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Client Spotlight: LCB Senior Living

Scalable, repeatable, highly available, and centrally managed – Those are the characteristics of the IT infrastructure LCB Senior Living asked NCGIT to provide for its planned roll-out of senior housing communities throughout the eastern US.  At the time, LCB had a small management office and only a handful of residences it was managing.  An old school approach of managing each location individually with in-house servers was sufficient and manageable.  However, with the plan to begin building and managing new residences all over New England and the eastern US, it was clear that this old approach was not going to be a viable approach for providing the scalability, repeat-ability and central management LCB desired.

LCB now has successfully expanded its footprint to 22 senior residences from VT to CT and in 2017 is planning to open 4 more new residences in MA and NH.  To facilitate this aggressive growth from an IT perspective NCGIT designed and implemented a fully cloud hosted infrastructure shared across all facilities.  The solution combines cloud hosted desktops, servers, file sharing, email, website security filtering, and cloud based Wifi and firewall management.  This allows all users across all of the locations to access their same desktops, files, and emails from any location, and to do it reliably and securely.  Equally importantly, this cloud hosted infrastructure allows LCB to scale its infrastructure quickly and in a highly repeatable fashion.  NCGIT and LCB internal IT resources are also able to quickly, easily and centrally manage all aspects of the IT infrastructure.

Contact us today to see how NCGIT can help your business implement a secure, robust, and highly reliable cloud based IT infrastructure!

About LCB Senior Living, LLC

LCB Senior Living, LLC is a developer/operator and third-party manager of quality senior housing communities.  Since 1994, the LCB team has been pioneers in modern senior living, providing Independent Living, Assisted living and Memory Care services throughout New England and the eastern United States.  During that time, they built and sold the 16th-largest such company in the nation, and are currently one of the fastest-growing senior housing companies in the region.

Whether it be developing and managing beautiful new residences, or managing yours, LCB prides itself in creating communities where residents can enjoy continued comfort, security and dignity as their individual physical and cognitive needs change.

www.lcbseniorliving.com

Client Spotlight: Hacin & Associates

Strategic, responsive IT management – That is what NCGIT has been providing Hacin & Associates since 2013 through a strategic IT partnership. At the time, the incumbent IT provider was delivering only break/fix support, spotty proactive network management, and no strategic IT consulting.  Since assuming the role of virtual CIO and network infrastructure manager for Hacin, NCGIT has dramatically changed that situation by providing highly proactive IT infrastructure management and aligned IT solutions and budgets with business goals and strategies. Over the course of the past several years, NCGIT has also helped Hacin & Associates phase in a modernized IT infrastructure. An aging phone system was replaced with a VoIP solution providing highly increased functionality, resiliency, and mobility. The old backup system was replaced with a cloud-based solution providing highly secure, efficient, and robust disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities.  The server infrastructure has been stabilized and a more effective and secure remote access solution has been implemented.  Along with the strategic consulting and infrastructure improvements, NCGIT has provided Hacin with day-to-day proactive infrastructure management and proactive troubleshooting and has very effectively coordinated the IT infrastructure move to a new office space.  Hacin & Associates no longer has to spend time, staff, or inefficient and ineffective budget worrying about current and potential IT problems, and can instead focus on providing world class architecture solutions knowing that instead of being a constant and expensive speed bump in their path, their IT infrastructure is now an effective tool helping them achieve their business goals.

Check out Hacin & Associates now.

www.hacin.com

Tackling Tech: The NFL – Taking Tech to the Bank

Sourced from Patriots.com

By Bob Wallace
Tackling Tech
bobmwallace@comcast.net

 

Before the NFL heads into the 2016 exhibition season, remember to keep your eyes wide open for the following, tech-driven works-in-progress across the league. Together they will define how we consume America’s game in the stands and at home for many years to come.

They will also go a long way to determining the financial health of the teams and league and elevating fan engagement for those at the game and watching from home.

1. Next-Gen Stadiums. These facilities, both under construction and hosting major improvements, promise to enhance the fan experience for those in the stands. Connected stadiums refers to facilities equipped with advanced Wi-Fi networks that both enable game day apps and collected voluminous data on fans that can be analyzed using analytics for a wide array of marketing and sales purposes.

Beyond robust wireless connectivity, next-gen stadiums such as the new home of the Atlanta Falcons is being equipped with super high-def big screens that can be viewed from any angle without glare. The Jacksonville Jaguars are amidst an installation with vendor NanoLumens and the New England Patriots already feature these viewing enhancements which benefit fans and sponsors. There was a time when leaving your seat for concessions meant disconnecting from the game as only tiny screens or radio were available on the concourse.

There’s also a growing focus on viewing for fans not in their seats. With that in mind, the new Falcon’s home will boast some 300-plus TVs throughout the facility – an approach followed in newer stadiums as the homes of the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers respectively.

2. Watching from Home. Expect the content super rich NFL to continue to parse out original series and live game casts to a longer list of delivery options be they on TV or online. It has been roughly a year since the league brought on its first ever chief content officer – an expert in youth programming and non- traditional viewing options (Microsoft Xbox).

The last year alone has seen Yahoo live-stream a regular season game free and internationally, deals with social media outlets (Google/SnapChat) for non-game footage, All or Nothing on Amazon, and Thursday Night Football (10 games) via Twitter. This share-the-wealth approach has/is providing the NFL with experience and data on different distribution channels used for varying types of content.

3. The Data Dilemma. Having completed a full NFL season of collecting player data through RFID chips in players’ shoulder pads with tech partner Zebra Technologies, the league has turned the voluminous data to its teams. So how will it be used? Initially the intent seemed to be to create next-gen stats, such as how fast (MPH) a receiver ran on a TD catch and run.

Now it seems the data could be used to measure player performance and much more beyond stats for fans. How the teams choose to use this needs-to-be-analyzed mountain of data is certainly worth watching as we enter the 2016-17 season. And what of those next-gen stats that seem to be spares if you’re watching from home on a big screen? They would help elevate the viewing experience and enrich the game casts beyond what the broadcasting talent has to offer.

4. Wireless Advances. You can’t talk about the fan experience and data collection without discussing the ongoing upgrades across the league to stadium Wi-Fi and Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS). Several teams are in the process of upgrading or exploring upgrades to current systems as per the league’s CIO while others – Packers, Bills etc. – just finished their first season with the benefits of wireless nets brought to older stadiums.

After all, wireless is the enabling technology for game-day apps that let fans get everything from the latest traffic and parking conditions to the ability to order concessions from their seats and pick up their purchases at the shortest lines. Add an analytics package to these networks and you can apply business brains to the tech brawn and determine new and better ways to monetize the fan.

5. Apps. This time last year, the NFL was amidst an overhaul/consolidation of its pay apps, resulting in the domestic version of GamePass. Given the ability to launch Super Bowl and draft-specific apps, expect new introductions before the regular season begins. Remember, even free apps generate revenue through sponsorships, gateways to Pro Shops and fan data.

6. Virtual Reality Check. Yes, virtual reality has been pitched as changing the way football – and other sports – function. It’s true that several QBs use VR to augment their training with more reps while avoiding the wear and tear of live action. And though the tech portends to advance the way virtual seats are sold and the game is watched from home, don’t expect these changes soon. VR will make inroads in the way video content clips are shot and used first, followed by the greater promise down the road.

7. The Widening World of Sports (TV). In many ways, 2016 will be a year of exploration for the content crew at the NFL with its recent forays into streaming of game cast or original series set up as a one-time or one-year arrangements, meaning they can be renewed or replaced next year. Changing the channels means maximum flexibility for the league in expanding its distribution strategy.

And what might we see from AT&T, which acquired DirecTV which has the exclusive rights to the popular NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market game package (and the no-dish online only version)??

Note that of late, the league has been focusing on delivery deals for non-game content, a marked expansion of its approach has brought in streamers such as Amazon and social media giants such as Google (for YouTube) highlights. Also note that the NFL has eliminated its one-time ban of streamer smartphone Periscope which will now be used as part of the Twitter streaming of Thursday Night Football games this season.

8. Partner Programs. Last, but very far from least, are programs that team up NFL teams with knowledge of their fans with partners to boost sales via innovative promotion programs that reward members in discounts and freebies for select products of their sponsors. The Patriots program with Dunkin Donuts, which allows consumers to have purchases to be applied to their season ticket balance and more is a great example.

Those entities that know enough about their customers – through collected and analyzed data – are well posed to launch these next level partner programs. That’s likely one of the skills customers of the recently spun off Kraft Analytics Group (KAGR) can hear about as the end result of optimized data (analytics and strategic marketing). Read

THE BOTTOM LINE

Sure, the league is facing many more issues and exploring many more opportunities than those listed above. Forward-thinking teams are looking to harness tech to expand their brands and see challenges as part of a longer to-do list that benefits franchises and their fans.

The only constant here is change. And you can take that to the bank.

Stay tuned!

Bob Wallace is a technology journalist with over 30 years of experience explaining how new services, apps, consumer electronic devices and video sources are reshaping the world of communications as we know it. Wallace has specific expertise in explaining how and why advances in technology redefine the way sports fans interact with their league, teams, players and each other. He’s the Founder of Fast Forward Thinking LLC.

Professional Services

Professional Services Will Reduce Stress at Work

Utilizing professional services ensures that your company stays up-to-date with the latest in technology. By routinely updating computers, servers and other devices used for your business you increase productivity while guaranteeing your company is running efficiently. This decrease of work related stress is achieved by an increase in organization, an improvement in communication and customer service, an increase in overall mobility and accessibility and improved recoverability and continuity of business.

Increased Organization

Professional service consultants dedicate their time to producing and implementing custom infrastructure designs that will best benefit and help your company to do business. This design increases the network’s ability to function by improving server speed and uptime. Acquiring this higher level of organization means that your daily tasks will progress more smoothly while taking less time to be completed, which will minimize the amount of stress that generally comes when conducting said tasks in an unorganized network environment.

Improvement in Communication

Keeping your devices and network up-to-date means that the connections and applications will run at their greatest efficiency. This allows for faster and more reliable communication within the system and between users. The real-time communication will prove to increase output and overall business performance by making sure users receive notifications, messages and important emails without interruption. And without the lack of delay that is common among older or outdated cabling, your work will become less of a hassle and more of an enjoyable, tension free experience.

Increased Mobility and Accessibility

With the newer features that professional services will provide you with, come an added benefit, mobility. The use of professional services allows your employees to expand upon the places that they can work and how they work. Increasing and advancing the abilities of both the devices and the systems within your business, ultimately gives people liberty to access documents on the go and from places outside the office. This gives them the opportunity to improve and control where they work, which undoubtedly limits the amount of stress that an individual would be susceptible to while increasing the quality of work that they put out.

Recoverability and Continuity

One of the greatest stressors related to businesses is loss of progress or work that can be a consequence of poor system upkeep. Professional services provides you with a way to safeguard your important documents and projects by maintaining and building upon your network’s integrity and functionality. Keeping in mind that the company’s needs are what is most important in business, professional service consultants design the infrastructure with future goals in mind. This is prudent to business continuity and the reduction of stress in the work place, as the designed network will always be one that works for and with the company.