Searching for the right meeting room technology.

Posted by John Kennedy on Oct 15, 2018 11:30:45 PM
John Kennedy

In today's business landscape, with the demands of leading virtual teams or working remotely, the meeting room needs to allow for seamless collaboration between individuals in the same room or in different geographic locations. 

A number of key trends are poised to impact meeting rooms, from the introduction of new technology, to new user preferences, shifts in organisational strategies and the cost of doing business in the traditional office space.

Goodbye to the 9-to-5 grind as it gives way to the ‘virtual workplace’.

Remote workers are becoming more prevalent, as advances in technology and increased costs for the traditional office environment have made remote working more widely accepted. 

Workers are increasingly mobile and have adopted the tools they need to be productive working from where ever they want. The effectiveness of these tools, makes it no longer necessary to have everyone physically meet in the same room in order to conduct a successful meeting.

Despite the daily flow of e-mails, phone calls and urgent tasks to address, meetings are still one of the most effective ways that we share and exchange information, get feedback, plan, collaborate and make important decisions. 

The introduction of cloud-based personal communication services such as Skype, Go-to-meetings, etc. are changing how workers prefer to communicate. Communication solutions are shifting from hardware to software-based architectures, fuelling a wider distribution of download-and-install audio and video sharing clients.

Plus companies continue to evaluate the costs of doing business and are continually looking at ways to reduce overheads such as real estate.

Current research shows that more than two-thirds of meetings are viewed by leaders as useless and 37.5% of all meetings are categorised as “poorly run or unnecessary”, with many blaming poor planning. This shows that today’s employee has certain expectations when it comes to meetings.

If meeting rooms are not up to date with all of the latest technologies, chances are you'll struggle to host engaging and effective meetings.

Planning meetings

An effective meeting has a desired outcome, a list of attendees and should aim to get finished in the time allotted. Before you call a meeting, ask yourself:

Is this meeting necessary?

Evaluate the potential outcome of a meeting, and weigh up whether it is worth actually calling it - can the conversation be taken another way, are there other priorities to address, etc. 

What is the goal of the meeting?

Share information? Take decisions? Gather ideas? Connect with others? If you have too many items on the agenda, that each could possibly take the meeting a different direction, then it may take a lot of effort and not deliver what you want.

Who needs to attend?

Depending on what your goal is, there will of course be different stakeholders. If this is an internal meeting consider the size of your team, does everyone need to be at this meeting especially if it has a direct impact on your capacity to do business.

Is there a meeting room available?

Depending on the type of meeting you are planning, it can be in a dedicated meeting room or online, with video or by phone.

Who is running the meeting?

Creating an effective agenda is fundamental in planning a productive meeting, you'll need to have a list of topics for discussion, provide a structure and focus for the meeting to give participants an opportunity to come to the meeting prepared. 

Many of us remember the days when meeting room technology was nothing more than an overhead projector for displaying transparencies and death by PowerPoint slides. That's a far cry from today's technology, which enables meeting participants to manage a huge array of content sources and devices. 

Now if you consider the last meeting you attended - ask yourself:

What devices were brought to the meeting?

With a growing number of remote workers, there is a trend towards BYOD (bring your own device) to meetings. So as a meeting planner you'll need to be prepared for all sorts of hardware adapters, especially if you have older equipment.

Was the meeting room cluttered with wires and equipment? 

If a wireless set-up is not in place, there will be a need for Apple, Windows and Android-compatible cables or adapters to ensure the ability to share screens whenever it’s needed to present content in business meetings. 

Wireless presentation devices should be easy to set up and easy to use, enabling users to enter a meeting room and start collaborating­­­ through a mutual screen without any issues or constraints. Users are connected wirelessly with their preferred device and, as such, are spared from unnecessary technological clutter and can focus on the meeting itself.

A meeting room of the future

Microsoft recently demonstrated a meeting room of the future at the company’s Build developer conference.

Meeting rooms, conference calls, and meetings in general are usually the stuff of nightmares, but Microsoft is working on prototype hardware that will make meetings a lot easier. Microsoft’s meeting room demonstration provides a glimpse of what’s possible in the future.

It all starts with a 360-degree camera and microphone array that can detect anyone in a meeting room, greet them, and even transcribe exactly what they say in a meeting regardless of language. Microsoft has been working on translation features for Skype for years, and the meeting room of the future includes this technology.

Microsoft takes the meeting room scenario even further, though. The company is using its artificial intelligence tools to then act on what meeting participants say. If someone says “I’ll follow up with you next week,” then they’ll get a notification in Microsoft Teams, to actually act on that promise. 

Without technology and collaboration, almost every meeting is the same with a monologue from the sole presenter, and no one else contributing. By using technology, meetings can be opened up, screens shared easily, no need to untangle wires and all attendees can feel like they are participating whether they are in the room or not.

Worktools aims to help you save money and professionally manage your technology needs with the latest Windows and Apple devices at affordable monthly rates, with the option for IT Support plans.

We are full of ideas on how you can set up your meeting and conference rooms, whether you need a big multifunction screen for a video conference, or how to make that next pitch or presentation really stand out.

Contact us to find out more about our range of hardware products and software. Or visit our leasing page for more information. 

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Topics: small business, workplace, meeting rooms

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