Forget projectors, ink-smudged fingers, and dry erase markers that run dry halfway through a sentence. Offices and educational institutions should enjoy the ability to create stunning visuals which deliver impactful and motivating presentations. Additionally, interactive whiteboards are a fantastic and modern way to motivate teams, inspire collaboration, and drive engagement in audiences.

RJ Young works with Ricoh to provide state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards for a variety of clients, industries, and educational institutions. Read on to learn how interactive whiteboards can revolutionize participation in a classroom or office.

Features of Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards

Ranging from 30 to 80 inches wide, Ricoh’s line of high-quality interactive whiteboards can meet the needs of large and small establishments. In addition, every device comes equipped with productivity amplifying features.

Users can enjoy the following features:

1. Workflow and Connectivity

Each whiteboard display supports an interactive experience by using touchscreen annotations. They also use apps to streamline productivity and connectivity with other platforms. As a result, enjoy full integration with Microsoft Office and connect with all devices to keep the workflow smooth and uninhibited.

2. Collaborative Capabilities

Create annotations and share screen images with remote users in real time to enhance the collaborative powers of a team. Leverage Ricoh’s Intelligent Workplace Services to create a comprehensive digital collaboration environment, which drives productivity and innovation.

3. Open Architecture

Additionally, all whiteboards come with Ricoh’s Embedded Software Architecture — this software helps maintain application compatibility across devices that many offices may use. The open nature of this software means numerous third-party solutions can also integrate flawlessly with Ricoh devices.

What To Consider When Choosing an Interactive Whiteboard Solution

The power and versatility of interactive displays have made them widely popular, leading to a vast array of offerings on the market. When choosing an interactive whiteboard solution for a classroom or business, consider the following:

  • Audience size. Consider how many people will need to interact with it. Undoubtedly, devices which support multiple simultaneous functions enable more collaboration.
  • Connectivity. The ability to link to numerous devices at once allows the audience to watch the presentation on their own devices. This benefits large lecture halls, or meeting rooms where everyone wants to take their own notes.
  • Space size. Interactive whiteboards range from 30 to 80 inches wide. In other words, this impacts how far it can be viewed from, and where viewers should – or should not – sit.
  • Software and apps. A classroom will require different apps and programs than an office. On the other hand, an office might find the ability to integrate with other document management platforms advantageous.
  • Durability. Above all, interactive whiteboards in a classroom setting must be durable to withstand student use. In other words, higher-end interactive whiteboards will find a better home in offices that want to wow clients.

RICOH Interactive Whiteboards Amplify Learning and Teaching

Interactive whiteboards in the classroom bring a variety of benefits to students, teachers, and schools. Here are three reasons why classrooms should embrace this modern technology:

1. Facilitate Active Learning

Students who are engaged with the material learn better. Furthermore, interactive learning encourages students to take an active role in the classroom. This is scientifically shown to increase learning and knowledge retention.

2. Encourage a Technological Culture

Technology in the classroom is a contentious topic. However, it is a healthy disagreement about whether or not it belongs there between teachers and students. Nonetheless, the presence of an interactive whiteboard in a classroom sends the message that an educational institution embraces technology. Interactive whiteboards also create a forward-thinking and modern culture which reflect the expectations of students.  

3. Assist with Lesson Structure

It is not just businesses who can leverage the app and connectivity capabilities of the whiteboards. Teachers can also put these tools to use to create new and exciting lessons — faster, and for less work.

Interactive Whiteboards Drive Productivity at Work

It’s not just students who get bored with one-way communication and lackluster dry erase scribbles. Interactive whiteboards bring many of the same benefits to the workplace, with the additional benefit of supporting current workflow processes which are already in place. Thoughtfully deployed interactive whiteboards in the workplace are beneficial in the following ways:  

  • Transforms lectures into brainstorming sessions that involve all participants
  • Keeps everyone on the same page with real-time file sharing
  • Supports annotations to help prevent details from slipping through the cracks
  • Connects with mobile devices and laptops to fit seamlessly into a workflow
  • Improves the quality of meetings and training sessions
  • Puts an impressive foot forward with current and future clients

Interactive Whiteboards: Technology for 21st Century Presentations

In conclusion, Interactive whiteboards are a low-disruption, high-impact update for offices and lecture halls. Create an atmosphere of motivation and forward-thinking by using an interactive display to transform presentations.

RJ Young helps businesses and educational institutions make the best selections for all of their technology solutions. Contact an expert today to start a discussion on how interactive whiteboards can benefit you.

The Education industry has created amazing developments all over the world.  For that reason, if anyone deserves the opportunity to make things better for themselves, it’s Education. Document management and workflow technology in education solutions have been designed specifically to pair with the technology the customer already uses.

Once implemented you’ll be able to translate paper-based files into electronic documents and usable data. Benefits from these solutions include operating more efficiently, securely, uniformly. Each available option can be customized for the customer and can be seamlessly integrated into their current processes, also keeping every budget in mind.

Automate workflows to work smarter and faster

Automated workflow solutions help you manage files, student records, and other data securely while eliminating unnecessary labor, supplies, human error – and filing cabinets!

Education institutions use a lot of paper.  On the administration side alone, imagine having to file or index, scan, rename and save each piece of paper, individually.

Is security at stake when files are mis-keyed, lost, or printed publicly?
Are other objectives put on the back-burner due to lack of time?
What if your staff could get that time back? 

Document management solutions can address these issues by:

  • Automatically renaming and routing scanned papers where they belong in your student information systems
  • Digitally submitting and processing forms for you
  • Digitally storing and securing filing cabinet contents with immediate access to this information

Customers are left with secure, reliable data and a more efficient office by unifying processes across the board. This will improve student and employee experience.

See how Ole Miss digitized over 100 years of sports memorabilia using an automated workflow solution.

Our webpage on workflow solutions has more information on how these systems can also integrate with mobile devices, back up files, and help with your green initiatives.

Reduce your printing spend and paper waste

Schools, colleges, and universities are all daunted with paper waste and uncontrolled printing, which hit the budget hard.

Thankfully, these cost savings opportunities are tackled by RJ Young’s output management software solutions.

Some indicators that your school could benefit from an output management software solution are:

  • Lack of cloud-based printing, which limits print access
  • High overage fees or costly print volume
  • Poor visibility on individual user’s print volume
  • Inability to control users’ print volume
  • Student services and guests pay to print documents

Other education technology tools, like automatic test grading solutions, not only grade tests.  The test grading solutions can also analyze data from surveys, forms, evaluations and paper assessments.

The test grading solution collects information quickly and accurately, without the need for special paper or additional scanning equipment.  Even more, these results can be fed into a range of statistical reports with advanced filtering and comparisons.

Is this just a luxury? Not at all. Schools get more out of what they spend while spending less. Institutions using these features say the solution pays for itself, and report saving thousands each year on hardware, (Scantron) forms, etc.

It also gives time and energy back to the staff, who can pay that forward in the classroom.

Contact us for more information or a free demo on any of these that sound like they might help your school.

Managed Print Services in Schools

Issues with your can put everyone behind.

Previously, Vanderbilt Law School’s printers weren’t holding up to their workload causing service to decline.  These issues ate up time and resources for students, staff, and, as a result, the IT Team.

“With MPS through RJ Young, we were able to get everyone on one page and fix our internal and vendor issues, as well as consolidate our devices – which lowered our cost and eased support for our team at a price we were comfortable with.”            – Director of IT, Vanderbilt University Law School

In areas where each department is responsible for purchasing their own equipment and supplies, you typically end up with:

  • A melting pot of vendors, charges, and waste
  • Overwhelmed IT trying to manage numerous brand requirements and their networking issues
  • No visibility to compare print volume or spend as a whole

Studies show that up to 30% of miscellaneous spend per year is due to unknown printing costs. Managed Print Services helps put that money back in your pocket.

With ONE customized plan, ONE monthly invoice, and ONE fee that includes your equipment, toner, maintenance, parts, and other supplies, you’re able to budget and account for your print costs.

See How RJ Young Can Help You Manage Your Print Services!

Due to growth, last month RJ Young relocated all administrative functions to a new building across the street from company headquarters. I moved offices as well at that time, and decided to install a standing desk rather than a traditional desk.

Though standing desks have been in use for centuries, only recently have they been discussed as alternatives for traditional desks for many workers. Some of the benefits claimed for standing desks are improved posture, improved circulation, weight loss, shorter meetings, and improved productivity.

Prior to changing my office at work, I installed a standing desk as a “homework counter” at home. Construction was identical to my office setup below.  Placed in our family bonus room, the desk does triple duty as a homework center for my children, family craft table, and command central when I watch a NASCAR race while doing work on my laptop.  After testing this desk for about six months, it was time to install one at work.

For my desks, I selected a simple 72″ x 25″ counter made by IKEA.  I attached the counter to the wall studs using a piece of aluminum angle stock, and supported the free end with two adjustable IKEA legs.  For my use, 41″ from the floor to the top of the desk is ideal.  Installation took about twenty minutes.

Although I’ve only had the desk at work for about a month, I’m very pleased with the results so far.  The desk gives me far more horizontal workspace for paperwork and I’m encouraged to completely clear it every day.  Standing hasn’t been a challenge so far, and I have comfortable chairs available for guests.

If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and take a look.

How are you innovating your workspace? Share with us!

SOURCES:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_desk

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2012/03/05/why-i-recommend-a-standing-desk/

Individuals not associated with our industry or company often ask, what is the next big thing for RJ Young? Since our industry is tied heavily to technology and with any advance in technology, one only has to look ahead to see where the technology is headed.

What I see is an increased emphasis on mobile devices such as smart phones, IPads, and tablets.  These devices have become commonplace with almost every type of end user.  These devices offer greater flexibility and ease of use, but most importantly, they provide tremendous mobility.  At the same time these devices have limits when it comes to file storage, document creation, and printing.

There is a movement in the printing piece to use remote devices that can be linked to your smart phone, IPad, or tablet that will allow printing on the go.  Thus if you need a hard copy of a document that you have called up on your mobile device, you can print it to a remote printer in a “hot spot” or even send the instructions to print the document to a printer located in another office, state, or country.

Where this comes in handy is with so many people today working in a virtual office that may be at their home, in the car, or at a coffee shop.  In today’s business world, your office truly can be wherever you are.

I just completed a technical strategy meeting with an organization that provides counseling to individuals in a two-state area.   Due to the geography of the organization and the location of the clients, many of the counselors use remote sites for their sessions.  Immediately after the counseling session the counselor must provide documentation that goes back to a central office for validation and billing.

In the past the counselor had to return to the closest field office to complete their paperwork and print out the required documentation.  With the use of the new technology, they will be able to complete their paperwork at a remote site and print the documents at the central office thus reducing their time involved and related cost of travel.  This also increases their face time with clients and creates a more efficient workforce.

I see many more opportunities like this example as we all become more mobile and want to improve efficiencies and reduce costs but also require instant access to output devices.

Want to get mobile printing for your office?

Decisions, Decisions

As the technology available in the office equipment industry evolves and ties much closer to the networks that serve our business functions, it becomes more obvious that there are multiple decisions to be made.  As a very interested observer of what trends I see that are taking place within our customer base, I feel compelled to provide a few of these options for today’s buyer to consider when making a buying decision.  More often than not I see the customer becoming shortsighted and only buying the technology for today’s immediate needs.

When offered a choice between two alternatives, most people tend to select the least expensive choice or the option that fits the bill for today.  The problem with this method is that most of today’s office equipment will be in place from three to five years of useful life and our needs will change much faster than that.  So in essence we are making a technology decision today that we may have to live with for several years and not fit the future of the business, which is rapidly changing.

One of the first decisions that customers must make is “Do you want a color enabled device or just a monochrome device?” The cost of color-enabled devices has dropped dramatically as well as the price of color output per page.  Most companies will set a black and white monthly minimum contract for service and supplies at a very competitive rate per page and allow a customer to pay for color pages only as they are made.  In this situation you do not pay for color unless you are making color copies.  I believe having the color-enabled capability is very important and the trend shows about 40% of the products that we place are colored enabled.  This number is moving very quickly to a 50/50 split. Color output is on the increase and adding it makes perfectly good business sense.

The next decision involves facsimiles and whether to put a fax board on the newly acquired equipment or continue to use a stand-alone facsimile device.  Again the relative investment in a fax board is very low and the advantage of having the facsimile pages deliver through your Multiple Function Product (MFP) not only lowers operating cost but also reduce the carbon footprint.  Again we see the trend toward more fax boards and fewer and fewer facsimiles being placed.  In addition, our study shows that facsimile pages in general are being reduced quickly by electronic delivery of documents to the desktop or even via facsimile software.  In many cases the end user never has to print out the document but only reviews it for information and content. The decision to add a fax board to a MFP device almost becomes a no brainer when configuring your new equipment.

A third decision is what I like to say, ” to scan or not to scan”.  As we have fully moved into the digital age, I see more and more need for documents to be in digital format or transmitted in digital format and attached to emails.  The ability to transfer documents in this manner has obviously led to the demise of the facsimile machine, but also allows the documents to be retained in a format that can be stored and retrieved as needed.  I see more equipment being requested with the scan feature as customers realize the value in document movement and storage.  It is not unusual to see customers not purchasing the scan feature and then within several months they are contacting us to see if we can add the option since their business processes have changed.  I caution customers to not be short sighted when making the scanner decision.

The last decision is often based on whether or not the customer wants to print to the MFP device or send documents to a separate network printer.  This is one area where the printer has often won over the end user because of convenience or proximity to the workstation.  I believe if given a choice, every employee within a company would want a separate printer on their desk.  The disadvantage to these separate printers is the higher cost of the page output and the increased number of devices in the office.  With the current economic conditions, I have see companies taking a closer look at expenses and making a genuine attempt to reduce the fleet of printers and move more prints to MFP devices.  In one case we have a healthcare facility that has mandated that the fleet be reduced by 50 printers per year over a five-year period.  Think about that reduction of a total of 250 printers and the related cost reduction.  This is a trend I see but only when the company is willing to make the sacrifice of cost over convenience. When the decision is made in favor of cost reduction we see better utilization of device management.

These are just a few of the many decisions and options that we have with today’s office technology products.  On a personal note as I get older somehow I seem to get a little wiser.  I find that it often pays to pay for a little more than you need today because tomorrow will come faster than you think and you will regret the price of tomorrow.

As you contemplate additional revenue growth through acquisitions, consider these key questions each time you evaluate an acquisition target.

• Why are we buying this company?
• What is the value of this company to our enterprise?
• What is the correct structure for this transaction?
• How will this acquisition be funded?
• How will this acquisition be managed once acquired?

How do a willing buyer and a willing seller arrive at a transaction price?

A voluntarily transaction occurs when both the buyer and seller believe they are receiving a good value in the transaction.  It is beyond our scope to fully explain the concepts of reservation price, economic surplus, buyer’s surplus, and seller’s surplus, but references are provided below.  In general, you are willing to purchase a business if you believe the cost is below the value of the business to you, and the seller is willing to sell when they believe the proceeds are greater than the business is worth to them.

The underlying value of the business to the buyer and the seller relates to the value of the cash flows received.  Simply put, how much cash will this business deliver at what dates in the future?  What is the reliability of those cash flows?  What cash will I need to contribute to make those cash flows occur?  At what rate should I discount cash inputs and receipts that occur at a future date?

The seller should have the ability to project future cash flows as the business is currently configured.  The buyer should be able to consider why the company is an acquisition target and project future cash flows that will occur if the business is operated as planned.  If the buyer’s calculations of future cash flows exceed the seller’s calculations after adjusting for risk and cost of funds, a transaction should be possible.

These transactions are often communicated as a “multiple”, referring to a multiple of EBITDA.   In a given industry, certain multiples become the norm in a period of time.  For example, HVAC contractors may change hands for four to five times EBITDA.  This compensates the current owner for the cash-flow generating ability of the business, while allowing the new owner an opportunity to increase EBITDA in order to increase the value to the company.

Next:  What is the correct structure for this transaction?

Read more about RJ Young’s acquisition of Caldwell’s Office Outfitters in this post and other previous acquisitions on our site here.

 

Sources:

Reservation price, economic surplus, buyer’s surplus, and seller’s surplus defined: Ben S. Bernanke and Robert H. Frank (2004). Principles of Microeconomics, Second Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, p 81.  Also, http://bit.ly/EconomicTermsDefined .

EBITDA defined: Robert T. Slee (2004). Private Capital Markets: Valuation, Capitalization, and Transfer of Private Business Interests. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., p 63.  Also, http://bit.ly/EBITDAdefined .

Fifty-five percent of executives surveyed believe that mergers and acquisitions will add more than 5% to their company’s revenue growth over the next two to five years (Deloitte, 2010).  Twenty-five percent believe that mergers and acquisitions will add more than 10% to their company’s revenue growth within five years.

Your sales and marketing teams are already focused on organic growth, whether through capture of additional market share or development of existing customer business. As you contemplate additional revenue growth through acquisitions, consider these key questions each time you evaluate an acquisition target.

  • Why are we buying this company?
  • What is the value of this company to our enterprise?
  • What is the correct structure for this transaction?
  • How will this acquisition be funded?
  • How will this acquisition be managed once acquired?

We’ll take a look at each of these questions together over the course of several posts.  First, let’s look at one of the most basic yet frequently overlooked questions, “Why are we buying this company?”

An acquisition should occur only when all other means of achieving a corporate goal are inferior. For example, if the corporate goal is to increase profitable sales and that goal can be more readily accomplished by additional sales or marketing investment rather than an acquisition, the acquisition should not occur.  If the corporate goal is diversification of activity, the acquisition should be viewed as a more effective entrance into the new line of business than a startup effort in that field.

Recently Google reversed the standard “If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em” acquisition slogan when Groupon refused Google’s $6 billion purchase offer (PCWorld.com, 2011). Google had been motivated to acquire Groupon as a “platform”; a business upon which to build its own daily deal offering.  When Groupon refused Google’s offer, Google abandoned its acquisition plans and developed Google Offers as a competing deals site.

We can infer Google believes it can accomplish its daily deal corporate goal for $6 billion or less. Otherwise Google would have increased the offer.

Next:  How much?  A look at acquisition values from both sides.

Read more about RJ Young’s acquisition of Caldwell’s Office Outfitters in this post and other previous acquisitions on our site here.

 

 

Deloitte. “Corporate Development 2010: Refining the M&A Playbook, Survey Results”. http://bit.ly/deloittecorpdev April, 2010

PCWorld.  “Google Says: ‘If You Can’t Buy Groupon, Beat ‘Em’”.  http://bit.ly/GoogGroup April 21, 2011.