When the pandemic came to prominence in 2020, Gartner found that 88% of global organizations made provisions for their employees to work at home, with most allowing their employees to continue working remotely through 2021. Meanwhile, industries that could not support a remote work model saw huge shifts in staffing, while some businesses were forced to shut doors altogether until the risk of COVID-19 could be managed.
Now, many companies are calling their employees back to their offices, schools, or entertainment venues. But these businesses may not be ready to accommodate the significant changes in technology, workforce, and procedure that have taken place in the intervening years.
During the pandemic, technology in every sector has evolved more quickly than anyone could have expected. Audio equipment and video conferencing technology are more advanced, health protocols are more stringent, and data security is of the utmost importance. To stay on the cutting edge and keep your employees updated on these new technologies, it’s vital that businesses returning to an in-office work model evaluate their current audiovisual systems before reopening facilities.
Why and How to Evaluate Your AV System
Advanced audiovisual systems are a must-have for organizations of all sizes, now more than ever. So if your workplace is ready to reopen, you should partner with audiovisual integration specialists to ensure top-tier AV performance by evaluating your systems on the following points.
The safety of your audiovisual systems is a consideration that must be checked on several fronts. Perhaps your workplace sat empty during the height of COVID-19. Or, for many organizations, it is likely that some or most of your processes have moved online. Employees and students have become accustomed to completing their work from personal devices, and consumers tend to purchase more products online than in-store.
Given the drastic decrease in face-to-face interactions, most of your organization’s audiovisual equipment has probably been out of use for months or possibly years. Before using your audiovisual equipment once more, ensure that your audiovisual team evaluates the condition of devices and the wiring. Damaged cables, cameras, and lighting fixtures can pose a significant safety hazard. Experienced audiovisual integrators can find suitable replacements or contact a repair service if anything appears out of place.
There are also new safety considerations that must be addressed before reopening your venue. The pandemic has made people more health-conscious and wary of spreading disease. To ensure that people feel comfortable upon reopening your facility, consider implementing audiovisual equipment that suits their evolved needs. For instance, digital signage and interactive wayfinding equipment will reduce the need for up-close and personal contact. Likewise, touchless technology such as motion-sensor doors or voice-activated lighting will reduce the spread of germs.
You may have kept your audiovisual equipment under lock and key for a couple of years, leaving it still in prime condition, but technology continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. In particular, the pandemic spurred change regarding how companies in every sector conduct business. As stated by a McKinsey Global Survey of executives, companies have increased the digitization of customer and supply-chain interactions by 3 to 4 years’ worth of progress in a matter of months. In light of this, once cutting-edge technology is becoming outmoded at a highly accelerated pace.
About 41% of employees have worked remotely since the onset of the pandemic, leaving many office spaces and meeting rooms to become dismally outdated with disuse. As venues reopen, organizations may discover they need to upgrade their meeting spaces to enable effective collaboration between employees and clients. For example, video collaboration has become suddenly and exceptionally important for both internal and external communication, and modern audiovisual systems will need updated video, cameras, microphones, and audio equipment to accommodate this trend.
As organizations update their audiovisual equipment, it is crucial to implement new security measures as well. Cyberattacks increased dramatically as organizations moved online during the pandemic, and your organization will need to make provisions to remain protected. Experienced audiovisual integrators can help ensure that your sensitive information is safe using techniques such as:
- Sound Masking technology reduces extraneous noise and conceals human speech. This ensures that private discussions are not heard from outside the meeting rooms.
- Encrypted Signal Transmission allows organizations to encrypt any sensitive signal emitted from their company network. Ensure that you encrypt your wireless microphone systems and internet signal.
- Firmware Updates are a critical part of protecting your audiovisual equipment. If your firmware is outdated, your AV system is vulnerable to experiencing a data breach. Professional audiovisual integrators can implement up-to-date systems that ensure maximum security.
Many organizations choose their audiovisual equipment based on its functionalities or aesthetic appearance. However, your audiovisual system must also have the capability to reduce vulnerabilities and help safeguard your organization from a data breach. As every aspect of our communication and collaboration becomes digital, all AV solutions in use must integrate with modern security software and hardware. Work with AV integration experts who prioritize implementing devices that are equally functional and secure.
When you’re upgrading to new audiovisual equipment, you’ll need to ensure that all employees understand to use this equipment effectively. During the onset of COVID-19, many companies changed their staff, so new employees will need to be educated on systems and processes. Before beginning, evaluate which AV tools may require orientation and include these in your training program. Depending on which updates your organization has made, you may also need to educate employees both new and old about revamped video collaboration systems, touchless technology, data protection, and any other changes in the system.
When you’re in the process of creating an audiovisual training program, remember that each employee will learn at their own pace. While some employees may require a physical demonstration, others may learn better by written or spoken instructions. Given the many changes that have occurred during the pandemic, some people are more willing to embrace new technologies than others. Employees that are skeptical of new technology may take longer to understand system updates and new technologies, so provide resources that can be revisited and absorbed by various learning styles.
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