Streaming Technology and How it Works

Streaming is everywhere, and everyone in some capacity is using streaming technology daily. Whether streaming your favorite movies through Netflix, watching live performances, or listening to music through Spotify, it’s hard to imagine life without streaming. Streaming platforms changed how we consume and create content powered by cloud services. Streaming continues to improve year over year. How exactly does it work?

Changes in Streaming Over Time

Streaming is a way of continuously viewing or listening to content over the internet without the need to download files. The internet of the past wasn’t built to support the services we rely on today. When streaming was first introduced, users experienced long buffering times and chopping video and audio. Today, with the advancements in internet and cloud technologies, high-definition quality streaming has become one of the most dominant ways people consume media. 

The Difference in Streaming versus Downloading

Streaming is a way of viewing or listening to something in real-time and is a more efficient way of consuming media. It’s actively using the internet to access the files at any time with a strong internet connection without saving it. If you have a poor quality connecting, the quality degrades, and you’ll end up with some buffering issues.

Downloading a file or media is saving a copy of the file to a device’s hard drive from the internet. You have to wait until the file downloads in order to view it, but the upside is you can view it at any time with or without the internet after the initial download. You usually only have access to it on the one device unload the data is stored on a cloud server. 

How Does Streaming Work?

It works by breaking down the data or audio files into packets or compressed files to open once they reach the user’s device. The data packets are interpreted as a video or audio file through the user’s preferred service or player. Types of streaming and its technology will vary by the kind of protocol that runs it. 

Services use either user datagram protocol (UDP) or transmission control protocol (TCP), depending on the type of streaming. TCP and UDP are transport protocols to move packets of data across networks. TCP uses a dedicated connection to ensure data arrives in order and is the more reliable way of transmitting data. UDP is a faster option, but the transfer can cause a loss in the data quality along the way.  

Providers are always working on improving and enhancing streaming capabilities to make their service as fast and as reliable as possible. Although it does require a high-speed internet connection, it’s far better than having to download content. Streaming is improving rapidly, and the future will only further integrate it into our daily lives.

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Improve Engagement in Hybrid Environments

The modern workplace looks different as many roles have moved to remote work while others remain in the office. The hybrid work environment can be challenging when working through collaboration and participation, particularly in meetings. Creating a work environment that embraces equity is essential to ensure all workers can contribute and communicate equally. How do you ensure that your hybrid workforce, regardless of location, can participate equally? 

How to Improve Engagement and Participation in Hybrid Meetings 

Meetings in a hybrid work environment can be beneficial for several reasons. They provide a level of flexibility and can be recorded for future use and to recall meeting highlights when needed. While there are many benefits, challenges can arise that may stifle engagement and participation. Often meetings are dominated by those physically in meeting rooms, while remote workers can feel more like an audience. 

Inequity within a hybrid workplace can lead to workers feeling discouraged, morale lowered, and their well-being compromised. When worker morale is low, companies see an increase in turnover and lose key employees. Increasing engagement and participation requires the efforts of everyone on the team, from management, in-house workers, and remote workers. 

Actions for Remote Employees to Improve Engagement

  • Keep Camera Turned On – Having the camera on for all remote workers creates a more inviting interaction for all parties. With the camera on, workers feel seen and increases participation.
  • Encourage Engagement – You want to encourage engagement by directing the conversation, asking questions, and directing them to feel comfortable and engage as if they were in person. 
  • Do Individual Checks Meeting Software – Ensure your remote workers meeting software is working properly and that they can hear and speak without issue. Ensuring they have everything in working order helps motivate remote team members to participate. 

Actions for In-Person Employees to Improve Engagement 

  • Remember the Remote Experience – It’s important to remember that remote work and attending meetings has their own set of unique challenges. When a remote member has issues, in-house workers should show empathy and wait for the issue to resolve. 
  • Save Side Conversations for After the Meeting – Stay on task, focus on the meeting at hand, and avoid starting side conversations with in-person attendees to avoid making the remote team feel left out. 
  • Speak to the Camera as if it Were a Person – Make sure when engaging remote workers treat the camera as if they were in person. Make eye contact and use the same cues in a normal, empathetic conversation to encourage remote workers to get more involved.

Actions for Meeting Host 

  • Set Aside Speaking Time – As the meeting host, you must ensure everyone feels included. You should actively call on everyone equally or even set an agenda that includes roles and duties on the topic of discussion. 
  • Engaging Small Talk – At the beginning of the meeting, start with some controlled small talk to personalize the experience and start fun discussions that make everyone feel involved and help everyone get to know each other better. 

A good hybrid workforce that collaborates and communicates well requires a great IT team. AE Technology Group can help equip your employees with the tools they need to support any workplace strategy. Call us today at (516) 536-5006 to learn more about how we can help you with your technology needs. 

Understanding Scams: How to Protect Your Business 

While we try our hardest to ensure there are enough security measures to make it a safe place, the internet can still be a dangerous place. People fall victims to scams every day as scams continue to evolve and become smarter. Scammers can find their way into your email, texts, and ads easily by creating realistic links that you can easily believe are legitimate. Businesses are no strangers to having to deal with costly scams. Why are some people more likely to fall for scams than others, and how do you stop your employees from inadvertently engaging in scams and costing your company?

How Do Scams Continue to Survive?

Online scams are a million-dollar industry that affects individuals and organizations worldwide. As tech advances and the world becomes more connected, scammers continue to adapt, thrive, and succeed in the business of scamming people. Plenty of companies exist with the sole purpose of scamming, and it’s becoming more common as the costs of running these scams continue to decrease and become easier.

Scammers often operate in countries with little regulation and laws that prevent them from operating, making it challenging to locate those responsible for the scams. There are a lot of techniques, methods, and types of scams that they use to bypass security and pass as legitimate in a way that tricks everyday people into clicking on their links, answering their phone calls, or responding to emails.

People will likely fall for scams because scammers often target vulnerability and familiarity. It’s a numbers game where they send thousands of emails and only receive a small handful of responses, but it’s just enough. 

When scammers target businesses, they use familiar brands or even the name of someone within your organization to request sensitive information. If an employee is not prepared or educated on the risk of scams, especially if the scammer is friendly and appears legitimate, the employee may ignore the warning signs. They usually end up fulfilling the request giving the scammer the information they need to complete their scam.

How to Protect Your Business

Thousands of scam emails, texts, and ads make their rounds every day, and it’s becoming more likely that you and your employees will come across a scam at some point in your life. One of the most efficient ways to protect your business from scams is to ensure your employees are educated and informed on what to look for and steps to take if a scam makes its way through network security. Here are some essential tips to help you avoid falling victim to scams.

  • Always remain cautious with every email and text message you receive. If you are suspicious, verify the sender’s identity through other means of communication.
  • Look for some common signs of phishing, including unreasonable demands, suspicious attachments, spelling or grammatical errors, or if you don’t recognize the contact information.
  • Ensure you have security software installed to help filter out scam emails, and always keep your systems and software up to date.
  • Always have a backup of your data if a scam does make it through. Implement a backup and disaster recovery solution utilizing on-site data storage and off-site data centers.

Get started protecting your business today with a security solution from AE Technology Group. To get started, give us a call at (516) 536-5006.

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What is Digital Friction and How to Reduce It in the Workplace

Friction can present itself in many ways in your organization. With the transformation of many workplaces moving towards more digital collaboration, friction has become an increasing concern. Friction in the workplace can be harmful to everyone involved and negatively impact job performance and productivity.

Digital or workplace friction needs to be addressed by employers to create a successful environment where employees can thrive. Digital friction is an unnecessary effort exerted by employees while using technology for work that can reduce productivity. What causes digital friction and interpersonal friction, and what can be done to help resolve these issues to ensure the business continues to be productive? 

The Impact of Friction in the Workplace

Digital friction can have a negative impact on your employee’s workday. It is often caused by more tools and applications, multiple systems to find and store information, and more communication channels than needed. Too many systems and tools can overwhelm employees, hindering focus and productivity. 

Communication with coworkers should be a straightforward process, but when every coworker is engaged in conversations through chat channels that may not pertain to them directly, it can be a stressor, especially when they are trying to focus on a particular task. While digital tools were created to help teams communicate, connect, and collaborate more effectively, they create an environment of unnecessary stressors.

How to Ease Digital Friction in the Workplace

Streamlining is the simplest way to reduce the impacts of digital friction in the workplace. Reducing the number of tools needed can ease frustrations and create a more productive workplace. Review your tools, apps, and processes and determine which are the most efficient and can continue to add value to your team. Once your remove anything unnecessary, you reduce the friction your employees feel in their day-to-day.

Interpersonal Friction in the Remote or Hybrid Workplace

Interpersonal friction is another type of friction common in many workplaces, and with the increase of remote work, it has become more of a challenge to overcome. Interpersonal friction is the conflict between at least two people within a team or organization. These conflicts can occur from poor communication, differing perspectives, or interfering with goals. It’s a friction that can also easily go unaddressed as it’s hard to identify with working in remote locations, and management tends to want to wait to address situations in person.

This animosity team members can feel towards each other can impact their work, productivity, and focus and directly impact their success. In any situation regarding interpersonal friction, it’s important to manage it as soon as it has become observable. Be vigilant in spotting potential issues such as changes in tone or body language during team meetings, whether through conferencing software or through calls. Ensuring the team has great tools for communication, without overloading the number of tools, to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively can help eliminate interpersonal and digital friction. Many modern platforms offer diverse modes of communication to help best fit the team member and the project. 

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