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How to Think About Choosing a Video Conferencing Platform

Going back a decade or more, our headline might have been moot - your only choice for a teleconferencing platform in your Richardson office would have been an on-premise solution, where you had to have your own IT support to run it. Today, the landscape is much different. Cloud-based video conferencing services like Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, and a host of others offer quality teleconferencing and collaboration platforms that efficiently connect people across town or around the globe.

But should everyone move to the cloud for teleconferencing? The answer, of course, depends on your needs, and also on your organization's size and distribution. Should you invest in on-premises solutions or go entirely cloud-based? The simple answer is you have choices that don't require you to move to one pole or the other. Keep reading to learn more.

SEE ALSO: Which Video Solution is Best for Conference Rooms: Display or Projector?

Where Onsite Makes the Most Sense

If you have a larger company or organization, you may already have invested in onsite video and teleconferencing technology. That includes the internal infrastructure to handle the bandwidth as well as a wide area network (WAN) configuration to support audio, video, and heavy data sharing. 

If that is the case, you can often leverage the equipment, infrastructure, and the experience of your internal IT department in supporting it. Perhaps you already have integration with your productivity suite for reserving conferencing-enabled meeting rooms as well. There is a way to bridge that investment with the cloud-based platforms to get the best of both worlds.

The advantages of the onsite platform are quality, security, and control. The investment in infrastructure and your ability to prioritize traffic, control bandwidth usage, and obtain extensive usage analytics help you manage your collaboration technology as tightly as you handle other critical aspects of your business.

The Case for Cloud-Based Teleconferencing

If your organization is geographically dispersed and has several smaller offices, a cloud-based solution might be ideal. This is especially true for companies that have limited IT resources or have adopted many other cloud-based platforms for other critical business information technology. If your remote offices are 2-10 person locations, and some may even work in co-working offices, the cloud-based platforms negate the need for IT support and management of equipment.

The downside? Any time you go over the public internet, you may be subject to drops in bandwidth, cloud service glitches, and other issues that may affect quality. For multiple remote locations, the management and cost advantages typically offset the quality issues that crop up.

Do You Need to Choose One or the Other?

Like many situations with technology, a hybrid approach can work. You can have your on-premise solution for your larger locations, and a cloud-based platform to collaborate with remote employees, partners, vendors, and suppliers. 

The best part is that Crown Audio-Video can help you choose the right equipment to outfit your meeting spaces that will work with both on-premise and cloud solutions - everything from conferencing cameras to microphones to switches, displays, projectors, and more. Our expert configuration and installation services help you integrate a solution that fits your needs.

Want to learn more about video and teleconferencing systems for your Richardson offices? Give us a call, fill out our online contact form, or click below to instantly connect with of our technology experts.

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Comparing Three Approaches to Whole Home Audio

You’re an audiophile. Or an audio enthusiast. Or perhaps you’re not into labels; you just love music, and you like to fill your home with it. You may want to know about some of the options currently available or perhaps your Highland Park house was wired for multiroom audio years ago, but you might be looking to upgrade the speakers and the system to bring it to the state of the art standards in digital music and wireless control.

So where do you start? We’ll break down two popular approaches. But we won’t tell you any of these solutions are better than the other; it depends on your goals, your tastes, and the layout of your home, among other factors. Let’s take a closer look.

SEE ALSO: Manage Your Music Library with a Whole Home Audio System

 

The AV Receiver or Amplifier

For years, a receiver or amplifier has been at the heart of most audio enthusiast's systems. Whether it was the all-in-one convenience of a high-quality stereo or multichannel receiver, an integrated amp, or a preamp and amplifiers, this was the route to hi-fi audio in the home.

If you only needed one or two more areas (or zones), many multichannel receivers can power those without additional equipment. For bigger multiroom/multizone audio setups, the output of one of these systems could feed one or several distribution amplifiers to power a series of built-in speakers throughout the house.

Wireless Speakers

The popularity of digital audio and music streaming services has changed music consumption, and with it has come new approaches to whole-home sound. Wireless all-in-one speakers controlled by smartphone apps could synchronize audio across many zones - but they do need to plug into a power source. These systems eschew receivers and other components and work directly with your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Examples of these systems are Sonos, DTS Play-Fi, Denon's HEOS, and Yamaha's Musicast. While these wireless speakers sound good and work well, they are not what most enthusiasts would label audiophile speakers - although that is changing, as more high-end manufacturers are getting into this area.

As an excellent example of hi-fi audio makers entering the wireless speaker space, McIntosh, one of Crown Audio-Video's high-end audio brands, makes the RS100 wireless loudspeaker, which works with the DTS Play-Fi system and voice control with Amazon Alexa.

Another brand partner, Paradigm, has the PW series of wireless speakers, including an amp that can make any hi-fi system work within a DTS Play FI network of speakers. Also, wireless streaming capabilities are de rigueur features for current models of AV receivers. Paradigm’s Anthem receivers and amplifiers are audiophile worthy products, and the receivers also include whole house streaming ability through DTS Play-Fi.

Larger Customized Multiroom Systems

The other option for multiroom is the fully built-in approach. With architectural speakers from top-tier makers such as Sonance and Revel, you can have excellent sound quality that rivals freestanding speakers.

With current whole-home music distribution products from smart home vendors like Control4, you can also have a completely integrated music system that gives you access to your digital music collection as well as the best services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and more.

Control4 music distribution systems like the EA controllers - which also incorporate smart home control - let you distribute lossless and high-resolution music from small to large homes with many zones. These systems are typically rack-mounted in a cabinet or equipment closet and are controlled by customized remote, touchscreens, wall-mounted keypads, or your smartphone.  You get the music and the audio quality you want with nary a speaker or amplifier in sight.

Choosing the right multiroom audio system for your Highland Park home is a balance between many considerations including sound quality, control, lifestyle, your décor, and how many areas where you want your music to flow.

Crown Audio-Video is expert in whole home technology and can guide you every step of the way.  Fill out our online contact form, call us at (214) 377-9434, or click below to instantly connect with one of our audio experts. 

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Four Innovative Ideas for Digital Signage Design

Once upon a time, the digital sign was a novelty. Whether it was a new sleek flat panel display for flight times at DFW - to a digital menu board at a new fast-casual restaurant, we may have marveled at the new way to present information that could be quickly updated and made more graphical and engaging.

Digital signs are showing up in many places, and sometimes we now just take them for granted. One example might be the sign that shows you that your prescription is ready to pick up in grocery store pharmacy counters. Perhaps that one doesn't get noticed much; it provides valuable but necessary information. For more marketing-oriented applications, you want something to pop and stand out.

Because of the cost-effectiveness of flat panel displays, you might think that all digital signage must fit within the confines of that tidy 16:9 format package. We would say that you can stretch a little and think outside the box - or the rectangle if you will - for innovative ways to set your digital signage designs apart in Dallas.

Are you ready for some different digital signage ideas? Read on below.

SEE ALSO: How to Entertain and Inform Customers in Your Bustling Store

3D Holographic Displays

3D Holography is rapidly coming down the cost curve thanks to the use of standard LED display technology. The innovation is mounting strips of LED on fan blades that rotate at high speed, and the results are almost magic - 3D lifelike holographic images like something out of a Hollywood sci-fi movie. HYPERVSN is the company behind this innovation, and they are offering stock imagery and authoring tools to develop attention-grabbing displays. Once you have the customer's attention, you could grab it further with the valuable information that more standard "in the box" digital signage can provide.

                                                                                                                                 

Projection Mapping

This technique involves projectors as the name implies and is a type of augmented reality that dates back to the 90s. It is often used to map color and movement onto stationary buildings, and with the right software can add new dimensions to a static display. A novel and large-scale use of this technology by Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is featured below, introducing one of their new jets. But projection mapping can be done on much smaller scales as well. And with the cost-effectiveness of today's 4K projectors (like those from our brand partner Sony) all it takes is imagination.

Edge Blending

Edge blending is merely using multiple projection images to put up a sizeable seamless image and typically involves overlapping image edges about 20 percent with multiple screens. It is a feature that can be used with most current projectors, and even some ultra-short throw projectors as well. Again, this sounds like something large scale, but it can be done in more limited spaces as well, like a blank wall in a retail store.

Southwest Airlines Projection Mapping - Dallas - YouTube
Video Walls

Technically the video wall may not get you thinking outside the rectangle, but that group of rectangular displays for the wall can take something other than a rectangular shape. The point is that video walls are large, impressive, and get attention if done correctly. The combination of stunning imagery, graphics, and video can engage customers and present the message you want to convey with memorable impact.

Crown Audio Video is ready to take your next Dallas digital signage design from idea to reality.  Give us a call or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation with our team.  We’d love to hear from you!

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Here’s What You Want to Know

Whether you’re a certified audiophile, “audioholic," or simply enjoy listening to great music at the best possible quality, chances are your passion for the sound doesn’t stop outside your listening room. When you’re outside soaking up the sun this summer by the pool in Dallas, you want to hear music with the same intensity you enjoy indoors.

So how do you get great audio outside? Buying good quality equipment is undoubtedly a part of it, but there are some different wrinkles to getting impactful sound outdoors. Just as in any audio setting, speakers, their placement, amplifiers, cabling, and source material all matter. But the outdoors presents its own challenges.

Ready to learn more about getting the best audio quality in your outdoor audio-video setup in University Park? Just keep reading.

SEE ALSO: Want to Make the Most of Your Outdoor Living Space?

 

Balancing Sound Outside

There are two significant challenges to overcome with outdoor audio. One is that people aren't always sitting and listening; they tend to move around.  The other is that there are no walls or ceilings to reflect sound, which makes a huge difference in volume and directivity. As such, there is no stereo "sweet spot" like the perfect one you have in your favorite listening space indoors. 

In outside audio design, careful attention needs to be paid to speaker spacing. Depending on the size of the area you want to cover with sound, you may need to employ a series of speakers to have sound in a contiguous space with no dead spots. Moreover, you will want the audio to be distributed evenly so that if someone is standing near a speaker, it is not blasting them; they hear the same level as they move.

To achieve this ideal level and coverageyou can employ sets of satellite speakers at spaced intervals with buried subwoofers to add the low-end bass punch. If achieving stereo sound may be difficult with speaker placement, many outdoor models accept stereo input, so that one speaker handles both channels of audio, in much the same way that some of today's wireless speakers work. The Sonance Landscape Series (SLS) is a perfect example of a system specifically designed to accomplish this.

Power and Cabling

Because there are no walls outside to reflect sound, you may need a lot more power to achieve higher volume outdoors. One rule of thumb that we use - as a starting point - is to double the power output that you might need indoors to drive a given set of speakers to the desired output. Naturally, this depends on the chosen speakers, their efficiency, if you are using subwoofers, and other factors, but it’s important to understand if you like it loud outside.

There are also a couple of types of cabling to consider for outside audio. The typical wiring for speakers is the type that delivers a channel (or two) of audio to a specific speaker from an amplifier output. Borrowing from commercial installations, 70-volt systems permit daisy chaining of multiple speakers off of a single 70-volt amplifier. The advantage of this is the ability to run a single cable to power a series of speakers, which might simplify the design of your outdoor setup. The Sonance Landscape Series (SLS) is an excellent example of a system designed for 70-volt chaining and blanketing a given area with even, superb sound.

We could go into more detail, but there are too many options to list everything you can do, and every situation is different. Your best bet in the Park Cities is to give us a call, fill out our online contact form, or click below to instantly connect with of our outdoor technology experts - we can design and install the perfect outdoor audio system for you.

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Lutron Smart Shading Solutions Optimize the Use of Natural Light

Despite the abundance of energy sources here in Texas, most businesses are concerned with energy consumption.  Whether driven by environmental concerns or cost, it is a wise move for any business not to waste energy.

 Of course, there are a variety of solutions that can help with energy management in commercial environments. Lighting control and climate control automation are technology solutions that can significantly increase energy efficiency.

One area that perhaps doesn’t get as much attention as lighting and climate control is motorized window treatments. Managing natural light effectively can be the perfect complement to these other forms of automation. And like the other two, it yields benefits in increased comfort and even worker productivity.

Want to gain more insight into motorized window treatment for your Frisco,TX commercial building?  Just keep reading.

Control the Light, Elegantly

We all know the Texas summer heat and sun are fierce. Large office building windows, despite their tinting, still allow for glare and heat buildup at the height of the day. The challenge is to harness the natural light yet minimize the heat and enable the HVAC systems to work efficiently. Lutron’s smart shading solutions offer a broad array of 200 fabrics that carefully balance excellent aesthetics with performance; minimizing glare and heat but allowing natural light in for a more pleasant work environment.

Adaptive Smart Shading

Lutron’s solutions make the most of daylight efficiently through sensors and their Hyperion solar adaptive technology. The Hyperion system automatically adjusts Lutron motorized shades based on the position of the sun as tracked by the sensors.  Their wirelessly mounted window sensors add the intelligence to adjust shades up or down for cloudy conditions or shadows that may occur from dynamically changing conditions. Shades can be grouped to operate in unison or to function independently and adjust individually to outside light as it moves across a building's façade.

Glare through car windshields and windows can be both distracting and uncomfortable, if unchecked in an office environment.  Lutron's specially engineered fabrics can cut glare by varying amounts depending on sun exposure.  Studies show that glare can reduce productivity by 20%.  Similarly, research also indicates that access to outside views can also improve productivity, so having choices in fabrics to allow for natural light, maintaining external views, and reducing glare are essential for maintaining an engaging work environment.

Integrated and Intelligent Control

Lutron’s motorized shading products - like all Lutron solutions - integrate expertly with both other Lutron solutions like commercial lighting control and system from different vendors. High-end Lutron lighting solutions like Quantum and Enterprise Vue can manage shading and lighting that spans one floor to an entire building.  With Lutron, you can get the automation that makes your commercial property more efficient, and you also can give workers the ability to control their environment when needed to enable a more productive workforce too.

Harness natural light efficiently with Lutron motorized window treatment in your Frisco buildings. To learn more, call us at (214) 377-9434, fill out our online contact form, or click below to be instantly connected to one of our specialists.

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A Home Automation Company Guides You Through a Successful Install

Often clients looking to upgrade their smart technology in Frisco, TX make the mistake of thinking home automation companies serve as retailers. Usually, they'll inquire about adding a particular product or feature they've seen in a commercial or at a neighbor's house. The truth is the home automation company you work with should be there as your guide and not just there to sell you a product.

One way to understand it is to think of the other people working on your home: an architect, interior designer, or even plumber. Each offers distinct expertise to provide a solution. Though it might come up, meetings don’t revolve around buying a replacement pipe, couch or architectural finish. Home automation companies work the same way.

The goal isn’t just to sell you a thermostat or speaker but to design a comprehensive smart home. Once you realize that, you'll also understand how important it is that these companies have a transparent process in place. Ultimately the goal is to build a relationship with the client to ensure they get exactly what they expect from their new technology.

SEE MORE: What Are the Benefits of Working With a Control4 Dealer?

Initial Consultation

The first step should be to set up a one-on-one consultation to gauge your needs. During this meeting, you'll discuss the technology and features you're interested in and what areas of your home you'd like to add them to. Even though that may change during the conversation, it's important to know your top priorities from the start. Valued contractors or employees like property managers, builders or designers should be part of this discussion.

Design and Engineering

Experts on our team will then take the information from that meeting and come up with comprehensive design for your smart home automation system. Recommended hardware, its location, necessary wiring, and labor considerations are all included in these documents. The team will meet with you or your property manager to go over the designs and get your approval and feedback. Once we have your approval, our engineers will add their plans and present the final draft.

Installation

Usually, home automation companies will carry out the installation in different ways depending on whether your project is new construction or retrofit. For new constructions, it’s a two-step process. During the construction phase, we’ll go in and add all the necessary wiring foundation and, in some cases, any in-wall features like speakers or touchpad mounts. Once walls are up, we’ll come back in and add all the equipment including TVs, thermostats, and keypads. For retrofits, often the installation needs to be streamlined, so homeowners don't have to deal with open walls for long. 

Training

Now comes the fun part! It’s important to work with a home automation company that walks you through your brand-new technology solution once it’s finished. We’ll show you how to manage every part of your smart home and stick around for any questions you have. If something comes up once we leave, you can call us or check out our online tutorials for help.

Maintenance and Support

Once we’ve finished your initial installation, we’ll provide you all the final documents. These are vital if you want to get any updates or maintenance down the line from someone else. However, our goal is to build a lasting relationship with all of our clients. We’re there to help if you ever need repairs, maintenance or upgrades down the line. We know your system better than anyone, so we’ll be able to offer the best service possible for your smart home.

Want to learn more about our smart home installation process and why we’re the go-to home automation company in the Dallas-Forth Worth Area? Call us at (214) 377-9434, fill out our contact form or click below to chat with one of our customer service representatives.

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Add Outdoor AV and Smart Lighting to Create the Perfect Ambiance

We have had a reasonably chilly winter, and most people in the Dallas area are ready to trade in the sweaters, jackets, jeans, and boots for the shorts and the flip-flops. Spring is here, and in Texas, that means it's going to warm up quickly.

With the long sunny summer in Texas, we have ample opportunity to spend time outside. Pools have a long useful season, and outdoor kitchens can be used almost year-round. We tend to invest a lot in our outdoor spaces, and we want to make the most of it.

In this day and age of endless electronic entertainment, we also spend a lot of time watching and listening to content. Whether it's movies, sports, binge-watching favorites on Netflix, or music, we want access to entertainment everywhere.

We're not talking about your iPad and a pair of headphones; we are talking about having a high-quality entertainment system outside. While the summer days are hot, the evenings are spectacular to enjoy your beautiful pool, patio, and landscape. So why stay inside when you can bring the entertainment with you?

An audio-video setup and a smart lighting system can help you maximize the pleasures of your outdoor living space in Highland Park. Read on for some ideas for your outdoor entertainment oasis.

SEE ALSO: Add Drama to Your Home’s Exterior with LED Lighting

Lighting for Ambiance

The right lighting can always set the mood, indoors and out. Today’s LED lighting offers many options for types of lights, and they can include color too. With a smart lighting control system, your lights can be coordinated with the time of day and the activity. Hosting a nighttime swim party? Turn on the pool and spa, and even change the color every few minutes to dazzle your guests. Having friends over to watch a game on the outdoor TV? Softly light your patio and gardens for drinks, food, and fun in the balmy evening.

When you’re not entertaining, smart lighting adds beauty and makes other activities easier. If you are grilling in your outdoor kitchen, a lighting scene that’s bright in the right place helps you see when your food is perfectly done. Sunset lights can fade up slowly to show off the outdoor gardens and trees you’ve carefully cultivated. At bedtime, strategically lit areas can keep your home safer.

Rock or Relax with Music

Whether you want to entertain, party, or relax, music is another element that sets the mood. There are a wide range of choices to bring all your music outdoors, from speakers for gentle background music to audiophile-class sound.

Speakers from our partners Sonance and Origin Acoustics can disappear into your landscape and deliver powerful sound with deep bass and crisp midrange and high notes. Both companies are pioneers in architectural and hidden speakers, and both are expert in creating excellent audioscapes indoors and out where you don’t have to see the speakers. And of course, the outdoor speakers are fully immune to the Texas elements.

How do you get your audio outside? There are numerous ways to tie into an outdoor speaker system, but some of the best are the music distribution systems from our home automation partners Crestron and Control4.

Both offer flexible music systems that can distribute the same or different audio to multiple zones in your property, indoors and out. It’s all accessible with a touch on a mobile app, a dedicated remote control or touchscreen, or even a voice command through an assistant like Amazon Alexa.

Call up virtually any music, from your own digital library or a streaming service like Spotify and listen to endless hours of high-quality music outdoors. And these home automation systems will put you in control of the rest of your home as well, tying in lights, pool and spa control, and much more.

Don’t Go Inside to Watch TV

Continue enjoying your outdoor space well into the night with an outdoor TV - or even a couple. If you have an outdoor kitchen and maybe a small bar, a small TV can help you keep an eye on the Rangers games while you grill the steak. In your covered patio, a large TV can be a centerpiece for watching a game or cueing up a summer outdoor movie night.

TVs from our partner Sunbrite are built to withstand the extremes of Texas, operating in the cold up to 40 below and in heat up to 120 degrees. Their special weatherproofing resists humidity, rain, and keeps those pesky bugs from infiltrating it too. With special screens that are made for shade or sun, these outdoor displays will last you many seasons. With sizes from 32 to 75 inches, there's a model to fit any space in your outdoors.

Design your own outdoor entertainment space for summer living in the Park Cities. Give us a call, fill out our online contact form, or click below to instantly connect with of our outdoor technology experts.

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The Pros and Cons of Display Choices for your Meeting Spaces

In the days before flat panel displays, projectors ruled the conference room. In all but the smallest rooms, a projector was the only type of video display that could deliver the screen size necessary in a reasonable-size room.

As we all know large flat panel display prices have come down precipitously in the past few years. Flat panel displays are cost-effective solutions up to 90 inches in many cases. Is the projector dead for smaller conference rooms? The answer is not obvious; much depends on what you want to accomplish in your meeting spaces with your AV equipment.

Is a large flat panel display or a projector the right solution for your Dallas videoconference room or boardroom? That’s what we want to cover in this blog - just keep reading.

SEE ALSO: Turn Any Room into a Video Conferencing Room

Size Does Matter

When using flat panels for presentation material as opposed to just watching video, the distance to the screen becomes important. As a general rule for optimal viewing, you want a diagonal screen size that is about half the depth of the room. If you have a conference room that is 20 feet long, you want a screen size of 120 inches (ten feet). That may pose an issue, as flat panels of that size are costly. Projectors are much more cost effective at screen sizes above 90 inches.

Reading the Fine Print

Another issue when considering a flat panel versus a projector is pixel size. As the resolution gets higher, more pixels are on the screen, and text fonts get smaller. If you use lots of spreadsheets and other detailed text in presenting, a high-resolution display may get hard to read. Doesn't this happen with projectors too? Yes, but you can project a larger screen to compensate for that.

Managing Light

Projectors work best in dimmer rooms. What if you don’t want your teams getting sleepy in presentations? Many workspaces are employing tunable white light and natural light to improve productivity. How does the projector deal with that?

You might be surprised to learn that today's projector screen technology is excellent at rejecting reflections and that current projectors are extraordinarily bright and usable in well-lit rooms. That said, the same can be said of flat-panel displays too; there are choices. Regardless of your display choice, a conference room with smart lighting control and automated shades can precisely control ambient light to ensure the perfect meeting environment.

Interactivity

Interactivity is another consideration for your meeting space. Touch-enabled flat panels can be an excellent way for teams to collaborate and ideate in real time. Running a standard touch-enabled system like Windows 10 or other software, a variety of solutions exist for creating and sharing information that go way beyond the standard whiteboard.

You might not be aware that interactive projector/whiteboard solutions exist as well. These have proven popular in education and allow for large screen sizes that you might need in bigger rooms. The interactive projector consists of a whiteboard and projector that can track hand movements over a whiteboard screen. A camera on the projector follows the movement, and a presenter with a pen can effectively write on the screen. A variety of applications enable many collaboration possibilities, including projecting the screen image to laptops of meeting attendees to capture information and work together.

Do You Need to Choose?

You may not have to choose one solution over the other in the same room. For smaller meetings and videoconferences, a flat panel display might be perfect, with interactive features or without. For larger gatherings, a projector with a ceiling-mounted drop-down screen would ensure everyone can see. There are enough price points and options in displays, projectors, and screens to make this completely viable.

Want to learn more about conference room video solutions for your office in Dallas TX or the Tollway Corridor? Give us a call at (214) 377-9434 , fill out our online contact form, or click below to instantly connect with of our technology experts.

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Speed, Flexibility, Engagement, and Efficiency Advance Your Business

The world has gone digital - mostly. Quite a few holdouts remain firmly rooted in the printed world though, and among those is the world of signage. If anyone remembers the old 1970 hit song Signs by the Five Man Electrical Band, they are of course, all around us. “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blockin' out the scenery, breakin’ my mind, do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

Signage serves many purposes. They guide us on the road; they display prices for good and services; they show us what's on the menu at a restaurant, and also - as the song reminds us - tell us what to do and what not to do. By and large, most signage is still static. You print one or paint one, or however it happens to be done, and the information on it can't be changed. In today's information-centric digital world, why are static signs still used?

Of course, we understand there are cost, physical, and management reasons why all signs are not digital, in the same way, that there is still a place for paper and pen in today's world. But we also think that many businesses and organizations are not taking advantage of today's technology to innovate with digital signage.

In this blog, we'd like to focus on some advantages of using digital signage displays in your Dallas business that you may not have realized. And if we spark a new idea that you can use, we’d love to help you bring it to fruition.

SEE ALSO: 5 Benefits of Digital Menu Boards

 

The Flexibility of Digital

We know that the flexibility of digital is the ability to change information quickly. With signage, there are production costs of making a new one. Imagine if there’s a little mistake in it, like misspelling a name in a building directory. Or worse, printing the wrong suite number for a busy office that confuses visitors. With a digital sign, those corrections are quickly made.

In today's digital marketing, A/B testing is a common practice. It's not that A/B testing did not exist before the digital age; marketers did experiment with different messages in other mediums. But digital technology makes A/B testing much more efficient and easier to measure. Imagine a restaurant or other retail establishment running a deal on a particular day of the week. Many restaurants have standing offers for specific days or hours. With digital menu boards, those offers can be easily changed. Change the day of the offer, the offer itself, the price, or any other element and compare the results. Digital signage technology makes that much cheaper.

Engaging Content

Text alone no longer cuts it; graphics and imagery make whatever the content and message is more appealing. With digital signage, including quality images and even video can create a more engaging experience. Whether its enticing pictures of a lunch entrée, or a detailed animated map for digital wayfinding, or the exact picture and location in a store of a product you are trying to find, images and video work to create a better customer experience.

You can also use the flexibility of digital signage to inform. Feeds of weather, news headlines, stock prices, or anything else relevant to your audience is engaging and can draw them into your other messages. In the workplace, digital signage can inform, boost morale, and motivate employees.

Advertising Possibilities

The real estate on a prominently placed sign is valuable. That's why billboards seen by thousands of drivers on the Central Expressway are prime locations. Digital signage can be valuable advertising real estate too. You can subsidize the cost of your digital signage investment by trading with partners and vendors for their services. If you have noticed the ads on well-traveled retail sites like Target and Best Buy, you understand what we are discussing here.

Increasing Efficiency

Large office buildings often employ front desk people for information help and to issue passes for security reasons. Frequently they get asked for directions to offices. Visitors often wait until the person frees up to get a question answered. An interactive digital wayfinding kiosk can reduce the need for front desk personnel and give visitors an always updated electronic directory as well as an easy way to quickly find where they’re going. The real person up front can focus on more valuable and less mundane tasks, increasing efficiency all around.

Want to learn more about digital signage displays for your Dallas business? Give us a call, fill out our online contact form, or click below to instantly connect with one of our digital technology experts.

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You’ll be Future Proofing Your Communications

It's not that long ago when holding a video conference call could be a painful experience that sometimes wasn't worth the trouble.  Fast Internet speeds, rapid improvement in camera technology, and advances in video encoding technology has made high-resolution communication over the Internet reliable, easy, and accessible through many software platforms. 

But just as 4K TVs – with quadruple the resolution of standard high definition TV – are now inexpensive and mainstream, 4K video conferencing is on the brink of becoming mainstream too. Portable devices like smartphones and laptops go through faster upgrade cycles than other equipment, so it is in these products that we have seen camera resolution and communication capability rapidly advance, bringing the ability to hold 4K calls.  As these devices sell in the many millions, they make it cheaper to incorporate the same advances into business equipment.  In the past couple of years, vendors such as Logitech, Aver, Panacast, and even Dolby have introduced 4K capable conferencing equipment for the meeting room.

You might ask – why do I really need 4K video conferencing equipment for my Irving meeting rooms?  Isn’t HD good enough?  Perhaps, but we have some compelling reasons why you would want to upgrade your existing installation.

SEE MORE: Video Conferencing Audio Problems?

Higher Resolution Means Better Cameras

4K cameras use higher resolution sensors. The advances in digital sensor technology have advanced photography more in the last 20 years than in the 100 years before that. Higher resolution means sharper pictures and more information captured.  So even if you don’t use 4K in your videoconference, you are capturing more detail that will make HD images richer. 4K cameras typically capture higher frame rates too, which will make motion appear more natural as well.

Better Zooming Capability

Since 4K cameras capture more detail, it enables digital zooming (doing it in software versus optically with the lens) to provide a higher quality view.  And if you are only using HD video, digital zooming with 4K will yield a sharp picture that loses virtually no quality.

Create Higher Quality Content

If you use your equipment to record events and training videos, the higher resolution and better framerate simply capture more detail, making editing easier.  If you ever look at videos on YouTube, for example, many content creators are using 4K cameras for recording.  The extra detail and dynamic range make the video sharper even if streaming at lower resolutions.  With many devices now having screens that are higher than HD quality – even if not 4K – the content will show better. 

What Do You Need for 4K Videoconferencing?

Of course, we've discussed the camera technology, and that is the obvious first piece.  Beyond the camera, you would want to upgrade the conference room display, which might be a flat panel, a projector, or both.  4K models of both types of displays have come down in price considerably over the past few years, and now is an excellent time to upgrade. 

One of the advantages of higher resolution displays is the ability to do split screens and picture in picture modes that are extremely detailed and sharp because of the added resolution.  And if you are only using HD resolution, those displays will easily accommodate displaying images from various sources with no loss of sharpness or performance. 

The last piece that may warrant an upgrade is your networking infrastructure.  To handle the increased data bandwidth requirements of 4K, you need fast network speeds.  While an HD video stream requires about five megabits/second speeds, 4K video will need anywhere from 15-25 megabits/second, and that range depends on how much motion is going on as well as compression that is applied by software.  So if you have multiple 4K streams that will be happening, you need to ensure your network is up to the task.

Crown Audio-Video has been installing video conferencing equipment in the Irving and Las Colinas business corridor for years.  We can help with every facet of your conference room technology needs. Reach out to us or just click below to be quickly connected to one of our experts.

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