How modern technology can help to reinvent the meeting room

The meeting room is a key area in any business environment – a space for communicating, brainstorming, creating and decision-making. But it’s also a room that takes up huge amounts of our time during the working week.

The average manager spends at least a third, and sometimes even over a half, of all their time in meetings, and over two thirds of meetings are unproductive, according to business executives, so wouldn’t it help a great deal if all meetings could be streamlined and be made more productive?

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if meeting rooms could be reinvented as places of innovation as opposed to frustration?

Technology aids collaboration

Consider your current meeting-room setup. Is there a distinct lack of cutting-edge technology in there making it hard for your employees to be as productive as they’d like to be? Too many business meeting rooms are ill-equipped to deal with the equipment we use at our desks and when we’re out of the office, making meetings an often exasperating experience for everyone involved.

In today’s business environment, laptops, smartphones and tablets are crucial to productivity, so it’s only logical that your meeting room equipment is advanced enough to be able to be integrated with them.

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Multiple people sharing a presentation can be a common occurrence, and one that can become seriously time-consuming, especially when each presenter has to plug their laptop into the projector, and give out their own hand-outs, etc. The ability for multiple participants to be able to display their screen on a shared monitor quickly and easily, with the simple click of a button, should be a staple of meeting rooms within businesses that wish to promote collaboration and productivity.

Without bridging technology in place, connecting a device to a shared screen typically means a tangle of cables and having to regularly reconfigure screen settings. This can result in distorted content due to incompatible settings or resolutions. When multiple people want to put content on a shared screen, the problem is compounded. Selecting an appropriate wireless collaboration solution will bring all of the devices together regardless of the operating system.

BYOD can boost productivity

BYOD, whether as an official policy or as an informal practice by employees, has resulted in new technology being increasingly used in the workplace. Sharing content across tablets and smartphones makes these devices useful for many different meeting scenarios, ranging from sales presentations, to training, to planning sessions.

It can also save an IT manager a huge amount of time in a busy workplace where meetings are happening constantly, with visitors bringing incompatible devices with different operating systems. If visitors or clients are using operating systems such as Android, Windows or iOS that are incompatible with your own, BYOD has the potential to make sharing information easier.

BYOD policies and mobile devices make the workforce more flexible, more efficient and more agile, but in a meeting room environment, smartphones, tablets and laptops that all have different operating systems represents a significant logistical challenge. But by using wireless or USB technology and a shared screen, your meeting room can support all operating systems without the need for cables, connectors and specialised adaptors, or the reconfiguration of settings.

By introducing BYOD and modern wireless technology into the meeting room, employees can use smartphones and tablets to give their presentations, and use mobile apps from AV specialists to project their presentations wirelessly on to a single monitor, allowing presentations to run more quickly and smoothly.

Meeting room technology should also be easy to use and maintain from an IT department’s point of view. Technology needs to be constantly patched and upgraded in order for it to work optimally. As a result, equipment with a web-based interface will ensure that these updates can be performed remotely by the IT department, which is ideal for an organisation that has several meeting spaces with meetings taking place consistently throughout the day.

Technology can deliver significant benefits to business meeting rooms. With more organisations embracing trends such as collaboration, mobile working, flexible hours and BYOD, it is becoming more important than ever to ensure that technology within a business actually enables productivity and efficiency, as opposed to hampering it, and the meeting room is the perfect place to start.

Jan Willem-Brands, VP & GM Collaboration Division, Barco