Useful technology is first and foremost an enabler, not just something that makes our lives easier (although it does that, too). It enables us to adapt to the evolving world, and prepares us for the inevitable set of changes that will happen today, tomorrow and beyond. No part of the business world has changed more over the past 20 years than the global workforce. Fortunately, technology, although not in lockstep when those changes began, is catching up, enabling us to accomplish nearly anything at work no matter where we are.
Whether a large multinational corporation or a small firm with fewer than 100 employees, the best businesses are “physically agnostic,” and find partners with expertise in technology and innovation to help lead the way. And they understand these three critical must-haves (the three Cs) in boardroom and conference room technology:
For those wanting to integrate new technology within their existing IT infrastructure, purchasing boardroom or conference room technology that are considered open architecture solutions can be the answer, particularly when it comes to display systems. Many schools, universities or businesses that have already invested in videoconferencing gear, or other AV technologies, might not be keen on having to invest even more of the add-ons required if they purchase a “closed architecture” interactive display. An example is when that solution requires the abandonment of the existing system’s videoconferencing software, cameras and microphones, while the open architecture solution lets you use software and equipment that the organization already has in use.
An ongoing trend toward purchasing more open architecture solutions that fit into your company’s existing infrastructure means that more users in corporations and educational organizations are moving toward leveraging their existing investment and more seamlessly integrating new technology with their other platforms and systems, rather than creating more technology islands.
It used to be that joining a meeting remotely involved a simple phone call, a quick hello and then putting the phone on mute for a bulk of the time, chiming in rarely. Thanks to technology, particularly large-format displays that provide touch capability and allow editing data on the fly, multiple people can now share and exchange information from multiple places in real time.
It’s a whole new age of visual collaboration, and the numbers bear that out. According to Wainhouse Research, 94% of people say videoconferencing makes them more productive, and nearly two-thirds say they share content in more than half of their video calls. So, one conference room with a clear, 70-inch panel suddenly becomes a real-time hub, pulling in not only the people in the room, but people in the field on tablets and phones, all seeing the same thing and providing input.
At Caldwell University, students use digital interactive displays to collaborate on group projects. “The boards are really helpful for group projects, group studying, anything where a group is involved because you don’t have to crowd around one little screen,” said one student. “One big board allows people to interact on the touchscreen, through individual personal devices.”
With devices that are compatible and foster more seamless collaboration, companies that best embrace boardroom and conference room technology find they get the same, cohesive output when people are remote as they do when everyone is there in person. And that’s really the most important thing: reaching a conclusion more effectively and more efficiently. It’s especially crucial, considering that, according to Fuze, 87% of employees globally work on teams distributed across multiple offices.
But cohesion can also be an issue even when employees are in the same location, if the right technology isn’t in place. One Fortune 100 company found that it wasn’t maximizing its space properly: Instead of many smaller meeting rooms, it had a few large ones that are almost never fully occupied, with the wrong, outdated equipment. Employees clamored for more, and more efficient, spaces. A redesign resulted in many smaller meeting rooms with the right equipment, designed to handle the natural light in the rooms. The company’s employees report better collaboration, and better access to meeting rooms when needed.
Back in the days when everyone worked in the same building, a boardroom or conference room was a place with a linear and simple set of tasks: Meet, discuss and walk out with an action plan. But thanks in large part to technology, the ability to telecommute hopped on the express train while many corporate legacy systems stayed on the local. However, companies that formed relationships with the right technology innovators made themselves exceptions to that rule, and they moved ahead. Now, nearly every enterprise has reached at least an intermediate stage of adoption. Having the right partner that understands the best practices highlighted here is the easiest way for enterprises, large and small, to reach the next level.