Exploring The Pros and Cons of Virtual Meetings
Remote work is quickly becoming the rule, not the exception, and with remote work comes virtual meetings. According to UpWork, more than 35 million people (22 percent of the workforce) will work remotely by 2025, so those virtual meetings aren’t going anywhere.
That’s primarily a good thing, as virtual meetings facilitate better productivity and cost-efficiency. There’s a slight downside as well because virtual meetings have trouble replicating some of the high points of an in-person conference. Fortunately, AV technology can help bridge that gap, as well as emphasize the upside of a virtual meeting.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
What Are The Pros Of Virtual Meetings?
Virtual meetings are almost always delivered through a video conferencing platform. This platform could be based on a hard codec
, like those produced by Poly, or based on a soft codec
like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In either case, there are several advantages to this approach. For example, virtual meetings:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Save Money On Travel
Travel expenses can eat up about 10 percent of the typical company’s expenditures. Much of that money could be recovered by switching to virtual meetings, which require no travel to organize.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Can Connect Anyone, Anywhere
Even if there’s a lot of flex in the company budget, not everyone can travel. If you have employees who, for health or family reasons, cannot travel, virtual meetings will ensure they are included and considered.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Reduces Feelings Of Isolation
Remote workers are more likely to report feeling isolated from other team members, and understandably so. Virtual meetings, though, can help minimize this feeling and keep team morale high.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Can Leverage Other AV Technologies
Virtual meetings have become more sophisticated in recent years. In addition to crystal clear audio and video, modern video conferencing can be used with interactive whiteboards, multi-display systems and precision controls.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
What Are The Cons Of Virtual Meetings?
As effective as virtual meetings are, there are some potential negatives to consider. If your organization can account for them, though, these negatives can be mitigated to an extent. Some of the concerns with virtual meetings include:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
It’s Tough To Beat A Face-to-Face Meeting
Professionals still value the face-to-face meeting, even if it’s not the primary method an organization goes with. According to several surveys, less than 20 percent of professionals want to do away with in-person meetings for good.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Technical Hiccups Can Derail The Experience
Although conferencing solutions have become much more user friendly with time, there’s always the possibility that technology will interfere with a conference. Intercompatibility between conferencing platforms, for example, remains a sticking point for some solutions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
How Can AV Technology Be Used To Drive Better Virtual Meetings?
Virtual meetings rely on AV technology in the form of video conferencing, so targeting the right video conferencing solution for your organization is a good starting point. There are numerous hardware and soft codec solutions on the market, including:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Poly’s Studio line of all-in-one conference bars combine ease of use with quality production values. The Poly Studio P5 is the most compact option, so it’s an ideal option for home offices and remote workers. On the other side of the spectrum is the X70, which is for large boardrooms. At every level, the Poly Studio series offers best-in-class camera and audio features.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
The Crestron Flex also comes in several hardware packages, including two tabletop models, a conferencing-enabled phone and an all-in-one audio/video bar. The Flex does more than just video conference, though, as it can be used for room scheduling and reservation, as well as enable content sharing.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Zoom is one of two major soft codec solutions and has greatly expanded its influence in the past five years. It’s known for its ease of use and variety of features, including end-to-end encryption, virtual waiting rooms and file sharing. Zoom even has a safe driving mode that greatly simplifies call control. Zoom also has other options such as a Zoom Room that simplifies the experience even further by only offering the Zoom platform on the display. The experience is the same inside the meeting but with one touch launching the meeting.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Microsoft Teams is the other major soft codec and has gained on Zoom recently. Microsoft’s virtual meeting platform delivers excellent reliability and call quality, as well as custom chat rooms, file storage and full Office 365 integration.
In addition to a strong conferencing platform, organizations can get more from their virtual meetings with improved room controls or an interactive display. Here’s how:[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
An AV control system connects all the room’s AV technologies together and provides a single interface for users to control those technologies. This greatly reduces the difficulty of managing a room’s virtual meeting technology, and therefore reduces user error.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Interactive displays add a tactile dimension to a virtual meeting and improve collaboration. With an interactive display, users can start a whiteboarding session that everyone can see, including remote participants. Remote participants can also annotate if given permission, ensuring no one is left out of the collaboration process.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
What Can AV Do To Offset The Disadvantages Of Virtual Meetings?
It’s difficult to perfectly simulate a face-to-face meeting, but good AV technology can get pretty close. High quality digital displays offer lifelike visual quality—pair that with AV-quality speakers and microphones and the face-to-face illusion is pretty strong.
Mentioned above, better room controls can help with minimizing the technical burden on users, and an interactive display will help keep remote employees involved.
However, for the full virtual experience, some organizations are even using virtual reality (VR) to hold meetings in virtual space. Users wear a headset during the meeting and can interact with each other as if they were in the same room.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
For Better Or Worse, Virtual Meetings Are Here To Stay
Who knows what virtual meetings will look like in the near future, but it’s clear they are already a critical productivity and communication tool. The goal is to emphasize the positives and minimize the negatives, which can be done with proper system design and integration. When your organization is ready to make the most of its virtual meetings, consider working with a reputable certified AV integrator
to manage the project.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]