PDF transcripts, mobile web & more featured at conference
The fourth annual Team RB Conference, Oct. 13 & 14, 2006 in Houston, drew over 100 attendees for RB training and technology seminars. The most anticipated seminar — on RB8 PDF transcripts — drew repeated applause from the crowd as Yong Lee, our president & CEO, demo-ed the free plug-in released to RB users in January 2007. But a whole lot more happened before that demonstration:
The conference started a day early this year with a full day of training in RB8 and RB Web 8. Yong led the day’s RB8 training sessions; while RB Support members, Jason Yee and Ted Yoo, team-taught the RB Web sessions.
Yong started the day with a session on the 21 steps involved in setting up RB8 — information that is not covered in training webinars, but instead done on one’s own after an initial consultation with OMTI. Having a class gave attendees a better perspective on how to customize RB8 to their business by comparing their processes with other attendees and getting Yong’s input on best practices for a variety of firms.
Other training sessions Yong led covered RB8’s Calendar, Production and Billing, and Receivables and Payables. At the same time, attendees could choose to take sessions on RB Web services for attorneys or reporters. The RB Web sessions were a rare opportunity to be taught face-to-face with a group of peers so everyone could benefit from each other’s questions and feedback.
Attendees at the conference received the new RB8 Essentials Guide. This guide highlights essential RB8 workflow routines. It also includes a list of terminology changes between RB7 and RB8, answers to frequently asked questions about using RB8, and explanations of key concepts in RB8. If you are an RB8 client who did not attend the conference, you can download a copy on our website.
Better living through technology
Ronnie Sampson, OMTI’s creative director, kicked off Saturday with a humorous take on how technology has changed his life for the better. He was proud to note that replacing his old habits of notes on Post-Its and scraps of paper with a computerized system has meant fewer lost ideas on laundry day.
Saturday’s sessions continued in the Team RB Conference tradition of demonstrating new technologies and best business practices for court reporting and other litigation support businesses.
In the first seminar, Yong discussed the current state of the art in online services, plus presented new technological developments. With the proliferation of wireless devices, such as the now-indispensable cell phone, and their continuing expansion of capabilities (are you watching TV on your cell phone yet?), which of these and other online capabilities should court reporting firms and other legal support service providers be adding to their businesses?
The online world continues to evolve faster, cheaper, better. With so many choices and new ones every day, you might be tempted to try them all — or run in the opposite direction. Neither extreme is good for your business, so Yong discussed specific developments that he considers most beneficial to legal support firms. Plus he discussed how some leading-edge firms are using new online and wireless technologies in their businesses to improve communications, workflow and cost management.
In this session, Yong discussed how communications technology is becoming wireless and in turn, how wireless communications technology is expanding into other service areas. While in Japan this fall, he saw how smart cars are becoming. For instance, their GPS systems can now warn drivers when they are approaching a crash site on the highway so they can be prepared for slow-downs or to take an alternate route.
In Seoul, he saw people using their cell phones in every way except to talk. They use them to pass through subway turnstiles and to download money from their bank accounts. This transition from voice to data and the ever-expanding array of wireless services is possible because wireless broadband keeps getting more powerful. And while it’s happening in Korea first, it will be coming to our shores soon.
So with an eye on the future, Yong declared that all of RB’s services and technologies will become “mobilized” in the coming years. And to start, he debuted the new RB Web Mobile — a version of RB Web 8 that attorneys, reporters and account execs can access over their BlackBerrys or other web-enabled wireless devices, such as cell phones.
This new technology lets your clients use their BlackBerrys to look up their scheduled depos with all their details, including Google Maps directions to depo locations. They can also check their outstanding balances, including individual invoice details.
Your reporters and other resources can look up their jobs with the same level of detail as your clients can. Plus, they can acknowledge jobs wirelessly after you send them an instant text message job notification. On the financial end, they can access their monthly invoiced jobs and see which bills have been paid.
Your sales staff on the road can also use RB Web Mobile on their web-enabled wireless devices with the optional AE plug-in. They can look up information on any of their firm clients with details such as every note in the system about this firm, how many jobs they’ve scheduled (or cancelled), their billing activity, and who are all the attorneys working for this firm, along with their particulars.
RB Web Mobile is available now as part of the latest RB Web 8 update. Directions for how to use RB Web Mobile are in the OMTI KnowledgeBase in our customer portal site.
To try RB Web Mobile for yourself, contact RB Sales.
CEUs awarded: .10
Thriving in a digital world: Cost-effective case repositories & marketing
In the second seminar, Yong explored a couple of areas of the digital frontier in depth: web marketing and online case repositories. The online world mirrors the real world more and more each day with new capabilities and services, but when does it become cost effective to provide your services online?
Yong discussed various ways to use the Internet to market your business by providing desirable services that are cost-effective for both you and your clients. For example, online case repositories allow your clients to store all case-related files in a single virtual file cabinet, which they can quickly access. Initially, these services were expensive and extremely limited in use. Yong demonstrated what’s changed to make these and other services cost effective for your business.
Yong started the second session of the day by discussing a new feature in RB8 and RB Web 8 that was made possible by technology, but which was implemented due to clients’ requests for a way to offer online depositories to their clients cost-effectively.
There are many online depositories available now, but as Yong pointed out, they are all too expensive for small to mid-size court reporting agencies, and most are designed to handle only big national cases.
Built into the latest RB8 and RB Web 8 is a litigation document management system that is simple to set up, easy to use, and doesn’t cost extra. Yong demonstrated how easily RB’s document repository gives you the ability to handle all of your client’s documents on a case so they, their support staff, co-counsel and any other authorized persons can have online access.
With no new software to buy and no monthly or end user licensing fees, you can offer this service at a significant cost-savings to your clients over existing solutions. Charge your clients fees for set-up and scanning, and they still come out ahead.
In the same session, Yong showed some new reporting functions in RB8 that help agencies better manage their clients. The new Marketing Inquiry function gives agencies the ability to search for specific types of firms in their client base, such as their top 100 firms by revenue. The Web Activity Log shows agencies who visited which areas of their RB Web 8 and how often they downloaded files. The Notes Finder tool give agencies the ability to search across all types of notes in their RB8 database — job, case, witness, firm, location, resource — so they can find information quicker.
CEUs awarded: .10
Digital transcripts: Surviving the revolution with PDF transcripts in RB
After lunch, attendees finally got to see the new RB PDF transcript in action. With this new tool, your production department can create PDF transcripts quickly inside RB without re-keying their RB data.
The court reporting business seems to get harder every year — a shrinking pool of qualified reporters, increasing pressure from clients to control costs while providing new services, and the rising cost of doing business. Technology and production innovations present one of the few rays of hope left. In this seminar, Yong discussed the current state of transcript production and delivery, and presented some alternatives for court reporting firms looking to manage this critical aspect of their business more efficiently, including the new RB PDF transcript tool.
Yong demonstrated how RB PDF transcripts improve on both existing transcript formatting programs and standard PDF technology. PDF has become an accepted standard in the court system and is not plagued by the same firewall and security issues as other proprietary formats.
Standard PDF technology was missing a few things though, so court reporting agencies were stymied in their desire to switch. Yong showed how we were able to incorporate pagination, a printable word index and a starting page — the top three requests we received from our clients.
With these features in place and a streamlined work process that includes the ability to automatically store transcripts in your RB depository and publish them on RB Web, RB PDF transcripts can make production faster. Plus, RB users can provide their clients with secure transcripts in a universal format that provides enhanced capabilities, such as multi-document search. And they can do this without increased overhead because RB PDF transcript is a free plug-in for RB8.
For more about RB PDF transcripts, read the News article about PDFs.
How do you do it?
Attendees’ tips for running a successful business
Saturday ended with a session with Yong and the attendees discussing all that had been seen at the conference and some of the problems litigation support firms face. One of the topics discussed was digital signatures, their problems, the politics, and some commonsense solutions. Attendees were also asked for their input on what else they needed in PDF transcripts, based on what they had seen that day.
In this session, Yong turned the floor over to attendees to ask each other, “How do you manage/market/grow your business?” This open forum encouraged all participants to discuss how they deal with problems inherent to court reporting and other legal support businesses.
CEUs awarded: .10
At this year’s conference, we were honored to have some long-standing Team RB members with us: Jerry Coash, RB user #8; Yong Lee, creator of ReporterBase; Mason Farmani, RB user #12; and Dennis Peyton, RB user #4.
Catered receptions with open bars both Friday and Saturday night proved ideal spots for attendees to discuss the developments presented at the conference, network and socialize with the rest of Team RB: their fellow RB users and RB staffers. Attendees also received a roster with contact information for all participating companies for later follow-up.
Attendees earned up to .80 CEUs by completing the full two days of training and conference seminars. During the conference, catered continental breakfast, lunch and snack breaks provided opportunities to meet colleagues and peers across the country, plus talk directly to RB staff members. Many attendees took advantage of this chance to meet with us to go over lists of questions and requests they had written out in advance.
OMTI support team: Stella, Jason, Ted, Larry, and Yong.
For more information on our conferences, RB products and services, or to have Yong speak at an industry event, please contact RB Sales.