The technical constraints relating to data transmission dampen this nascent enthusiasm, in addition to the fact that the current solutions (HD) are largely sufficient. As for displaying 4K on « small » TVs, this is to count on marketing techniques and borders on deception: the eye will not be able to tell the difference, quite simply. In fact, several years after the camera world, the television has simply entered the pixel race… However, we know this race is futile and that a good image depends on many other criteria.

The risky leap from 8 to 10! The folks in Redmond are promising us not Windows 9 but Windows 10. Microsoft


needs to be careful…..

indows 8, therefore, is going to retire…..on tiptoe, as the OS did not really have the success hoped for.

It takes more than just good looks! In fact, for private individuals and above all for companies, there has to be a compelling reason to upgrade their operating system. And the initial reactions of US companies to the first drafts of Windows 10 can be summarized as follows: « Yes, Windows 10 looks great, but it takes more than just good looks to embark on the adventure of migration! ». Currently, if one is to believe the NetMarketShare figures, approximately one out of two PCs running Windows 7 accesses the Internet. In these circumstances, it’s a good bet that Windows 7 will go the same way as Windows XP: stable, popular, not requiring any training due to its long-established presence, this exceptional OS will be by no means easy to dislodge. One can fully understand that users will find it difficult to rid themselves of their favorite tool and go adventuring. Nor does Microsoft’s current strategy (Mobile First, Cloud First) provide much of an incentive to make the switch for, like certain American trade journalists, one could ask an almost existential question concerning Windows: since

the services and applications (such as Office) are becoming increasingly independent of the operating system, why should one move necessarily towards Windows?

The user must recognize «his » Windows! The main difficulty for Microsoft is that it must find the right balance between innovation and continuity. Innovation is the very reason for the update, but continuity means maintaining habits with which one is satisfied. Let’s take Windows 8 as an example of changes too advanced and too rapid for users to follow: the technology had plenty of power under the hood but the look and feel modifications were too extensive. The user must be able to recognize Windows, « his Windows »! Finally, in these times when mobile phones and tablets are flourishing everywhere, Windows 10

must also demonstrate that it can live happily and in harmony with them. Windows 8 had already promised it, but except for Surface tablets and the Yoga devices from Lenovo, the tablet world is still dominated by iOS and Android. Windows 10 must prove that it is cross-platform and can offer its users some real advantages (which will improve Microsoft’s chances of selling its Surface and Lumia tablets). A major challenge…..response in a few months!

Do You Speak Business? Of course, SMEs rarely have the same concerns as big international companies. However, they must remain ready to deal with any eventuality.


ne sticky issue that big companies are faced with is that of simultaneous translation when holding meetings with their counterparts from foreign countries.

Creating Additional Opportunities to Boost Sales It’s surprising to see this type of issue come up at the level of the SMEs, especially if the latter never work with suppliers or customers outside their own countries. In fact, if a small company suddenly makes a name for itself abroad and finds itself being contacted by customers speaking a different language, it constitutes a real opportunity to substantially increase its sales. But at the same time, the problem of communication will arise. For it has been clearly shown that you have to be able to talk to people in their own language. Obviously, you can have

bilingual staff in a company, but it is not likely that they will be able to speak all languages. To talk to an interlocutor in their mother tongue creates additional opportunities to boost sales. In addition, competition is rife, and other companies in the running may be able to speak the language of these customers. This means that a SME should also have si-

multaneous translation equipment at its disposal WHENEVER THERE IS A NEED FOR IT.

Keeping Contact Details Handy Imagine lawyers negotiating an international contract… they must be able to understand exactly what is being said by the other legal team! Otherwise, it can be a disaster. This rental service exists, so the equipment and interpreters are available when you need them. Most of the companies offering this service cover all languages. Since there can always be a need for this type of translation service at some point, keeping the contact details of a company that is an expert in the field handy is an excellent preventive method. For, even though not all SMEs are fortunate enough to do business in international markets, there is always a chance that this will happen to your company. If you want to be competitive, you have to be able to communicate with international companies in their mother tongue.


What Are the Future Trends for Digital Signage? « You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology - not the other way around ».


echnology is a « Connective Tissue » - Not Much More

These words – full of (common) sense – were spoken 25 years ago by someone who would become famous: Steve Jobs. At the time, no one knew that one day there would be digital signage… It is, indeed, the recipient of the messages we disseminate who deserves all our attention and who leads us to continuously innovate. He shows us

where he wants to go and what he expects of digital signage in order to make his life more exciting. And it is clear that we must never forget that technology, however sophisticated and powerful it may be, is only a tool, a « connective tissue » of sorts. Consumers want more information about the products and the services that interest them, and

digital signage must address that. We have to learn more about the people who look at the messages we disseminate to allow us to develop deeper and more individual relations with them. « Understanding the audience  » will become more important than ever before to create better tools for collecting and interpreting the data about this audience.

tential. The interaction between digital signage and mobile phones (including tablets) will be possible via the internet, via Wi-Fi connection, by text message or e-mail as well as by NFC or iBeacons.

Interacting Directly with Digital Signage We will speak less of « screens  » and more of « connectivity ». Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft are the players in this business. The rest, the equipment, such as screens, fixtures, e-readers, computers… only have meaning depending on what they are given to disseminate. Again, it is the content that matters. Consumers have long stopped buying products. Instead, they are seeking solutions. Moreover, we no longer speak of software but of apps, applications. Now, by force of habit, resellers continue to think they have to sell products. That is why there is often no common language between the two. In order to get more and more users involved in digital signage by turning control over to them and by directly engaging them, there is a strong trend towards interactivity and the fashionable BYOD (bring your own device). Another benchmark: An American household has an average of 4 mobile devices, which shows the available po-

Digital signage for boosting employee engagement Many companies make use of digital signage for their communication and have thus replaced their billboards and paper


posters by screens in entrance halls and common areas.

hey take advantage of this to use the screens for the purpose of providing relevant information. As a result, we are seeing the creation of messages that are personalized in line with the time of day and the location.

Training They also produce videos to improve customer service by training their personnel, they increase the motivation of the personnel, and they increase work safety by disseminating prevention messages. We are living in an era of globalization, with companies aiming to extend their activities in different countries, and therefore digital signage is becoming even more relevant. This is evident at the internal communications level, where digital signs enable information to be provided to a workforce spread over several sites. Whatever the size of the enterprise, three ways of using digital signage to improve


the effectiveness of enterprise communications in a working environment can be highlighted. The management of employee training is part of this. There is nothing better for teaching new procedures and making employees autonomous. The training courses are disseminated by video technology as near as possible to the workplaces. Training courses on request are covered in the same way, without

the need for training materials or printed presentations.

Corporate culture and motivation

Corporate culture is directly impacted by digital signage. More and more companies use it to disseminate messages and communicate objectives to be achieved. Using digital signage to congratulate employees within a particular category for having accomplished Peerless-AV Europe some desired goal is also an excellent E-mail: mrondberg@peerless-av.eu.com way to boost employee engagement. Website: www.peerless-av.com Finally, employees can follow the company’s results in almost real time. They note their performances and see how close they have come to achieving the desired goals. These are a few examples that explain why digital signage is becoming a real necessity for both small and large enterprises. It attracts the attention of the personnel via dynamic messages in real time and helps the company develop effective internal communications. To achieve this, companies must, of course, have a complete digital signage solution, including user-friendly software that enables messages to be easily created and modified at the different places where the screens are located.


Finding one’s way …. Three reliable methods! What is requested the most, in the field of interactive systems, is a « wayfinder » kiosk, sometimes known as a


« Directory Information Kiosk ».

t’s an ideal way of supplying visitors or customers with a very simple method of finding their way to the destination they wish to reach, the task being achieved as quickly as possible and with a minimum of interaction with members of your staff. The kiosks are often provided with access capabil-

sistant to new technologies), but, when the interface is decidedly intuitive, it is noticeable that people use them successfully and without the slightest worry. These wayfinders or signposts have an intuitive touch interface. The visitor only has to enter or point to a destination and a graphical itinerary directs him visually, stage by stage, to the desired destination. Key words can also be typed in. Finally, the itinerary can be printed by the kiosk, which enables the visitor to follow « his personalized plan ».

Using one’s smartphone or the Internet

ities for the disabled and they work in several languages, therefore making life easier.

A personalized plan They are generally used in shopping malls, hospitals, city centers, airports, large car parks and, of course, in large enterprises. In some cases, a member of the staff will still be necessary to provide assistance (to disabled persons or those re-

ing » and, obviously, they use WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS to supply information on their position and enable precise guidance. In addition, the enterprise can also offer, on its website this time, a true interactive map that enables visitors to program their visit before arriving at the company. These maps, available in kiosks, in smartphones or on websites, can also incorporate supplementary information relating to any events taking place at the time. They therefore keep up-to-date with developments and provide information in real time.

And these interactive capabilities are not limited to kiosks. « Apps  » can be designed and distributed that enable practically the same information to be obtained on the screens of smartphones. The idea here is to offer truly « mobile  » utilization in the full sense of the word, since pedestrians then use the system even when they are on the move. This is called «  mobile wayfind-


The Kiosk – The Assistant to the Sales Force


A little detour through the large retailers suffices to prove it: Interactive kiosks are a huge success.

hese digital interactive kiosks offer innovate ways of interacting with customers. They reach their target public in an effective way and enable retailers to differentiate themselves in today’s increasingly competitive market.

The « Internet Language » The « innate » advantage of an interactive kiosk is that it works similarly to the internet. Now, most people already have internet ex-


perience and, therefore, they will feel like a fish in the water when facing an interactive kiosk. An interactive kiosk can take someone by the hand « from a to z  », starting from scratch. Whether a customer is looking for a good GPS, a child car seat or a television display, kiosks help them educate themselves and choose the right product for their needs, without any human assistance in the sale. It is also a facilitator. Here’s an example… A customer is interested in a particular smartphone. The reseller can show them to an interactive kiosk specifically devoted to this kind of product. This kiosk will provide information about the prices, the colour options, the available shopping guides, as well as allowing the customer to compare products. Interactive kiosks allow for a reduction in ‘walk-outs’ by engaging the customers. As a River result, they are

less likely to leave the shop when they have to wait for a salesperson who is busy. Indeed, a kiosk enables the customer to already start the process of satisfying their needs whilst waiting for a salesperson to become available.

Kiosks Help Retailers Improve Themselves In addition, it all depends on the kiosk’s programming. It can be designed in a fun way and offer amusing « quizzes » that will allow for a search to be refined, as well as yielding the best choice. Touch screens and simple questionnaires (but with subdivisions) facilitate their set-up. Moreover, let’s not forget that certain customers may prefer the anonymity of an interactive kiosk to human interaction as there are personal questions to be answered. An interactive kiosk also helps retailers improve themselves! The data collected reveals a lot about the market and the success of current promotions. You can easily see the favourite pages of the customers and reconstruct their movements, as well as glean information about the amount of time spent on each screen. As soon as there has been a change in the kiosk’s content (update or structural change), you can track its impact in real time: You might be surprised at how great the effects of a small change can be!

Measuring one’s feet to save oneself a lot of trouble! Mifitto is a young German company that wants to ensure that consumers are better shod! The solution? It has

T sely!

created a particularly innovative 3D foot scanner. he basic idea is crystal clear: it will be easier to find perfectly fitting shoes if your feet are measured very preci-

Footballers wear « tight » or « loose » shoes  With the 3D foot scanner, the benefits for customers are obvious: the system measures one’s feet and then searches for shoes that best fit them, and it is not the feet that have to fit the shoes! The Mifitto system comes with touch screen - a 32-inch model - from Elo Touch Solutions. « We opted for reliable and high-quality touch screens » says Thomas Harmes, CEO of Mifitto. After 18 months of development of the shoe and foot scanner, with support from the renowned Fraunhofer Society (known for inventing the MP3 format), the system was installed in several facilities in Germany in 2014. One example is the JosephsR sales laboratory in Nuremberg, where retailers and customers can test new product and service concepts under laboratory conditions.  The system is also installed in Teamsport Philipp, one of the largest sport

dealers for football shoes and equipment in Germany. Let’s listen to Christian Lenz from Teamsport Philipp: « Footballers have special habits when it comes to buying shoes. Some wear « very tight » shoes while others play better with « loose» shoes.  This, added to differences between brands for the same size, was an excellent reason to use the system at the point of sale ».    

shoes. «Everything is very easy to handle - it’s an integrated system without any flaws », adds Lenz. The Mifitto scanner has been welcomed with much interest in the shoe and sporting worlds, and an increasing number of shops intend to adopt the system in the near future. At Mifitto in Duisburg, 10,000 shoes are scanned and photographed per day, which enables the creation of an enormous database containing data on all sorts of shoes. This database can help to reduce the return rate in e-commerce and also help consumers in brick and mortar stores, either individually or in collaboration with a salesperson on the premises, to find «  the perfect shoe  » quickly and a lot more easily. Visualization and the interactivity of the interactive screen play a decisive role in this excellent solution.

A large database

After having measured the customer’s feet, the system displays the recommended products on the touch screen. In the future, the Mifitto system will be used for other product categories, such as running

Elo Touch Solutions Kolonel Begaultlaan 1C11 3012 Leuven, Belgium +32 16 704 500 E-mail: elosales@elotouch.com Website: www.elotouch.com

Now it’s possible to see videos immediately on the links below See below effective video presentations an how can they help your business. With these nice videos you will homely convinced that the product, the solution, the fair, the application or service will be able to help you as well. 1. How to Improve Collaboration with SMART kapp - the dry erase board reinvented from Smarttech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSN0a-Hh1zk 2. XPOD Videoconference Presentation from AXEOS http://youtu.be/10kPvx5Fx8M 3. Take your own laptop into the meeting room and immediately to connect to a professional audio-visual system from Ashton Bentley Room System http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUsikMXqch0 4. Top 7 mistakes with Digital Signage from Visix http://www.youtube.com/embed/5sYUYos9nBI 5. 8 Content ideas for Digital Signage from Visix http://www.youtube.com/embed/5mKnxVX2_Lk 6. Registration for ISE 2015 is now officially open! Don’t delay, register today and join us in Amsterdam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGtsR0qITa4 These videos are also available on our website: www.cbsmedia.biz


The customer service offered by companies is often disastrous! Every company is convinced that it offers good customer service. However, it seems that in many


cases the customer service is a complete disaster.

his has various causes. The reality is that, rather than questioning the quality of their customer service, companies should ask their customers the following question: « Have you already been a victim of bad customer service? ». That would already shift the perspective.

Your best salespersons…..are your current customers! It is all the more incredible as it costs ten times less to sell something to an existing customer than to a new customer! And astronomical sums are still being invested in advertising for the purpose of attracting new customers…. Here are a few pointers….. Customer service is an attitude. It does not fall under the responsibility of a single person or a service/department but is the business of all employees. Too much money is spent on product training and not enough on interpersonal skills. In fact, ALL the employees of a company should be trained in « customer service ». A good customer service knows its strong points and weaknesses. One needs to listen to one’s customers, conduct a survey among them and note their needs, desires, fears and frustrations. In fact, one must find out what good customer service means for them. You never get a second chance to make a good

impression. Consumers form an opinion of your company in a few seconds. ALL details count, from the telephone queue, reception (voice mailbox robot with multitude of options) and the waiting time through to the state of the premises (burned-out light bulbs, for example) and the greeting of the customer on his or her arrival. The best salespersons must be cared for…. And these are your current customers! Every satisfied customer relates his story to three other persons on average. And you should also be aware that an unhappy customer relates his story…..to eleven people on average! Keep offering a quality of service to existing customers that is the same as at the beginning of the relationship.

Rejoicing at a customer’s complaint? The value of a company is no greater than that of its worst employee…… Difficult to stomach, but a reputation takes years to build up and can be lost in a second. You must hire good people and give them suitable training before they come into contact with the customers. What counts is the attitude and not the experience. The customer is always right, since he talks with his wallet. It is he who is the real boss at your company, for he is the one who pays your salary. If you fail to look after your customers…….your competitors will do it for you!

This reality is that you should rejoice when a customer makes a complaint. For each customer who complains there are 28 others who have thought the same thing but said nothing (only 4% of dissatisfied customers complain while the others simply take their custom elsewhere while tarnishing your reputation on the way). You should be aware that an error corrected to the satisfaction of the customer wins his loyalty in 84% of cases. Ponder the following proverb: « promises are written in marble for those who hear them and in the sand for those who make them ». In other words, service does not sell, it resells, in that customers will return to you and buy again. In short, never take your customers for granted, say “thanks” to them and think of giving them, here and there, a sign of appreciation, even if symbolic.

From « one-to-many » to the « one-to-one » strategy Digital communication is shifting up a gear. The symposium of the « Digital Screenmedia Association »


that was recently held in Dallas sketched out the broad outlines of its future.

here are prospects for a change of method. There will be a move away from the « one-to-many  » approach to the « one-to-one » strategy.

From « Mad Men » to « Math Men » The goal is to create relationships, and marketing guided by data analysis is radically changing the market approach of brands. Establishing a relationship involves moving on from the message and information dissemination stage and entering the world of consumer engagement. Communications must be targeted and no longer disseminated in every direction. A prime example: sending discount coupons to a person who never uses them is a waste of time. The aim must be to engage people in matters that interest them. Christina Moore, senior manager at Frito-Lay (North America) puts it in a nutshell: «  Communicating is easy… connecting is hard ». The collection of consumer-based data is paramount, but there remains, Moore points out, the problem of its processing and also the mathematical models enabling it to be understood: «  We’ve gone


from « Mad Men » to «  Math Men, we count everything ». Looking at the future of physical shops, she sees them offering less space for the storage of products and a lot more for areas where consumers are able to learn about, use and experience products, with the prospect of their orders subsequently being delivered to their homes.

The search for « smart people » As for digital signage per se, it is increasingly regarded as the tool in the kit that enables the

creation of brand experiences, and has therefore moved beyond the stage where it was used solely to disseminate messages in isolation. Today it is an integral part of the retail space, in the same way as bricks and mortar. Designers work to create an overall impression where each part will contribute to generating consumer involvement. This is what the symposium called « consumer engagement  technology »: multi-channel screens working in concert with the environment. With this new philosophy based on high technology and engagement (learning, using, online ordering and home delivery), a situation is to be created where customers never have to queue up to pay. As for the data and its analysis….The specific discussion panel dedicated to this topic insisted first of all on the need for brands to know THEIR history before taking an interest in that of the consumer. «  It’s easier to disseminate the history of your brand if you know it well, whatever the channel chosen to communicate it. ». « We are paralyzed by the data, since we never received such high quantities in the past ». « We must find smart people who can enable a meaning to be extracted from this data, which seems disparate at first sight ». Therein lies the challenge: being able to generate hypotheses and also to create a « music » from this « noise ».

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CBS-magazine Feb 2015 - Mar 2015 (EN)  

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