Here are four other lessons from Inc. 5000 companies that are wining and dining clients virtually.
1. Send care packages in advance.
Before the age of Covid-19, client meetings were generally casual affairs for Stefanie Hill, who runs the San Francisco office of IT management consulting firm Pariveda, an 11-time Inc. 5000 company (No. 4,791 in 2019). “As in ‘Let’s go grab a cup of coffee,’ or ‘Let’s go grab a glass of wine,'” she says.
Hill is still picking up the wine tab–only now she plans ahead. For two recent client meetings, she headed to the post office in advance and shipped wine to the clients’ homes, along with wine glasses etched with the Pariveda logo. This touch createda way for her to match what they were drinking and leave them with a Covid-era keepsake. For a recent morning discussion with counterparts from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, she mailed fresh coffee from Brandywine Coffee Roasters and Pariveda mugs. “We actually found a blend called ‘Social Distancing,'” Hill says.
2. Add the element of surprise.
For many remote workers, the Zoom window has become a constant presence on computer desktops. To liven up video calls, Kristen Liggett, group account director at Agency EA, an experiential marketing agency based in Chicago (No. 2,127 on the Inc. 5000), is telling clients to expect a delivery one hour before their meeting–but won’t say what. En route: a bottle of rosé and assorted cheeses and snacks from a nearby gourmet market.
“Who doesn’t love a surprise?” says Liggett. “And it adds a layer of fun rather than expectation,” she adds.
“Zoom fatigue”—that tired feeling you get after a long video meeting—has become a feeling many office workers are intimately familiar with. For many of us, these meetings aren’t anything new; we’re used to being in lots of meetings throughout the day. But once these meetings became virtual, they seem to be far more mentally and emotionally taxing.
What gives? Experts say that it’s simply harder to process verbal information over a video call than in person, where we can benefit from non-verbal communication cues. It could also come from the fact that we feel pressured to more actively show our engagement.
“At first, I thought Zoom meetings were better than in-person meetings. I even thought they were an introvert’s dream!” says Sunshine Watson, donor database manager at Valleywise Health Foundation. “Then I noticed that I was exhausted afterward, and dread days that involve them.”
Gone are the days when two teams of five players gathered in a room to battle each other on the video game frontier. With some of the biggest esports live events recording attendance levels of more than 100,000 people, the venue must be large enough to house a crowd. A venue that’s too small will make the players feel uncomfortable—no one wants a spectator to infiltrate their personal space during tense moments of play.
Common esports venue types that meet varying size needs:
Dedicated esports venues
2. A centralized location
You know venue location is one of the most important factors when it comes to event turnout. Don’t select a site that’s off the beaten path. After all, a substantial portion of your players and spectators probably don’t have driving licenses and will rely on parental drop-offs or public transportation. Some parents might even be wary of hauling their kids to a far-flung venue, let alone leaving them there for a day-long tournament.
3. The necessary licensing
Video games fall under the same copyright protection as other audiovisual works. Creators and publishers have the right to approve (or disapprove) the use of their games in public tournaments. Because of the rising popularity of these events, however, most publishers sell licenses to esports tournament organizers and third-party leagues—after all, it’s a source of revenue and an opportunity to promote their games.
Adding Virtual As An Aspect Of Your Show, Booth, Event, Conference Has Massive Benefits For facilitators.
You are not limited by location. Your audience is now global. This means your experience can happen at any time and from anywhere. You may invite as many people as you want from wherever you want, so think about how to make this work for your brand most effectively. Is there a market you wish you could expand to but haven’t been able to get a foothold on the ground as of yet? This may be an opportunity for introducing your business or product to a completely new – and diverse – crowd.
Your stage is as big as you want to be, with all the bells and whistles you desire. Say you always wanted lasers and dry ice as your intro but couldn’t make it work with your budget – here you go. Dazzle them with theatrics onscreen.
Your entire event may be recorded and replayed by your audience at their convenience. This is a huge bonus, as we are all tight on time. Given both professional and personal constrictions, having the ease of “attending” when it’s convenient instead of when it’s actually happening may allow for new attendees and admirers you would not have gained otherwise. Additionally, you might add gated forms to collect data and begin a long-term nurture marketing campaign.
Touchless technology is taking off in Japan. Its sensor industry had already benefitted not just from the boom in smartphone technology but also from the developments in IoT.
Late last month a “Masks OK” sign appeared at the underground entrance to NEC’s headquarters in Japan, to indicate that facial recognition could now cope with staff members wearing masks and sunglasses, with no need to tap an employee ID card. NEC has reported an increasing number of discussions with other companies who are seeking entry and exit facial recognition systems.
The city where the Covid-19 outbreak started has celebrated the end of a 76-day lockdown with a midnight light and projection show. Imagery projected onto skyscrapers paid tribute healthcare workers, troops and police officers who worked tirelessly throughout the last three months to look after the 11 million residents.
In our final article, we’ll show a few common requirements you should be aware of to remain compliant as an A/V integrator in an ADA world. Number 5 is a biggy.
What are some specific ADA considerations when designing A/V systems?
1. Assistive listening systems – An assistive listening system, or ALS, is what most integrators and system designers think of when they consider ADA regulations.
That’s understandable, as ALS technology is the only dedicated A/V technology that’s designed to improve accessibility.
Most ADA regulations refer to where technology can be placed and how much space must be allocated to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.
ALS, however, enhances the output of A/V technology so that people who are hard of hearing can better hear what is being said.
There is plenty of research confirming that increasing volume between 15 and 25 decibels makes a big difference for people with hearing difficulties.
An ALS system is required in any assembly area where audio is an integral part of communication in the space. Classrooms and lecture halls are obvious examples of where this would be relevant.
Courtrooms are often overlooked in this respect, but they also require ALS technology to be ADA compliant.
In addition to an infrared, radio frequency or induction loop ALS, there must also be signage present that informs people of the technology’s presence, as well as the presence of audio receivers.
According to both the 1994 and 2004 ADA standards, venues must provide a number of receivers proportional to the amount of available seating, with a minimum of two receivers made available.
2. Height of work surfaces – As far as it concerns A/V integrators, the rest of the relevant ADA sections only specify how technology should be placed in a room or public space.
These guidelines are in place for people with physical disabilities, such as those using a wheelchair.
One ADA section that may be overlooked by A/V professionals is Section 902.
Section 902 states that work surfaces must be at least 28 inches above the floor and no more than 34 inches above the floor. This is to ensure that people in wheelchairs can access the work surface comfortably.
This most often comes into play when installing a lectern. Standard lecterns usually come with a work surface much higher than 34 inches from the floor.
To ensure ADA compliance, the lectern should be built with an adjustable work surface or with a removable control panel for managing A/V equipment.
3. Reach ranges – In Section 308, the ADA specifies what reach ranges A/V integrators may account for when installing A/V equipment on a wall. This usually concerns a control touchscreen or a wall plate intended for a device input.
To remain ADA compliant, the element must be between 15 inches and 48 inches from the floor, which allows people in wheelchairs to access both the top and bottom of the element.
Although a simple regulation to follow, Section 308 often poses challenges for the integrator that isn’t thinking ahead.
Electricians aren’t usually thinking ADA when they are asked to install the electrical infrastructure behind the system elements.
In many instances, an electrician will complete their work in a way that makes it impossible to meet this standard.
Careful communication with the electricians is essential to avoid this complication.
4. Unobstructed and obstructed forward and side reach – Section 308 also specifies how deep of obstruction is allowed in front of a system element.
Specifically, designers should not force someone in a wheelchair to perform a forward reach beyond 25 inches, and should not force a side reach (side reach refers to a reach over the wheel of the wheelchair) longer than 24 inches.
These numbers fluctuate a bit depending on how high off the ground the system element is, so careful reading of the section is required.
5. Protruding objects – Protruding objects represent a hazard to people who are visually impaired, so the ADA dedicates Sections 204 and 307 to define what an unacceptable protrusion looks like.
These sections largely concern integrators expecting to install digital signage, and they are the subject of many violations.
Wall-mounted A/V system elements should protrude no more than 4 inches from the wall.
Installers frequently violate this standard, and the signage may need to be recessed to guarantee compliance.
This section is aimed at “circulation paths,” which refers to any space that is used for moving from one room to another, or one part of a room to another.
This is a gray area that integrators often have trouble defining, so the safe choice is to ensure all wall-mounted signage does not protrude.
ADA standards are exacting and require careful consideration when designing and installing a system.
To conclude, the following ADA guidelines ensure that even those with disabilities can fully experience what the A/V system has to offer.
In part one of this series, we talked about the Americans with Disabilities Act. In this episode, we’ll talk about what integrators must do to remain compliant.
What A/V integrators must do to remain ADA compliant
Regarding the ADA, the first question is: Does this project necessitate ADA compliance?
Because this is a federal act, there are numerous exceptions and gray areas that integrators may have to consider.
In general, though, if the A/V technology is installed in an “assembly” area or an area accessible to the public, it must remain ADA compliant.
These are very open-ended definitions, and they include classrooms, most meeting rooms, theatres, auditoriums, concert halls, stadiums, arenas, convention centers, lecture halls, public lobbies and the like.
Any room that is not accessible to the public, including some A/V rack rooms, do not have to be ADA compliant. However, even in this instance, there may be exceptions.
For example, if an A/V equipment room is attached to an auditorium or lecture hall, and academic staff is expected to access it to configure or control equipment, then it does have to be ADA compliant.
For the sake of perfect compliance, and just because it’s beneficial to make A/V technology as accessible as possible, some A/V integrators design their systems for optimal accessibility no matter what space they are placed in.
That’s just a taste of what’s required. In our final installment, we’ll go over guidelines for ALS (Assistive Listening Systems), Height, Reach and the one most overlooked, Protruding Objects.
In Commercial A/V work, complying with code is necessary. Egress and plenum requirements are common topics, but there are plenty more to be aware of.
In this three-part series, I’ll introduce you to the Act, what integrators must do to remain compliant and come specific consideration when designing a system.
A/V Compliance in an ADA world
In 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, was signed into law, and since then, integrators have made numerous ADA considerations when designing A/V systems for their clients.
The ADA serves an important purpose in ensuring that everyone can take full advantage of all installed A/V technology.
Not only does this empower users who would otherwise have difficulty presenting material or organizing a meeting, but it also guarantees every meeting or presentation goes off without difficulty or prejudice.