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The State of the European Collaboration Services Industry With the likes of Cisco, Microsoft and IBM flexing their sizeable muscles in the collaboration
space in recent times the industry headlines have been dominated by Unified Communications and Telepresence. So Wainhouse Research’s 7th annual CSP Summit in Brussels on May 23-
24 gave a refreshing opportunity for those Collaboration Services Providers (CSP’s) and their technology partners to meet and discuss what has been happening in the much larger and longer established collaboration services sector.
Tips and pointers for picking the ideal hotel!
Tablet PCs for mobile videoconferencing?
How to become a “star speaker”?
No question that videoconferencing has had a rough time of
Pronounce clearly, speak up with enough clarity, and
Achilles heel. We’ve all witnessed it: the faltering technique,
advice commonly given to public speakers. People
it. For the longest period, inadequate technology has been its
non-compatible systems, the exorbitant costs of the calls, and the impact of broadband on an organization’s network.
avoid any form of hiatus in your speech. That’s the
tend to speak too rapidly and swallow parts of their words.
Obviously, a business trip requires careful
planning in advance, but do you realize that it is practically just as important to pick the right kind
of hotel as to ensure you’ll have the correct files on hand at the right moment?
When quality and user-ease go hand-in-hand With the release of these new Panasonic models,
the high-definition image makes its visual entry in the realm of the videoconferencing. The models KX VC
600 and KX VC300 use but little broadband yet do perform in «full HD». Furthermore, these two devices are mutually compatible.
Turning ideas into profits!
Different cultures… Different content Page 19
With QR, imagination is king! Page 15
Page 18 16
The State of the European Collaboration Services Industry With the likes of Cisco, Microsoft and IBM flexing their sizeable muscles in the collaboration space in recent times the industry headlines have been dominated by Unified Communications and Telepresence.
o Wainhouse Research’s 7th annual CSP Summit in Brussels on May 23-24 gave a refreshing opportunity for those Collaboration Services Providers (CSP’s) and their technology partners to meet and discuss what has been happening in the much larger and longer established collaboration services sector. Wainhouse Research’s Managing Partner and industry thought leader, Marc Beattie shared his thoughts on the ‘State of the Nation’ for collaborative services and what challenges and opportunities face CSP’s in the coming year. The theme of the conference was ‘Radical Changes with Greater Oppportunity”.
Beattie reported that the audio, web and video service sector is healthy with the European audio conferencing market alone ex-
pected to exceed $1B this year. This represents a 33% growth of revenues since 2007. European use of audioconferencing is expected to hit 15B minutes in 2011 - an increase of 36% since 2009. All these are impressive figures so you would it expect it to be ‘business as usual’ for CSP’s in the foreseeable future. However, the future is not quite as predictable for CSP’s as these figures might suggest. While there are significantly more users using significantly more audio minutes, it is clear revenue growth is slowing and that besides peer price competition; unified communications, and new fixed price schemes are changing the established market. The clear message that Marc Beattie gave to the assembled gathering of CSP’s in Brussels is that they need to look at what is happening in Unified Communi-
Keizershoevestraat, 26 2610 Wilrijk Tel: +32 478 948951 Fax: +32 3 2397516 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.communicationsbusinesssolutions.com Publication Manager Jean-Pierre Thys Editor Jean-Claude Lesuisse Translation Babel Ophoff Vertalingen
cations (UC) and learn from their market strategy. UC is typically sold as a fixed/bundled pricing per seat yearly cost and not on a per minute usage basis as audio, web and video services are. This fixed/ bundled pricing is very attractive to the enterprise customer as it is easily budgeted for and encourages their workforce to use collaborative solutions as cost does not increase with usage. Beattie hails this ‘All You Can Meet’ strategy of fixed/bundled pricing as the approach that CSP’s must adopt if they are to see a return to double digit revenue growth.
Printing Lowyck Publisher Jean-Pierre Thys Keizershoevestraat, 26 2610 Wilrijk - Belgium Communications Business Solutions is published 6 times a year. Online registration forms on our website will be considered for a regular free copy. Subscription Print: 35 € (Belgium) – 45 € (Europe). All reproduction rights reserved for all countries. Reproduction of the texts (even partial) is prohibited without permission of the publisher. Member MPI (Meeting Professional International) Communications Business Solutions is available in print in french and dutch and online in english, french and dutch.
How to become a “star speaker”? Pronounce clearly, speak up with enough clarity, and avoid any form of hiatus in your speech. That’s the advice
commonly given to public speakers. People tend to speak too rapidly and swallow parts of their words.
an you remedy bad habits? Absolutely! Can a poor speaker be transformed into a star performer? Unlikely, it is true, but he can lift his performance level above the just average.
The “indoors” dry-run Speech improvement or speech training courses? Yes, they are available but the best method is to have recourse to relevant modern technology and to engage in some self-analysis after your presentations. Let’s start from the premise that your presentation –meticulously prepared of course is all set to go. We assume that your ideas are laid out with fluid continuity and that the essence of your speech will be clear to your audience. No particular basic shortcoming in sight… the content will be presented as one harmonious whole. What remains is the form of the delivery. Current well-functioning video-recording systems are of great assistance here. The idea is to tape a live presentation and then look at the
playback later. Mind you, the stress inherent in performing in a ‘live’ setting is not comparable to trying out your speech inside a closed room before a camera, far from the madding public or participants. What you need to strive for is to put yourself inside that ‘live’ situation, in the middle of things, as the saying goes. To create that real feeling, you get up and go to a pre-picked spot where you’ll be delivering your presentation. You need to try to get ‘inside’ the coming real event, though this is only a dry-run indoors.
The stress impact barometer Next, you’ll have to analyze everything. You need to respect the timing, which is your first evaluation criterion. Scrutinize voice intonation, the speed of speech and your non-verbal gestures … the rest being thought to be OK by definition. The opinions of close collaborators are to be welcomed. It is a good idea to ask them each time for two or three suggestions that, as they see it, would improve your presentation, and then to take stock. Following the analysis, give it a while to let
things sink in. Ideally, you should repeat the performance the next day. This new tape will be carefully analyzed in the same way and any remaining weaknesses smoothed out further. Once the big moment has arrived, make sure to record the real event in front of your live audience. Current techniques make this mere child’s play. Later on, it will be very easy to compare the ‘live’ presentation with the advance practice runs and then to gauge the stress impact of ‘live’ versus ‘indoors’. In case of significant differences, it will serve you to undergo a sort of “systematic desensibilization” process by practicing a number of times in front of a few individuals and then systematically increasing the size of your trial audience.
The irresistible force of telepresence During the past years we have witnessed how telepresence, a video-cooperative tool in
“high definition”, secured a foothold inside numerous meeting rooms worldwide.
pper management is well aware that innovative technology, once set up in an intelligent way, does not only translate into savings in business travel and sundry expenditures but also accelerates the decision-making process and enhances employee productivity.
There is still a lot more to come! Innovative technology is also responsible for a significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gasses. The experience of the Tata Communications Group says it all. Two years after the first telepresence rooms were actively put in service at the company, business travel for managers has declined by 39%, which corresponds to a reduction of the ecological footprint by 490 tons! And in spite these impressive results, still more can be achieved! We are listening to what Vinod Kumar, general manager of Tata Communications, has to say: “We know, for instance, that London and Paris are important economic centers that attract a large number of business conferences. At those locations, no equipped meeting rooms had been set up yet because of restrictions in terms of space and budget “. “But our personnel requested the possibility to have teleconference meetings with clients, suppliers, and service providers. They felt ‘restricted’ because it
Tata Communications E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.tatacommunications.com/telepresence was impossible to call to the outside from inside the company “. Management paid heed. Providers of communication services have played a key role in expanding the telepresence network: they formed associations with hotel groups, which resulted in the arrival of public telepresence installations. These are being administered according to the principle that you pay for what you use, at affordable rates.
Costs now 10 times more affordable! The worldwide connectivity has seen sharp improvements thanks to a better cooperation amongst the providers with respect to the norms and also through the placement of access
portals by the global telecom operators. This way, ever more users of different providers can establish contact with one another. Installation costs also have become much more affordable, by a factor of at least 10! We have now truly arrived at a point where businesses are able to resort to telepresencing at extremely competitive prices. We are living in a business environment that is becoming ever more globalized. Decision-makers need to recognize the ecological impact that telepresencing is exerting on the general operations of a company to secure a sustainable, competitive advantage in the market. Although it is not the sole manner to reduce an organization’s ecological footprint, it is certainly a very tangible way that has instant effect. If correctly employed, it will furthermore exert a significant impact on the organization by reducing its travel costs and enhancing employee productivity. Employees are now able to enjoy a healthier balance between their professional and private lives. Search under “Locations” for public meeting rooms that might be of interest to you and follow the instructions for organizing a meeting there. Payment will be made online by credit card. Nothing could be simpler! Do not hesitate to get in touch with us via the site. We shall reply within 48 hours.
The telepresence of the future? It’s novel. It’s just recently been released. And it’s already the new ‘in thing’. We lay you odds it’s on track to fast becoming the talk of the business world?
he name of this novelty that is all the craze these days? Immersive communication. And once it gets linked to the videoconference... the sky may well be the limit!
A little detour via the video games But what exactly is immersive communication? For a simple explanation, let’s make a short detour via... the video games. Take a look at the Kinect and the Wii where immersive communication is already a reality. It works as follows: your physical body is being filmed and avatars on the
The trick then is to fuse the video games technology with the technology of the video conferencing, thus to achieve a viable form of immersive communication amongst businesses. Once transformed to serve «business» objectives, it means that the videoconference is being combined with a user interface that offers access to files, documents, and animations. Right now, you are able by a simple hand movement to progress from one slide frame to another during a PowerPoint presentation, or start up, stop, or pause a presentation video at a remote, or offer people the opportunity to ask questions.
advanced technology and various high-definition cameras. Why is all of this important? To ensure that everybody get the impression of a meeting held in a unique environment and because the gestures we make really do exert a real influence upon this virtual world. A virtual world that, in the end, no longer strikes anybody as a surprise since videoconferencing and telepresencing are already making use of it. With this technique, we are, however, taking it one step further still by introducing some
Virtual and 3D
DVE Enterprises screen are taking over your gestures. Specialists and hackers have already worked out ways to create 3D-video with the Kinect and also to enable videoconferencing amongst various consoles. To suit the business world, some further fine-tuning is needed, but it is simply astonishing already that two players can now combat one another at a distance with a laser sword.
In one other possible application, pictures of participants in a meeting are «shot» in situ, meaning that they are taken at the site where the subjects are actually found at the time (e.g., sitting in their kitchen, at their desk, or in the dining room) and subsequently edited to put them into a harmonious and relevant setting, for instance, inside a meeting room. And that décor can be an artificial, virtual 3-D setting. Thanks to this technology, this can be achieved in quite a professional manner, on conditions that you take some steps to properly prepare the setting you are planning to use. This may call for a colorful background (such as the bluekey). And, it goes without saying, you will need to make use of the most
Kinect 3D-wrinkles, which has become possible to do thanks to the newly developed powerful processors.
Someone coughs... and disappears from the screen! These days, personnel employed by large corporations form a mobile force that is dispersed worldwide. Because of this current globalization trend and the Internet evolution, people’s working methods and habits and their
communication tools have changed, and keep changing, drastically.
ore and more often, personnel are using Smartphones, tablet PCs, and laptops. Communication is taking place everywhere and anywhere. Unfortunately, this is not yet the case for videoconferencing and, even less so, for telepresencing.
Telepresencing and annoying compromises This is also true in specially equipped meeting rooms. Imagine three people (P1, P2 and P3) that are seated together inside a room, each one of them recorded by a camera. A fourth individual (P4) is somewhere else, his presence also recorded on camera. Now imagine that these four individuals are communicating with others located inside a different room where only three video screens have been installed. The conventional telepresence setting (one person per screen) has been compromised: only three individuals can be shown; the fourth one is ‘heard’ only and the images of the participants are jumping across from one screen to another. Or as Ofer Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of Vidyo, formulates it: «In practice, the telepresence-experience is limited since individuals
Vidyo E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.vidyo.com that are part of large groups will simply disappear when more remote cameras are used than there are available screens. If one of the participants coughs, that’s enough to get him erased from the screen».
Adapted to the type of screen Vidyo has developed a new videoconferencing methodology that redefines the telepresence paradigm. It is called VidyoPanorama and uses any type of terminal: Smartphone, tablet PC, PC/Mac/Linux or laptop. It consists of a configuration that shows the participants in small
Videoconference solutions adapted especially for mobile devices
ur lifestyle is becoming ever more mobile. Laptops, Smartphones, and tablet PCs are greatly contributing to this trend. Also conferencing systems are adapting themselves to the changing needs of the end consumer. ‘Lindenbaum’ is offering a mobile conferencing solution for any and every mobile device: both via «native» applications, in this instance specifically for iPhone and Blackberry, and via a mobile portal site that affords easy access through the Internet. In every conceivable way, the solutions offered by Lindenbaum are wholly integrated into the ‘traditional’ Lindenbaum conference systems. Clients use the same account to gain access to the mobile applications and to manage their conferences. With iPhone and Blackberry (and likewise with iPod and the iPad), the mobile applications are installed instantly on the device,
frames (e.g., 9, 4 and 2 simultaneously). The 9 possible frames are likely soon to be raised to 20. The configuration and the number will be adapted to fit the size of the screen for maximum comfort: for instance, on a Smartphone or an iPad, you may chose two or four frames (participants), whereas a 27-inch Mac will easily accommodate nine frames. You can share applications, which facilitates collaboration on a project. The experience is immersive, with a resolution of 1080 x 60 pixels, which in the field of telepresencing means ‘high definition’. And, as icing on the cake, the system costs only one tenth of an immersive telepresence system!
which thus offers you direct access to the ‘calendar’ function, the ‘address book’, the ‘SMS distribution» or ‘e-mail’. In its turn, the mobile portal site is available free of charge via the Internet. You can log-in using any mobile device whatsoever that incorporates an Internet connection. All extensions and updates are available without the need for additional installations.
Vidyo E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.vidyo.com
Furniture that meets teleconferencing standards!
n order that the videoconference be conducted in as efficient a manner as possible, the furniture in the meeting room has to measure up to the specific demands. For five years already, Axeos has designed and produced a special kind of furniture that is adapted to meet the demands of the teleconference. The company has outfitted telepresencing rooms in France, across Europe, and in the Middle East that are fully compatible with the most stringent requirements. Together with manufacturers and integrators, Axeos assists her clients in their projects, from the simplest to the most complex of initiatives. Axeos can call upon the services of expert designers, uses the most advanced designing tools, has access to a databank containing all the models of constructors such as Cisco, Lifesize, Polycom, and Vidyo, and further em-
ploys her own experienced team of specialists to examine the bills of specifications. In the process, Axeos draws up a general sketch of the project in question, creates a static and dynamic 3D-image of the conference room, looks after the production of the items inside her own workshops (metal-working, joinery, Plexiglas, lacquering…) and, finally, installs everything at the client’s chosen location. Axeos 2, Rue Jean Perrin – Bat. D 14460 – Colombelles France Tél : +33 (0)184.108.40.206.37 Fax : +33(0)220.127.116.11.67 E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Website : www.axeos.net
Lindenbaum GmbH Erbprinzenstr. 4-12 (Eingang A) 76133 – Karslruhe Germany Tel: +49 721 480848000 Fax: +49 721 480048801 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.lindenbaum.eu
The Tablets are getting into the videoconferencing business As we had foreseen for some time already… it was bound to happen. Videoconferencing has entered
full-force into the Tablet PCs, whether it be iPads or Android PCs.
ctually, FuzeBox takes it still one step further: it wants to connect all Tablet PCs, all Smartphones, and all desktop computers - Macs or PCs - with one another.
Standing the meetings on their head And this with HD-videoconferencing! We knew for sure that the new iPad with its (two) integrated cameras, the iPad2, would not remain long without software for videoconferences. The system likewise contains “immersive” functions that do minimize the background in order not to detract from the relevant visual information. Seeing that it pertains here to a very “mobile” application, the various participants can establish contact from any public or private site anywhere. To attach excessive involuntary importance to the environment may disturb the quality of the exchanges, since people tend unconsciously to look at the details, which as a result lessens their attention to the actual message. Jeff Cavins, CEO of FuzeBox, emphasizes: “The physical presence that emanates and
is experienced during videoconferencing has turned meetings upside down. This is also the case for what concerns the effectiveness with which we collaborate with one another. This novel form of video-meeting, adapted for use with all fixed and mobile phones, enables the collaboration between teams as if they were sitting together in person, using any apparatus whatever and from any place anywhere”.
Doing away with time-consuming start-up procedures The HD-videoconference has a resolution of 720p but retains the most natural presentation with a very low latency because of the dynamic adaptation of the broadband, made possible by the Vidyotechnology (Adaptive Video Layering tech-
nology). The FuzeBox HD-system will work for maximum ten participants simultaneously. The Fuze-technology has been conceived for a simple and intuitive way of working, with enough capacity to connect users face-toface with one another on any type of screen. It also offers a complete set of cooperative tools within handy reach. It is also possible to share multimedia content, such as documents, presentations, photos, or videos. The system works with both 3G and with Wi-Fi. We note here also that FuzeBox is a world leader in applications for visual communication in real time. It is not at all strange that Tablet PCs are getting into the videoconference logic. Since they connect instantly, in contrast to those time-consuming start-up procedures of laptops, they present a valuable asset to any business traveler on the go.
Tablet PCs for mobile videoconferencing? No question that videoconferencing has had a rough time of it. For the longest period,
inadequate technology has been its Achilles heel.
e’ve all witnessed it: the faltering technique, non-compatible systems, the exorbitant costs of the calls, and the impact of broadband on an organization’s network.
Everything is running smoothly! Even now, when all such problems are of the past, doubts keep lingering. The absence of compatibility, a real plague, was tackled via standards that have to be respected, but also because producers gained awareness of the “by definition open character” of the videoconference. Gradually, the technique adapted itself to user requirements and videoconferencing came down from its ivory tower to the level of Main Street: today, besides the sophisticated systems suitable only for use in specially equipped meeting rooms, we find practical solutions that are functioning perfectly on laptops. The omnipresent Internet and the new generation of highspeed connections guarantee the quality of the video image and sound that comes with it. Much progress has been booked in the areas of starting up and operating the system: there is no longer the need to keep an in-house engineer or a specialist handy on the premises just in case… everything works like a charm. You can even use video for unified communications (together with
other communication modes).
“Seeing a meteor is like seeing a cell phone used for a videoconference”! The outlook appears brighter and more attractive than ever before. Why is it then that videoconferencing mobilizes so few disciples? After all, the system has never been so affordable and so easy
Cisco E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cisco.com to use! Is it perhaps because of the lack of a “killer application” that would justify its common application? The industry thought it had found just that in the Smartphone! Unfortunately, this remedy doesn’t seem to work either. As an American author puts it: “you stand a better chance of catching a meteor than catching a person using his mobile for a video call”. With calls between two individuals there is, indeed,
Cisco E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.cisco.com little or nothing extra to be gained from seeing one another (head and shoulders). Besides, cell phone cameras take such close-ups that the images are distorted anyway. Videoconferencing in those circumstances is only of interest when that “just look at what I’m seeing here!” urgent factor is present. For example: showing a patient (within a medical context) or something truly important. According to the videoconference ‘habitués’, Tablet PCs might just be the answer to finding this needed “killer application”. They are light, possessed of a remarkable operating autonomy and a screen that is substantially larger than that of a cell phone. They have a built-in camera that easily films the speaker within his or her surroundings, which makes a radical difference. These devices make no pretence of trying to replace other forms of videoconferencing but might just be the ticket to a wider acceptance of videoconferencing communications.
Immersive communication? The next step! Immersive communication is already in the pipeline with a number of producers. It is one of the most promising
innovations in the area of videoconferencing, the natural successor to telepresencing.
hat it all entails will be discussed in another article. Right now, we’ll just see if it stands a chance for ready acceptance by consumers and how it will integrate into the market.
The existing material has to be used This “potential question” forms the topic for discussion. Brian Riggs, manager of research with Current Analysis, opines that large corporations, which employ a lot of personnel worldwide, are bound to truly appreciate immersive communication. We are talking here de facto about engineering firms, financial institutions, institutes of higher learning, and consultants, to name but a few. Riggs figures that acceptance will depend on a number of key elements. Does immersive communication require special equipment? Is it compatible with existing video services? How long will it take for the novel material to become available? “Immersive communication, which is a combination of 3D images and picking up physical movements, requires top-of-the-line cameras (of the HD-type), even several of them set up at various angles”, Riggs explains. Needless to say, this kind of special configuration does not come without cost.
Moreover “professional users need to be able to integrate immersive communication into old videoconferencing techniques such as Skype and telepresence”, he adds to this. It is obviously unthinkable to just eliminate existing equipment, given that “some companies have invested millions of dollars in their current telepresencing systems”.
The one has to give way before the other Then there also remains the unanswered question regarding timing. Researchers have needed two years to develop immersive communication; last year in October, Alcatel-Lucent gave a demonstration, but no date for the launch of the product has ever been released. This turns Riggs cautious: “A great number of interesting innovations appear regularly, but they are coming too quickly to be purchased, written off, and put into service... before the next major novelty hits the market. We particu-
A global videoconferencing network
he firm is called Global Videoconferencing Network (GVN). It has a mission: it intends to develop the most reliable comprehensive network for high-definition videoconferencing for business travelers. The firm’s CEO, Glenn Wastyn, predicts the coming reality of a global network of at least 2000 high-definition videoconferencing units installed in a great number of hotels. In time, the targeted goal is the installation of some 20 000 of such units. GVN will be managing the equipment adapted for the purpose and develop operating methods to integrate the service
into today’s existing travel reservation systems. Glenn Wastyn explains that «by improving the already existing infrastructure, hotel chains everywhere will be able to expand their services and profit from the videoconferencing market without having to worry about the attendant technical concerns or having to undertake heavy start-up investment costs». And, as emphasized by the company Wainhouse Research, «the economic crisis will create the necessity for enhanced productivity and impose the demand for a much-wider use of videoconferencing».
larly have to avoid the old principle that the one needs to give way before the other: too many novelties are bad for innovations.” He believes that the choice will probably fall on a “basic version” of immersive communication, which will not be the ultimate in technology. This means control of the physical gestures and the possibility to see the participants present inside a virtual room. From there, updates and more sophisticated improvements may (or may not) follow. Immersive communication places great emphasis on sharing documentation, which would be more useful than the present conference systems that place the accent on communication rather than on collaboration.
Being convincing and sustaining audience interest!
his actually presents an enormous challenge, very hard to achieve, yet indispensable to any successful company presentation. The ‘Air Mouse’ solutions by Gyration are of tremendous help in this. Every meeting room ought to consider installing the system. It pertains here to a special kind of ‘mouse’ which can be used to control every PC or MAC interface up to a distance of 30 meters. It suffices to move the mouse around and click ‘in the air’ without the need of a flat surface to rest the mouse on. This patented MotionSense technology works
perfectly. These little devices are delivered with a software program to ensure stunning and very useful visual effects. With one hand movement you can zoom in on details on a spread sheet; you can, if needed, make an arrow appear on the screen, you can highlight, write down, hide or reveal or spotlight some specific item. You can even conjure up a virtual keyboard… while switching over from one application to another is accomplished with the greatest of ease. Gyration E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Website : www.gyration.com
Global Videoconferencing Network E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.globalvideoconferencingnetwork.com Follow us on www.twitter.com/gvnpro
When quality and user-ease go hand-in-hand
With the release of these new Panasonic models, the high-definition image makes its visual entry in the realm of the videoconferencing.
he models KX VC 600 and KX VC300 use but little broadband yet do perform in «full HD». Furthermore, these two devices are mutually compatible.
«Portable and very efficient” Karl Everaert, country manager at Panasonic Systems Network, does not contain his enthusiasm for these novelties: «More of today’s businesses have access to high-end videoconferencing. The apparatus is polyvalent and practical. Both can be configured quickly and are easy to use. They are portable and very efficient.» And, yes, thanks to these new products, more and more organizations are now able to enjoy the advantages offered by videoconferencing, such as lower costs and less loss of time in travel and commuting, while yet able to work «face-to-face» with colleagues via a high resolution image. The system is simple to connect… a good quality Internet connection such as ADSL+ will serve
the purpose. The system meets the norms for full HD of 1080i and also the hi-fi sound norms. No echoes, voices that resound as clearly and distinctly as if the interlocutors were present in person… in brief, «360° full duplex»!
So simple really! It is moreover possible to connect a computer, an additional camera, and a microphone to share the screen, to display other images to the interlocutors, or capture more specific sounds effects. Both the VC600 and the VC 300 can be hooked up to a broad gamut of screens and to videoprojectors. The VC600 offers a resolution of 1920x1080i, while the resolution of the VC300 is fixed at 1280 x 1080i. Applications are plentiful. Since it pertains here to
connections in high resolution, it is especially the health sector that has been displaying great interest, both for education purposes, diagnoses, or training programs (including live broadcasting). For what concerns businesses, videoconference connections need no further elaboration; the principle is by now fully established and well-known. Naturally, also the engineering and manufacturing sectors are being targeted (long live group work!), as are remote training courses with the assistance of an expert who may actually be teaching out of some fardistant location. Also Personnel Departments are displaying an interest because of, amongst other reasons, the advantages of conducting long-distance interviews with job applicants. As a matter of fact, the system is so easy and of ready use, it can be activated anytime there is need for a long-distance conversation of any nature. Panasonic System Networks Company Europe a Division of Panasonic Marketing Europe G.m.b.H Brusselsesteenweg 502 B-1731 Zellik (Belgium) T. +32 2 481 04 33 F. +32 2 481 04 03 E-mail. firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.panasonic.be
Some handy tricks by Steve Jobs The real connoisseurs will unanimously agree on this point: Steve Jobs’ presentations are
priceless gems! They are dynamic and absolutely dead on target.
s analyzed by Carmine Gallo, they reveal their secrets … An amalgam of ideas you yourself can use to improve your own demonstrations …
Don’t sell just products…, sell a dream! Always keep in mind you are about to tell a story. Take enough time to compose a real scenario for your presentation. The images are only there to underscore your words. The listener’s attention span is limited and the mind tends to quickly lose interest and wander. Hence, what is required is constant change, novelty, surprise. Make the audience marvel. That’s the purpose of the storyboard: split your story into short, dynamic segments to ‘break up’ what might otherwise become quickly perceived as a longwinded yawn. Conjure up visions of profits and advantages. Demonstrate in a practical way that you’re worth listening to! And in the process keep in mind one great fundamental truth: the public is not interested in your products and services per se, only
in why and how they can and will make their life easier. In the same vein, but taking it one step farther: don’t try to sell a product… rather sell a dream. Steve Jobs doesn’t sell computers; rather, he sells the promise of a better world if people choose his products. The iPhone is not presented as a telephone but rather as a device that will enrich the existence of its users.
Working at it, refining it, constantly improving it! Make sure to keep it short: you have to be able to describe your product or service in just a few words. Use an attractive title for your presentation. Certainly no more than 140 characters, just like with Twitter. Aim your slogan straight at the target! Therefore let your images themselves tell their tale. Combine your presentation with strongly suggestive illustrations. Don’t overdo it though! Use simple language. Stay away from jargon,
which only fudges the picture, hides weaknesses in your exposition and the lack of self-confidence. Natural, in line with the incomparable Steve Jobs, you will not neglect to build in that memorable “key moment”, the “icing on the cake”, the highpoint of your spectacle. This method is of course well-known, but less known is the amount of time and effort that Steve Jobs devotes to his preparations! He spends an enormous amount of energy on rehearsals, constantly fine-tuning his presentations. Every word, every gesture is scrutinized in advance and subjected to the feedback of a select group of collaborators. Working at your ‘performance’, refining it, constantly improving it… ultimately, that is the only way to maintain your cool poise when you are faced with the intense stress of an important, live presentation.
A Closer Look at Video Remote Interpreting
A simple, reliable and cost-effective solution for meeting your interpretation needs
ideo Remote Interpreting (or VRI) is an on-demand interpreting service provided over the Internet, via video, through a computer and webcam. While VRI is very popular among the Deaf community, the service can also be used for foreign language interpretation support. In a typical VRI situation, the Deaf and hearing parties (or limitedEnglish proficient and English proficient individuals) are together at one location and the interpreter is at another location (i.e. an office, home-based studio or call center). As soon as the call is connected, the ASL or foreign language interpreter will appear on the computer monitor and he or she will then begin the remote interpretation session. With the ability to access a qualified interpreter via the Internet within just a few minutes, as well as an attractive per-minute rate structure, it’s no surprise that VRI has quickly become a popular method of interpretation for many people in need of language assistance. Recommended applications for VRI include medical emergencies, clinical settings, physical therapy appointments, court proceedings, depositions, conferences, educational sessions, impromptu meetings, government services and wherever on demand interpretation is a necessity. VRI is the perfect solution when you need to access an on demand ASL or foreign language interpreter and the traditional face-to-face and telephonic interpretation methods are not appropriate or feasible. For example, in an emergency or life threatening situation, when time is of the essence, you may not be able to wait for an on-site interpreter to arrive to the hospital (which can take up to three hours if not scheduled ahead of time). Furthermore, a telephonic interpreter cannot be used if the healthcare provider needs to reference a visual component of some sort during the medical encounter (i.e. a diagram, drawing, demonstration, etc.). As one of the world’s leading providers of translation, localization and interpretation services, Language Services Associates (LSA) has been providing on demand VRI support for the past three years. This past January, LSA announced the launch of its new and improved Video Remote Interpreting platform for foreign language and American Sign Language (ASL) support, with more languages being added in the near future. With this new system, clients will benefit from improved sound and picture quality, ensuring remote interpretation sessions run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Live monitoring of the call queue, real-time reporting metrics, secure and HIPAA compliant software and the ability to request preferred interpreters are just some of the many features of LSA’s upgraded VRI platform. And more recently, LSA announced the launch of InterpreBot, its newest and most innovative video remote interpretation platform. With InterpreBot, LSA’s clients will be able to access a live remote interpreter via an all-in-one robotic telepresence solution. This cuttingedge device is the closest thing to having a face-to-face interpreter physically present, while still benefiting from a per-minute rate structure and instant accessibility.
InterpreBot is uniquely integrated with a camera, microphones and video display - all on a lightweight, motorized, stylMauricio Vicente ish, remote-controlled platform. The device is optimized at four feet tall so it works equally well when interacting with people who are sitting or standing. InterpreBot has the capability to look anywhere (up, down, all around), can move delicately around tight spaces and works anywhere there is a wifi connection. Accessing an interpreter via InterpreBot is a quick and easy three-step process. All you need to do is turn on the device, go to the “contacts” screen and select your desired language. Within just 30 seconds, a qualified and experienced interpreter will come on the screen to assist you and your limited-English proficient customer/patient. You will be able to see, hear, talk, interact and move around as if the interpreter was in the room with you. “Video Remote Interpreting is one of the greatest advances in technology for the language services industry,” said Mauricio Vicente, Director of IT, LSA. “I strongly believe that VRI will continue to grow in popularity in the coming years as more people begin to recognize, and appreciate, the unique benefits of this service offering.”
Use it to the fullest advantage!
s you are well aware, Communications Business Solutions is forever on the alert to pick up every crumb of information that may be of interest to you and open the door to issues of communication in the broad sense of the word...
Already 8000 trees in Mali The campaign «One Euro = One Tree» launched by Axiatel. com (for every order placed for «fax by e-mail», «conference call», or «virtual switchboard»), has been most enthusiastically received. This very successful campaign is being conducted in partnership with «Planète Urgence», an accredited association promoting international solidarity.
Integrated microphones and USB connections Arthur Holm has just propo-
sed new, retractable 19 and 22-inch screens for meetings (wide screens) equipped with a motorized dual microphone system for optimal space use. The monitor is shared by two people and when the device is not in use, it retracts inside the desk to free up extra space. The screens are also equipped with USB connectors and have switches to select the VGA or DVI entry ports.
Vidyo breaks down the price barrier VidyoPanorama is a revolutionary telepresencing system (1080p@60fps) that is capable of supporting up to 20 screens at a very competitive cost. It allows you to pretty well connect anything, from telepresencing rooms to iPhones and tablet PCs of all makes. This then means that the user can employ his own device, whatever be its model.
A hybrid motor for meetings and events Virtual events are the real craze nowadays... Since 2010, virtual meetings and events have greatly gained in stature. No longer looked upon as threats, they have rather become a means to broaden the compass of communications.
everal experts in the field have enlarged upon this topic and the “Virtual Edge Institute” surveyed a number of them and came to some interesting conclusions …
The virtual is turning into an added value! Michael Doyle, for one, Editor-in-Chief of the Vir-
trol costs, save on expenditures, but it now also brings added value to the real event “, thus Miguel Arias, COO of Imaste. It also serves to create this feeling that you are one of a special community by promoting this interaction. In any case, one must never get mired into the habit of thinking that the virtual will eventually gobble up the ‘real thing’, and, as Kim Myhre, Senior Vice-President of EMEA, expresses it: “People will always prefer the face-to-face contact. But you ought to also offer the participants the opportunity to enjoy the advantages of an online-experience”.
that in the near future there will be very few events without some accompanying virtual component. It offers businesses the opportunity to develop a brand and to communicate with prospects, clients, and Chris Meyer partners at any moment whatsoever and at any location anywhere”. Jens Arndt, Managing Director of Operations with
Every live event has its virtual counterpart
tual Edge Institute, decided to conduct his own survey and poll the opinion of some leading global providers of virtual events about the current state of affairs and future prospects. The study does, as a recurrent theme, emphasize the general acceptance of the ‘virtual’, which ever more frequently tends to be seen as an integral part of a company’s communications and marketing strategy. It is especially the ‘hybrid’ models that are in fashion. These are the events that are being supported by an active presence on the Internet: a great
many conference centers and organizers are already resorting to this technique. For instance, you can find online information about the events, data concerning the participants, the possibility to register and send messages. “The mentality has changed. The virtual is still being Joerg Rathenberg used to con-
This is also the opinion of Joerg RathenJens Arndt berg, Vice-President of Marketing with Unisfair: “Seeing that companies are flocking to embrace these new technologies, it stands to reason
Ubivent, believes that “the future will consist of ‘real live’ events with a virtual extension tagged on. We could also film the speakers and then debate on their opinions during a truly global chat, a mere few hours following the live presentation”. Chris Meyer, Sales Manager with InXpo, in his turn thinks that we shall finally be able to fully focus on the content of the messages, given that the technique has now reached such a high state of development. Also for him, every ‘real live’ event will eventually come with its own virtual counterpart.
The IMEX Trade Fair, high point for the convention, conference, and incentive industry The IMEX in Frankfurt closed on a very positive note. This year’s results have proved excellent.
MEX is a trade exhibit for the convention, conference, and incentive industry.
A total success IMEX President Ray Bloom could not contain his enthusiasm: “The IMEX-model clearly works. We counted nearly 9000 visitors who were enjoying the exhibits and able to transact profitable business. The IMEX App, allowing you to put together your own agenda and arrange meetings, was downloaded in truly massive numbers (over 1200 downloads)”. Numerous important associations and major corporations attended the IMEX: American Express, Citibank, Crédit Suisse, Nomura International, Danone, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Oracle, Cisco, SAP, Siemens, Volkswagen, Renault and Bugatti, to name just a few. We further noted the presence of management consultants such as Ernst & Young, KPMG and McKinsey. Likewise the pharmaceutical industry was represented via Lilly, Merck and Pfizer. And then there were the representatives of the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), all eager to do business. The figures themselves tell the tale: more than 57.000 appointments were arranged between customers and exhibitors and 12.000 messag-
Optimism reigns supreme Innumerable studies and research projects were proposed during the IMEX, all of them – as Bloom sees it - with results pointing in the right direction, both for associations, businesses, and organizations as well as for newly developing and longestablished markets. Skies are clearing again for the business world and optimism is building a new and scaling towards new heights. IMEX may confidently face the future and all indicators show the green light for the next IMEX USA to take place in Las Vegas this coming October.
In 2012, IMEX will celebrate its tenth anniversary in Frankfurt and is already making preparations
for its next “Challenge corporate responsibility project”, which is scheduled for Slovenia. IMEX likewise is eager to enhance its presence amongst the social media. Bloom says in closing: “Next year will signify an important step for IMEX and for the interests of the industry it supports and represents”.
Borneo and its «green solution» The Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) in Malaysia recently launched its «green solution» for
enterprises and public administrations. This solution is called ‘Virtual Meeting BCCK’.
Instead of delegating three to ten employees to attend a meeting, you are now able to use our Virtual Meeting facility. This system has been installed inside our Convention Centre, costs a mere fraction of the total cost involved, and in addition contributes to reducing CO2 emissions» (Paul D’Arcy, Chief Executive Officer).
Improved productivity and greater effectiveness This looks like an interesting experience of the kind that may prove an inspiration for our local colleagues… in our opinion, well worth pursu-
ing a little further. By dispatching personnel members to the four corners of the world, a corporation is forced to budget for travel costs, transfers to and from airports, lodgings, meals, and entertainment. This all adds up to major expenses in the end. Furthermore, a virtual meeting is both more productive and more effective. It allows for product demonstrations, ideas exchanges, and negotiations, all within a span of two to three hours. In a conventional meeting, this would certainly take 48 hours and up.
Refreshments (and more) included! For what concerns free Internet applications, «Virtual Meeting BCCK» likewise offers a number of advantages: more than ten participants can join into the discussions and the camera can freely pan about and be focused on any one of them at any time by simply pressing a button. Thanks to his technique, there is no longer any need to squeeze everybody together around the camera. The Internet connection used by «Virtual Meeting BCCK» is also a lot faster. The flow of images is more fluid and slow-downs in the
projection are minimal. In short, the equipment is top quality (high level) and serviced by very competent technical personnel. If you choose the «Virtual Meeting» package, you will be served coffee, tea, and light refreshments. For a meeting lasting beyond three hours, also a meal is included. «The technology is intended to simplify our relations in the Electronic Age,» Mr. D’Arcy explains.
Borneo Convention Centre Kuching E-mail : email@example.com Website : www.bcck.com.my
The best device remains useless if not used Today, more than ever before, business is being conducted on a global scale. Businesses need to interact with one another and
keep in constant touch with their commercial partners, worldwide.
he traditional relationships based on the “face-to-face” model have had to be adjusted. They cost too much in time and money. Having recourse to “virtual” solutions is fast becoming indispensable.
The traditional methods carry the day Recently, the Forrester Consulting organization conducted a study that involved some 797 American, European, and Australian companies. The survey established that company employees tend to hark back to the “traditional” methods to interact with their partners: e-mails, telephone calls, and “face-toface” meetings head the list of preferences, with the last one being considered the most productive. While there are a variety of ways to cut down on the inevitable distances between business partners, we note that the large majority of employees revert to the work methods that are most familiar, thus most
preferences. Inadequate recourse to “virtual” solutions is sometimes due to a real absence of their availability: companies have no, or only sporadic, access to the methodologies. This tells us that many companies possess these sophisticated but limited systems but reserve them almost exclusively for use by management personnel. Yet, that is not the only reason: a large segment of collaborators is of the opinion that all of this is “just not needed”. Also note this strange fact: the younger set of employees are not any different from the senior in this and, “mutatis mutandis” express the same opinion.
You have to prove there’s a worthwhile pay-off
comfortable, to them. Hence, we will have to take these habits into account if we want the new methods for staying in touch with our business relations to be accepted as common currency in the practice. It will be necessary to make information tools available that collaborators will feel comfortable using, meaning methods that closely resemble the most “natural” one, namely the “face-to-face” approach.
“It’s just not needed” The assortment of cooperative tools and resources may be put into four categories: e-mails and messages, real-time cooperative technology (web and videoconferencing), cooperative platforms (e.g., team workspaces), and “social” software (e.g., blogs and social networks). Businesses are putting such resources in place with the prime objective of cutting travel costs, both in terms of time and money. We note, however, that collaborators do experience these novel methods in a different way and like rather to seek a sort of refuge behind the comfort of their habitual
While the traditional methods have proven their worth, they do have their drawbacks: mails make for volume-choked mailboxes, with telephone conversations your interlocutor has to be available on the spot, and face-to-face meetings are not easy to organize (commuting, loss of time, expenditures, aggravations, etc…). The question remains how managers can offer effective tools to their personnel that the latter will accept as such. Here, we need to fall back on the notion of “natural” usage that must not clash with
the “spontaneous” working methodologies. One solution is to analyze traditional methods and sum up their advantages. Then you have to stress that the new methods offer the same advantages, plus others besides that make a difference, thus to prove that there is, indeed, a “worthwhile pay-off” in the end, that it does pay to make the change. You retain the assets of before and offer other “advantages” in addition. But to be successful in this, you will need to provide full information and actually demonstrate the fact. It won’t do just to introduce your new communication resources cold turkey; you also will have to demonstrate how effective they are and how easy to use. At this point, you are entering into the area of work psychology: the best device in the world will keep sitting idle if you don’t know how to use it correctly or are reluctant to put it into practice. Your personnel must be given an opportunity to test out the technology, without restrictions, to let them decide for themselves whether or not it meets their requirements.
Revival… or collapse The tired business traveler will hardly find relief from fatigue in a hotel room that is less
than comfortable! In fact, it is likely to turn fatigue into sheer exhaustion.
o statistics are needed to prove the point: all of us are aware of it … the room makes all the difference. You’ll either revive in it or feel even worse …
Bad experiences are hardly the exception … Just take for an example the business woman who arrives at her hotel late in the evening after a long tiring flight. She cleanses her face, happy to finally jump into the invitingly freshly made bed and sink into the arms of Morpheus, that welcome companion to the exhausted traveler... This idyllic picture is rudely disrupted at 4 am: the ringing of the radio alarm shatters the silence, programmed by the previous room occupant… and left as it was! All business travelers have experienced these irritating details that can happen wherever they find themselves. There are, as a matter of course, the TV settings and also the problems of getting access to the Internet. Neophyte travelers need to call Reception to get a cable and, in any event, ask them for an access code.
Fortunate they are if they don’t have to call for assistance from “specialized” staff to solve a connection problem! Travelers’ time schedules and the timing of their meetings require that they need to sleep later in the morning to catch up on sleep lost the previous night. Woe to the chambermaids that seldom pay attention to the “Do Not Disturb” sign, even though it is very conspicuously hung at the outside of the door.
It’s enough to make your stomach turn A stuttering shower, the enervating drip-drip of a leaking faucet, the plugged drain in the bathtub… not uncommon occurrences. Let’s also say a few words about noise insulation... This is a sore point, seldom satisfactory. Some experienced travelers invariably take their own earplugs along! Then there is the air-conditioning, yet another source of undesirable decibels to bug the occupant, even when working properly (since you can pick up a bad cold in a room that turns into a freezer overnight). And what about cleanliness? Well, another area that often leaves a lot to be desired. The “gen-
eral cleaning” is done, but don’t look too closely into the details. Don’t look under the bed, for instance, or in the cracks, wherever they are. Plus the odors... at best only that musty stuffiness. When you make your way to the breakfast room in the morning, you’ll often pass the remnants of evening meals left in the hallways on their service trolleys. Not exactly appetizing. Sometimes the smells make your stomach turn… dried-out spaghetti sauces, soured dressing on soggy wilted salads, stale beer odors. Hoteliers and their teams nonetheless do their best, but they tend to drop a few stitches along the way. ‘Providing service’ ought never to be just a virtual notion without real substance behind it; it must be tangible and experienced as the ‘real’ thing.
The future of mobile applications according to Gartner Mobile applications are the eco-system of the Smartphones, giving them their
hey are extremely important and truly instrumental in every decision to purchase a Smartphone. Recently, Gartner ferreted out a few mobile applications that are bound to generate a lot of attention in 2012.
Geo-localisations and context Not surprisingly, Gartner selects services on the basis of geo-localisation and “context”. Offering services to users in function of their geographic position is, simply put, seen as the Holy Grail of marketing, especially if you can add also “contextual” information. This means information about personal preferences, gender, age, profession, and the like. Analysts are predicted a rosy future for social network applications, with or without geo-localisation, to find one another in the real physical environment. It goes without saying that these applications enable a fast-track auto-segmentation of the users, generally winding up, in fact, in more traditionally developed relations (for instance, via e-mails). The applications for information queries about products and services will take off in ever in-
creasing numbers. The user will be able, via a simple photo or a barcode scan, to receive information (both for what concerns product characteristics and related prices), thus enabling him or her to proceed to a subsequent purchase. Later on in the future (we are talking here 2015), Gartner foresees the ever growing use of the cell phone as a payment terminal, also in real stores. Obviously, the system has to be set up absolutely properly to function as a workable venue, eliminating the pitfalls of a too complicated trajectory for its use and guarding against insecure payment transactions.
Tablets consume content Gartner opines that innovative services will logically arrive in the wake of context information. These services will be capable of offer-
ing consumer products in a proactive manner, basing themselves particularly on their purchasing history and offering a profile wholly brought up to date (this resembles a bit the system that is being used already now by Genius of iPhone). We will witness the emergence of a lot of messaging tools, for text, voice, as well as for images. The consumer is now entering ‘for real’ the era of the “unified communications”. Skype already offers us a foretaste of these applications that, incidentally, are getting ever better and better and will be presenting novel cooperative tools. Mobile video is set to take flight and likewise 3D will proclaim its ‘Joyous Entry’. And, in conclusion, the publishing world will be given a new boost by the inundation of Tablet PCs: iPads will be consuming content, whether under the form of PDFs or ‘Enriched’ documents. From a practical point of view, we would like to add our wish to these visions for the future: that the expenses for the mobile Internet (within our country) ultimately be made affordable for everybody and that the expensive roaming service finally bring its impossibly high rates down to reasonable limits. The point is that, in the light of the above-mentioned predictions for the future, the Internet has ceased to be an exclusive luxury item!
Tips and pointers for picking the ideal hotel! Obviously, a business trip requires careful planning in advance, but do you realize that it is practically just as important to pick the right
kind of hotel as to ensure you’ll have the correct files on hand at the right moment?
Making money by spending money …
services. Although the ‘wake-up call’ service is no longer used a lot by those having a Smartphone, it still remains a favorite of some business people (a double morning call can put your mind at ease!). Laundry and dry cleaning facilities allow you to travel ‘light’: you gain time when checking in (no bags in the plane’s baggage hold).
Generally, one draws up an analysis of hotel rates and locations. Obviously, this will vary. Hotel rates should be judged depending on the comfort and the services offered by the individual establishments: paying more may be justified as a good investment if it will increase your productivity. To begin with, location is important. If your hotel is near the Convention Centre or your meeting place, you will stand to gain a lot of time. This is certainly worth paying the higher rate. The hotel room should be spacious and offer you the possibility to work as if in a functional office space, with access to broadband connections, of course. Peace and quiet and clean bed
Sometimes one will find hotels that offer “business facilities”, some of them with secretarial service. In any case, to be able to print out documents from a USB-stick can come in very handy, even these days when the tablet PC rules the roost: whether it be for printing out your scheduled appointments or your reserved seating on the airplane that you selected 24 hrs prior to your return flight. Room service makes up for the lack of time in your tight schedule: you order your meal, take a relaxing bath, and get on with your tasks while they are preparing everything for you downstairs in the kitchen! Then there can be enormous time savings in having a taxi stand or a subway station nearby. This you can check out quickly with Google tools! And, finally, don’t forget to take along the small but essential accessory items that you can really never do without (and which are not always offered by the hotel), such as, for instance, rechargers for cell phones and laptops.
nd how profitable your trip will turn out will likewise depend on where you ‘touch down’. All the more reason then to ask yourself the right, meaning relevant, questions well in advance.
linen are absolute necessities to assure you of a restorative night’s rest. Recreational facilities such as a fitness room and a swimming pool are very welcome after a day’s work. A cozy bar is another asset where you can hold meetings in a relaxed atmosphere. Integrated restaurants mean great time savings and the quality of the menu is certainly one of the essential elements. While on a business trip, eat healthy and sparingly and avoid going overboard with the alcohol.
Travel ‘Light’! And not to overlook the hotel’s
Annoying cables and hotel rooms What could possibly be more irritating when you get into your hotel room to find that the
Internet connection – if it’s there at all – happens to be available only via cable?
his cable will generally be inside one of the desk drawers, or maybe not ... you had better make sure to take one with you, just in case.
The iPad demands its dose of “webtime” But that’s not all of it! True, the business traveler is able to connect his laptop to the Internet, but then he can’t use it on the bed because the cable is too short! Besides, these days it isn’t just a matter of laptops anymore! Often enough, the business traveler also carries a Smartphone, and this too needs to be connected to the Internet in order to be fully operational. And ever more frequently, there is an iPad that in turn demands ‘its’ dose of “webtime”... Well then… what do you do now? How to deal with all of this? There are two main methods. First, you got to roll up your sleeves and delve deep into the guts of the network, meaning you will have to ask your laptop to share its Internet connection and to create a wireless network, a hotspot. You connect the cable to the laptop, which remains
where it is depending on the length of the cable, but the other devices will now become capable of taking advantage of the wireless Internet. This is fairly easy to do with a MAC (we have tried this out ourselves), but with a PC you’ll run into some obstacles... Conclusion: this solution is good only for those who know what they are doing.
Automatic hotspot and … wireless music The second solution happens to be a lot easier and consists of plugging in an Apple “Airport express”. This is a small contact box that looks like a big wall socket. It is ultra-light and works great. You connect an Ethernet cable to it and start a configuration program on the computer. The Airport will now automatically make up a hotspot, protected by a password of your choice. From that point on-
wards, everything comes up roses: the laptop, the Smartphone, and the Tablet-PC establish your connection with the Internet and you’re ready to go wireless. In contrast to solution 1, the laptop is now no longer connected with a cable and you can move it around the hotel room at will. The configurations need not be adapted, the laptop will automatically find the hotspot of the Airport, just like with any other hotspot. And as the icing on the cake, when you get home you can plug the Airport Express into your HiFi chain to wirelessly send music to your speakers from your computer, iPhone, or iPad... For this too is another (very interesting) function of the Airport Express…
Digital Signage as a welcome hotel guest Whether digital signage is being deployed within a major hotel chain that caters primarily to international corporations or within a small family hotel, it ensures a more effective communication
with the guests.
he system also relieves hotel personnel of certain tasks, thus enabling collaborators to deal with the more relevant duties. This further makes for a better functioning hotel reception system.
The digital concierge Hotel patrons generally are in the habit of bombarding hotel concierges with pretty well always identical questions: what are the local restaurants to visit? What are interesting tourist attractions? These and similar queries. By employing “a virtual concierge”, dealing with these ever recurring questions will become easy. This virtual concierge may be a simple screen or an interactive system that can be activated by the mere touch of a fingertip. Digital signage likewise comes in very handy for giving ‘road’ directions! With it, it becomes a lot
easier to get your bearings inside a hotel. Finding your way around the floors, to the meeting rooms, or the fitness centre… this now becomes mere child’s play. This information can also be adjusted at the last minute in function of upcoming events, something that, of course, is impossible with signs and notices and agendas or anything written out on paper. Kiosks and interactive screens can www.visualys.eu deal with “checkins” and “checkouts” to constructively solve crowded queuing at the reception desk. This way, guests will be assured of an always avail-
able, no-worry service that can even be consulted from inside their rooms. The guests will thus be able to process all of the check-out formalities in total comfort.
Carefully positioned Digital signage informs hotel guests about important events connected to their stay, but it will likewise disseminate general information or show the latest news items, expected weather conditions, and even flight departures and arrivals. Guests just love this sort of information, which bring some life into the old brewery. Some hoteliers make the screens available for local advertising, at a fee. This is one interesting and enterprising method to make the system pay for itself. But where should you put the screens? Use good sense and do not turn your lobby into a “mini-Times Square”. This communication benefit needs to be positioned with subtlety, with a delicate sense, with good taste. Preferred locations are near the elevators, in the hallways, the meeting rooms, the gift shops, inside the bars, and near transportation services. And make certain that you keep the decibels under control. Choose for a “selective coverage” of well-defined areas, which is perfectly possible to do with the current technique.
Different cultures… Different content Digital signage is being used for various purposes: to stimulate sales by promoting products and services, making the boredom of having to wait somewhere more bearable,
providing people with information within the context of business communications, etc.
here are as many different ways to use screens as there are messages to display. What counts most is content… that’s the accepted fact. True enough, but what’s the most effective content?
Be relevant We know already that, if only advertising clips are shown, the viewers will quickly tune out. To have maximum effect, we need to take due account of certain esthetic criteria such as contrast, color, size, certain movements, etc… that too is well known. But even then one cannot take it for granted that the message will be effective. The point is: content needs to be relevant… and that depends on three key factors. Appropriate content is content that is adapted to the viewing public. In most instances, you will have to figure you have three seconds to give the viewers a compelling reason to keep watching your screen. Appropriate content is also very brief, with a strong-
ly accented visual impact, irrespective of the situation within which it is shown, and it adopts minor variations depending on whether the public is located in a train station terminal or in a doctor’s waiting room, for instance. Appropriate content has to be repeated. As a general rule, you may take it that the public has to see the same message at least two or three times before it will have a lasting effect. This presupposes setting up artfully conceived loops. You know you cannot repeat the same message over and over again; content needs to be diversified.
Cricket at the Sharjah airport! Also, you will have to adapt your message to local customs. What appears acceptable in one country may prove totally unacceptable in another. One of the prime locations for digital signage screens is the airport terminal. We note that the screens at any airport anywhere in the world are installed at similar locations, for example, departure gates, so as to alleviate passenger boredom during waiting times. However, and not surprisingly, the content differs significantly, depending on the airport and local customs.
As an example, the content at the Sharjah International Airport (United Arab Emirates) is, by general passenger request (Indians between 35 and 49 years of age), primarily composed of funny, weird “little news items”, gossip about movie stars, and also sports events (the choice event here is cricket, the most popular sport in India). The subtitles and texts are in English since most travelers do not read Arabic. The digital signage loops put together for this particular airport differ considerably from similar loops in Paris or Barcelona, given the distinctive individual profiles of the locations. The better we understand the complex inter-relationships that exist between the public and the messages on display, the more effective digital signage will be.
Digital signage compacted! Using digital signage does not always mean you have to go the outsized route! The fact is that the formula comes in various sizes, the most spectacular of which are, unquestionably, the gigantic screens you see inside
et, these giant avatars are not necessarily the most effective! In fact, they are absolutely not suited for use inside the stores of small retailers; there you are far better off using a compact format.
spot where he or she will be making the decision to buy, the POS.”
It’s the customer that pulls the strings!
Furthermore, there are still other, even more inexpensive, methods, such as the use of digital photo frames. Obviously, you will lose the direct interaction in this case, but it allows you to compose simple messages displayed via different explanatory screens. Naturally, the impact of these communication venues has been analyzed and the findings are convincing: the greater the interaction, the more effective the message. This goes hand-in-hand with the ‘impulse buying’ phenomenon. Studies have shown that the consumer will indeed be induced to purchase products that are be-
A sports store … a customer is looking for a specific golf ball … an interactive 7-inch LCD-touch screen … that’s it. The choice is made! In this case you are aiming at direct personal contact with the consumer instead of wanting to attract mass attention. This approach allows you to proceed more subtly and concentrate on greater detail. In addition, the customer himself is left wholly in control of the decision: he himself will determine the interaction with the screen and its content. “We want to be positioned as close as possible to the products that the consumer will purchase”, says Jason Goldberg, vice-president of ING for MTI. And we have to recognize that thanks to the drop in price, LCD-screens have become a lot more affordable and, hence, within ready reach of the small retailers. Ken Menchio, manager with Cumming, adds to this: “You no longer have to worry about the training of your sales staff. In this case, the message is precisely what you want the customer to hear, at the very
Interaction with the customer is now common currency
ing promoted (read: explained) via such interactive demonstrations, even though he or she had not particularly intended to do so upon entering the store. All of this then points to new possibilities looming on the marketing horizon. “Interaction with the consumer is now common currency in the market and retailers are becoming ever more aware of its importance”, a point strongly emphasized by Ken Menchio.
Standing out amidst the visual proliferation… How to derive maximum benefit from digital signage once it has been installed inside a shopping mall? Not so easy …
verywhere there is a superabundance of screens, also in shopping centers, an environment that presents a real challenge.
Hitting at a mirage! A shopping centre is full of people, stores galore, countless sights and sounds. It takes a lot to stand out in such surroundings. “Visually, it gets enormously crowded inside a shopping center”. When ready to venture forth into novel and untried territory, you tend to work regressively, to reach back for the established known traditions by copying the familiar TV publicity model and transmitting the customary 30-second spots on your screens. However, this is quite meaningless given that consumers are so preoccupied, in such a hurry, and so distracted. They won’t take the time to watch the whole clip. What’s really happening is that people are looking all right, but without observing anything. Fortunately, you can get around that. Digital signage needs to be set up at locations where people spend time, such as, for in-
stance, in catering areas. Likewise, the content of your presentation needs to be pertinent, seen as useful, and experienced as enjoyable to the consumer. A good technique is to find content that as closely as possible ‘fits’ the profile of the shoppers frequenting the location.
Consumers want to take advantage of the bargains In the morning, more seniors will be present at a shopping centre. Early afternoon, it’s the mothers’ turn, and in the afternoon and early evening hours, we see the children and adolescents making their appearance. The content of the screens obviously has
to take account of the diversity of the audience and individualize the messages accordingly. All studies clearly demonstrate that consumers want to be kept informed about special sales offers and ongoing bargains. Informative spots are likewise appreciated, yet to a lesser degree, contrary to popular opinion at the very onset of the digital signage vogue. But it remains a fact, of course, that consumers flock to shopping centers to do some serious shopping and take advantage of the bargains offered. You can also resort to info-panels to guide shoppers to the desired stores. This is a new and interactive kind of publicity technique. Likewise interactive and wholly novel is the most sophisticated method that operates via the consumer’s cell phone. The shopper is invited to surf around a given website or to scan in “barcodes”, or to send an SMS text message to get a discount on a certain article. Digital signage is present to ensure that the shopper gets truly involved since it has been adequately proven that such personal involvement is the initial step towards the practical assurance that a sale will, most probably, result.
The ‘little’ foot soldier of Communication who does things in a ‘Big’ way The explanation is simple … and logical: business tends to dismiss the merits of mega-format printing since it is unaware of its existence.
n first acquaintance, people think of it in terms of the standard office print-outs, that is to say, ‘paper copies’ and ‘large
Too narrow a view While this conception is not wholly wrong, it is at best much too narrow. Mega-format print-outs
city streets until you come to a construction site protected by quasi-hoardings that are actually huge ‘canvasses’, generally conspicuous eyecatchers with their displays of colorful photos and an array of messages. Or check out the traffic scene for cars plastered with logos or ‘done up’ to the nines with advertisements from top to bottom, a good example being the promotional “Tour de France” Publicity Caravan. You want more examples? Visit a less hectic event such as a fair or an exhibition and check out the scenery there: banners, mega-posters (note they are not always made of paper!), exhibitor stands ... and not infrequently you’ll also find these examples of truly ‘mega-prints’ right underfoot!
Mega-format delivers big
are actually quite rare… on paper. Moreover, the term ‘large-size’ in our conception is inherently limitative; immediately we think of an A1-format, whereas these particular print-outs reach truly impressive dimensions. To get an idea of their actual size, just walk the
In supermarkets you will readily discover a number of sales display stands that have recourse to mega-format advertising. The conclusion is obvious: mega-format is omnipresent. We notice it, but not recognizing it for what it is, we dismiss its usefulness for business purposes. Mega-format is a bit like prose: the written word
Windo Displays E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.windodisplays.com is all around us… we register it as such but its true worth passes us by. Yet, mega-formatting is perfectly equipped to answer to an organization’s requirements. It lends itself perfectly to high-quality printing in small volume and is ideally suited as medium for the most crazily creative projects. At the same time, it readily adapts itself to the display of bland, uncomplicated, and straightforward messages that are the backbone of the signage, to name but one area … Mega-format, albeit only a little foot soldier in the ranks of Communication’s sophisticated army, is very much capable of delivering big without missing a single beat. And, remember, it can be used on any sort of carrier...
With QR, imagination is king! Recently, we have witnessed the recurrent appearance of QR-codes in traditional advertising in journals and
on street posters.
ot too long ago, QR-codes appeared on movie advertising posters in Times Square. Without knowing (as yet) whether or not they will in time have the same success rate as Facebook, at least for now, QR-codes are seen as “the next big thing”.
Once the information gets to the opinion makers, the goal has been reached As you know, a QR-code is a kind of 2D-barcode in the form of a square you can photograph with the camera of your Smartphone. Depending on the type of code, the user will automatically wind up at a website or, less frequently, be asked to form a phone number or register a VCard. At the moment, most people do not recognize these QR-codes, only the target group of the Smartphone users, a limitation that obviously restricts their potential impact. Nevertheless, you may take it that when the information gets to the “opinion makers”, it has been successful in reaching its target. In any event, all advertising forms
using this system have to explain the workings of this QR-code. The QR-code is an ideal way to engage in more than just publicity. You no longer need to remember the address of the website you wish to access, since everything can be processed via the photo of that code. This can be done directly via the 3G-network of the Smartphone or when you are back home. How can a business go about the integration of such QR-codes?
Transforms a real store into an E-shop Print the code on your business cards. This is the most direct way, albeit hardly creative. The QR-code can lead people also to your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, a simpler and easier way than having to type in long addresses. A smarter way is to make the QR-code part of your product data, thus to open up immediate access to all information that is relevant to the consumer. Just imagine the inclusion of a QR-code on a restaurant’s house wine,
which will then give you access to the site of the vineyard, plus all additional information amongst which how to order this wine. With a QR-code you can transform a real store into an E-shop. Stores are not open 24/7. With a QR-code advertised in your store window, you allow potential shoppers access to the virtual store and your prospective buyer may not be (all that) disappointed when he finds himself in front of a locked door. He can proceed to his purchases and these will be waiting for him to get picked up as soon as the store opens again. QR-codes can likewise offer discounts via the trueand-tried principle of the updated discount coupon. The event industry also has become infected by the QR-virus! Just think of the 100 T-shirts printed up with a QR code leading to the site of your brand product and that are worn by all participants in the event! And if the T-shirt is worth looking at, they will keep wearing it after the event as well! These suggestions are hardly complete. Let your imagination roam free! There can be little doubt that we shall have much more to report on future developments in this field!
Turning ideas into profits! Suppliers have been honing their skills for battle in the arena of mega-format printing. This is an already well-evolved field where the art of textile printing is reaping ever growing successes. And the more
it’s getting to be known, the more it’s being sought after.
he clients, both agencies and enterprises, are turning towards this technique to promote their products and spread their messages. This is done, amongst a variety of methods, by creating banners, by developing scenery sets, and even by realizing new types of covering materials! Hollanders Printing Systems employs highly professional textile printing processes… and the company is not reluctant to talk about them either...
Fast and profitable Thanks to technological advances, it is now possible to quickly and profitably create these types of products with megaformat printers. Textile has become an original and credible alternative for vinyl and other materials that thus far have been used for signage and interior decorative design. It offers interesting advantages, for instance, because of its polyvalent character: textile allows you to practically instantly accommodate a customer’s needs. Fabric allows you to work creatively without breaking the bank. Examples abound: carpets, lamp shades, pennants, banners, promotional clothing, chair upholstery... It would appear there are more venues than most creative advertisers can possibly conceive of. Textiles can be used both indoors and outdoors. When the fabric has been processed correctly, it won’t fade. The inks used for the outdoors are weather-resistant, water-based textile dispersion inks.
wrinkled, all you need to do is to stretch or iron it to restore that as-good-as-new look. Installation is likewise much simpler and less expensive. The texture of the fabrics offers a new dimension to the printed images; they are more interesting to look at, imbued with a more spirited ‘emotional finish’. Textile is environmentfriendly. In contrast to paper, vinyl, and veneering, there exists recyclable cloth much more environmentally conscious than conventional carriers. The needed raw materials are renewable and don’t require years for their development. In addition, they have only a minor ecological footprint since
With an eye on the environment Fabrics are also light and very portable, which makes them easy to transport! They weigh a lot less than vinyl or wood and, in general, less than all of the other materials used for signage, for events, and for creating backdrop scenery. Fabric is likewise a lot easier to manipulate and to ship: it’s readily packed and, if it gets
they do not emit volatile organic particles into the atmosphere.
With full sails billowing It’s one thing to sing the praises all of these realizations but to witness them in the actual reality is worth a thousand words! The images appended here testify to the multifacetted creativity that is making inroads throughout this field. One can admire a presentation of decorative textiles, or these simply splendid dresses in a plethora of all possible dizzying colors, with or without logos and text printed on them (be careful not to overdo this!). No surprise that, in this universe where textiles rule, signage feels like a fish in water… the same
feeling is also present in the world of sails and pennants and flags. They are delighted since these creations are also UV-resistant. It is therefore hardly surprising that a growing number of businesses are returning to printing on fabrics. In addition to the intrinsic quality of digital printing, they also can benefit from the other advantages, such as fast execution and the perfect adaptation to smaller print-runs.
A developer of solutions! All of these ideas came together at the great FESPA Trade Fair (Messe) that was held from 24 until 27 May in Hamburg. Hollanders Printing Systems (HPS), a company that specializes in textile applications, was «Gold Sponsor» for the occasion. The fair presented HPS with the opportunity to bring together manufacturers, producers, experts in the field, and consumers, while uniting the various dimensions of textile printing. It actually formed a perfect complementation to the competence center that HPS has established in Eindhoven. In this competence center, HPS loves to demonstrate the varied possibilities offered by textile. HPS uses textile applications for trade fairs, showrooms, but also as decorations, upholstery and other coverings, and for «home deco», interior home design. What makes HPS so special is the fact that they are not producers or printers but developers of solutions. They are a company specialized in printing on textiles. It is never a question of magically transforming an existing printer into a device capable of printing on fabric! On the contrary, everything is carefully thought out from A to Z in order to arrive at a coherent production unit. With every solution, every development, the specific demands of textile are always kept in mind. HPS invariably encourages her prospects and contacts to pay them a visit to check out their installations and to bring along their files and documents. Central to HPS is customer contact and satisfaction. It’s only normal that they have already booked a lot of progress and will continue to do so in the future. The fact is that textile is their great strength! Hollanders Printing Systems Meerenakkerplein 31 De Hurk 8630 5652 BJ Eindhoven The Netherlands Tel: +31 (0)40 7110711 Fax: +31 (0)40 7110717 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.hollanders-ps.nl