Non-Technical AV Presentation Issues Solved


when-youre-giving-a-presentation-and-you-click-on-the-2895876Have you ever launched full-swing into a great multimedia presentation, only to have the technology fail in the middle of your talk? Have you been left wondering, “Why won’t my video play?” or “Why won’t my file open properly on this computer?” We know we can’t always be there to help, so we’ve developed this guide with our best tips to help you make sure your own presentations go off without a hitch.

You’re prepared for your big presentation, with backups in hand, but what do you do if you encounter problems at setup, and don’t know how to fix them?

The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that everything will work just the way you expect it to. Computers are fickle. Our number one tip is to test all the technology you’ll be using in the venue in the exact configuration you’ll be using it at the event. This “dress rehearsal” will help you find any technical bugs, and will help you feel confident that your event will go as planned. After rehearsing, you can focus on giving a killer presentation and feel confident that all your technology will work as planned.

Here are our top tech tips for presentation problem solving:

Before you leave the office

  • If you are sending your slides ahead by email, bcc your personal email address to make sure the attachment comes through ok.
  • If bringing your slides on a USB disk, use a USB drive that has nothing else on it. You don’t want the AV tech to go through all your personal files looking for the right presentation.
  • Always have a backup copy of your presentation in Dropbox or another cloud storage sites, and/or in your email, just in case your USB drive gets lost or corrupted.
  • Bring your own computer and any adapters you will need in case the conference-provided computer will not work. Make sure you have adapters to VGA, DVI, and HDMI, as different venues may require different connections.
  • If your presentations have audio, verify with conference organizers that an audio connection will be available for your presentation room – often that will not be hooked up unless you ask for it specifically.
  • Avoid relying on online content. If you really need an Internet connection for your presentation, make sure you specifically request it on the presentation computer. Try to bring offline copies of any material you need.
  • If live Web content is critical to your presentation, and you cannot bring an offline backup, bring a mobile hotspot, or a cell phone with tethering enabled, just in case.
  • When you communicate with event organizers, specify if you need Presentation View (with your notes) or if you need a Mirrored desktop. Most computers can be set up either way, but the event’s AV team will need to know in advance to set that up.
  • If you have complex graphs in your presentation, save them as static images (.jpg or .png), in case the presentation computer does not render them correctly.
  • If you are using a Mac to create your PowerPoint slides, make sure you test your slides on a PC before you leave the office. Pay special attention to transitions, graphs and media files. You may not have the option to use a Mac onsite.
  • If you are using Keynote to make your slides, make sure that the organizers know you will need a Mac with that software to give your presentation. Make a backup of your slides as both a PDF and a PPT just in case. Test both on a PC before you arrive.

Dealing with Embedded Media

  • Videos and embedded media are involved in 90% of the presentation problems we deal with at events.
  • Make sure if you create a presentation with video or audio in PowerPoint, that you embed the files into the .pptx file, and don’t just link them to a file on your computer. That said, ALWAYS bring a backup copy of any embedded media, just in case it didn’t embed properly.
  • Make sure you have your video as an external file in more than one format. If it’s a .mov file it will most likely NOT play in PowerPoint on a PC and if it’s .wmv it will NOT play on a Mac.
  • If you are presenting on PowerPoint 2010 or 2011, make sure you have the media in Windows Media format for a PC or Quicktime format for a Mac.
  • If you are presenting on Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365, bring the files in .mp4 format with H.264 encoding for best cross platform compatibility, but make sure to bring backups.
    • Copy the presentation and all its associated media onto the presentation computer – do not run it off a USB drive. If that comes unplugged or your drive fails, your media will not play.

Onsite

  • Load your slides at least two breaks before your talk. Do not expect to plug in your USB drive as you’re being introduced. TEST your presentation when you load your slides into their final destination.
  • If you have embedded media, load the slideshow and all associated media into its final location on the presentation PC before you test it. And once you test it, do not move it to another folder on the computer. The files may become unlinked.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth 10,000 embedded videos. Or something like that…

For AV hardware or integrated solutions contact us at SpaceCoast AV Communications

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Trust–Don’t let it cost you.


Puma_Thinkstock_HomeRemember that big home project you were doing that turned out to be a disaster? Remember, the always faithful and trust worthy, “trusted advisor”? Was it the friend…mom…dad…or maybe the neighbor? It’s OK we’ve all done it and experienced the result.  If you don’t know much about cars, you ask a friend who does know a lot what his opinion is after you hear from the mechanic. It’s smart to get second opinions from people you trust, and it happens to us all of the time.

Miscommunication between you and the contractor can spell disaster for your home AV project. It usually surfaces late in the project where the client gets an idea or input from their “trusted advisor” and then presents it to the contractor. While a client may ask for a second opinion from a trusted advisor, SpaceCoast AV knows the products and processes better than anyone else and so, we assert and leverage our knowledge and expertise on your behalf.

A few great examples might look something like this:

You might insist on using some Amazon deal speaker your brother-in-law insists in the best thing since sliced bread, but when paired with the amp you’ve carefully selected and calibrated, it sounds like crap (maybe because it’s a crap speaker or maybe because it doesn’t pair well with the rest of the equipment). or you could purchase your own AVR, but it doesn’t play well with the HDBaseT extender you plan to use and a reliable signal becomes an issue. Maybe the neighbor has a Harmony remote and is ridiculing you for spending thousands on a universal remote, so now you’re insisting on a Harmony, with all of the risks of reliability and lack of discrete control that entails. Or the client is adamant about using an Apple Airport Extreme as their router. There goes the managed network and  remote access to troubleshoot. In the short term any of these things could save you a lot of money, but in the long run, it will cost you in service calls that didn’t need to happen.

SpaceCoast AV has been a trusted, knowledgeable and professional Audio Visual for residents, businesses and houses of worship in Brevard since 2008. When it comes to your money and time, turn to the AV integration company who knows the products and processes better than anyone else and leverage our knowledge and expertise for your next AV project.

Tips for Setting up Church, Classroom and Ministry Room Projectors, Part 4 of 4


Other Key Considerations

From 4K/Ultra High Definition (UHD), which is four times the projectortable380resolution of full HD, to XGA, there are quite a few resolutions to choose from.  A key consideration is how much HD video content you plan to show.

Remote management is helpful in a classroom environment, especially if there are several classrooms. With remote management, lamp-based projectors can be powered off using a program timer built into the control software in order to conserve bulb life.

Video picture quality varies a lot depending on make and model of the projector.  That is because scalar chips and video processors in the projectors are not created equally.  This is important because audience expectations are getting higher due to the amount of HD content available.

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Don’t try to get by with a “floating” projector that goes from room to room
  2. Don’t plan on turning out the lights. Dimly lit rooms, at times, reduce the audience’s attention.  The brightness of the projector needs to be high enough to overcome lighting
  3. Don’t worry about LCD versus DLP vs. laser phosphor vs. LED light engines – they all perform well
  4. Do assess whatever multimedia sources and computer sources your presenters will want to connect to the projectors, and map that to available connectors before buying a specific projector model
  5. Do talk to presenters about how they can integrate more multimedia to get them thinking about improving classroom techniques
  6. Do look for models with “eco-mode” that will conserve power and bulb life for lamp-based projectors
  7. Do select projectors that have the compatibility with newer video signal protocols and higher brightness to suit your evolving needs over time
  8. Do examine your mounting challenges prior to buying mounts and projectors
  9. Go with a good brand name – it will generally equate to longer product life and better product reliability
  10. Do ask an expert for advice about your unique circumstances

A Better Facility

Projectors have a big impact on the image your organization sends.  You want to make presentations a memorable experience for parishioners, guests and administrators.  There are many different options out there for hardware, and up-front planning is the best way to ensure you are happy with your selection.  If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to a noticeably better facility.

Social Media Strategy Critical to Success of Political Campaign


It’s time again to begin thinking about and planning for the 2014 round of elections. This means TV ads, debates, public appearances, pictures of politicians holding children – all part of a typical political campaign. The savvy, modern politician also knows that their social media strategy is critical to the success of their political campaign.

For example, California representative Eric Swalwell made news by being the first-ever congressman to broadcast his vote via Vine, a social media network that has recently outgrown the epithet of “fledgling.” It was a six-second clip of him voting “nay” to the GOP’s attempts to decrease health protection for women. Needless to say, this made him quite popular not just among women, but also among youths and users of the social media technology.

It’s worth pointing out how recognizable Swalwell became simply because he posted some good content in a low-competition area. Only ten Senators currently use a social media app for their campaigns, despite the Senate having released an official statement of approval on using Twitter’s video-sharing app.

Below  are some more tips on using social media effectively in a political campaign:

SMM-PR SOLUTIONS

  • Getting there first. Dear Mr. Swalwell, thanks for the lesson learned!
  • Learn the niche of the network. On Twitter, this means being able to write a short but meaningful message that generates enough interests to get clicks. On Vine, this means capturing something memorable in six seconds. On Facebook, it could mean a bunch of different things depending on the brand and the audience. It’s all about doing what’s right for the medium and the people who use it.
  • Ask questions. People want to feel like their representatives are personable and want to hear what they say. No matter if you’re a brand, an individual, or a political campaign, your audience will be engaged by questions.
  • Stay human. No one wants to feel like their representatives are untouchable gods in the sky – it’s good to have a witty statement here, an update on the politician’s life there. These should not be the majority, however.
  • Recognize your followers. Say a certain political campaign stands behind increasing funds for education. Wouldn’t it be great to ask your followers for children’s hand-written messages and drawings – and then to share them? This kind of move is adaptable to many different platforms. The Internet is no longer a one-way information street. Recognize and learn from your followers.
  • Finally, have great content. It’s been rehashed so many times, but there’s no way around this one. Everyone looking to be successful on social media needs to have the content to back them up. Link to relevant articles and news, post meaningful pictures and videos, and don’t post anything unnecessary  (i.e. “Good night!”).

Special recognition to Author Anqi Cong for this content.

SpaceCoast AV Communications provides the Audio and Visual products, technologies and integrated solutions that bring people together; allowing people to share ideas and thoughts through media rich communications and collaboration solutions. We bring the value of  allowing people and organizations the ability to focus on what they need to do, better, faster and more efficiently.

 

Scope of AV communications technology, Video Conferencing impacts Nation’s infrastructure


720px-US-NationalHighwayInstitute-Logo.svgMore than one in nine bridges in the United States is structurally deficient, meaning that they require significant maintenance, rehabilitation or replacement. We sometimes forget how important it is to ensure the safety of our bridges, especially when you consider that everyday, Americans take 260 million trips over structurally deficient bridges, according to a report from the Transportation for America Campaign.

The National Highway Institute (NHI) – an organization within   the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – works to improve the performance of the transportation industry through training. To help ensure that the workforce responsible for the construction and maintenance of our roadways are properly trained, NHI has developed a three-dimensional, virtual bridge inspection computer-based training tool that has become a critical part of its renowned two-week bridge inspection training course.

The training program office at the NHI was recognized by the FGDLA for its innovative work to bring quality training to students nation-wide. Richard Barnaby, director of training at the NHI, was there to accept the Innovation Award, along with the Engility team led by Anthony “Tony” Prause.

The Polycom team sat down with Mr. Barnaby and Mr. Prause for an exclusive interview about the DOT’s distance learning initiative, and how video teleconferencing (VTC) has helped the department get ahead in the space.

Here is what they had to say:

DOTPublic Sector View: Congratulations on being honored with an Innovation Award. Can you give us a brief background as to what the DOT is trying to accomplish with distance learning technology?

Richard Barnaby: We’re trying to use new technologies to deliver [training] to the transportation workforce nationwide. We want to be efficient, effective, and we’re trying to make it immersive so the participants can benefit from it. Their skill sets can be enhanced thanks to the technology, which is what we’re looking to do.

We took a very technologically complex training course, which is safety inspection of in-service bridges, and through Engility – through Tony’s team – turned it into a training program with gaming quality simulations that involve more participation than a traditional video game.

We were able to make the training better, easier, and more fun for the students to ensure that they learn what they need to know.

Public Sector View: What has been the return on investment of the program for the DOT? How has it helped the department accomplish its mission?

Richard Barnaby: The ROI for an undertaking of this nature this can be measured by our total reach. Since going into distance learning, we’ve managed to double the number of people taking our training. We went from 15,000 to 33,000 individuals, and the number is even higher this year. Through the use of mobile learning, we’ve been able to expand our reach and it’s enhanced the quality of the training.

Road building and bridge building are nation wide, and the training that we provide needs to reach our entire audience. Our audience consists of states, various departments of transportation, and the private sector as well as the local sector, so our training has to be national to do its job.

Our mission is to provide highly technical training at a very high level, and distance learning is the way to go.

Public Sector View: What issues and trends are you seeing today in the distance learning space?

Anthony Prause: The biggest trend that I see is that organizations are looking for rapid development of distance learning products at a low cost, but also increasing requirements and higher training standards with respect to quality and capability. The needs of customers are adapting to economic issues and the advancement of technology to provide better training products to augment all types of training.

There used to be a saying “Good, fast, cheap, pick two.”  That’s no longer an option – being “better faster cheaper” is now becoming the minimum requirement.

 

for more information on Video Conferencing and Distance Learning applications and technologies, contact SpaceCoast AV Communications at 321-257-9700  or via email at info@spacecoastav.com 

Office of Personnel Management: Tele-work Integral Part of Continuty Operations


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Posted: 18 Jun 2013 06:41 AM PDT

 SpaceCoast AV Communications, A Polycom Partner. If your agency would like more information regarding Telework Solutions,  please contact us at 321-257-9700

It may not have been the feared storm that many predicted, and it certainly didn’t hold a candle to the previous storm that bore its “derecho” name, but last week’s thunderstorm was one of the many that are being predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) during the 2013 hurricane season.

Washington, D.C. has seen its share of foul weather in the past few years. Snowpocalypse, last year’s derecho, numerous named tropical storms and other weather events have blazed paths of destruction through the area, closing the offices of government agencies and forcing federal employees to stay in their homes. These incidents resulted in the closure of government offices and the loss of millions of dollars worth of productivity as federal employees were unable to do their jobs.

With the steep cost of closing government offices and a predicted severe hurricane season top of mind, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sent a memo to federal agency Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) that stressed the flexibilities available to federal employees to help ensure continuity of operations (COOP) when disaster strikes.

One of the many points raised by OPM in their memo was the ability of federal employees to telework during weather events and other situations where offices are closed and the need for CHCOs to ensure teleworkers are familiar with agency expectations in disaster situations.

By adopting telework when weather forces federal agencies to close offices, government employees can continue to work towards accomplishing their mission, even if they’re not at their desks. This is an ability that is being enabled by today’s advanced technologies which allow federal employees to be just as productive in their homes as they are at their offices.

In addition to the virtual desktop and cloud solutions that are delivering requisite applications and data to any computer with an Internet connection, video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions are enabling the face-to-face communication that many government managers fear will be lost when employees telework.

Today’s VTC solutions enable federal employees to communicate via video with their coworkers from a wide ecosystem of endpoints, from desktop computers to mobile devices. This ensures that distributed federal workers can continue to collaborate, even without the investment in pricy VTC endpoints for their homes.

In today’s difficult budget environment, and with federal agencies having to do more with less thanks to cost cutting and hiring freezes, the loss of money and productivity in emergency situations can be devastating. However, thanks to new technologies, such as VTC, cloud and virtual desktops, employees can now continue to work effectively, even when the office is closed. With employees capable of working from everywhere, OPM is right to prod agencies to prepare for telework, especially as NOAA tells Americans to prepare for a bad hurricane season.

 

 SpaceCoast AV Communications, A Polycom Partner. If your agency would like more information regarding Telework Solutions,  please contact us at 321-257-9700

 

Video Beyond the Conference Room


Emergency Management Workflow and the Role of Video

 

 

Readiness Stage

Risk mitigation and preparedness is the first stage in emergency management, making sure responders are able to react to any situation. This can include daily briefings and meetings, emergency planning, and other types of internal and external communication. In addition, emergency staff need to be trained in the latest tools, techniques and procedures. This type of staff training — as well as planning conferences and meetings — can be handled at a distance, using video conferencing and video immersive telepresence solutions. These measures save travel costs as well as travel time for employees.

Detection and Early Warning Stage

Video monitoring and surveillance takes place using stationary security cameras as well as via mobile camera applications. In the near future, 911 and other types of emergency calls will be made using video and other multi-media technologies. This type of visual next-generation 911 (visual NG911) calling is already being tested in the United States. Many 911 centers are being equipped with broadband-capable lines, while at the same time an increasing number of citizens use smartphones with video cameras and are able to transmit real-time video. Once visual emergency calling (ie. NG911) is enabled, a citizen will be able to notify authorities about crimes and other emergencies in action. Law enforcement will be able to see, in real time, an intruder — and determine if he or she is armed. Emergency operators handling a fire call can see the precise location of a blaze to better direct firefighters and potentially save crucial seconds. Citizens who lack the ability to speak can still make the nature of their emergency known, by showing operators what is happening using their phone-cams. Streaming video will also be linked with GPS coordinates to help responders locate victims or offenders.

Analysis and Incident Response Stage

Those who are equipped with the most up-to-date and detailed information, and are able to collaborate in a unified manner with others involved — so that everyone is on the same page — are better able to respond effectively. Is a fire that has been called in merely a brush fire, or is it a chemical fire? Is the damage from an earthquake minor or major? What other types of agencies need to be called in to assist? Which agencies will do what? How will the emergency response be coordinated? Real-time video conferencing and immersive telepresence between those in the field and other responders, plus decision-makers, helps everyone involved better understand an emergency situation as it is happening. When both time and accurate information are of the essence, video collaboration can be a key tool for the effective handling of any crisis. Emergency responders who can see for themselves what is happening — even if they aren’t physically present — are better armed with knowledge than those who are reporting from other sources. They can achieve situational awareness, which allows them to better plan an effective response.

Recovery and Reconstruction Stage

After an emergency, initial care and early triage can be helped by accurate communication from those in the field — which can be made easier when all involved can collaborate in real time via video. In addition, valuable evidence can be collected and preserved through video, which can help determine the cause of a crisis, methods for its possible prevention and ways to improve future response. Officials armed with information can better coordinate an ongoing response to any disaster or public security situation, whether it is transporting victims to available medical service providers, arranging for the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure or coordinating the re-establishment of public works.public works.

At least 44 states project budget deficits for fiscal year 2012 totaling $112 billion, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Read More at http://spacecoastav.com/Documents/video-beyond-the-conference-room.pdf