7 things your conference room will do in the future

The average office worker spends several hours of every week preparing for, or attending, meetings.

Most of these meetings involve the typical conference room setup: a phone, a screen, maybe a whiteboard, some video conferencing capability and one presenter who leads while others follow.

This configuration has hardly changed over the years and it has failed to keep pace with the increasing demands for collaboration in today’s business. Display technology and computing power continue to improve, but most meeting rooms aren’t that far removed from the days of Don Draper speaking over a slide carousel.

Meeting spaces need to be immersive, interactive and flexible. Individual devices such as a laptop or tablet should be shareable amongst all attendees, either wirelessly or via apps, both within one room and across offices, allowing conversation, content and collaboration to adapt as ideas flow in real time. “Death by presentation” is already becoming a thing of the past, there is no need for your meeting room to be dull and constrictive.

Here are seven things your conference room should be doing and can with the right collaboration tools:

1. CAPTIVATE YOUR AUDIENCE

As large high definition screens become cheaper, conference rooms are expanding from having just one screen to having multiple screens, even screens spanning multiple walls.

This creates a more immersive and interactive meeting and a presentation environment that demands your audience to sit up and take notice. Multiple screens allow for more impressive visuals and more space to spread out your work. Presenters should be able to move and control their content using their phone, tablet, laptop, or even by gesturing, by touch or with a remote wand.

2. FACILITATE MEETING FLOW

When you’re tasked with moving a project forward, it’s imperative that you and your team members work as easily across distance as you do from within the same room.

Wireless technology is making the need for cables almost extinct, which makes it easier for meeting participants to share their content to a room’s screens remotely. The conversation, content, and collaboration can adapt as new ideas are introduced in real time.

3. CREATE AN ELASTIC CANVAS FOR CONTENT AND CONVERSATION

How much time is wasted in meetings swapping cables or setting up presentation control between speakers and devices?

Having multiple screens in the room gives the workspace and conversation the flexibility to grow and expand depending on the needs of the team. Sharing more content and visuals keeps the conversation moving and everyone engaged.

For example, you can post the meeting agenda on one screen for everyone to view and discuss, and then have working documents and data up on the other screens so real collaboration and discussion can occur right then and there.

4. CONNECT YOUR APPLICATIONS, PARTICIPANTS, AND LOCATIONS

In almost every meeting, documents, data and video content need to be shared, often by multiple people. Sure, web-based solutions let us view, and maybe collaboratively edit a document at the same the time, but that’s only a single document. What about all the other information and content we need to impress a customer, solve a problem, or make a decision?

New conferencing technology allows multiple devices and locations to connect into a shared workspace. Everyone can review and compare urgent information pulled in from multiple platforms at the same time.

For example, team members may pull in a cloud-based server application, an excel spreadsheet, and real-time data from the web, all into a common digital workspace so they can discuss and review the information more efficiently. Even remote participants will be able join in the session and simultaneously view all the content.

5. IMPROVE YOUR STORYTELLING

Presentations are still largely created using PowerPoint, a platform that this year will be 25 years old and although it has received many updates, it is quickly becoming outdated and unimaginative in presentations.

The content remains static and rigid, locked within a linear format that actively subverts interaction. But what if you could resize, layer, and move multiple pieces of content from multiple sources to help you tell your story more dynamically?

What if you could access the content someone else put up on the screen, even if they’re in a different location? New technology allows presenters to do just that. Presentations can be more flexible and dynamic, which will help keep audiences and team members engaged longer.

6. HELP YOU MAKE DECISIONS FASTER

The main objective of almost any meeting is to share knowledge between people, to reach a decision or a goal.

When everyone and their devices are allowed to connect, data can be accessed quickly and information will appear in context and in real-time. Team members should be able to look at all their information side-by-side and compare and contrast data from a variety of sources, enabling the team to make more informed decision faster.

7. CAPTURE IDEAS IN THE MOMENT

Right now it’s pretty much up to the note taker to make sure all thoughts are captured, but imagine if your conference room did that for you?

New conferencing technology, like Oblong’s Mezzanine system, will automatically save all your content from the meeting into one place, allowing you to pick up next week’s meeting right where you left off.

Cameras in the room will capture images of notes written on the room’s white boards. So if you can’t quite recall what your team member noted in one of their slides, you can simply dive back into meeting portfolio and pull up the document. No fuss. No hassle.

Technology is finally transforming the traditional meeting and presentation room from static and stifling environment to a dynamic and immersive center of activity and innovation. The reign of the “bored room” will soon be at an end.

David Kung, VP of Business Development at Oblong Industries, Inc.