Episode #9 | Teleworking 

  • we@designindc.com
  • October 21, 2020


Announcement: [00:00:00] Broadcasting from Fairfax, Virginia. You are now tuned in to The Highlight Cast with your hosts, Adam McNair and Kevin Long.

 Adam McNair: Welcome to The Highlight Cast. This is Adam McNair  joined by Kevin Long. Hi, Kevin.

Kevin Long: How’s it going, Adam? Good to hear your voice. See your face.

 Adam McNair: Absolutely, yeah. So, uh, this has been, uh, several months since we’ve done one of these, and The world ended in between. A a absolutely, yeah. It’s It’s been very, very different, obviously, as I think it has been for everybody. Uh, we, for, for transparency’s sake, we closed down our main office in March. And as we sit here today, it is now September. So we’ve all been remote. Um, I guess my, you know, my, my. Overall business perspective, there’s a lot of things about and all of that. I will tell you from the personal angle of it. I started out thinking that maybe this would be a month or something and set up temporarily and in the kitchen and then moved to the kind of the next stage was, well, this might be a while and set up in the basement. And the third phase for me has been this might really, really be a while, and I have now established an upstairs room as an office. Out of the dungeon. Yeah, absolutely. So that’s kind of how it has gone here. How has your just personal logistics worked out? 


Kevin Long: Seriously, yeah. I mean, it’s been, it’s been crazy. Uh, I felt exactly the same way. I started with Okay, well, I mean, I’ve got a laptop so I can work from home and, you know, uh, my wife works from home too. So she has the work from home space normally set up. And so I was working other places so as to not disturb her. [00:02:00] So I’d have my laptop on my lap and I did that for a while. And then I was like, you know, this is, this is, this is not going to end super soon. I’m going to get me a keyboard and I’m going to get set up with a desk and some place to work. Right. And so, uh, uh, and ironically, I just also migrated to a second floor room myself with a desk. And so it’s, uh, more comfortable. So thumbs up there. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, I would tell you the little logistical challenges that I have had to overcome, uh, the, the inability to have cell service in the basement was the first one.

Kevin Long: Wow. 

Adam McNair: Um, and so I had to get some Wi Fi extenders and figure that out. Um, I have, have turned back on a home phone so that I can have a, a, another line in the event that I am going to be on a longer call that’s not [00:03:00] some digital platform. Um, and, and the, the echo factor, the microphone, headset, so forth, um, you know, what I’ve found is that a lot of these calls, some of them do better than others, depending on the Depending on what platform you’re on of absolutely using whatever algorithm they used to separate out the voice track. And some of them don’t do it very well at all. And, um, so I’ve, I think I’m now set up and able to communicate without echo and all of those things, but it’s just interesting. Those are the kinds of things that you just. When you when you have a meeting here or there remotely, you just don’t have that big a problem with 

Kevin Long: right?

Yeah, it was uh, I literally had to get set up with with the microphone and everything as well I mean, I never realized like I I would walk around the office I mean mbwa management by walking around right and hear about what’s going on things like that Now you’re jumping on to zoom or skype Or [00:04:00] teams or Google Hangouts or, or a cell phone call, um, to do the same stuff. And if I couldn’t just walk in there or I was out and about, I’d essentially be in my car on Bluetooth, right? And so I found out that. My cell phone and computer microphone speakers sucked for everybody else that I was talking to, right? They’re like, Kevin, you’re talking through a tunnel and we don’t think you are, we see you on the camera, you know, please fix. And so, yeah, it was, uh, it’s a totally different, different set of must haves for, for being able to communicate well to a group and, and around. It’s, it’s been really, yeah, and honestly, headphones that are comfortable to wear for four straight hours, right? 

Adam McNair: Yeah, and I, I, that, that interaction from walking around was a big thing [00:05:00] for me to figure out how to replace. I mean, different people work differently. And I think, um, the layout of our, uh, Our physical office as best I recall it from six months ago. What? Everything that I would do when we have kind of two floors in our building, and I’d go from one to the other, and you pretty much walk through most of the the areas of the office going from one to the other, and I would just catch up with people on things and and trying to find structured ways to do that where you’re not just, you know, running into people.

Kevin Long: Yeah. Solving problems before they become problems because you heard or overheard a conversation of people trying to solve something. In the common room, right? It is. Oh, it is such a challenge for me because it, it is, it is absolutely the way, the way I prefer to operate that, you know, now when I walk around, all I do is have, you know, my wife looking at me saying, you know, I’m working too. And my dog saying, does this mean we’re taking a walk 

Adam McNair: now? Yeah. Yeah, it’s, um, it’s very, very different and it’s, it is, it feels strange to me to be so excited about collaboration tools. Like, I, the only one that I can really say that I felt that way about from a, Technical perspective at any point was when, when the first time that I went from developing a proposal with the old check in, check out the document method and everyone could be in the document at one current 

Kevin Long: collaboration as this is amazing, 

Adam McNair: right? And now that we have gone, um, we had Microsoft teams on our backlog of things to accomplish. But it was still, it still felt like kind of a, um. Evolving tool. [00:07:00] Yeah, and we were going to get to it and we had been on Skype for business and it’s okay for going back to the creating a dial in bridge so that everybody can dial into something from their phones. It works just fine for that. Um, but there’s a reason it’s an end of life tool now and Microsoft teams. It’s so cool. It’s so much better and I actually feel like it’s chat functionality because it allows us to have almost like digital informal conversations that are themed and separated and it’s not just, you know, by person, um, you know, that’s like random history 

Kevin Long: and timestamp.

Adam McNair: Exactly. I mean, cause one of the things that I had had to evolve to a long time ago was there’s so much email come again. That, I mean, you know this, I tell everybody, [00:08:00] if you need something, you need to text me because I’m going to get 500 emails a day. 

Kevin Long: I will get to your email eventually. If it’s time sensitive, don’t put it in email unless there’s a text that accompanies it that says, check your email.

Adam McNair: Yeah. And, um, And so there’s, there’s just so much of that and, and text was okay, but then when you’re in the basement, it doesn’t get signal. So I solved that problem. That was the first, the first piece was not now my texts don’t work, but then once they did, because it was becoming a communication platform, now all of a sudden I’m getting so many texts. I can’t, I’m losing track of texts. 

Kevin Long: Oh no. 

Adam McNair: But Teams has really handled that. I mean, it really, um, the integration on mobile, the, the ability to work, uh, collaboratively to work in documents, to have conversations, to have team based conversations. I mean, it’s been, um, yeah, 

Kevin Long: it’s great. I mean, last night I was, you know, Stan needed a, uh, Stan and Raj needed a quick catch up on a proposal that they were working on. So Stan texts me and says, Hey, do you have a quick second for a Teams call? And I replied back, sure. Only this via cell phone, though, because I wasn’t at my computer. I could put it on on speaker and I could keep making dinner and get them the information that they needed. Right. It was it was great. And I’m still learning everything that teams can do. Well, I mean, I just got out of a meeting with a partner that that has been using teams for years and the stuff that he’s talking through on that. I mean, I was already excited. I’m super excited to figure out all of that stuff. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, it’s, it’s amazing. Um, yeah. Yeah, so I, I think that that was, is the biggest change that, you know, that we’ve made, um, as we’ve been, um, remote here, remote extensively. Um, and, [00:10:00] yeah, um, Since we’ve, we’ve closed the office, uh, I’ve been in there three or four times where something needed to be done in paper or, you know, signed with ink, cause that’s still a thing or, or something like that. Um, but. Yeah, one thing for a second. So yeah, we did get to have that happen. And I mean, luckily, if you’re going to pick a time to have an office flood, it’s good to have it flood when no one is using it. But yeah, the storm drain for the building backed up in one of the major rainstorms we had, and they got to, you know, Replace all the carpet and the bottom 14 inches of drywall on the entire, it wasn’t just our suite, it was the entire first floor of the building. So it was, uh, pretty extensive. Yeah. Uh, well, you know, it’s interesting. We just, um, kind of settled up all the back and forth. And, and of course, when that happens, there was some wiring that had to be done after the fact and whatever. So that’s, um, that’s getting, you know, Getting closed up and we we did we use Microsoft Teams to share our COVID reopening plan, uh, which what we are trying to do is figure out just the minimum number of people that really have, um, Physical requirements for space and it ends up being contracts and procurement and finance. There are some things that, um, they still have to handle in paper for one reason or another. Right? Um, so we’re trying to do HR 

Kevin Long: probably too. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, a little bit. You know, a lot of the things that we’ve, we’ve digitized the offer letter process. All of the signature is, uh, is, is digital. Um, the I nine verification is all digital. So a lot of that stuff we’ve been able to, um, To streamline and [00:12:00] minimize that, um, you know, the other thing that we have is that we have added some, uh, support organization staff during during this period. And so we, we, frankly, we wouldn’t have an office for everybody under old space guidelines, let alone. Uh, trying to keep people distanced and yeah, you know, and regardless of what the, the recommendations for square footage and everything are, it’s just important that I don’t want people to sit there and be uncomfortable. I mean, even when it gets to a point where, um, you know, whether the state tells you you can or you can’t or whatever, um, I don’t want to go tell two people.

Kevin Long: Hey, hey, here, here you go. You can sit on either side of this plastic screen. Yeah. I mean, and if work can be done. Someplace where someone’s more comfortable doing it, right? I mean, we’re an it company, 

Adam McNair: right? Let’s eat our own dog food. Yeah. Yeah. And, and one of the things that I [00:13:00] have found interesting is so many of those, um, you know, support recs as we open them, it’s like, well, location is in Fairfax, Virginia, and then you pause for a second. You’re like, but I guess it doesn’t really need to be 

Kevin Long: never going to walk in here. Unless something unusual happens. So yeah, how about Topeka? 

Adam McNair: Yeah, I’ve the last several interviews that, that I’ve been conducting, um, California, Florida, and then frankly, a couple of people, I’m not even sure where they are, I know they weren’t local, but they were someplace else. And it’s just not. It’s not a, uh, a factor to weigh into, you know, this, the staffing decision. Uh, yeah. 

Kevin Long: Yeah. I mean, if, if you’re not, if the intention is to have them be a hundred percent remote, I mean, right. I mean, wherever that’s, I mean, that’s exciting. 

Adam McNair: Yeah. The one thing that I did have is a, is an interesting thought.[00:14:00] Um, one of these interviews that I was conducting recently was there is now a whole technical stress layer on top of it that for the, for the applicant, you know, ordinarily they’re coming in to get interviewed and, uh, What happens if there’s traffic? What happens if I can’t find the building? There’s those kinds of things that has been alleviated, but that has been replaced by 

Kevin Long: what happens if my internet goes out, 

Adam McNair: internet goes out, I can’t get my camera to work, um, you know, and it’s, it, I find it to be interesting because you’ll send out a Skype teams, whatever invite, and if the person just calls in by phone, it does, it gives, gives me the, the momentary thought of like, well, how’s this remote work work for you? Are you kind of comfortable with that? Um, yeah, 

Kevin Long: absolutely. 

Adam McNair: Yeah. Cause I, I did an interview where the person was like, you know, they couldn’t get the camera to work. Uh, Hey, I can’t get, Um, the speakers to work. Um, then I had one where we ended up, they left their camera on and had to dial in from cell phone for the audio part. And, um, you know, it’s like, where’s that, where’s that line between it coaching on how to get this to work? And just, we’re supposed to be talking about a job, right? 

Kevin Long: Oh, absolutely. And, and how tech, I mean, it’s, it’s nice. Cause at least for partially technical. Roles, you know, welcome to welcome to an informal skills test, 

Adam McNair: right? I mean, essentially, and if you think about, you know, all the things that we do, if you’re not proficient in teams, general online collaboration tools, those kinds of things, it would be hard [00:16:00] to support what we’re doing right now, if you couldn’t use those things. 

Kevin Long: Yeah, I mean, For the foreseeable future. I mean, cause I mean, I, I read that plan and to, for reoccupancy and it’s, I mean, uh, at least in the meetings that we’ve been having, it was always, you know, it started in March. I mean, I, I flew back from Boston, St. Louis Friday, the 13th in March. And you texted me and said, we’re shutting down the office work from home. And then we’re like, we’ll reassess in June. Came to June, we’re going to reassess in July, July came, we’re going to reassess in September, September came, we’re right now it’s November. We’re looking at for a few people going back in and so, yeah, I mean, if you can’t do, uh, which awesome reassessment, great decisions, uh, I think, especially with how successful it has been in, in making sure that people can continue to work, um, I mean, I, they’ve resolved the two IT tickets for me today with random things. So huzzah, but, uh, yeah, it’s, if you, if you’re going to have people that aren’t comfortable with the new normal, right. Yeah. That, that answers a lot of your questions already. 

Adam McNair: Yeah. And you know, the, so it’s, it’s a, that’s a point to bring up is, you know, the way that we established a date for reopening of an office. So when all this happened, you know, it was kind of to be determined. The state of Virginia had mandated that things closed down there for a while. And, um, so we, we were closing and the schools closed. Uh, so we closed on, Essentially, the same time schools closed, we made the call a week before schools closed that we were going to close in a week. And so that that Monday that schools closed, we were had closed the office as well. Um, but the all the different factors that. Into the decision, we [00:18:00] got a note from our health care provider that offered from a best practice. It basically said, if you are knowledge workers, if you are in an industry that where you can do things remote. They believed that in their guidance that to protect the, um, health and welfare of your employees that, or I want to say it was something like 22nd or 27th or something like that, seemed to be a good date to which to extend the, uh, the remote work. And so certainly there’s, The health and welfare aspect. So that was one angle and underlying it. I mean, certainly far secondary, but certainly when you’re looking at the overall span of things that could play into the decision, uh, the cost associated with. I don’t want anybody to get sick ever, but also coupled with that, the potential cost exposure of if you had a bunch of people that got, um, that got very sick, I mean, a COVID outbreak in a company, um, if you think about that, all tracing up to the company’s health plan, uh, there’s a lot of costs that goes, goes in there and your renewal every year is big, Based on what you experienced last year. And so there’s, there’s financial risk exposure. 

Kevin Long: Double whammy. Cause people are too sick to work and we’re, we’re still pretty small, right? So goes through HQ. And so you don’t have HR proposal and. And half of ops management, they’re laid out sick and they’re laid out sick. So then now, now work’s not getting done and your, your insurance premiums quintuple because seven people are hospitalized.

Adam McNair: Yeah, 

Kevin Long: absolutely. 

Adam McNair: Yeah. The, the operational risk to the company was [00:20:00] also something that. Um, you know, okay, yeah, I want to make sure that nobody, you know, gets, gets sick. We don’t expose people to things. I also, I mean, hey, all our life is stressful enough and jobs are stressful enough and enough things happen. You don’t have to, if you can avoid having somebody sit there and worry about, you know, getting sick or, or taking it home, um, you, you do that. But as you say, we’re, we’re in 30. To this point, but our nerve center, if you will, is, uh, 6, 000 square feet of office space, right? And, and shared break rooms and all of that kind of thing. And so, um, we. We have a lot of it redundancy and a lot of cross training and all of that. But if about 25 people were out of commission for a couple of weeks, assuming best case, I better, uh, you know, even if it was the flu, whatever it was, if something [00:21:00] happened and it took, uh, several of our, of our folks offline for a couple of weeks, be a really bad, um, impact to the, to the business, um, I don’t want to have 

Kevin Long: to learn how to run payroll.

Adam McNair: No, no. And nobody wants me doing that. Trust me, uh, yeah, and, and then the other thing, I think, um, everybody, you know, the logistics of, of life and how to do things, accomplish things, uh, people whose kids are in school, out of school. online only two days a week and that is changing. And again, I, you know, dynamic changing landscape, things change. So I get that, but it’s also hard to plan. And it’s, it’s hard to tell somebody that they have to show up every day when they don’t even know if their kids are going to be in school. 

Kevin Long: Absolutely. I mean, as I interview people for new jobs, I’ll tell you, like there are a couple of questions that I always get. And one of them is, Always, I have kids, when are things going to require me to no longer be at, at home? Like, when will I have to start showing up on a site? And I have, I mean, some customers know that answer, some customers don’t. Uh, HQ people, you know, we definitely know that answer. But, yeah, I mean, it is. It is a question everybody asks. I mean, if you have kids and, you know, uh, a huge number of folks that I know are, are doing partial, I mean, I don’t know, let me rephrase that. I don’t know any school system. That I have people that I know in that has a hundred percent on site students that we’re doing. And so it is, you know, the, the, how do I continue to provide value for the company and continue to do what is necessary for my family is [00:23:00] always the question.

Adam McNair: Right. And you know, there are some things that I do think this will, this will kind of permanently impact the remote versus in person. Um, yeah. Not only do people want the flexibility, I think a lot of people, I mean, not everybody, everybody’s different. A lot of people want the flexibility to be able to work from home and fit things into their schedule and so forth. Um, but I think that the, the collaboration tools and the familiarity with them and kind of that personal barrier to entry for, for doing this has been out of necessity pushed through and kind of fought through as we’ve done, as we all had to work from home. And I think there were, there was a lot of just, um, kind of, uh, Stasis around these things have to be done in person, 

Kevin Long: right? And they’ve had to be [00:24:00] done in person because they were always done in person. Not and not because there was technology that would allow you to not do it. And, you know, it’s it’s staggering how many things. People have have decided cannot be done in person, like Intel community customers working remote, except for, you know, very specific things. Uh, you have, uh, customers doing, you know, major banking, uh, support and loan support. like FSA, all remote. I mean, just, you know, scattered to the wind. I mean, and we’ve had, I mean, we’ve had people literally be able to be like, well, I mean, I can work from anywhere. So I’m going to head to the country with a hotspot. And cause I know that they have 5G and so I can do what I need to do from there. 

Adam McNair: Yeah. Right. Yeah. So have you, [00:25:00] have you seen any functions that you’ve had to, Accomplish where you felt like remote was just really that if we had the option to get everybody back in a room that that particular thing that you did was would have really benefited from from in person.

Kevin Long: Yeah, 

Adam McNair: one. 

Kevin Long: Uh, solution sessions 100 percent when you’re trying to figure out how to approach a complicated problem, how to put up a solution diagram, how to put together a complicated workflow, things like that. It is, there are tools out there that you can do whiteboarding and things like that online, but they are, at least for me, and you know, uh, core competency of mine is looking around the and figuring out who thinks what we’re doing is crazy. Right. That is just, it is not the same because some people turn off their cameras, some people dial in some people. And [00:26:00] so being able to, to, to focus on that, um, is you can do it, but it is, it is a slower process. 

Adam McNair: That was actually my answer, too, frankly. Um, that was what was stuck in my head because I’ve been on two or three different sets of solutioning calls that, like you say, I think if, if everybody was really focused and video on and took it as a collaboration session.

Kevin Long: And everybody had a white board where they were working. Right. I 

Adam McNair: think you’d have more of a likelihood of having it really work. Yeah. Um, I’ve been on a lot, most of the ones I’ve been on. Um, and again, it’s multiple companies coming together around specific opportunities, you’ve got people with different platform, uh, comfort. And so some of them aren’t familiar with the tool that you’re using and how to, how to interact. And then you’ve got 30 percent of them are only dialed in and you only see their kind of icon. Um, There’s clearly a couple of people that dialed in and never said anything. And I think that’s kind of the, uh, 

Kevin Long: never come off mute.

Adam McNair: And it’s like, it’s like going to a class in college and putting your coat on a chair and leaving and coming back and getting it at the end. So somebody thought you were there kind of thing. You know, I, 

Kevin Long: yeah, 

Adam McNair: uh, so that happens. Um, but yeah, I think the solution session piece and I, um, maybe we’ll figure it out.

You know, I, I think, um, you know, there’s a lot of commercial businesses and multinational corporations and all of that, that have teams around the globe and have, have figured this out. And I think we’re, um, you know, still probably though, some of those aspects are still stuck a little bit further back in the get everybody in a [00:28:00] room and nobody leaves until the picture’s drawn kind of right.

Kevin Long: And just being able to, to hand someone A whiteboard marker and say, what do you write? And it’s just, uh, then, yeah, I mean, the, not everybody’s on a touchscreen tablet and I mean, in drawing with a mouse is not the same thing as, as drawing with your hand, it’s, you know, the, The dexterity and physical limitations around some of that are, are, uh, are still frustrating. And I, I expect that if there aren’t major innovations already coming or stuff already out there that we don’t know about, which I’m sure is the case, at least some point there’s, there’s going to be new stuff to, to address all. All of that, you know, live collaboration that isn’t just talking back and forth having a meeting, things like that, [00:29:00] um, where you’re collaborating on, on a to be determined diagram workflow, something like that.

Adam McNair: Yeah. Yeah. And I, um, I also wonder how much like as we were talking about just kind of personal, um, you know, evolution of our work space and in logistics and all of that, how much is, is other people catching up to that? And, um, what, what comes down to individual, you know, circumstances, um, all of those things that are kind of real life stuff about, well, I only have wifi in this part of my house and I don’t have good coverage over there, or I’m trying to work and somebody else is trying to do online classes in another area of the house, or, you know, Dogs, construction, um, Ambulances, [00:30:00] ambulances, all 

Kevin Long: of those kinds of things. Um, I live under the flight path of Dulles. We have a guy who lives under the flight path of Dulles. Um, so, right. I mean, yeah, it’s, it’s an absolute thing, but I mean, I’ll tell you, uh, before I got the keyboard to be able to make my life easier. I absolutely had to go out and get a new wireless router because it was, um, I had great internet, but an older router and it was stripping 50 percent of my throughput, which was fine when When only one of us was working from home, but when both of us are working from home and, uh, all doing stuff online and, you know, streaming video and streaming audio and streaming television and streaming all that stuff. Yeah, no, it, it, it, we absolutely had to figure out how we could expand coverage to parts of the house that would allow folks to [00:31:00] work independently and not step on each other’s toes. Yeah. So, yeah. Yeah, 

Adam McNair: the one thing that I haven’t figured out just quite yet is from a corporate culture standpoint, it feels to me like it’s important to get everybody to be on camera and be able to see people.

Um, I mean, I think in these times where. I’m not really going anywhere for the most part. I’m not, um, you know, I’m, I’m, we’re probably not just up for the fact that we’re busy with with work and everything, but we’re probably airing on the side of stay in a phase or so behind wherever the, um. Kind of reopening is, but, um, seeing everybody from that perspective, maintaining a team morale and interaction, but then just the, from the speaker interaction side, when [00:32:00] somebody wants to say something and you can tell non verbally that they’re getting ready to want to say something to avoid that 19 people talking over top of each other, and then everybody is real quiet for a minute or two. And then they try it again. And, um, But also from the participant side that I’m not saying we have any of these kind of folks in our company, certainly, but somebody that kind of like that jacket on the chair type that has simply dialed in is not really engaged 

Kevin Long: with, without, without a camera. Turned on, you could absolutely connect to a meeting, put it on mute, and walk away. Yes. Absolutely. Yeah. Without a doubt, you really, you really could. Uh, I mean, it’s, get the cardboard cut out, you know, for, to turn on and just sit there and with your, with a smile on your face, sitting in a chair. Yeah. 

Adam McNair: So I think trying to encourage that. Now, is that something, how are you handling that with teams and [00:33:00] the meetings that you run? Are you? Um. Absolutely. Trying to keep everybody online or on camera? 

Kevin Long: So meetings that I control, I mean, even if I look like crazy and I need a haircut and I haven’t shaved in four days, my camera’s on, right? I mean, the digital backgrounds that you can get are awesome so that you can’t necessarily see that, you know, I need to, I need to put some stuff away in the room behind me. Right. I mean, it’s great, but I’ll turn the camera on. Cool. And that, I mean, is it, it’s not, it’s, it’s a nonspecific cue, but it says, Hey, I’m here. You can look at me. Let’s, let’s do that. And people will do the same by and large meetings that my customers do that I’m not running that I don’t control, um, 0 percent of them use cameras. They are all still treating it like dialing. [00:34:00] 

Adam McNair: Yeah, I would say that, um, like I just, I had a customer meeting today and everybody is, it’s just their icon. There’s nobody is using a camera. Nobody’s nobody’s visible. Yeah. 

Kevin Long: Yeah. So, Uh, the meetings that I run, you know, with, you know, industry and teammates and things like that. And I mean, again, you know, if I can’t see, I mean, that, that someone thinks what I’m saying is crazy, then I’ll just assume they think I’m great and keep going. Uh, you know, that’s the egocentricity of, uh, that I have there, but. But yeah, it’s being able to see, be able to say something like, Hey, you know, Milner looks like you disagree with me. Let’s let’s work this out. Right. Um, absolutely. It is, uh, it’s, it’s great. And honestly, it’s sort of democratizing because I have several teams that are geographically distributed. [00:35:00] Anyway, right. So, you know, I’m not always even, even beforehand, I couldn’t always be in Boston, couldn’t always be in St. Louis. Right. So now even the folks that are, you know, in Montgomery County that, or downtown DC that I would normally get into a car and drive to, you know, it’s all, all the same. And I think that as it goes on and depending on how long This continues, I think that we’ll, we’ll likely see, uh, more customers using cameras as well.

Adam McNair: Yeah. I, and there’s also the supply chain of, you know, a lot, a lot of organizations didn’t have cameras integrated because they, they either 

Kevin Long: didn’t need some of their Hardware needs to be able to go into secure rooms, and so they explicitly deactivate cameras. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, and, and in a lot of buildings, I know the collaborative [00:36:00] rooms, building out video teleconferencing rooms, um, a lot of money, a lot of space has gone into that.

And the, the setup for, okay, everybody has their own mic, their own camera pointed at them, we’re going to do this. It’s going to be this big collaborative little, little nerve center inside of a, of a, of our building. We know if you, if you want people to use those, you don’t put cameras on their desks, because if you put cameras on everybody’s desk, nobody ever leaves their desk and they just VTC from each, um, you know, each of their locations. But I think they’ll get a little bit catch up on that on the hardware side. 

Kevin Long: Yeah, I think you’re right. Yeah, I mean, it’s the difference between, like, how public schools work. Like, our IT is set up to provide a robust IT learning experience from these particular buildings slash rooms. Yeah. And now it’s, now we’re needing to transition to providing a robust IT, uh, uh, presence wherever there’s a piece of IT [00:37:00] hardware.

Adam McNair: Yeah, I think, you know, from a hardware standpoint, that’s not too different to me from when they finally had the, um, HSPD 12 PIV cards that they wanted you to actually use those and plug them into a laptop and have a card reader. And when that first happened, I remember having a lot of conversations about, well, we don’t have any of those readers. And now our standard corporate image laptop has one in it. Yep. And everybody has them. I mean, we buy from Dell and Dell offers it as a standard. Standard plug in. Yep. Standard plug in. Um, So I, I think there’ll be some, some catch up there, um, certainly. 

Kevin Long: Yeah, well, certainly as, as I mean, cause some of our customers, like I’ve been reached out to, I have a GFE laptop for one of our customers and they pay me saying, Hey, your laptop’s old. You can get a new one if you want. I mean, I don’t want to drive into the middle of the city to do it, and so [00:38:00] it’s fine. Like, I can do my job with it, and so I let them know that that was fine. But there, as, as hardware cycles through their, uh, their processes, I’d be surprised if they didn’t start issuing more things that were more capable of that. Yeah, I would think that sort of robust, uh, uh, VTC collaboration suites. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, so last question for you is, have you done any conference industry event type, um, you know, whether it was conferences or little seminars or anything like that. Have you done any of those kinds of things? Yeah. Remotely. 

Kevin Long: Yeah, I attended a lunchtime, uh, speaking, uh, thing on, you know, about, uh, COVID and its impact on, on some of the IT industry a few months ago that was, um, Oracle put it on. Um, [00:39:00] it was, it was pretty well done, honestly. Um, You know, with these, those types of, I mean, you lose the looking around the room and seeing who’s there handing out business cards, hearing conversations and talking with folks about, about what they’re doing. You lose that, but you definitely get more attention on here’s the topic, you know, and here’s what’s going on with that. So, uh, I think it’ll be interesting to figure out how we can replace. The networking portion of it, not just the learning portion, because yeah, I have not seen or heard of any really successful versions of seminars like that, where you can have. You know, the, the, the standard half hour before you stand up and FCA does the pledge and you, and you get, you have your, your [00:40:00] coffee and your, and your, and your Danish and 75 people in suits walking around talking about what they’re all working on and, and, you know, putting teams together and figuring that stuff out. Um, and yeah, not seen anybody successfully do that yet or heard of, uh, uh, a way to, to replace that yet. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, so I’m, I’m going to sign up for, uh, the Act IAC, ELC, Imagination, that, that big of the kind of, that’s always been their big capstone annual event. And I’m going to go ahead and sign up for that. And that’s a day or two, and they’re still going to have speakers and all the tracks and all of that. And they’re, yeah, that’s a nice month, right? It’s normally October, right? Yeah. I think they might be doing the beginning of November this year. Um, but it, you know, the benefits, I think, um, I didn’t go the last year or two because it was several [00:41:00] days and I’d look at them like, wow, I have to go to either Williamsburg or Philadelphia.

Yeah. I’m going to burn three days or four out of the office. And that’s tough. And, um, yeah, And then you have, you know, the Costa Hotel and all the rest of that that goes into it that makes you decide how many people you want to send and all that. But then plus, the sign up for different tracks, go to this event, go to that event. There’s been a lot of times that, um, there was some topic I’d be interested in and I’d stick my head in and I realized, like, this room is, is jam packed. Right. I’m interested, but not interested enough to stand in the back for an hour and a half for an hour and a half. So, you know, nevermind. Um, and as much as you shouldn’t multitask, take phone calls, do all those things, sometimes stuff comes up and that whole step out and then you don’t want to interrupt the speaker. Am I going to go back in and all that? I think, [00:42:00] um, that’s going to make it a lot easier, but I, I do. Networking interaction piece will be interesting to see, I mean, Act I Act does a good job on, um, on a lot of their events and it’s going to be interesting to see if they figure out a, you know, technology angle. Uh, that that bridges that gap. Um, I know we similarly in an area where I think, um, it can be a little challenging is we, we recently have been doing, um, we did a CMMI appraisal. And we also, uh, we did the first CMMC, which we’ll talk about in a future podcast here, but there, we, we did the first CMMC, uh, assessment gap analysis, uh, that was done in the country and, um, both of those are very important. Intensive activities [00:43:00] and generally benefit from a lot of discussion and interaction and all of that. They are also full eight hour days focused on that. And 

Kevin Long: the auditors really like to be in person to make sure that people aren’t, you know. Blowing sunshine and going, you know, texting people to get answers for them to get the right stuff. So 

Adam McNair: yeah, so they required for these, we had to, uh, we had to video record them. And so on the CMMI side, CMMI reserved the right to go in and Um, essentially audit the video to check in at any points to make sure that we were really doing what we were supposed to be doing and, um, that it was being conducted in accordance with all of the rules and so [00:44:00] forth. So, um, you know, I think that’s, it, it’s, it’s interesting to see the, the technology challenges. And again, this is probably Where we’re talking about the ACT IAC conference, there’s probably a tool out there that either isn’t intended for the networking angle or is used for it in some other industry or something that, that will come to the forefront. And, you know, I think between niche players like that and enhancements of big provider, like Microsoft Teams, you know, the, The what are they going to do to to counter that, you know, engage in that market? Um, some of these event companies, you know, we have a contract that involves events and event hosting and strategy and marketing and all of that and working through how that’s gonna operate. I think [00:45:00] those tool those sets of tool of analysis of tools. Um, I think that’s now a, A growing niche market that there’s probably somebody that has a small niche company that has some tool that, uh, you know, six months from now is going to get acquired by Microsoft and, and, and, and, and bolted into one of these platforms and, um, probably make a lot of money out of that process.

It’s usually. Works. 

Kevin Long: right? And if it can solve that problem worth every penny. 

Adam McNair: Yeah, absolutely. Well, so I think so for the for the next highlight cast, we’ll we’ll first get to see the experiment here of the Microsoft teams recorded podcast translated to audio file and then we’ll We can dig into CMMC. And I think there’s a lot to talk about there, uh, that it’s just, it’s just an interesting, uh, [00:46:00] paradigm of, of change in the government around that new certification around cybersecurity. Uh, and it’s a very, very different, much more detailed way to become compliance. We’ll talk about that. But, uh, until then, we’ll go work on our technical work and see if we can’t make this a podcast.

Kevin Long: Outstanding. 

Adam McNair: All right. Thanks, Kevin.

Kevin Long: Thanks, Adam.