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Interactive Whiteboard Solutions for Schools: One Screen and Samsung Flip

Interactive whiteboard solutions like OneScreen and Samsung Flip or Whiteboard engage the whole class, give educators more powerful tools, and add entirely new dimensions to the learning process.

Today’s students are digital natives – they’re used to interacting with devices in every facet of their lives. Bringing these devices into the classroom creates new avenues through which to engage these modern learners.

The best educational audiovisual solutions create interactive spaces in which students can contribute their own insights during presentations and collaborate both with instructors and each other.

Whether they’re in the same room or half a planet away, students and teachers alike can use interactive white boards to impart knowledge in new and powerful ways.

 

OneScreen

OneScreen offers interactive whiteboards and device integration which engage students and help instructors deliver more effective lessons and lectures.

Some of the benefits of OneScreen in the classroom include, for starters:

  • Wireless presentations
  • Interactive, annotatable whiteboarding
  • Lesson development, presentation, and delivery (they also offer built-in curriculum using state-based core curricula)
  • One click access for both your network and the web
  • Drag and drop files
  • The ability to easily record and save class sessions for remote students or to play back later for those who are absent.
  • In-classroom collaboration tools to fit the bring-your-own-device culture. Students can work together on projects from their different devices, answer live polls and quizzes, and share screens with each other.
  • Distance learning support, including remote access for students to take online courses and catch up with assignments online.
  • User-friendly interfaces and easy integration Polycom and other solutions to avoid installation delays
  • Unlimited support and training

These tools are especially important to improve remote student attendance, live collaboration in-class, and make it easier for students to catch up on previous notes and class material.  

It’s also easy to add multimedia live news to presentations for more engaging lessons and instantly dial in student attention.

 

Samsung Flip

Samsung’s Flip technology aims to bring 21st century digital technologies into accessible educational settings. Kids as young as 3-4 can easily manipulate and draw on these digital whiteboards.

The Flip is a flexible, portable option that improves attention and interactivity like OneScreen. It can easily move with students and educators into new classrooms or settings, offering easily accessible tools for live annotating, presenting, and collaborative projects.

Instead of relegating new tech to a computer lab, it also integrates the latest software and hardware with tactile and visual lessons throughout the educational environment.

For students with disabilities, the Samsung Flip can also make many interactions and material formats more accessible.

Because of the portable, wheeled-stand-based design, it’s also easy to use an install. As the tech advances, Samsung has plans to incorporate more virtual and augmented reality features to make learning increasingly collaborative and intuitive for modern students, as well as gamify educational opportunities to make them more appealing.

While using the interactive whiteboards, students can pass the pen to each other, write on the board itself using anything, or watch videos in high-quality HD.

The intent is to get the best of the feeling of traditional pen and paper writing, but with the power of a digital format, and collaboration between up to four people at the same time and in real-time speeds. Students can share and notate within almost any content files and save conversations as well as the content of their work online.

Samsung Flip interactive whiteboards also integrates with Microsoft and Adobe software, using a built-in document viewer to extend files and present them to bigger audiences with the wireless screen sharing functionality.

 

Want to learn more about an interactive whiteboard could help your students?

The right audiovisual solution for your classroom can:

  • Engage students and improve test scores
  • Make it easier to catch students up after a sick day or teach classes remotely
  • Make lessons a two-way street
  • Foster collaboration and interactivity
  • Provide teachers with a host of new tools to manage a classroom, design new lessons and present them.

As an added bonus, whiteboard solutions often enable you to convert existing tools to minimize outfitting costs, and many are designed to be flexible and portable so you can use the same solution for multiple classes and classrooms.

Cutting-edge technology like Samsung’s Flip and the OneScreen are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to audio-visual classroom technology.

While it’s possible to DIY one of these solutions, it can be overwhelming to research and then configure one yourself. VSSi is here to help you get the best possible bang for your buck. We build a variety of high-quality educational AV solutions for a variety of schools and universities. 

To learn more about what options might be the best fit for your school or institution, get in touch for a no-strings-attached free consultation here.

Two Giant Players in the AV Industry – Cisco and Polycom Systems

Two Giant Players in the AV Industry – Cisco and Polycom Systems

Compared to audio conferencing calls, video conferencing offers a clear leg up. With the right tools, a video conference can be as good as – and more efficient than – being there in person.

As more businesses catch on to the value of video conferencing, more solutions have entered the market, but few companies come close to challenging the two titans of the enterprise video conferencing space: Polycom and Cisco.

Cisco and Polycom Systems are the giant players in the industry for a reason: both offer highly functional and seamless video conferencing solutions.

Many of the features offered by both companies overlap; both offer reliable, high-quality video conferencing products. For maximum security, both companies also offer on-premise and IP capabilities for maximum security and flexibility. Their pricing is broadly similar, and both offer an extensive range of products.

VSSi can help you configure a solution which fits your exact specifications, and provide support down the road. But for now, here are some factors to keep in mind when beginning your research:

Cisco

Cisco systems are one of the first players in the video conferencing space, and is still the largest and most well-known. As an international conglomerate, they’ve been able to use their size to fund innovation and create a wide range of high-tech products.

For example, Cisco was a leader in developing 1080p and 4k resolution video options, and their current video conferencing solutions include audio triangulation technology to help filter out background noise.

Cisco focuses on the biggest enterprise clients; nearly all Fortune 100 companies use Cisco systems for video conferencing. They do customize their offerings by the size of the business, but their products can be more expensive and less streamlined for smaller businesses.

Polycom

Polycom systems competes with Cisco with its smaller, more nimble company structure. They focus on hospitals, universities, and entertainment companies. While there are a number of large enterprise clients on their list, they focus more on public organizations than the biggest Fortune 500 companies.

They offer ostensibly more personal services because of their structure, but their main selling point is interoperability with other vendors. Polycom’s video conferencing tools work with Microsoft communication products like Skype for Business and Office 365.

In other words, where Cisco offers a wide range of products which work well with each other, Polycom focuses on fewer products, but ensures that they are open and interoperable with multiple vendors. Since over half of enterprise businesses use more than one vendor’s AV equipment, this can be crucial.

Polycom also claims that all of their products are both forwards and backwards compatible, meaning that new versions of their products will still work seamlessly with the previous and future editions.

Closing thoughts

Whether Polycom vs Cisco video conferencing is ultimately a better fit for your business will boil down to preference and your specific constraints and needs.

If you already use Cisco systems products, or have a complex or very large organization, looking into an appropriately scaled Cisco video conferencing solution may be the best choice. If you’re a healthcare, education, or entertainment company, Polycom may offer products which fit more seamlessly into your existing AV architecture.

Regardless of what you choose, VSSi can help you choose, design, install, and learn to use AV solutions so that you end up with an easy-to-use and effective set of audio-visual tools and maximize the impact of your investment. To speak with a VSSi representative, click here.

Five Reasons to Consider Zoom Conference Solutions

Five Reasons to Consider Zoom Conference Solutions

When it comes to video conferencing software, Zoom is the new(er) kid on the block. It was founded in 2011 by the original creator of WebEx, who decided to leave WebEx after it was acquired by Cisco 2007.

Since then, Zoom has been growing by almost 20% per year. Cisco still holds a large portion of the market, but Zoom is gaining on them, and fast. 

While there are still a few features that only WebEx offers, users have increasingly flocked to Zoom. 

Why? Here are a few reasons why we think Zoom conference solution is the best choice for many businesses: 

Simplicity & User-Friendliness

To set up WebEx, you will need multiple downloads and logins (client, extension, VCS control, TMS, Smartnet, and a paid account). Starting a new meeting takes over a minute.

This may not be a big deal if the same people will be using the software every day, but if you have non-tech-savvy employees, or most of your staff will only use the conferencing tool occasionally, Zoom is a much better bet.

Zoom was built around the idea that people are increasingly joining conferences remotely and bringing their own devices to work. Most devices will support Zoom, and once the cloud connector account and codec are set up, you can join a meeting in one click.

In general, Zoom is also easier to integrate with third-party apps like Skype for Business. It’s technically also possible to use WebEx with Skype, but the process to set this up is complex and time consuming.

Total Capacity

Zoom supports up to 100 video participants in a single call, and up to 500 feeds. WebEx can only support 8 participants.

If your organization is big enough to require collaboration among or between large teams of people, having this limit on how many people you can include in a call can quickly become a deal breaker.

Ease of Collaboration

Zoom rooms let you keep track of who’s present in an online meeting and look back on meeting recordings after the fact.

Zoom conference solution also embeds a number of other helpful collaboration technologies to support remote meetings.

For example, users can choose custom virtual backgrounds to present themselves more professionally in online meetings. Zoom rooms also offer built-in IM capabilities in the same interface for text communication as well as audio and video.

WebEx offers some of these features as separate add-ons, but they are sold as separate products for an additional fee.

Zoom Rooms

“Zoom Rooms” are another compelling reason to choose Zoom, as they can offer broad collaboration opportunities without the significant price hike and hassle of setting up a fully custom Cisco WebEx configuration.

Zoom is built to run from a single click on an iPad – and these rooms are multi-functional right out of the box. It’s possible to sync calendars, share your screen, call another room, conduct remote presentations using either your iPhone or a laptop, and more.

Price

If the above reasons weren’t enough, Zoom solutions also tend to be more affordable than WebEx solutions. Though pricing is liable to change over time, WebEx solutions can run up to twice as expensive.

Zoom vs. WebEx: Bottom Line

Both of these tools will get the job done, but considering the overall user-friendliness, features, customizability, and value delivered by Zoom, we recommend it over WebEx for most businesses.

Interested in learning more, or getting your questions about video conferencing answered? Contact us here.

LED Walls Vs. Projection System. Who is the Winner of This Competition?

LED Walls Vs. Projection System. Who is the Winner of This Competition?

Regardless of your presentation needs, there are many potential AV configurations on the market. VSSi works with businesses to help design custom AV solutions to fit any space and business scenario.

Many of our customers are unsure whether a video wall or projection-based system will better suit their needs.

Of course, both LED video walls and projection systems are highly functional and impressive solutions.

Both can be customized to provide modern high-tech aesthetics and support multi-media presentations. Both offer cost-effective, high-res, and flexible solutions.

However, whether a video wall vs. projection system will be more effective for you depends on a few key elements about your organization’s space, business, and AV-needs.

Here’s a short guide to video walls vs. projectors:

LED Wall Considerations:

Video walls have changed dramatically over the past two decades; modern solutions are slimmer, more energy efficient, and offer much higher resolution, and less bezels (space between panels) than ever before.

Since they’re made up of multiple panels working together, video walls can be configured into multiple shapes and viewed at many angles. LED panels also reduce glare and can be used outside and in areas with plenty of ambient light.

They are also modern, impressive-looking and elevate the spaces they’re installed in. Unlike some projection screens, video walls can be installed piece by piece. If you need a big solution, but have space constraints like small doorways which might otherwise prohibit large hardware, video walls are a great option.

Because the picture is native to the screen, video walls often require less space than projectors and can be viewed from farther away. They often also have better color saturation.

They are typically a larger up-front investment, since installation can be intensive and component parts are high-tech and must match each other. Some older models can also be more energy intensive than projectors, since each panel used to require its own power source.

Projection Considerations:

Projection systems have been around for much longer than video walls. Since there are more options available on the market, projector component parts tend to be more interchangeable. It’s generally possible, for example, to upgrade only the projection screen or only the projector and scale up slowly. Depending on the model, projection screens are also more energy efficient than multiple-panel video walls.

Ambient light can be a problem for projection systems; they work best in conference rooms, banquet halls, and other rooms which can be darkened to avoid glare. Because the video is removed from the source, you’ll also need a way to keep the space between projector and screen clear of people and other obstructions.

However, projection screens are highly customizable by size and can more easily be moved to new locations. Projection-based systems can be cut into multiple configurations to fit unique shapes.

Projection systems are typically much less expensive up front than video walls, though replacement parts – especially bulbs – can increase the price tag.  You may need to factor in potential additional costs such as cleaning and maintenance, blackout curtains or high-quality projection screens.

LED displays are typically less high-definition than projectors, though this again varies depending on the specific solution you install. Standard high-def projectors can be up to twice the pixel height of standard LED video walls. Whether this matters to you will depend on how far away your audience will be – at larger distances, attributes such as brightness and color saturation may be more important than fine details, or vice versa.

Video Wall vs Projection System: What’s best for your space?

Both projection systems and video walls can be customized to provide an impressive and flexible solution for your organization’s needs.

Knowing how you will use your AV system and what your space is like will help you weigh the pros and cons when choosing a video wall vs. projection system. In light of the considerations detailed above, questions such as:

  • How big is the space? Is it an indoor room which can be fitted with blackout curtains, or a sunlight lobby?
  • How far away is the audience, and what kind of presentations will you be supporting with AV?
  • How much do you want to invest now, vs. down the line?
  • Will space constraints make installation difficult? and
  • How important are color saturation and brightness vs.  image sharpness?

are all important to consider when making a decision.

Whether you want a custom video wall or cutting-edge projection solution, VSSi will work with you to ensure that you maximize the results of your budget and end up with a solution that fits both your space and your organization’s needs. VSSi makes custom-built high-tech AV solutions and supports projects from concept through execution and support down the road.

To learn more, see some of our past installations or get in touch with us here.

4 Benefits of Interactive Touch Screens

4 Benefits of Interactive Touch Screens

From the smartphones in our pockets to the self-checkout machines in the grocery store, interactive touch panels are everywhere, and for good reason:

In corporate, education, customer service, and retail environments, touch-sensitive audio visual tech – which ranges from small portable touch tablets through massive kiosks and video panels – offers a number of impressive benefits.

Here are just a few of the ways touch panels maximize the value of your technology:

User-friendliness and accessibility

Touch screen panels enable a direct interaction with technology that’s hard to match.

There’s something inherently more natural about pointing and manipulating objects on a screen with our hands the same way we could touch physical objects.

Pointing and pushing with our hands is a natural, instinctive gesture that almost everyone does intuitively. In a technological environment, that familiarity translates into instant expertise without the need for advanced training.

Reduced training time on tech, and reduced errors from technological mistakes mean more time to spend on your business or organization’s priorities.

Interactive touch screens also tend to be much more accessible for those with physical disabilities who may find other interfaces – such as a mouse and keyboard – difficult to use.
When they are well-designed, touchscreens offer all the simplicity of a whiteboard or blackboard and chalk, but with the power and functionality of a computer.


Enhanced customer experiences and faster business processes

As an automated customer service technology, touch screen panels offer 24/7 interactive customer support that never goes on break or calls out sick. They offer information, directions, and assistance to customers on-demand.

The immediate interface of a touch screen also makes inputting commands measurably faster.
Faster input translates into more effective and efficient decisions, which has a direct impact on your organization’s outcomes and bottom line.


Versatile, widely compatible, and durable digital technology

Interactive touch panels are among the most versatile methods of sharing information.

Integrators such as VSSI can work with you to configure information in a way that suits your needs and fits in seamlessly with the hardware and digital platforms you already have in place.

From small mobile tablets through massive video walls, touch screens are compatible with a wide range of technology types, platforms, varied hardware.

They are also all-in-one solutions which save space by eliminating non-touch components, limiting cords and wires. Eliminating the extra parts also means that many interactive touch panels are less likely to break, simply because there are fewer hardware components to contend with. Many are portable, offering mobile communications technology.

Touch screens are adaptable for both sensitive tasks requiring fine-toothed control, and for outdoor and other heavy-duty public use.

In fact, with modern technology, touch screens actually last longer than many projectors, offering extended durability to grow with you.


Engaging and Interactive Technology

Flat touch screen panels are visually appealing and attention-grabbing high-tech elements.

Crystal-clear images and graphics are fun to look at and arresting.

In educational settings, touch screens tap into a medium already familiar to most young people. Instead of passively listening to a presentation, viewers can actively participate in the educational experience using a touchscreen.

In business settings, touch screens enable active annotation, review, collaboration, and project management in an engaging, tactile format. Instead of trying to stay awake during a 1-way presentation, touch panels make all participants into active members of the conversation.

Regardless of the information you need to communicate, touch screens make the experience more interactive, dynamic, and powerful.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how a touch panel solution could contribute to your organization’s goals.

As a full-service audio-visual integration (AV) company, VSSI provides high-end, individually-tailored solutions.
After an in-depth consultation with you, our professionally trained and certified staff will work to design the best solution for your needs, vision, and budget. After we build it, we’ll keep working for you, providing 24/7 support to make sure you keep getting the most out of your custom AV solution.

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