Widgets Magazine

Uphill in a Blizzard – Both Ways

During any emergency it becomes very apparent what is important and what can be put aside until things return to normalcy. Recently the Mid-Atlantic region experienced a blizzard that made any kind of travel unsafe, if not impossible. How people dealt with keeping their businesses moving forward to start the year when no one was moving outside due to the storm and the aftermath.
A friend who works for an IT management company told me storms that cause the federal government to close are an insanely busy time for him. Trouble tickets for remote access problems go through the roof when the Office of Personnel Management closes the doors of DC. People are working remotely more than ever before and our industry needs to pay attention.
In an emergency that requires people to stay home the cloud becomes king. Generally, the emergency will be localized, meaning that if you have a geographically diverse operation other members of your group will be working normally. Unfortunately for most of our industry the traditional trappings of corporate/government audiovisual get thrown by the wayside. At home you don’t have massive conference rooms with high definition cameras and racks of equipment or banks of mics with DSP power. You get a laptop, a home internet connection and, if you’re lucky, a good quality external webcam.
Too often the standard AV company will focus on the gear in the room with their responsibility ending at the RJ45 jacks in the wall. If you do this you’ve left out a large portion of your possible client base and aren’t selling yourself enough. Nearly every room we are doing has some form of camera or VTC system. But it’s not enough to just sell them equipment, you also need to set them up with an end to end solution and disaster preparedness is a key to making this sale. After all, when things go south and you can’t get into the office will you be the vendor that helped them keep going in the face of adversity while their competitor was down, or will you be the vendor that that’s nowhere to be found when the roads close? You can have all the wiz-bang technology in a room you can fit, but it doesn’t do you any good when the building is under three feet of snow.

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