cctv systemsThere are plenty of CCTV systems in the market; technological advances have resulted in significant price reductions which have made them affordable to a wider market segment.  But not all CCTV systems are the same.  While the current trend is to switch to IP video technology, many companies are still doing well using analog surveillance systems.  CCTV systems are also being used to deter criminals in public areas.

Comparing The Benefits And Drawbacks of Analog Surveillance Systems 

Some companies who already have analog cameras and recording equipment may hesitate to transition to IP video equipment.  Others who may opt for analog equipment may be on tight budgets; analog equipments are significantly less expensive.  For the most part, one should not dismiss analog camera systems outright.  In fact, with the right digital video recorders you should still be able to use analog cameras while migrating to digital surveillance systems.

Aside from lower cost, analog CCTV systems capture images better in low light conditions; this is an area where digital cameras are still in the process of catching up.  Using analog surveillance systems, it is also easier to mix and match different camera, recording and surveillance equipment from different manufacturers.

Among the weaknesses of analog CCTV systems is the use expensive cabling which is hard to install and sometimes poses maintenance problems as well.  Many new features of digital systems such as video analytics, digital zoom, and higher resolutions are not offered by comparable analog CCTV systems.

That said, if you have a small facility to cover, and you are on a tight budget, an analog CCTV system might not be such a bad idea.  But for larger applications you may have to go digital.

Choosing Components Wisely

Cameras are available in a wide variety of resolutions.  If you need to identify people involved in the incidents you are monitoring, you will need high definition (HD) video cameras.  The lenses installed on cameras also differ in terms of viewing angle, which starts at about 20 degrees up to more than 90 degrees.  There are also cameras whose views can be manipulated.  These are known as pan tilt and zoom (PTZ) cameras.  For deployment at outdoor locations you may want to cameras which are weather proof.  For monitoring dark areas, there are video surveillance cameras with low light capabilities.

There are several types of camera mountings such as tubular, dome type, and multiple camera pods which cover as many as four directions at once.

For recording equipment there are DVR’s and even tapes you may choose from.  There is even an option of having a security company monitor your security and store video surveillance footages offsite, sometimes direct to a secure cloud-based server.

Monitors can be any type of screen, although at least a flat screen is recommended.  The size of the monitor would depend on the number of camera footages you want to view at the same time.  And the best option, mainly for ease of use, is an interactive screen.

Whether you use the latest technology or just the simplest CCTV system, the most important consideration is always whether you get adequate protection from perceived threats.  And that varies from one situation to the next.

best call center software

Companies all over the world are always on the lookout for anything that would give them an edge over the competition. In the case of contact centers, finding the best call center software is one of the best ways to increase efficiency and thus help keep competitors at bay. But that is something that may not be so easy to do. What is the best call center software? Almost all software feature lots of useful features and many of them claim to be the best for contact center use, but how do you validate those claims?

The first step toward finding the best software for call centers is defining your particular needs. How big is your call center operation? Really large operations benefit most from automating repetitive tasks; in small operations, too much automation may lead to unnecessarily complicating the call center agent’s tasks. Are you handling only inbound calls, only outbound calls, or both? You will find that some call center software solutions specialize in one or the other; there are even those who cover features helpful to both outbound and inbound call handling adequately. The rationale behind defining your needs is to be able to rate different call center software from a proper perspective. What you need is to find software that closely meets your present needs and is flexible enough to cover future requirements. Organizations like the Professional Association for Customer Engagement (PACE) may be able to help you find the most appropriate software.

Having said all that, there are a few attributes of good call center software which would benefit almost any size of operation, such as:

  1. A user-friendly layout. The software is there to automate repetitive tasks, but the main goal is still to assist the call center agent. Good software have clean and clear layouts and should feature easy navigation.

  2. Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): Using artificial intelligence to make call distribution more effective and more efficient is one of the most basic functions of call center software. The complexity of call distribution systems should match the requirements of each particular contact center operation, though features that consider agent skills and maximum waiting times are common.

  3. Interactive Voice Response (IVR): Properly programmed IVR help qualify the caller’s requirements. This causes a significant reduction on the workload of the call center agent, as information gleaned from the use of the IVR is made available during the call.

  4. Real Time Statistics: Such statistics as number of calls in progress, duration of each call, number of calls in the queue, caller’s name and number help determine whether company standards are being met. Additionally, they also provide can be considered cues as to when particular call center agents may need help handling their calls.

  5. Call Monitoring: This is an important management tool that helps ensure call handling quality standards are met. In another sense it helps bolster the confidence of agents that their superiors are watching over them and are ready to assist when required.

Once you have shortlisted a few software with all the right features, it will be easy to choose which one provides the best fit when compared to your organization’s requirements.

hotel digital signage

Hotel digital signage is doing a lot to improve total guest experience, and it is really doing so through one better communications. Nowadays hotel guests can be fed information even before they hit the hotel lobby. Various types of hotel digital signage are being utilized to help guests find their way, receive updates, and receive information about promotions.

There are four main areas where hotels use digital signs to great advantage, and these are:

The Hotel Entrance: The entrance to a hotel is the perfect place to serve marketing and promotions information to passersby. Discounted room rates, promotion bundles and freebie offers are best displayed where they can be viewed by people from the outside – the way gas stations post prices to attract motorists to fill up. This can take the form of large format billboards meant for motorists to see, and interactive digital screens work best for pedestrians. By the time the guests walk to the hotel’s information desk, they would have already made up their minds to stay.

The Lobby: The lobby is the first thing a guest sees inside a hotel. The hotel can use digital signs at the lobby to create a positive first impression. Guests can be enticed to sample the hotel’s various restaurant and beverage outlets, or avail of seasonal offers. Prospective guests can browse room availability and offered rates through interactive touch screens; as an added bonus, this takes some load off the hotel’s information and registration counter staff. A recent article on details how one high tech hotel uses large interactive touch screens as virtual concierges.

The information included in the marketing and promotions content can easily be updated; the hotel can adapt to changing conditions, such as a high number of vacancies or a rival’s promotions, in an instant.

Convention Centers And Function Rooms: Hotels are favorite venues for trade shows and conventions. But people who come to conventions often need to be guided as to where to register, the actual venue of the convention or trade show, their rooms if lodging is included, where meals are served, what the program schedules are, and a myriad of other information. Digital signage, especially those using interactive touch screens can provide all that information without the expensive salaries of ushers or having to print convention brochures in great detail.

Digital signs can also replace banners and standup signs which are expensive and are usually disposed of after just one use; with a digital sign, all you need to do is update content.

Guest Rooms: Digital signage in guest rooms allow the guest to view information they need such as hotel rules & regulations, room service menus, list of spa services and much more. It is when a guest is already in a hotel when it is best to basically upsell them – inform them of special offers and promotions through an interactive touch screen. When the guests use these digital signage to interact with the hotel to ask for such things as room deliveries and dry cleaning, there is less chance of error because it is the client himself who enters the data.

Digital signage helps hotels improve guest experience while giving them the chance to market their services.