IT leaders are facing a number of challenges as employees around the world return to the office. In December 2020, David Plaisance, Sales Director at AV Solutions, addressed many of these challenges at the Louisiana IT Symposium. In particular, he discussed how IT leaders can prepare for and respond to the expectation employees now have to host and take part in hybrid meetings in conference rooms.
You can watch the full presentation here. This article will highlight five things you should know regarding hybrid meetings and how they affect your meeting spaces.
The Hybrid Workforce is Here to Stay
When the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly forced work to go remote in the spring of 2020, companies and employees had to make quick decisions about how to keep communication and collaboration going. Some companies identified their preferred video conferencing platform and rolled it out to the team. Other companies left it to employees to find a solution on their own to keep them connected to colleagues and clients.
In both cases, quick decisions without proper vetting resulted in teams using a patchwork of multiple meeting solution platforms, creating a non-consistent user experience for employees as they juggled platforms to participate in internal and external meetings.
This is not an issue that will go away as the pandemic subsides and things go back to “normal.”
According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, by 2024 only 25 percent of meetings will take place in person, down from 60 percent today. Microsoft, Cisco, and Zoom are the current leaders for meeting solutions.
As the workforce adapts to software-based video conferencing solutions, it becomes easier for remote teams to launch or join video calls. According to Gartner, by 2023 50 percent of all video conferencing will be based on Android or Windows appliances.
Real World Experience May Differ From Manufacturer Spec Sheets
You want to make the most of the technology investments your company has made in the past year. But what happens if the manufacturer’s specifications don’t match your real-world conditions? Let’s look at an example.
A manufacturer rolls out a brand new device and tells you it will support Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Miracast for wireless presentations from your Windows 10 laptop, and Apple AirPlay.
What the manufacturer didn’t tell you is that while the device may have all of those features, they may not all work at the same time. Perhaps you can use Microsoft Teams and Apple AirPlay at the same time, but you can’t also use the USB function for BYOD connectivity. Oh, and the device doesn’t have the full Microsoft Teams build, only a modified version that lets you point and click but not use the device like a full touch screen.
Be aware that real-world applications can affect the functionality of your AV system. If you aren’t fully testing these devices before you deploy them, or working with an AV technology partner to vet them, you could get stuck with less functionality than you expected.
Microsoft Teams or Zoom? It Depends on Your Goals
Any meeting solution platform can deliver success, as long as it is the right fit to meet your business objectives.
Working with an AV technology partner like AV Solutions can help connect your meeting solution platform to your office and conference rooms.
Smaller Rooms are Better for Video Conferencing
As employees return to the office, organizations are updating their technology to accommodate the hybrid meeting room. These conference rooms also have to accommodate new measures such as social distancing to keep employees healthy and safe.
Social distancing can vary from office to office. Some companies have divided employees into groups. Group A works in the office for a week while Group B works remotely, and then they switch—after a thorough airing and cleaning of the office, of course.
Other companies are using larger meeting rooms or common areas to social distance themselves during meetings. But in a video conferencing meeting, a bigger room isn’t always better—especially for remote participants.
Having the right sized room for the number of meeting participants feels more natural for remote participants than having a 20-person room with only 4 in-room participants. Small to medium-sized meeting rooms are perfect for adding video capabilities, as these rooms tend to fit 4-8 people.
Meetings Start Sooner Than You Think
Many people think that a meeting starts at the set time on the day they schedule it. In reality, the meeting doesn’t start at the scheduled time; it starts when the meeting invite was sent.
Creating a meeting is more than sending an email. You need to make sure you invite the room as a resource. You need to be able to add other participants to the meeting.
What happens if no one shows up for the meeting? Your AV system or meeting solution platform needs to release the room as a resource back to the room scheduler.
We Can Help You Can Bring Video Into Your Meeting Rooms
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, companies would choose between the PC or Appliance path.
The PC path is flexible as some people expect to use their laptop to launch a call while others expect to walk into a meeting room that has a dedicated room PC with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
The Appliance path is easy to use, simple, and stable. And it can easily accommodate the meeting solution platform you want to use, like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Cisco Webex.
In 2020 we learned you don’t have to choose between the two.
Our goal at AV Solutions is to help clients pick the right platform or solution. We offer solutions that can fit any sized room for any platform. We have a standard process of fully building, programming, and testing each AV technology system in-house before packing it up for deployment. These practices ensure that we catch issues before we deploy the AV technology system.
Watch David’s presentation to learn more about bringing video capabilities into your hybrid meeting rooms.
Contact AV Solutions today to discuss your meeting room technology needs. We know that the right solution for you depends on your unique use case.