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Hybrid Meetings: Benefits and Best Practices

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As more workers return to the office, businesses are transitioning back to in-person meetings, at least to some extent. The 2020 pandemic revealed the advantages and challenges of a remote-only meeting model. The data suggests that companies prefer a hybrid model for their meetings. Many AV manufacturers have surveyed their clients and found that hybrid meetings are becoming the new normal. That makes sense for several reasons, but before adopting it as a company-wide initiative, it’s important for organizations to match their meeting needs with the right technologies.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Three Reasons More Companies are Moving to a Hybrid Meeting Model

Thousands of SMBs and enterprises are making hybrid meetings their primary approach to collaboration. Why? Because hybrid meetings offer a competitive advantage. Specifically, here are three benefits worth considering:
  • More effective collaboration - Hybrid meetings preserve the power of in-person collaboration, as many people are at their collaborative best when working face-to-face. In this way, hybrid meetings are like adding remote participants to already effective in-person collaboration.
  • Global access to talent - The primary advantage of the remote work model is that it allows companies to hire the best talent around the globe. No organization is willing to give up that competitive advantage, so hybrid meetings are a must to properly integrate remote talent.
  • Reduced real estate footprint - Office space is expensive, and since the pandemic, companies need it less and less. Cutting unused office space can be a big overhead saver, and hybrid meetings allow organizations to do that without missing a beat.

Hybrid Meeting Technology Must Meet the Needs of In-Person and Remote Participants

There are good reasons to go hybrid, but there’s one significant hurdle. How do you keep both in-person and remote participants engaged? Some organizations make the mistake of assuming that being seen is the same as being engaged. A video conferencing solution is a necessary starting point for hybrid meetings, but also consider the following:
  • Can your remote employees easily see everything during the meeting?
  • Can your remote employees tell who is speaking?
  • Can remote participants actively collaborate? Make annotations or share content?
  • Are your hybrid meetings easy to start and control?
  • Do in-person participants need to connect their devices via cable, or can it be done wirelessly?
There are more questions to answer, but this can give you an idea of what companies must account for when moving to a hybrid meeting model. Fortunately, AV manufacturers are also considering these questions and have solutions that can make hybrid meetings easier to manage.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

A Few AV Solutions That Make Hybrid Meetings More Effective

Because hybrid meetings cater to two different worker groups, it’s common for either in-person or remote participants to be left out. If the meeting’s presenter has trouble balancing their interaction between remote and in-person, the result is ineffective collaboration. AV solutions can restore this balance. Here are three technologies that can support better hybrid collaboration for your teams:
  • Wireless presentation systems - Wireless presentation solutions like the Barco ClickShare, Mersive Solstice and Crestron AirMedia are worthy additions to a hybrid meeting setup. With wireless presentation solutions, the meeting’s presenter can connect their device to the room’s conferencing technology and control everything. This includes sending content to the room’s displays and to any remote participants. Wireless presentation solutions are also a convenience for workers who only make the occasional trip to the office. Because wireless presentation solutions can be controlled from the user’s own device, people who are unfamiliar with the room’s conferencing technology can still access it through wireless presentation technology. There’s no learning curve, so users can control the room even if they’ve never stepped foot in it before.
  • Interactive displays - Interactive displays are the ultimate collaboration tool for visual people, providing a canvas for teams to test and review ideas. They’re also the ultimate collaboration tool for hybrid teams because interactive displays like the Clevertouch make it easy to incorporate remote team members into the meeting. For example, the Clevertouch is frequently used as a whiteboarding tool during meetings, and these whiteboarding sessions can be used with remote participants. If connected, remote users can see what’s on the display, as well as any annotations being made. Remote users can make their own annotations, too, as if they were in the room. It’s a perfect setup for managers who need to check in on collaborative meetings while on the go. Those managers can drop in, make some quick annotations, and move on to other tasks.
  • Smart cameras - Smart cameras help remote participants follow the action. They do this by automatically framing whoever is speaking and presenting them front and center on the remote user’s screen. Smart cameras are typically included in high-end video conferencing solutions, such as Poly’s room systems and all-in-one conferencing bars. Smart cameras are effective whether the meeting is at the table or if the presenter is walking around the room. When they speak, the camera detects this and zooms in on them, so remote participants aren’t lost if people are moving around in the room.

Ready to go Hybrid? A Certified AV Integrator Can Help

Hybrid meetings are an effective compromise between in-person and remote collaboration. They’re also here to stay as more organizations realize their enterprise-expanding potential. If your organization plans on joining the thousands that have switched to hybrid meetings, a certified integrator can help execute all AV-related initiatives. As hybrid meetings rely heavily on AV technology, a certified integrator can provide valuable insight into potential solutions, design systems for scalability, and pick the best products for your team. Certified integrators can also install and support hybrid meeting hardware. This ongoing support ensures your hybrid solutions are offering optimal performance and reliability.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]