Greg Clarke tells Sean Gallagher how he swapped fruit and veg, and fax machines for high-tech office success
Not very long ago, having a fax machine was seen as being ahead of the curve when it came to using technology in business. Today, faxes have largely been replaced by photocopiers with integrated scanners that speed up the transfer of documents while eliminating waste and reducing costs.
Similarly, advances in video conferencing have greatly reduced the time and cost associated with staff having to travel to face-to-face meetings with other colleagues or customers located in different parts of the country or indeed the world.
One company at the forefront of helping firms keep up to date with such advances is Dublin-based Digicom. Set up in 1997, it employs 36 and has an annual turnover of more than €8m.
“Our business can largely be divided into two main areas,” says managing director, Greg Clarke at the company’s headquarters in Dublin. “Firstly, we specialise in office print technology which includes supplying, installing and servicing everything from printers, and photocopiers to scanners and document management systems and software. These take care of the needs associated with running a modern office facility from capturing and importing documents to managing, storing, indexing, archiving and delivering documents throughout an entire organisation. We also provide security systems that protect these documents against unauthorised access.”
Greg then points to recent research that shows that workers can spend up to 20pc of their time filing or searching through paper documents. They can also spend as many as 10 hours a week searching for documents that were incorrectly filed or recreating misplaced ones.
“By implementing document management in a digital format, employees can now instantly retrieve documents within a digital repository through a simple search function that allows companies allocate a lot more time to using information and a lot less time trying to find it,” he says.
“The second part of our business involves the supply, installation and servicing of all things audio visual from large format LCD displays used for video conferencing and unified communications to digital signage and digital room booking systems,” Greg says.
His customer base includes large firms in the finance, tech, professional services and pharma sectors, such as Bank of Ireland, Northern Trust, HP, Indeed, Matheson, William Fry, Mazars and MSD. In addition, he works with a variety of local government clients including Cork County Hall and Roscommon County Council as well as a wide variety of small and medium-sized businesses.
“While most of our work is in Ireland, we also carry out work abroad, primarily in the UK and Europe, and usually on behalf of companies that are based in Ireland but who have staff and operations in other countries,” he says.
From Dun Laoghaire in Co Dublin, Greg spent his teenage years helping out in the family’s fruit and veg wholesale business. There he would regularly be called upon to do everything from unload bags of onions to mucking out fruit that had gone off. “It taught me a valuable lesson about the challenges of dealing with products with a short shelf life where you had to either sell it or smell it,” he says.
After school, he completed a degree in marketing in Trinity College before returning for a time to join the family business. However, he quickly came to the conclusion that his future in the business was limited due to the emergence of supermarket chains with dedicated fruit and veg departments. With that in mind, he headed off in search of a different career.
He began by selling electric typewriters before progressing to photocopiers and faxes. In 1988, and driven by a desire to experience life outside Ireland, he headed firstly to the Isle of Man and then to Los Angeles, where he spent the next seven years selling IT and computer software.
By 1995, he was ready to return home and set about establishing his own company, which was officially launched two years later. “I could see that all technologies were going ‘digital’ so that’s why I called the business, Digicom, standing for Digital Communications,” says Greg.
At the time, his biggest challenge was learning how to manage his cash flow. This was because investment in equipment was usually upfront while payment from customers was often slow.
Having worked abroad for years, he joined the Dublin Chamber of Commerce as a way to develop contacts and new opportunities. It was a move that would turn out to be invaluable.
In 2001, Greg hired sales director and now shareholder, Peter Fox to lead the development of the audio-visual side of the business. Originally from Cabinteely, Peter had built up a considerable track record in sales from selling franking machines with Pitney Bowes, paging systems with Eirpage and telco and internet services with Worldcom.
“We could see that technology was developing at a fast pace and that the nature of work itself was also changing, with many people now opting to work remotely,” Peter says. “Companies had staff in multiple locations and across different countries who needed to collaborate with each other regularly and we believed that video conferencing and webcasting would be the next big thing,” he adds.
They began to target young companies with growth potential on the basis that if they got in with these early, they could grow with them. Their strategy worked. As did their decision to approach FDI clients and the recruitment companies and office fit-out businesses that helped them get set up in Ireland.
“Our key differentiator in the sector has come from the extensive range of print and audio visual brands we stock but more importantly from our genuine commitment to providing impartial advice on what solutions best suits are clients’ individual needs,” says Greg.
Looking to the future, Greg and Peter see huge opportunities in both print and the audio visual as companies continue to seek out more efficient and more cost effective ways of doing business and communicating with staff, customers and wider stakeholders. “We plan to continue to grow at home and abroad and are confident we can double our turnover over the next three years,” says Greg. “We are always on the lookout for suitable acquisitions to help speed up that process and are currently undertaking research into developing a whole new division within the company that we hope to launch in 2017,” he adds.
After using the expertise he developed abroad, Greg, who is committed to giving back, became President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce last year. He is also a board member of www.bizworldireland.org, a not-for-profit organisation that teaches entrepreneurship skills to primary school students. “It’s my way of doing my bit to help develop the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs,” he adds.
Boardroom & Meeting Rooms
Audio Visual Technology Meets Aesthetics
This fit-out on St. Stephens Green, is an example of where technology does not invade classical aesthetics, yet the technology works to specification and is fit for purpose. The 26 person boardroom is situated to the front of the Georgian building. The room is used for quarterly global board meetings. The table houses 5 omni directional mics which are used on occasion to video conference delegates into the meeting, Two large format LCD Screens are housed and concealed in tastefully designed cabinets. The cabinet to the right also houses a video conferencing codec & pan tilt zoom (PTZ) camera. There is a second PTZ camera housed at the other end of the room to accommodate the delegates at the other end of the table.
All the rooms in the building faced a similar challenge. Aesthetically integrate AV technology and be fit for purpose. The Video Conferencing Huddle Space allows casual high stool seating and comfortable sofa seating, whilst being in conversation with the far side. Seeing their room on one screen and sharing the discussed data on the other.
The brainstorming projects work-space, was designed in a round table format to allow full interaction and participation between delegates. Again when required, delegates who were unable to attend in person, could be video into the call on the large screen and if necessary, data could be shared on screen, with the far side. In this case the video of the far side would become picture in picture, with the large screen displaying the shared data.
Most other rooms have the more traditional boardroom format, with large screens at the top of the room. All cables are concealed. None of the Georgian architecture was damaged. All audio visual technology was tastefully integrated with the aesthetics of the building. This was down to great consultation with the client, significant resource and time being spent with Digicom project management & the client design team. Finally careful installation & commissioning of the equipment by the Digicom engineering team. The site is maintained and remains fresh through the ongoing support of the Digicom service support team. The client enjoys ongoing preventative maintenance, on site support and same day response to tickets opened, within agreed time periods, depending on how mission critical status of the the room.
Room Booking System
Digicom recently completed the integration of Audio Visual Equipment at a client’s (Financial Firm) new office in Elm Park Business Park. This included the installation of:
- Large Format LCD Displays
- Video Conferencing
- Digital Signage
- Room Booking
This case study will focus on their Room Booking System.
Meetings Made Easy
With the Condeco Outlook Add-in, their employees can allow room searches, services, visitors and video conference bookings to be made from within their Outlook calendar. They can make the appointment in MS Outlook and invite appropriate attendees. By clicking on the room booking icon in the appointment window they’re able to search for a room and book it right there and then.
The process now for our client is to Instantly book a room, start a meeting, or release a room using your badge or pin code. The screens are linked directly to our room scheduling software. They avoid meeting conflicts by displaying who booked the room and for how long. If a meeting overruns and no other bookings have been made, the host can extend the current meeting straight from the screen.
Real Time Data
The firm can now gather essential information on how rooms are being used. That data is used to design work-space that enhances productivity while reducing real estate costs. As their property requirements grow or change, they can use this data to develop long-term strategies.
For further information on this system, or a demonstration, please do not hesitate to contact us. A similar solution will also work on Gmail and Lotus Notes.
Delegate & Voting System
Digicom recently completed and Audio Visual Fit Out for a Government Body client. It included installation of:
- Projectors & Displays
- Large Format LCD Displays
- A Queuing System
- Digital Signage
- Video Conferencing
The Shure system enables meeting participants to hear each other clearly, across the room. The units combine audio & user controls in an integrated system. Meetings are managed with complete control and reliability. The comprehensive hardware and software options, conform to the specific needs and protocols of the city council. The software options also support voting and complete conference management.
The flush-mounted delegate conference unit features a speak/request button, XLR gooseneck microphone connector, loudspeaker, 5 voting buttons and chip card reader. The system is a daisy chained connection with loop through connections. It is connected with a DCS-LAN connection by use of CAT 5e (or higher) F/UTP or U/FTP cabling. It has Support for 4 microphone operation modes; Automatic, FIFO, Manual and VOX (voice activation) and supports 3 microphone interrupt ability modes enabling ‘ping pong’ mode. The microphones are auto off of microphones and have a lockable XLR gooseneck microphone connector. Each also has 1 high-quality loudspeaker, with one 1 chip card reader (with SW 6000) and 1 microphone button with LED indicators for speak and request to speak.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information, or to visit the system.
Workplace Automation & Collaboration
The Client, a Dublin Law Firm, are recently enjoying the benefits of the latest integrated ‘state of the art’ audio visual solution, at their new office in Dublin 2. Their installation includes:
- Large Format LCD Screens
- Room Audio Conferencing Solutions
- Recessed Projectors & Screens
- Video Conferencing
The ClickShare Wireless Presentation units let the clients’ employees share their content on large meeting room screens in the most intuitive way possible. Cables are no longer needed. They just start their presentation by simply pushing a button – whether of a USB-device they connect to their laptop PC or MAC, or by using the user-friendly app for iPhone, iPad, or Android. The connection also automatically displays the most optimal resolution, without messing up the layout on their laptop. Using both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band guarantees a great wireless connection at all time.
Clients & employees share content from up to four sources (Laptop/Tablet/Smartphone) simultaneously on the one large screen, delivering a collaborative experience and saving significant meeting time.
The client was keen to create and executive ambience whilst retaining workplace functionality with the meetings rooms . When not required, no audio visual displays are visible. When required, via a touch screen room control instruction, the required displays become visible via hoist mounted units concealed in the ceiling or cabinets. Careful coordination between Digicom and the client design team has delivered a seamless and intuitive solution for the user each time.
Contact Digicom today for advice on how to integrate the above-mentioned solutions into your current workplace automation plans. Click here or email email@example.com
Recently there was a talk about the future of video collaboration, at the UC EXPO 2016. Europe’s largest unified communications and collaboration event which took place at Olympia, London. Speakers included:
- Anthony Blake:EMEAR Video Acceleration Lead, Cisco
- Axel Albrecht:Senior Solutions Engineer, EMEA, Blue Jeans Network
- Mark Richer; Chairman of the Board, Starleaf
- Mike O’Boyle: Vice President Collaboration Solutions EMEA and APAC, PGi
- Rob Bamforth: Principal Analyst, Business Communications, Quocirca Ltd and
- Tim Stone: Vice President Marketing EMEA, Polycom
Foremost on people’s minds was the future of Polycom, with the recent acquisition announcement of Polycom by Mitel. It was too soon for Tim Stone to tell us much, other than the roadmap for the Microsoft products remain on course, despite the potential conflict of interest with Mitel services. More to be announced by Q4 for this year.
So how is the future for video itself? Well according to Cisco research 65% of Audio Conference delegates are doing something else whilst on a call. 9% are actually exercising’, said Anthony Blake. So video allows delegates to keep a check on engagement during a call. But why is video collaboration not happening more? ‘The lack of interoperability between video platforms ‘ according to Axel Albrecht of Blue Jeans. It’s ‘heartbreaking’ according to Mike Richer of Starleaf, that Apple and Facebook preclude other video platforms from interoperating with theirs. It is holding back the development of the video collaboration industry.
‘So the future is in the cloud’ is Rob Bamforth of Quocirca, ‘bridging enterprise and social network video effortlessly sharing data’ But all of this can only be achieved through wired connections. Mike O’Boyle believes the latency is too poor on Wifi. Do not use it. It will only frustrate you.
All said there seems to be a busy and bright future for video collaboration. It’s really a question about the strategy of the big companies and their acquisition trail. Mitel is another chapter in the story. We wait to see where it goes.
Conference calls are a staple of business life, a necessity for organisations of all shapes and sizes. It might even be difficult for you to put a number on the how many conference calls you have participated in during your career. However, how many of those conference calls were run efficiently and were a productive use of the participants’ time? Here are 5 tips on how to do it:
1. Be prepared ahead of time
There is nothing revolutionary here. Being prepared for anything will probably make you more efficient at it, but there are a couple of basics to make sure are covered before call time. Send out an agenda in advance of the call to all participants. This will make sure that the call stays on topic, keeping the length down, but it will also allow people the time to prepare. Hopefully this means that they can bring their best insights and perspectives to the discussion. Send out conference room PINs and bridge numbers well in advance to all participants. The sooner everyone can get into the conference room without unnecessary delay, the sooner you can get down to business. For International participants, make sure you’ve given them a local number to dial into.
2. Keep statements short
As humans, we communicate best in person. Body language is a very powerful communication method. Of course, on audio conference call, we must rely on our voice. You need to tailor how you communicate to the medium you’re using. For voice only conferencing, keep your statements concise and to the point to avoid confusion. Instead of trying to remember what you said 4 sentences ago, or furiously scribbling notes, others can take your point on board and respond appropriately, leading to a better discussion.
Again, this is pretty basic, but at some point you have probably felt the pang of uncertainty or frustration that comes from sitting in a conference room by yourself 5 minutes after the scheduled start time. Obviously the quicker the call starts in earnest, the more the group can get through but how often does a person who has been waiting for other participants leave the conference room when the others are late because he or she has plenty of other work on their plate? There are three outcomes to this, either the call is rescheduled, cancelled altogether or there is even more delay getting someone to dial back in when the rest of the group are finally ready. Time is one of the more precious commodities, so if you are going to be late, notify the moderator or other participants. The call moderator should dial in early, to make sure that everything goes smoothly with the rest of the group joining the call.
4. Record the call
If possible, record the call. You’ll need to let everyone know that you are recording and confirm that anyone from another company is OK with this but it’s well worth doing. Nearly everybody takes notes at some stage during a conference call, but if they need to check another detail after the call, the recording will allow them to do so even if they can’t get in touch with another participant. A recording will also let you summarise the what was discussed, allowing you to action our final and most important tip…
5. Share outcomes of the call
Following on from the previous point, this tip works for in person meetings too. Sharing the outcomes of a meeting or call allows the participants to set about the action points assigned to them, or at least remind them to. They don’t have to double back to confirm what they need to do.
The way we work today is changing and our workplaces are having to adapt to the ever increasing demand for mobility. Mobile devices and cloud based productivity apps mean that employees are connected to their tasks and colleagues no matter where they are or what time of day it is. At the same time, businesses are embracing big data, and trying to figure out how they can integrate the Internet of Things into the workplace in order to improve productivity,
performance, customer interactions, critical decisions and revenue generation.
Becoming the Connected Workplace
Transforming an office into a Connected Workplace has moved on from the days of Bring Your Own Device and into the unlocking of staff potential. Successful IT teams will not just support, but anticipate the various applications and service needs as well as the devices to support the business requirements. Remote working, which has been one of the most successful trends over recent years, will be replaced with smart offices that will act more like creative villages to make staff more productive, healthier and happier. Innovative tech companies such as Google and Facebook are leading the way with this by building offices that bring their people together in a more innovating and effective way. By harnessing the power of the cloud and the internet, the Connected Workplace means that not only will your office be able to recognise that you are heading to work, through your mobile phone, smart watch or even your in-car system, but it will be able to get you completely set up for the day. The office will automatically turn on your desktop computer, inform you of your schedule for the day, and print off any documents you have been updating while working remotely.
Everything Can Be Connected
The ability to connect any number of things and applications together to improve productivity is round the corner and one area undergoing major change to be part of the Connected Workplace is printing. Whilst print does still remain a necessity for many businesses, particularly large enterprises, documents are undergoing a digital transformation from traditional paper to files displayed on-screen, on mobile devices, and shared by cloud services. At Samsung Print, we are seeing a huge demand from our customers and are working with a number of specialists such as Danwood who have already embraced this. Working closely with Samsung they are able to provide a consultative approach to the customer, blending decades of managed print experience with the ability to deliver digital convergence across screens, mobiles and tablet devices. Today’s mobile approach means that it is increasingly important that employees are able to print from any device they are working from. It’s also crucial to be able to scan physical documents into digital versions directly so that they are available on mobile devices via the cloud. Cloud printing including Cloud Connector for Samsung printers, and MFPs is an innovative mobile printing tool, which lets business users manage their print operation from any device, at any time and from wherever they are. Working closely with Samsung, partners are able to help clients rethink their approach to print and introduce them to the connected workplace in order to unlock the potential from digitalisation, mobility and the cloud.
The Connected Workplace
Smart technology is empowering the rebirth and rejuvenation of the office, making it an environment where we will be happy to work. The Connected Workplace will allow employees to communicate intuitively, face-to-face, to consult and collaborate to solve the increasingly complex work situations. As we see more innovation, such as smart systems that can handle the masses of data and scheduling that makes a modern office run smoothing, we will see less stresses and less overworked workforce. In return we will see happy, positive employees who have time to be more creative and productive, which will ultimately benefit the business. For more info on the Samsung Connected Workplace please call Digicom on 01 4600022
IDC MarketScape report cites Samsung’s app development, innovative solutions and focus on security as key strengths
LONDON, UK – January 12, 2016 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., has been recognised by global market intelligence organization IDC, as a major player, in its MarketScape report on the managed print and document services (MPDS) industry: ‘Western Europe Managed Workflow Services 2015 Hardcopy Vendor Assessment – Building on MPDS’.
“IDC’s recognition of Samsung Printing Solutions affirms our ongoing commitment to help organizations boost business efficiency by improving how they digitise paper and manage their printing,” said Paul Birkett, Director of Print Operation Sales and Marketing of Samsung Europe. “In the newest areas of mobile-first, cloud-first printing, Samsung is helping clients connect to the information they need, by merging mobile and printing technology in its Smart UX platform. This uses standard mobile apps to reduce repetitive or wasteful tasks through advanced machine-to-machine communication.”
The study is the first vendor analysis of the managed workflow services (MWS) market using the IDC MarketScape assessment tool. The report evaluates the capabilities and business strategies of leading hardcopy vendors in the Western European MWS market, and discusses the quantitative and qualitative characteristics that position vendors for success. The report also examines vendors’ capabilities of providing clients with a roadmap for higher-value workflow automation, and the optimization services required to deliver this effectively.
In particular, the IDC MarketScape report recognised Samsung’s use of emerging cloud and mobile technologies, as well as intuitive hardware products and value added services that extend beyond print. These include business process management, mobile print, mobile capture and digital signature services, which all extend Samsung’s IT portfolio. Samsung was also praised for the printing solutions partnerships and alliances it is forging worldwide.
IDC also remarked on Samsung’s ability to draw on expertise and innovation from other areas of its business, stating that its strength in consumer electronics is an advantage, because of the growing influence consumers now have in the world of work.
“Samsung’s key strengths are its application development and use of innovative solutions which include more than one Samsung product line,” IDC MarketScape reported. “Its focus on security alongside its rapid development helps the company gain traction with potential customers, while some competitors are still trying to dissipate security fears associated with solutions adoption.”
”Managed workflow services market players are continuing to develop their offerings to address challenging process workflows in their customers’ organizations,” said Jacqui Hendriks, Research and Consulting Manager, IDC European Managed Print Services and Document Solutions. “Established Western European market players have taken cautious steps and are more aggressively fulfilling customers’ functional and industry-specific workflow requirements,” she added.
For the MarketScape demonstration, Samsung focused on its new products and solutions incorporating mobile functionality and the intuitive interfaces common to multi-function printers, tablets and smartphones.
For more information on this press release including photos and related Samsung Newsroom articles, please visit news.samsung.com/global/samsung-printing-solutions-named-as-a-major-player-in-idc-report.
About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies that redefine the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, cameras, digital appliances, printers, medical equipment, network systems, and semiconductor and LED solutions. We are also leading in the Internet of Things space with the open platform SmartThings, our broad range of smart devices, and through proactive cross-industry collaboration. We employ 319,000 people across 84 countries with annual sales of US $196 billion. To discover more, and for the latest news, feature articles and press material, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at news.samsung.com.
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,100 IDC analysts provide global, regional and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For 50 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. www.idc.com
What is one of the biggest Challenges in your organisation?
Your internal client is the most important asset in your organisation. You’ve taken significant time and resources to recruit the right talent. Now that talent wants to work in a positive work space environment with dynamic technology, that works seamlessly.
User Interface User Experience
The technology is only as good as the client’s use & experience of it. Digicom invest in experienced Certified Audio Visual Solution Architects, who consult with the client and design a solution that aims to exceed the user’s expectation
Project Management (PM)
Delivering the UIUX
Once the design is agreed in a written format through a bill of quantities, program of works and scope of works, the Solutions Architect is ready to kick off hand over to Project Management. PM manage the CAD Drawings & schematics with the client design team, through a series of site meetings. PM own installation, commissioning and programming of all the AV inventory, using certified engineers, up to the point of delivery to the client.
Maintaining the UIUX
On completion, PM hand to service support and training is scheduled with the client. Digicom provide ongoing dedicated service support with a help desk to schedule room bookings and dedicated Field Service Engineers. The responsibility for our solution remains with Digicom for the lifetime of that solution.