Using tech to connect: Vistacom gives office tour to show off communication tools

Stacy Wescoe//September 19, 2019

Using tech to connect: Vistacom gives office tour to show off communication tools

Stacy Wescoe//September 19, 2019

Jim Ferlino, right, president and CEO of Vistacom, watches as Scot Smith demonstrates the capabilities of the Unified Communications and Collaboration system. (Photo by Stacy Wescoe) –

When Lianna Russell, marketing manager for Vistacom in Allentown, starts talking about her audio-visual communications firm’s new experience center she’s not talking about a new showroom.

“I’m taking everyone on a tour of all of our conference rooms,” she said.

The company recently updated a number of its own conference rooms with the latest in audio-visual and communications technology and added a Network Operations Center so customers can see how Vistacom integrates such technologies into their own work, meetings and teleconferences.

“We try to position our role with clients as a communications provider,” said Jim Ferlino, president and CEO of Vistacom. “We need to understand how they want to communicate and help them to do it better and in a more efficient way.”

To do that, sometimes it helps to show the products in action, after all, he said, communications is ever evolving and clients need to be comfortable with the new technology, because if people find it difficult to use or understand they won’t use it and the client company will lose out on its investment and better productivity.

“We hear the same complaints from customers,” Ferlino said. “We don’t hear people well. It’s too difficult to use. We can’t get it connected.”

Therefore he said the goal is to not just add in new tech, but to integrate a system that allows clients employees and customers to communicate in the easiest and most effective way.

He said the demonstrations often takes the confusion out of selecting new equipment.

“There’s a lot of confusion because there are so many platforms coming out,” Ferlino said. “Clients don’t necessarily know where to go.”

He said the key, from a sales standpoint is to help a client find technology that will fit into the ecosystem of what they’ve already committed to and will be adaptable to new technologies as they come out.

“It’s hard to explain some of these things without showing them, especially with interoperability,” Ferlino said. “People don’t know where the future is going. They need to adapt to what’s coming out next.”

There is plenty of new communications tech on the market and the different board rooms show off different ways they can be used.

A giant display screen can show the different people remotely attending a meeting.  Voice sensitive cameras will swivel to whoever is talking so that those at the meeting can see as well as hear a presentation.

Different people can also share things off of their personal devices using links stored in the conference room. All they have to do is plug the device into the system and the information they want to share is on display.

Scot Smith is the manager in charge of Vistacom’s Unified Communications and Collaboration system, or UCC.

He can show how different technologies can be integrated into a screen used in a meeting or huddle room that can show a wide variety of information.

He has one example of a photo of a piece of damaged equipment that a customer might need to examine. A photo can be uploaded, zoomed into and marked up by different participants identifying problems and solutions.

“My favorite is the infinite whiteboard,” Smith said. While the screen does have a simple whiteboard program where a user can use his or her finger to write and draw on the screen, but that is only a little more sophisticated than using a whiteboard he said.

Zooming in and out of the screen and drawing images depicting the state of Pennsylvania, Allentown, the Vistacom office and right down to an employee’s desk he shows how a user can scale into and out of an image and never run out of space.

Ferlino said it’s not just about the screen. Communications systems can integrate whole offices. He gave the example of the “hot desking” many employers are now using for employees that work remotely, but sometimes need to work inside the office for one or two days per week.

Employees can schedule an available desk from their phone before they leave for the office, or check out what’s available on a video board in the office’s main lobby so that no one is fighting over space or accidently stealing someone’s desk.

The same can be done with conference rooms, which can be reserved remotely using Microsoft Outlook Scheduler.

As an added bonus, a busy office can employ motion sensors so if someone ends up not using the space and it is left empty for a period of time, it will indicated that the scheduled office isn’t being used so someone else can take it.

Ultimately, Ferlino said his customer want to bridge the gaps that exist in their internal and external communications. It’s his company’s goal to integrate such technology to help them achieve that goal.