MEETING SPACE TECHNOLOGY IS SET FOR A MAJOR TRANSFORMATION

Do you remember that picture on the left? You had to remote dial into a meeting and the majority of the people in the meeting were physically in the room. The people in the room were having a great meeting and could all clearly communicate with one another. They could obviously see and hear one another and could write things on a whiteboard or flip chart. They most likely could present content onto a display screen in the room as well.

But how was your experience? You weren’t in the room. You were the odd person out.

You couldn’t hear everyone clearly in the room. You could not know for sure who was speaking. If you were lucky there was a camera in the room and you could maybe see a wide view of the room, but you couldn’t really get any clear visual images of the people talking. If you could only dial in via audio it is highly likely the rest of the people in the room had forgotten all about you. Out of sight is out of mind, right? How did this make you feel? Was this a worthwhile meeting for you to be a part of?

Today we find ourselves at a different extreme.

Many of us are working remotely and have had time to set up comfortable workstations with a reasonably high quality audio and video experience. Wasn’t hard, right? Laptop has a good in built microphone and camera. If it didn’t, you bought a USB high definition webcam with it all built in. You may have headphones or a simple USB speaker to listen to the audio.

By now you have mastered many of the available software platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, Google Meets and others. You are used to being able to clearly see close up images of the faces of the people you talk to on the calls. Visual and audio communication is excellent! Screen sharing of content and even annotating or digital whiteboarding within these software platforms is also now easy for you. You are loving this new experience, and no doubt getting a lot more out of your online meetings.

So, what’s next?

We can agree that remote working isn’t going anywhere. It is here to stay. As more offices and workplaces open back up there will be a new need to connect many remote meeting participants with the people physically in meeting rooms.

Expectations have now been elevated like never before. You expect to be able to clearly see and hear everyone on a call, no matter where they are. You don’t want to go back to meeting in physical rooms that have an inferior experience compared to the remote participants using their laptops or phones, do you? Of course not.

The technology designs in physical meeting spaces are going to have to change dramatically.

Close up camera shots of each meeting participant in the room is now a requirement. Receiving crystal clear audio from the participants in the physical room is a must for the remote participants. They will no longer accept a conference phone slapped in the middle of the table. The interactions between the people within the physical room also needs to be clearly seen by remote participants. All content sharing, whether digital or handwritten on a whiteboard needs to be equally available to people inside and outside of the room.

The technology to enable the above scenario exists now.

The question is. What are you going to do about implementing it? Your people and your customers are now expecting it!

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