Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Centralized Content Management System for the Banking World

More and more businesses are leveraging video and it’s no different in the financial services industry. Financial institutions are video enabling call centers to provide their members with a higher level of customer service. But what about streamlining processes internally? Banks and financial institutions are using content management platforms such as Kaltura within their organization for training, branch operations, marketing and knowledge sharing.

Some key benefits of utilizing a Centralized Content Management System are:

  • Reducing cost with online video training

  • Increased collaboration throughout locations

  • Improved productivity by having content readily available

  • Capturing and managing video surveillance

  • Regulated call monitoring and storage

These are just a few examples of incorporating video within your industry. For businesses with more than one locations, a single management system can help streamline your work flow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Workflow – work·flow  /ˈwərkflō/ the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion.

workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information.  It can be depicted as a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person or group, an organization of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms.

Workflows may be viewed as one fundamental building block to be combined with other parts of an organization's structure such as information technology, team, projects and hierarchies.

How do you get the job done?

All of these tools – Phone Calls, Conference Calls, Video Calls, IM
All of these devices – Cell Phone/Smart Phone, Tablet, PC/Laptop, Desk Phone, Audio Conference Phone, Video Conferencing System (Desktop, Mobile, Room)
All these places – Office, Home Office, Hotel Room, Planes, Trains, Automobiles

How do I decide?
Let your environment decide for you, because you’re ready, your connected, your flexible, you’re running at maximum efficiency.

The key to your success is simple.  How does your WORK FLOW?
How you work depends on where you’re at, at that time, or does it?

Office or Home Office –
·        Scenario 1 –
o   Assume this location has a desk phone and Computer.  Your work flow may be phone conversations to email follow up, or the reverse.  You’re also setting calendar appointments, attending conference calls, Etc. But if these are two separate devices you’re alternating between the two for your communications, and your workflow may be choppy.
·        Scenario 2 –
o   Same assumptions as scenario 1, except you also have some chat or IM tool on your computer.  Now some of your communication workflow may include Chat/IM to start your communications. But at this point they are not cohesive.
·        Scenario 3 –
o   Assuming the same technology as in Scenarios 1&2, except add Video Conferencing of some level, this could be on your computer or stand alone.  Now you’ve just increased your communication options, but the workflow hasn’t really changed much because these are all separate devices or applications. The good news is you’ve increased the ways to communicate and that is a positive step in the right direction.  Of course the next step is bringing all of these applications and or devices together so you can seamlessly switch to any of them at any time.

·        Scenario 4 Seamless Workflow Begins
o   The technology in your Office or Home Office is as follows;
§  Computer that includes an Audio & Video device (Camera/Speakerphone).  This could be integrated or added as external peripherals.
§  IM/Text – let’s assume Skype of some flavor
§  Softphone via Skype application or other
§  Smartphone Mobile Device
§  Stand Alone Video Conferencing Group System
o   Communication begins with an IM/Text on your computer
o   From there you invite the person you’re communicating with into a video call.  For this part of the scenario let’s assume that this video conference is from your PC.
o   During your desktop video conference with one other person you both agree that you need input from an expert.  You simply invite or add that person to the video call you’re already in.  This could be accomplished from the application you’re in, or IM/Text, or Etc.
o   During the new multiple party videoconference on your computer, there is a need to add additional people into the call/conversation.  You determine or know that these other people are in a location that has a group video conferencing system.  You also see the advantage to them gathering together in the room with the Group videoconference system.  You invite that group system into the current call you’re in.  Now everyone joins with the technology available to them, and your all meeting.
o   Let’s expand on that last bullet point.  Let’s assume there are other people required for this call but you’re not sure of their availability.  You check for their presence with your IM application. You see they are not in the office but you know they have a Smart Mobile phone.  You invite their Mobile phone into the videoconference.  If they can and want to join with video and the device they have is supported they join.  They also have the option to join as an audio only participant.

Let’s review what just happened in Scenario 4.

You started the communication from your PC, you expanded the attendees using several technologies, you never left your PC for the entire session and hopefully because of all these resources on a single device you actually completed the task.  The workflow was all on your PC, your fingers never left the mouse and keyboard.  You were Multi-tasking while Multi-Communicating. HHMMM, Multi-Communicating, is that even a word?

What happens when you’re on the road? Not Much!
In my world almost everyone travels with at least one of these devices, if not all.  Laptop, Tablet, Cell/Smart Phone.  Guess what, the workflow doesn’t really change.  The only change is which device you are using to accomplish the workflow. In many cases the people you are communicating with don’t even know you’re out of the office, unless they just know.

Isn’t that how you want to work and communicate?

Same Workflow, Multiple Devices, Many Places.  Efficiency with technology with no huge workflow changes, only device changes.  In many cases no one in the call knows what device you’re on, unless of course you tell them.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

To Grant or not to Grant, there is no Question

     When it comes to funding your Distance Learning or Telemedicine projects it's always the same ole same ole, we don't have enough money. If you happen to be in a rural location or providing services to a rural location, you may be in luck. Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Grants could be your ticket to fund your project. This program is designed to help rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density. For example, this program can link teachers and medical service providers in one area to students and patients in another. 

     For example, if you had $15,000 slated for a project to upgrade your:
  • Audio, video and interactive video equipment
  • Terminal and data terminal equipment
  • Computer hardware, network components and software
  • Inside wiring and similar infrastructure that further DLT services
You could use this available funding as the 15% match for the program providing you the ability to obtain $100,000 in funding. Keep in mind that grant funds can only be used for capital assets and not cloud hosted services and awards typically range from $50,000 to $500,000. Even if you have previously been awarded a RUS Grant, you can re-apply in following years to refresh your previous projects.

     Intimidated about writing a grant? Don't be as we are here to help and can assist you with our team of grant writing and solution experts. The 2017 RUS Grant window typically opens in Jan/Feb and now is a great time to meet with us and get a jump on refining your project and kicking off writing the application.

If you are interested, we are currently partnering with new and past RUS recipients looking to update their Distance Learning or Telehealth solutions using the RUS grant program.

It’s a free program – click here for the details.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Are we there yet? The Video doctor and how deadly diseases like Ebola are being treated.

During the Ebola outbreak we were sent into a panic mode.
Photo Credit: PLOS Collections

The Ebola virus is spread by direct contact, which can be through the tiniest piece of broken skin or via mucous membranes in, for instance, the eyes, nose or mouth. The source can be contaminated blood or other body materials and objects like needles and syringes. Protective equipment is needed for any contact with a patient.

The video doctor was quickly introduced. Odulair put a modular Ebloa-isolation unit on the market.

"The doors in the unit can open automatically, allowing a “telepresence” robot to patrol. It displays live video of a doctor or nurse, allowing them to speak to a patient. The RP-VITA, as the robot is called, greatly reduces the number of times staff must put on protective suits and step inside, says Anita Chambers, Odulair’s boss. 

All fluid and solid waste, including things like needles and mattresses, is fed into a cylindrical chamber housed in a shipping container. This grinds it up with a macerator and then cooks it with scalding steam under high pressure until all that is left is a sterile greyish powder. Odulair’s isolation unit also incorporates a fogging system that sterilizes unoccupied rooms with hydrogen-peroxide vapour. Some hospitals disinfect rooms with remote-controlled machines, such as the Q-10 made by Bioquell, a British manufacturer, or a robot produced by Xenex Disinfection Services in Texas, which can sterilize a room in ten minutes."

The concept was incredible. Therefor helping a market and generation of technology users and healthcare providers. By allowing the disease to stay contaminated it was preventing the safety of all healthcare workers that would have came in contact otherwise.

At the moment, the amount infected by Ebola is low. It may continue to grow in other countries who do not have the same advances in technologies as we do. My hope is that as these advances grow more countries will have access to them as well.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Telemedicine Behind Bars

Currently there are many people in prisons and jails around the country.  Delivering healthcare services to these people presents a variety of challenges and carries a major financial expense.
States are exploring the possibilities of serving the healthcare needs of incarcerated people through telemedicine because of cost, convenience, and safety concerns.

Many prison inmates have mental illness and substance abuse problems. There is some overlap between these. Common mental health issues include depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and self-injury. Many inmates also have histories of violence.

Telemedicine is proving to be vital to providing mental healthcare services to inmates, particularly in rural facilities that are simply not equipped to offer such services. Provision of mental healthcare is essential to rehabilitation to those who are incarcerated, and has been shown to reduce violence within prisons.

Prison populations also contain significant numbers of people with chronic illnesses.  Telemedicine can be used to manage chronic conditions like heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in prison populations, cutting costs and reducing risks. When prisoners don’t have to be transported to an off-site facility, transportation costs drop, as do risks of prisoners escaping during transport.  Most prisoners prefer telemedicine, since it means they don’t have to endure being shackled and transported to off-site medical appointments.
One advantage of telemedicine in prisons and jails is the ability to provide specialty medical services at facilities located in rural areas where specialists may not be available locally. Additionally, telemedicine can result in a reduction in scheduling delays since medical practitioners don’t have to travel to distant facilities to see prisoner-patients.

Telemedicine can cut costs – particularly staff-related expenses (including overtime) incurred when prisoners are transported to medical appointments. Further, it can provide an alternative to local providers who order expensive tests and treatment for prisoners.

 Prisoners have a constitutional right to adequate medical care  and states must ensure that any cost-containment strategies preserve adequate quality of healthcare to those who are incarcerated. One way they are doing so is by turning to telemedicine to provide services, particularly mental health services and services for prisoners with chronic conditions. The results so far have been promising in terms of results and savings.

When IDSolutions Becomes a Part of Your Team

Among the many offerings of IDSolutions, On-Site Service works to provide you an integrated expert for your association. Say, for example, that IDSolutions has installed a rack on your site and you have no one in your IT department that knows how to approach a hardware failure, or a service hiccup. Instead of having to hire, on-board, and train such a person to cover any such sort of grievance, IDSolutions can fill that need for you. For further details, I’ve invited Zandy Powlesland, a Sales Engineer who has worked as an on-site rep for Department of Health Services in the past, to a Q&A breakdown. 

Zandy, what does a typical day working as an on-site support representative look like for you?
It depends on what the client needs, but in my experience you go onsite and setup in your designated cubicle area. Initially, I’ve logged into the systems, go through my daily checks to see where the equipment stands After I’ve updated myself on the system’s status, I would then make my rounds to talk to the Video Teleconferencing group within the organization. 

Solving Problems: Together

Okay. So far so good! What do you and the VTC chat about when you catch up with them?
We talk about tickets that are currently open and I share with them my plan of action to address those tickets. I would then ask if there’s anything new that I need to address that day. I would then work with them to schedule rooms for testing if needed. That way, I don’t run the risk of interrupting any preexisting activity. 

I see. So you address tickets and dig around to see if there’s any other sort of trouble brewing. Why is that different than, say, a help desk representative?
One of the reasons onsite is nice is because clients can sometimes have trouble bringing up issues when we’re remote (like someone from help desk). They’ll have trouble communicating exactly what’s going on or replicating the issue, so the client will sometimes feel more comfortable letting the issue slide. When we’re there face to face, they’re more likely to bring up the things they’d like us to look into. We can then see exactly what’s going on, work to replicate the issue, and address it; right then and there. There’s a comfort level there, a rapport that’s built, when we’re there and chatting with them face to face. 

So on-site services is able to take the edge off of addressing technical difficulties?
Ultimately, it creates a more user-friendly environment and a happier client, which is exactly what we want! Plus, I get to interact with the user base, those people that don’t usually interact with helpdesk through tickets. They take that opportunity to pass along things they’d like to see implemented. Basically, for a day, I’m part of their company and I get to use their VTC the way that they use it. It allows me to tailor their infrastructure to their needs, allowing a better utilized system. 

Is it this kind of building rapport that makes it the easiest to navigate an association’s system?
No. That’s a part of it, but there’s more than that. I’ve also worked helpdesk, and with that background I can say that it’s much easier to fix things in person than via working over the phone. During a day onsite, I get to test and retest and fix things, making sure things are in order for the week, until I return the following week to retest.
Beyond all of the obvious things that face to face interaction, like working on preexisting tickets, an additional benefit is most clients only know how to ask for things that they’re currently aware of. Their scope of imagination when it comes to what could be wrong, or what could be bettered, is restricted to their knowledge of the equipment. Sometimes that means there’s not a lot to draw off of. We, as VTC experts know the ins and outs of this equipment. That way I’m able to be there to show them things they may not be aware of, fix things they may not know are not functioning correctly. Ultimately, it’s making sure that the customer is able to utilize their equipment to the fullest extent. That’s what I’m here for. 

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