real time

Death to the Refresh Button!

Why do we tolerate the refresh button? We live in an era of instant gratification.  Apps summon everything from rides, to food, to dates at the click of a button.  Our inboxes push notifications at us in real time and there is a constant stream of data in the palms of our hands.  Consequently, we’re accustomed to having exactly what we need exactly when we need it. But do we really get what we need when we need it?  Is what we get current?  Is the information accurate right now?  We all suspect it’s not.  So when monitoring data that could change at any time, we press the refresh button to get an update.  And a few seconds later we press the refresh button again.  Has that plane landed yet?  <Refresh>  Did my team tie the game?  <Refresh>  Are those results in yet?  <Refresh>  Has that traffic accident been cleared?  <Refresh> It shouldn’t really surprise us that technology exists to eliminate this.  After all, there are self-driving cars and trucks on the roads.  Then what’s the deal with the websites out there?  Why is it that the refresh button still persists and occupies a prominent place on our web browsers and in our lives?  The answer lies, unsurprisingly, in the history of the development of the Internet and the way systems, until recently, had to be designed in order to function.  The good news is that technology moves forward and we now have different ways to design systems to eliminate the need for the refresh button.  Get ready to raise your expectations. Stateless Systems are Old School Early servers on the Internet had to work in what is called a request/response manner.  If a client needed some information, it would reach out to the server and request it.  The server would then respond with whatever information the client asked for.  If, later on, the client wanted some more information it would come back again with another request and the server would issue another response.  The refresh button arose rather naturally from this process to re-request the information to get an updated version.  Similar in concept to the redial button on your phone. It was necessary for a server working in this manner to forget what it sent you the last time you made a request.  After each response the connection was dropped.  This vastly simplified the programming and reduced the hardware requirements for operating a server.  We call this design “stateless” because the state of the connection is discarded after each response.  Think of phoning an airline, asking if a flight has arrived, getting the answer, and hanging up.  Five minutes later you call again, request the same information, get a response (likely the same one), and hang up.  Repeat.  Redial.  Refresh.  When you finally hear the flight has arrived, it’s stale news and already out of date. This is how the vast majority of websites on the Internet work today. Stateful Systems are Here With the advances in web-based programming and the increased performance of computer hardware and storage, it has now become possible to design web servers to be “stateful” and maintain connections.   An airline agent operating in a stateful manner would stay on the line until the moment the plane touched down and then say “the flight you asked about just arrived”.  Instant data updates, nothing is stale, vastly reduced bandwidth, no need for a refresh. Stateful systems can push real-time information to users rather than waiting for them to pull updates.  Since these systems remember who you are and what you need, they only feed you information that is relevant to you at the moment it changes. To be fair, creating a stateful system is more difficult than creating a stateless one.  This means more expense up front.  As time goes on however, new software tools and libraries are coming on the scene and removing the excuse. Does this Really Matter? At Omnivex, we’ve dedicated the last 25 years to presenting information to users in the most effective manner possible.  We know that showing out of date information is often worse than showing nothing at all.  If a bank is displaying the wrong exchange rates they can lose millions.  If users rely on a website that isn’t accurate, they’ll leave.  If a town learns about an inbound tornado or tsunami five minutes late, that’s unacceptable. Truthful, real-time data is becoming increasingly vital as we advance in technology and expectations.  If there is a better way to deliver updates, our position is that the benefits of this far outweigh the effort to add it to the software. A leading cloud services provider of a cutting-edge platform has actually placed a refresh button onto the toolbar of their brand new web based monitoring dashboard.  As if the one built into the browser wasn’t enough. The constant need to refresh undermines the great technological strides we’ve made as a society.  Why are new, innovative systems still tied to outdated communication designs?  The result is an unnecessary and potentially harmful lull in information delivery. It’s time to eliminate this anachronism from our lives.

Driving Digital Transformation by Communicating with Speed and Scale

With the advantages of digital communications so rampant in today’s modern world, it’s difficult to comprehend why businesses would still rely on outdated modes of communication such as email or printed paper. However, a recent IDG survey revealed that half of the respondents still depend on these antiquated communication methods. In contrast, the same respondents cited that without an effective, reliable communications strategy in place, lags in information dissemination presented security risks, a loss of competitive edge, inefficiencies and lost potential business opportunities for their companies. Not just for billboards anymore, digital signage, as a communication platform, eliminates delays in pushing targeted data to a multitude of screens. From  mobile phones to kiosks to wall displays, digital signage ensures vital information is available in real time. With the ability to improve efficiencies and cost management, enhance productivity, drive revenue growth and empower better decision-making, the right digital solution can easily collect, process and deliver the right information to the right person at the right time. Read more about the IDG digital communications survey and how Omnivex can support your need for improved communication.

Real Time in the Real World

How event-driven software makes content relevant and actionable

Despite a global recession and tight credit markets, digital signage continues to grow, albeit to a more cautious tune. Purchasers have learned a great deal over the years about the medium and are much more demanding about real benefits from their deployments. Simply scheduling a playlist of content does not provide value to the network sponsor or operator. Systems today must have the ability to respond to local conditions providing relevant content to a specific audience.

Achieving Organizational Transparency Using Digital Communications

Transparency is quite a buzz word in the corporate world. Businesses across the globe are increasingly committing to improving their transparency—both internally and externally—mostly in effort to win back trust. While the rise of technology can increase transparency, it may also cause of substantial distrust (think data breaches, hacks, etc.).  According to a PWC report, today’s CEOs think it’s harder for businesses to sustain trust in the digital age. Technology can be a benefit or detriment depending on how it’s used. Digital communications technologies have the capability to provide internal transparency in a way that’s not only easy to deploy, but that stands a better chance in capturing employees’ attention over other less dynamic methods. Transparency Yields More Engaged Employees When employees lose trust in their employers, they usually choose positions elsewhere. Keeping workforces informed and in the loop can lead to higher morale and retention. In fact, in an employee engagement report from Quantum Workplace, the biggest drivers for employee engagement revolved around trust. Further research supports that employees prefer to know what’s going on in their companies. A SHRM Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey revealed that 52% of employees believe communication of key strategies and goals is significant to engagement. By implementing a philosophy of transparency, companies can reap the rewards of more engaged employees. How Digital Communications Can Enable Transparency Many offices already use digital communication displays for announcements about health insurance or reminders for upcoming holidays. However, utilizing these screens to display pertinent company-related information that employees often seek can further cultivate a transparent culture. Provide Company Information in an Open Fashion Many companies, if not publicly traded, keep financials close to the chest. However, if employees aren’t provided insights to the financial health of the company, how will they know what they are working toward? Allowing workforces to understand the big picture helps them to see where they fit in. Included with financials could be information related to successes like new accounts, new hires, and turnover. Turnover might seem negative, however, not communicating certain information to employees can lead them to believe management has something to hide. Let Employees Create Messages Allowing different groups to have access to creating and scheduling content conveys trust to employees. It provides a feeling of autonomy—a common driver of job satisfaction. Offering this access also expands what will be shared—marketing departments can share their latest advertising video, while operations teams can brag about productivity yields. Treat Digital Communications Displays as a Message Board Think of a digital communications display as the modern-day bulletin board that increases transparency. Displays placed in common areas can include a host of information beneficial to employees. For instance, a “Who to Ask” screen could serve as a go-to for employees when they need to work with other departments and aren’t sure where to start. Digital Communications: Real-Time Transparency One of the great advantages to using digital displays to communicate is they can be updated in real-time. Providing real-time visual information not only keeps employees in-the-know, but can provide a feeling of ownership, belonging, and accomplishment. Connecting your digital displays to corporate systems such ensures that employees and managers always have access to relevant real-time information. This provides increases transparency but also enables improved decision making.

Enhance traveler experience with digital communications

We are a world on the move, and today’s traveler wants to get to their destination quickly and safely. Whether it’s a daily commute or weekend getaway, the options for transportation have never been broader. Digital communications not only help keep travelers up to date, but can engage and entertain. Whether it is a real-time mobile app or a digital sign or an interactive wayfinding kiosk, digital communications provide a cost effective way to improve traveler experience. In the sky Airports have a huge amount of digital signage in use to both inform and entertain passengers. From the moment a flyer steps through the terminal door they are inundated with screens—for check-in, ETAs, even where to pick up a snack. While seemingly excessive, this amount of information is a huge help to travelers and improves their overall travel experience. Digital signage is used for everything from touchscreen check-in kiosks to arrival/departure screens to directional signage to emergency notifications. With heightened airport security, digital signage can also better prepare passengers by providing potential wait times. Screens can include engaging content like sales within terminal boutiques, amenities, weather, and more. When kept entertained, those in line are more likely to feel they waited for less time, resulting in less frustration. Should an emergency arise or an incident occur, digital signs can also disperse critical information quickly. On the road On highways, digital communications can alert drivers about accidents, travel time, and lane closures. Not only can drivers plan their route better, but this type of communication enhances safety by making drivers better prepared. Digital billboards provide a great way to entertain and inform drivers of  products and services as they drive to their destination. On the rails Whether you are a daily commuter or a visitor, subways and trains can be confusing. From changing arrival/departure times to service interruptions to platform switches, digital signage provides a cost effective way to get real-time information to travelers. Interactive wayfinding kiosks are also very helpful for visitors seeking assistance with finding the best route to their destination. These same kiosks can also provide assistance when language barriers are problematic. Similar to airports digital signage can also be used in train and subway stations for a multitude of additional uses including advertising, emergency notifications, and general information. Create a better experience for travelers with Ominvex Travel, 5 miles or 500, is stressful. When dealing with rush hour traffic or a long line at airport check-in, a person’s natural response is one of anxiety and annoyance. However, the Omnivex platform offers a unique opportunity to ease some of the angst a traveler encounters at airports, on roadways, or at train or bus stations. It’s a great platform to push real-time notifications so travelers can respond accordingly and get to where they most want to go, quickly and safely. .

A Prescription for Digital Communications in Healthcare

Mobile apps allow consumers to do a multitude of activities from tracking their shipments to counting steps to banking. With the abundance of information accessible in real-time, patients are becoming frustrated with the lack of digital communications in healthcare. If there was an industry where information is vital, it’s healthcare. Unfortunately, the transition to digital communications in healthcare has been slow compared to other industries. As a result, patients expectations about  communications while at healthcare facilities are not being met. The healthcare industry is in the midst of a digital revolution, as patients demand technologically-current options. It’s time for healthcare to step up and transform into a more digitally-enabled domain. Real-Time Information Enhances Patient Satisfaction Instant gratification links directly to satisfaction. Individuals can access data about the current temperature or their bank account balance with just a few taps. Meanwhile, when it comes to information like wait times, or test results, the health care industry is archaic in response. Digital communications systems that indicate wait time or patient portals are being implemented in some healthcare facilities, but aren’t widely adopted currently. These types of basic changes not only improve patient experience and satisfaction they have an impact on the overall efficiency of the healthcare operation. They enable employees to move their focus from relaying information to more value add services. Integrated Digital Communications Streamlines Processes In other industries, accessible data transforms instant gratification into streamlining. For example, phone apps allow consumers to speak the name of a restaurant and receive instant information about location, hours, and reviews. For consumers, this streamlines  the process of getting their lunch or dinner. The healthcare industry can leverage smartphones and wearable devices for consumers’ well-being. Integrating data from wearable devices into medical records could allow healthcare providers to monitor and personalize patients’ activities related to health and fitness, for instance. With data that’s integrated and even monitored from afar, medicine could grow in efficiency and effectiveness. Leveraging Digital Communication Makes Healthcare More Convenient Telemedicine is another exciting avenue in the digitization of healthcare communications. It was a top priority by two-thirds of healthcare professionals in a 2016 Reach Health study. Cisco, in a report on The Digitization of the Healthcare Industry, explains that telemedicine improves patient experience through convenience and accessibility while enhancing provider experience by reducing demands on time, data entry, and more. Digital communications are disrupting the healthcare industry as patients expectations continue to increase and evolve. Healthcare providers need to continually be evaluating and integrating new technologies in order to meet the evolving expectations of patients and employees. Digital communications provide an excellent way to improve the overall experience for patients and providers.  

Digital Signage Expo 2018

Event description 

DSE is the world's largest and longest running conference and trade show exclusively dedicated to showcasing innovative digital display and interactive technology solutions for customer and employee communications. Visit Omnivex in booth #1426.

Empower More Informed Decisions with Omnivex

Energize Your Business and Empower More Informed Decisions with Omnivex Information leads people to make better decisions, yet traditional IT systems can create silos and bottleneck information. Omnivex solves business communications issues by delivering targeted, real time information. Your message, your goals, and your information has the power to transform your organization. Omnivex brings the sharing to business for better decisions, for greater accountability, for more education, and continuous inspiration. Digital communications are transforming the world and connecting the right people with the right information when they need it. It can take the shape of breaking news, emergency notifications, and real-time data and metrics. Redefine your organization’s communication with Omnivex. The Omnivex platform manages all aspects of digital communications networks. It enables organizations to easily collect, process, and deliver targeted information across any screen, allowing them to enhance their two most valuable assets: people and data. To learn more, please enjoy the video.  

Creating Mobile Apps is Quick and Easy with Omnivex Ink

Sharing information is vital for any business; increasingly, mobile apps are a popular way for organizations to share their information. Mobile apps are being used for a variety of applications including logging hours or sales, updating the status of machinery, or for interacting with customers. Connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), new uses are seeming to develop daily. As Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, says, “To me, when we say mobile first, it’s not the mobility of the device, it’s actually the mobility of the individual experience.” People should be able to receive or share information on any screen; whether at their desk, in the field, or even out to lunch.  What makes for a good mobile app? A good mobile app will allow you to: Create updates and receive live feedback the moment it hits the screen Be able to easily set up crowd collaboration on any data source, and monitor who is using your data while tracking any changes they are making. Quickly and easily share personalized, real-time information with employees and customers on any device and allow instant feedback Have bidirectional data flow, meaning a refresh button isn’t needed because data is updated instantly A good mobile app will also keep your data secure. It will allow you to maintain full ownership and control of all transmissions through proper encryption, and be sure that all data and content is encrypted, even at rest. Finally, the ideal mobile app should make sharing information easy. Corporate executives, employees, business partners, and customers should find it easy to share and receive real-time information on whatever device they use. This allows everyone to make better informed business decisions. Whether it is business apps for mobile phones, or real-time information on digital screens, organizations need a digital communications platform that enables them to share information in a multitude of ways. Unfortunately, building mobile apps can be quite cost-prohibitive. The median cost of developing iOS apps in North America is around $150/hour, and complex apps take around 28 weeks to build, with design taking approximately 370 hours and backend development up to 2,200 hours. This makes developing mobile apps for internal organizational uses often cost prohibitive. Fortunately, Omnivex Ink enables organization to quickly and easily share personalized, real-time information on any device with employees and customers, and receive instant feedback from them. Whether it is business apps for mobile phones, or real-time information on digital signs, Omnivex Ink provides a platform to manage digital communications across the entire organization.  It allows organizations to: Create a mobile experience in minutes—no coding required Build the app once and deploy it on any device Have real-time bidirectional flow of information Easy control of who has access to your app/information Extend information to everyone’s fingertips Build your app without any coding required  


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