(Smart)Phone Etiquette

Have a P.A.I.R. and Kill Phone Zombies

Guest blogger Dan Wojenski is an I.T. Technician at Geller & Company in New York, NY.  His previous employers include A&E Networks, and Apple, and UBS AG.  Dan is also a 20+ year musician (drums).Dan Wojenski

“To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. To be late is unacceptable.” Wisdom I first heard from a teacher I didn’t like and barely listened to. But when I hit the working world, it was etched in my memory, and therefore I was seldom late.  Etiquette comes from strange places.  We hear it, see it, and sometimes, we ignore it.  But you can not ignore etiquette if you want to succeed in the business world.

I remember having extensive customer service training when I was employed by an insurance company. The instructor said, “It doesn’t really matter what you say, if you say it with genuine tones of respect.” He was right.  I began to see the power in negotiation, conversation, and even just casual speaking. You can look someone in the eye and tell them a monkey just farted in his or her soup, did a backflip, and laughed away from the table. While ridiculous, if said with genuine confidence, there’s not much to argue.  Obviously a dramatic example, but the point is clear.  The same can be said about my topic today: (Smart)Phone Etiquette.

Patience. Attention. Intelligence. Responsiveness. =  P.A.I.R.  (I’ve always wanted to do that.) These are a few of the traits required to have a conversation on a professional level. Whether a person is a CEO or the building maintenance crew, proper etiquette is essential to building trust and earning respect. The world is evolving into a social media frenzy that #occupies a large percentage of our daily conversations. It is very easy to allow the technology to control our manners or even our attitudes.  It creates what is known as the “Phone Zombie.”  A plain traditional Zombie appears lifeless, apathetic, or completely unaware of his or her surroundings.  Now add a phone to that picture you have a Phone Zombie.

For example: You are talking to your manager and they suddenly start typing fiendishly on a Blackberry.  All it took was a vibration or beep.  They stop listening to you and begin paying attention to the text flying in from some other virtual source. There is no issue with that; except you and your manager were just mid-conversation, talking about company business, at the same company in which you are currently standing! Even if it were an emergency, there is no excuse for not politely removing themselves from the conversation they are currently in with you. No excuse, none.  It takes five seconds to say, “Excuse me I have an emergency that I need to attend to, can we please pick this up when I get back?”  Courtesy is still relevant, and will not cost you anything, except maybe an angry employee or coworker.

For my next point we can venture out of the workplace.  The old saying was, “[so-and-so] can’t walk and chew gum at the same time” or something like that.  Nowadays, it’s all too common to see people texting,  mp3-ing, streaming, drinking, eating, and all while doing something that can seriously hurt someone: driving.  No text or song is worth twenty years in prison, or the guilt you will suffer for the rest of your life if you accidentally take another’s.  We all have our vices but, in my opinion, vehicular homicide should not be on the top of your list!

By no means am I saying never text, never email, or never surf on my devices. I’m doing it right now! This article was drafted during my commute (subway), at home, and on my lunch breaks at work.  I was not typing this post in the middle of a meeting, typing away at my smartphone under the table, while supporting my false arm with the other hand.  Today’s companies want employees who can multitask, without ignoring their superiors. In-person conversations and meetings have a point, and your superiors will judge you based on how you act during them.  You can see reactions, feel the tone, and feed off each other’s ideas.  Brainstorming anyone?  Even bad news is better in person.  Would you really want to hear about your job loss in an email or an accidental post in the termination mailbox?  If you do, just stop reading now, as it probably has already happened.

There is one business thriving off this behavior: Social engineering. They will have your credentials before you even look up to see the stairs you’re about to trip on.  The money will be gone faster than you can swipe L-A-R-C-E-N-Y on your touchscreen. The amount of information released into the open air due to phones and other connected devices is staggering. I was on an hour-long commute the other day and within minutes had this woman’s name, social security number, credit card numbers, security codes, pin, and I was not the only one that could hear her! I hope she was lucky, but some part of me is saying, “Get her some nice new credit and debt she never wanted.”

Life teaches us lessons.  Listening to them is my lesson for you today. Try not to end up here: http://textface.com/

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WiSA and The Value Added Reseller (VAR)

How Can An AV Integrator Make a Living Without Pulling Speaker Wires?

WiSA Wireless Speaker & Audio Associationby Paul Konikowski, CTS-D.
This article was originally published on The WiSA Association Blog 

In a recent HiddenWires article by Jim Venable, President of the WiSA (Wireless Speaker & Audio) Association, he mentioned “the Value-Added Re-seller”, or VAR (pronounced vee – aye – arr).  Also known as home theater installation companies, low-voltage contractors, or residential systems integrators, these VARs add value to the product and the process, by:

  • Designing home theater systems based on the client’s desires and budget
  • Drawing the AV signal flow diagrams and installation details using CAD
  • Acquiring the system components, pretesting them, and storing them safely
  • Delivering the systems to the job site using company vehicles, gas, and labor
  • Pulling the low-voltage (video and speaker) wires through the walls and/or conduits
  • Terminating and testing all connections; configuring the equipment settings so that it is a turn-key solution
  • Training the client on how to properly use the equipment, and how to maintain it
  • Sometimes, the VARs provide on-call system support, and/or semiannual preventative maintenance
  • The VAR becomes the client’s trusted “expert” when its time to upgrade or purchase any additional equipment

Some home theater installers may hear about the WiSA Association, and instinctively ask: Without wires, how can a Value-Added Re-seller make a living selling WiSA compliant speakers?

Notice, “pulling the wires through the walls and/or conduits” was only one of the tasks normally performed by the re-seller.  The re-sellers are still adding value to the product and the process.  They are the still the trusted experts in the field: choosing the right components for the room, delivering the equipment, placing the speakers in optimal locations, configuring the system, training the client how it works.

Now here are some new ways that WiSA-compliant speakers can help the re-seller to add value to the product and process:

  • Offer the customers the ability to upgrade their system over time, from 2.1, to 3.1, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2 and so on.
  • Give end-users the option to reconfigure their living rooms for special occasions, or just different furniture.
  • If your customers move to a larger home, they can take their entire investment with them.  They also don’t have to pre-wire their new home.
  • Install high-end surround sound systems into historical rooms with ornate floors, walls, and ceilings which are often “off limits” to contractors.
  • Move the speakers outside for an outdoor movie night.  All you need is some good AC extension cords, a projector, and understanding neighbors.
  • Churches and other houses of worship can host a teen night or family movie night in their hall or basement.  The VAR can provide custom cases or covers for the speakers so they can be stored neatly when not in use.
  • By stocking a few systems from different manufacturers as demo units, the VAR can give the client the option to “test drive” different speaker models before making the final decision of which ones to purchase.

Instead of two installers on a residential job site for a week, a WiSA compliant system can be installed in a day. The customer will still need two guys to hang the big flat-panel TV, and setup the speakers.  Just no more pulling speaker wires.

Now, please raise your hand if you like pulling speaker wires. ….mmhmm…  That’s what I thought.