Apr 12 2021

The Tech Needed for Conference Rooms of the Future

Video meetings won’t vanish when the pandemic passes. What tech do companies need to support this critical communication method?

The future of meetings isn’t either/or — it’s a combination of in-person and at-home attendance driven by the changing needs of business operations. While some staff will be comfortable back in the office full time, others will opt to stay at home as long as possible. Many businesses will likely find a middle ground that sees staff working both onsite and at home, to help reduce risk without compromising productivity.

As a result, companies will need conferencing technologies that support both current meeting mandates and future communication conditions. Here’s a look at the top-tier tech required to succeed in a hybrid work environment.

Creating a Collaborative Culture in Hybrid Work Environments

According to Kristi Hummel, senior vice president of human resources at Dell Technologies, effective collaboration requires a culture “built around the idea that work is outcomes-based, not anchored to a specific place or time. It’s a culture that puts a premium on flexibility, innovation, opportunity, sustainability and, ultimately, profitability.”

For Dell, this means giving all employees the choice to work flexibly even after the pandemic passes. But flexibility alone isn’t enough to drive communicative success: Hummel notes that employees need “spaces that are optimized for collaboration, ideation and innovation.” In practice, this means deploying technologies capable of supporting staff whenever, however and wherever they work.

Click the banner below to explore the different technologies that power hybrid work.

When it comes to creating a collaborative culture at scale, three categories of technology are critical.

Streamlined Systems and Software Mean Clear Collaboration

Simplicity is key when it comes to effective videoconferencing. Despite significant advancements over the past few years, however, technology deployment remains a stumbling block for many organizations.

To reduce friction in remote and in-office meetings, it’s critical for companies to find the combination of conferencing software and systems that best supports communication objectives. On the software side, solutions such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex offer potential benefits, but end-to-end support is also critical.

Friction undercuts function. That’s why the right combination of software and videoconferencing systems can help streamline meetings and reduce wasted time.

High-Quality Cameras, Screens Are Vital for Video Meetings

The right cameras make all the difference for effective meetings. While clear audio connections are critical to understanding the content of meetings, video provides context; body language and facial expressions can help pave the way for more effective interactions, even at a distance.

As a result, it’s critical for companies to equip their meeting rooms with best-of-breed cameras that deliver 4K and HD video. In addition, staff should have high-quality webcams capable of responding to evolving environmental conditions.

WATCH: Learn how embracing work from anywhere can help businesses meet workers where they are.

But top-tier cameras don’t do much good for workers who lack high-quality screens, and the demand for those screens has increased. “A 4K display makes video interactions more lifelike, providing the (nearly convincing) illusion that remote participants are actually physically present in a corporate meeting space,” a CDW whitepaper reads. “Higher-resolution screens also allow product developers to better show off new designs and offer more precise imaging for industries such as healthcare and energy exploration, which rely heavily on visual information.”

Put simply, intuitive, interactive screens are now essential for effective collaboration.

Navigating the Next Normal of Hybrid Work

In the old normal of the professional world, most people were in the office most of the time, and those working remotely were responsible for engaging in meetings from wherever they were. In the new normal, workplaces are shut down; with whole teams working remotely, employees engage in meetings on a level playing field.

But what about the next normal, when a typical day includes a mix of onsite and offsite workers, all trying to collaborate effectively? In this coming hybrid work situation, businesses will have to take the lead to make sure meetings are inclusive.

That means ensuring that the office and all employees are equipped with the technology and tools they need to work and collaborate remotely, and supporting a culture where inclusive meeting best practices are followed.