REDBAND: The Changing Face of Higher Education Technology By Mike Brandes

Across the nation, higher education technology departments are working at a feverish pace to ready themselves for the onslaught of returning students and the deluge of connected devices they wield. Five years ago most of the previous sentence wouldn’t have made sense. I remember sitting in college classes as a senior, in 2009 looking around the room and seeing a large percentage of students were using laptops to take notes and research facts in the classroom, with a tiny percentage also owning some other connected device (smartphone, PDA, etc.). I also remember sitting in the same classroom four years earlier and the percentage of students using computers in class was significantly lower. Now, four years removed from my senior year of college, the number of connected devices on campuses nationwide is staggeringly high. A white paper, written in 2012 by CDW-G, estimates the ratio of connected devices to students is as high as 3.5:1. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine the ratio is drastically higher today.  I have at least 6 connected devices in my office at any given time and students living on campus are likely to have more devices than that given the proliferation of smart TVs, gaming consoles and media players over the last two years.

University IT departments are preparing for this blitzkrieg of bandwidth-sucking devices by increasing internet connections and placing stricter security measures on campus networks. Millions of words have been written on the subject of BYOD in the classroom and in the enterprise; but it’s important to also remember the effects of BYOD on network utilization. Network Admins everywhere are placing enhanced security devices in the network to compensate for the vulnerability brought by a surge of connected devices with suspect, if not sub-par, security measures.

Any device connected to the network represents a potential vulnerability to malware and viruses; we all know this. Connected devices such as gaming consoles, apple TV’s, smartphones, tablets, iPods and other media players represent increased vulnerability to networks. More and more equipment, configurations processes and procedures are necessary to protect networks, keep users connected and manage bandwidth. The higher education technology landscape, much like any enterprise technology landscape, has drastically shifted in the past five years. It will be interesting to come back to this post in five years, and see how archaic this really is. The good and the bad of working in technology is things never stay the same. I look forward to watching the landscape grow even further, and the new challenges it presents.

Mike Brandes

squareglasses6

Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’swebsite http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.

REDBAND: An Inexpensive Way to Offer Music in Any Room with AppleTV Control by Todd Anthony Puma

Low-Cost Multi-Zone Media Streaming with iPhone/iPad control using AppleTV and a DAC… It’s the holy grail, but rarely comes together. It’s low cost, easy to use, easy to install, and features iOS control.

My company has been doing it for a while for many of our customers, and it’s been a huge success. It was just a matter for finding the right DAC. We all know that AppleTV is a great little box for $99 and that most people love iOS control, but how do you make that a reality for whole-home systems? There are now a slew of affordable, capable DACs on the market. While I historically have been a bit of a DAC snob, using brands priced $400 and up, for the AppleTV I’ve been using a great little DAC from Zuum Media that hasn’t let me down and produces great sound for the price. It’s the DACD-Stereo for $169 MSRP……

Continue reading on Residential Systems by clicking he link below:

http://www.residentialsystems.com/default.aspx?tabid=90&EntryId=632

ToddRedband

Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

REDBAND LIVE!

REDBAND: Then & Now…Growing Up Nerdy by Heather Helton

Growing Up Nerdy collage2

When did it become “cool” to be a nerd?

You mean to tell me all those years I was bullied as a kid were completely pointless? Does that mean I’m some sort of a nerd hipster now? Because, after all, I was a nerd before being a nerd was cool. Nerds everywhere are desperately trying to protect the boundaries of their sacred universe as if it were some exclusive club reserved for the elite. Well, guess what? You’ve officially become the breed of asshole that tormented you in grade school! So why are nerds so “butthurt” about this trend?

Well, I have several conjectures. I think the biggest frustration is with “faux” nerd girls (I feel the term “idiot nerd girl” is a bit harsh). These are the pretty girls who throw on a pair of glasses and exclaim, “Omgah, I’m sooo nerdy!” I can understand why this would piss nerds off. It’s debasing to nerd culture. To them, not just anyone can be a nerd; you must earn nerd cred. Think of it this way: You won’t be accepted as a jock without proving your athletic prowess, right? Well, you won’t be accepted as a nerd without proving your intellectual prowess. Nerds assume that pretty girls can’t deliver in this department. Why so judgmental, I’m not really sure…

I would guess intimidation plays a role. When you’re part of a culture that has been male-dominated for so long with a strong sense of brotherhood, it’s hard to adapt to the induction of females — especially when your group is notorious for being awkward around them. Introduce an attractive woman to the group and it’s even more difficult to accept her without argument. I suppose we’ve all been conditioned to assume that attractive people just aren’t as intelligent. I throw bitch fits all the time about how I get paid twice as much for my looks than my brain. It’s rather insulting and I’m sure I’m not the only girl out there who feels this way. As an audio-visual technician at an educational institution, I’m often mistaken for a student rather than an employee. Others seem baffled that an attractive female is capable of operating and troubleshooting sophisticated video conferencing equipment.

Even while interviewing for a position, someone had the audacity to say, “You wouldn’t like it here, anyway; it’s all middle-aged males.” Who are you to tell me what type of environment I would or would not be capable of working in? It’s unnerving to be repeatedly turned down for jobs simply because my age and gender isn’t in line with the preconceived mental image of a qualified candidate. Oh, and as if nerdy gals didn’t have a hard enough time in the workplace, we find ourselves fighting a social battle as well:

  • Why can’t I host a Reddit meetup? Do I need to check with the meetup Gods to have permissions bestowed upon me?
  • Why can’t I wear my glasses without being called a poser? They’re prescription…Get over it!
  • Why do you look at me like that when I tell stories about chess tournaments, astronomy club, AND cheerleading? Would you pass out if I told you I carry a tool bag at work? Give me a break!

How are truly nerdy girls supposed to distinguish themselves from the faux nerd girls, when nerds are already in attack mode? Why are they so defensive? I know they’ve been through a lot, but hey, we all have! We live in a society where individualism is emphasized. Everyone wants to be a special snowflake. If everyone suddenly jumps on the nerd ship, being a nerd won’t be some sexy secret society anymore. I get it, you want to preserve the integrity of your group, but you ought to give people the opportunity to prove themselves. You may find that they surprise you and fit right in!

If not, don’t fret; popular culture cycles and recycles. As quickly as the siege seemed to appear, it will subside and all will be well in the universe again. I’ll still be here, though. So save a spot for me!

Heather H.

REDBANDHHalt6

Heather is an experienced Marketing and Communications professional with expertise in Video Production, Videoconferencing, Tech Support, Customer Service and Social Media. She spends ample time  watching the alien life forms taunting her from the other side of the glass ceiling…with a brick in her hand.  Connect with her on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/hehelton and Follow her on Twitter: @heathereleanora

REDBAND: Technology Leadership Series: Building Successful Teams by Mike Brandes

TECHNOLOGYLEADERSHIPSERIES

One of the best moves a CIO, CTO or technology manager of any level can make is to build a strong, competent and complete team.  While this idea seems to be common sense and commonplace it’s more integral to the success of the organization than it seems. There are endless books, blogs and seminars on the topic of team-building strategies, compiling successful, high-performing teams isn’t difficult.

 Hire people who are smarter than you. As a leader, personal insecurity shouldn’t be part of any decision-making process, ever. Not being concerned with individual perceptions is important. Any true leader knows it is the team, not the leader who is the catalyst for success. Surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you, who make decisions differently than you and whom process information differently than you will allow more creativity into the decision-making and brainstorming process.

Insist on all team members being an excellent cultural fit. Every company, intentionally or not, has a company culture. Making hiring decision based on company culture is imperative. With rare exceptions, every employee contributes to team morale and culture. Each employee being highly skilled and competent isn’t enough. Each team member must contribute positively to the success of the enterprise as well as the company culture.

Clearly define expectations and roles. Few things contribute to high turnover, low morale and under performing teams than unclear expectations. It’s nearly impossible for employees to stay motivated while working towards a moving target of poorly communicated expectations. It’s simple to increase team productivity; efficiency and morale by ensuring team members are clearly understanding all expectations. Making smart hires and developing employees are important but nothing will keep employees engaged longer and deeper than clearly defined goals and expectations.

No one person is capable of doing everything, no matter how much we try. Leaders aren’t leaders unless they have followers, it’s important to ensure teams of followers are assembled in the best way possible. Hiring competent, intelligent and diversely talented people who are committed to the values, goals and culture of the organization; and then clearly and plainly setting reasonable expectations are the ingredients to strong, engaged, effective and successful teams.

For the next several months, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.

Mike Brandes

squareglasses6

Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full-time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’swebsite http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.

REDBAND RADIO’s New Top-Secret Podcast on August 6th (Spoiler Warning #AVTWEEPS)

REDBANDRADIOEp2

 

For the Last Month have been working on ideas for the next REDBAND Radio podcast with AVNation. The first podcast was easy. Four REDBAND members at Infocomm and the thought of an unscripted, press “record and go” type show was hard to resist. I personally enjoyed sitting down with the “band” and talk AV. So what do we do for show #2 that would make it interesting, fun and possibly go where others have not?

In order to make some of our ideas a reality we created the REDBAND community page on Google+. I’m very proud to say that the community has grown quickly in a short period of time.  So with the Google community up and running I can now layout the details for the show that has been “in the works” and “under wraps”.

Tuesday August 6th REDBAND Radio will Broadcast Live from Verrex’s Corporate Headquarters and Yes Verrex knows we are coming. Verrex’s President CEO & Chairman Thomas Berry Jr. will sit in with the “band” to talk AV during the show. We will also have a musical guest. “The Verrex Band” will be performing Live on the show.

And the word “Live” is not being used lightly in this post. We will be recording for the podcast but we will be also be live on the REDBAND google+ community page.  In order to view you will need to have a Google+ account and join the community.  If you don’t have a google+ plus account…get one by Tuesday Evening to join! Once you have the account set up follow the link below to the REDBAND community:

gplus.to/redbandav

We expect to go live between 6 and 7pm EST. I will definitely have more details on the community page along with details on how you can interact with us Live during the show. We’re confident that the show will be entertaining, informative and most of all fun.

So what’s next? We are already working on some more off the wall ideas. If you have an idea for the podcast or would like to join us on the next show please let me know.

Thanks again for taking time out to read our posts, listen to our podcasts and watch our videos.

Sincerely,

Chris

Check out the latest REDBAND Video

Check out my 1st article for Commercial Integrator: Separating Value Engineering from Cost Reduction

CommIntegratorlogo

Here is my first of many posts for Commercial Integrator…

“In our industry there are many dreaded terms. The term “EDID,” for one, is a major pain point for many site technicians, engineers and manufacturers. As much as the term drums up memories of discontent, there is one term in our industry that strikes defeat, fear and self-doubt amongst many. That term is “Value Engineering.” Wikipedia defines value engineering as “a systematic method to improve the ‘value’ of goods or products and services by using an examination of function. Value, as defined, is the ratio of function to cost.” Sounds great! So why do we hate hearing about it?…”

Click the link below to read the article on Commercial Integrator’s site:

http://www.commercialintegrator.com/article/separating_value_engineering_from_cost_reduction

REDBAND: Technology Leadership Series: Emotional Intelligence by Mike Brandes

TECHNOLOGYLEADERSHIPSERIES

The individualized vision of the “Perfect Leader” is highly subjective and its definition can be surprisingly diverse from person to person. While there are many attributes and actions that are commonly associated with high performing leadership, one of the most understated in my opinion is emotional intelligence.

You may have run across this person before. They seem to be calm regardless of the circumstances, they never lose their temper, and they always make a deliberate effort to listen to the views and opinions of their team. These qualities reflect an individual who has been able to leverage emotional intelligence to their benefit. More importantly, this method of leadership has perhaps had a more beneficial impact on his or her direct reports than anything else.

So what exactly is emotional intelligence? It is loosely defined as the ability to manage and understand not only your own emotions but the emotional state of those in your presence. Someone with a highly acute sense of emotional intelligence will be able to quickly analyze their emotional state to understand what they are feeling, what it means for the given situation, and how their emotional state may affect others. When a leader loses their temper, they are not only creating an unnecessarily tense environment, but they are communicating that they have lost control of the situation. Gifted leaders never allow this to occur. They recognize the warning signs and channel this energy into more deliberate, actionable leadership.

It’s my opinion that emotional intelligence is an absolute for true leadership success. Leaders need to set the example for their teams and have the ability to operate and execute in the most stressful situations. The absence of self-control in situations such as these can lead to reactionary actions and a “shoot from the hip” type approach. Neither of these are recommended during periods of high stress and pressure. While some leaders have developed a strategy to manage and maintain their emotional state, it may take time for those who are new to leadership to hone their self-awareness. Before you can move to understand the state of your teams on an individual basis, you must have an acute sense of self.

In conclusion, working with diverse teams and personalities will invariably lead to challenging interpersonal situations. Strong leaders will be able to quickly recognize these instances and be able to apply their emotional intelligence to mitigate the situation. To get started, leaders should focus on honing their skills as it relates to empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation and of course, social skills as they relate to communication and conflict resolution.

For the next several months, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.

Mike Brandes

squareglasses6

Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’swebsite http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.

REDBAND: Technology Leadership Series – Managing Expectations By Mike Brandes

TECHNOLOGYLEADERSHIPSERIES

As we’ve already discussed, one of the most important characteristics and skills a CIO, CTO or Technology Manager can have excellent communication skills. One of the ways great communication skills are manifested is in managing expectations, internally and externally.

A good CIO will be able to do internal marketing of their department’s ability to help a company reach their goals and objectives. A great CIO, however, sells the department without overselling it. There’s a subtle difference, but a great CIO must understand the limits of his or her team and set realistic timelines for project completion. The difference between a good CIO and a great CIO is the ability to understand limits and not to over commit resources.

A great technology leader understands the best way to avoid overselling their department is to build a team capable of thinking fast on their feet, and able to develop solutions and strategies to help the organization accomplish its objectives. A great CIO must have the ability to inspire his or her team to provide a viable solution to every problem. On my team we don’t say no to any request, we offer at least one solution for every request allowing the customer to make an educated decision as to whether or not they would like to pursue it further. By constantly challenging team members with high expectations they know and understand what is expected of them, allowing them to focus on meeting deadlines and project requirements.

Mike Brandes

For the next several months, a new post will be released with another key characteristic of what it takes to be successful in technology leadership. These posts are in no particular order; I’d love for you to provide feedback and let me know if you think I’m missing something, or if you’d like to see a particular trait addressed please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment. I’m hoping this will be a useful dialogue about what is necessary to become a successful technology leader.

squareglasses6

Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’swebsite http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.