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Hybrid Meetings: Benefits and Best Practices

Hybrid Meetings Benefits and Best Practices

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.

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.

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 displaysInteractive 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.

Flat Panels vs. Projectors: Which is the Best Fit for Your Organization?

Whether it’s a huddle room or a full-blown training auditorium, your meeting spaces will work better with a digital display. Displays provide critical visual support for any presentation, ensuring everyone in attendance can understand what’s being discussed. Digital displays are also major collaboration facilitators because they allow for simple content sharing. People take in information best when it’s presented in multiple formats and displays deliver that information visually.

The question is – what kind of digital display is the best fit for your company’s needs? The choice almost always comes down to projectors or flat panels (screens).

Digital Flat Panels: Bright, Vivid, Compact and Easy to Operate

Digital panels are the newer, more advanced display technology. As such, they come with several engineering-based advantages that make them a good fit in most spaces.

The most notable is image quality. Most modern LED screens output at 4K resolution, with exceptional brightness and color depth. A flat panel has no trouble delivering crystal clear images in any space, as a result. This is particularly handy for rooms that receive a lot of natural light. Natural light can blow out projector images because projectors don’t generate enough light themselves to overcome the brightness. But that’s not a problem with digital screens, which look vivid in any lighting conditions.

Digital flat panels are also the preferred option for smaller spaces, as they don’t need as much room as a projector to operate. Digital screens are a single-piece display solution built into a compact piece of hardware. If your organization relies heavily on smaller meeting spaces like huddle rooms, digital flat panels are ideal. The screens can be mounted to the wall with no visible cables or mounting hardware, minimizing clutter.

Projectors, in contrast, are two-piece solutions that require space between the projector and wall to operate. This is an obvious limiting factor in small rooms.

A digital screen is also the most familiar and most intuitive display solution for people to work with. They look like consumer TVs and don’t require any calibration to work right, every time. And if adjustments to brightness or contrast are needed, users know where to look without getting IT involved. Projectors, though, can be intimidating for people to use, as few have a projector at home. Projectors also require occasional calibration, especially if they are being moved from room to room.

There are also interactive flat panels that add a tactile element to meetings. The Clevertouch is one example and allows professional teams to whiteboard, annotate, and collaborate using touch controls. Interactive flat panels are a strong addition to video conferencing solutions, as they can be used by remote participants as if they were in the room.

In summary, if your building is bright and tight on space, digital flat panels are a better option. And, if your employees need a simple solution that works every time, digital screens are again the right fit.

Projectors: The Biggest, and Most Economical Image Available

Projectors have been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean they’re obsolete. In fact, current-generation projector technologies are also capable of color-rich, high-resolution images. They still need the right lighting conditions to look their best, but if those conditions are in place, projectors can power an excellent visual experience.

In large rooms, there may be hundreds of people present during a meeting or training session. If your meeting spaces must accommodate a large number of people, projectors are the popular choice. That’s because projectors can be scaled up or down to nearly any size. And a single projector can be calibrated for multiple sizes, so it can be scaled as needed.

Some projectors can output images at extremely large sizes – up to a 300-inch diagonal. This is usually not preferred, as the projector is limited by how much light it can throw at once, which means a larger image tends to be less vivid. However, even at a 90 or 120-inch diagonal, modern projectors can compete with digital flat panels in image quality, as long as lighting conditions are good. And, if a smaller image size is required (like a 60-inch image), projectors can look extremely sharp.

The other main benefit of projectors is their economy. Projectors are the least expensive large format displays available, so they’re a common entry-level choice for organizations on a slim budget. It’s true that some of this cost advantage is offset by lamp replacement expenses, but in terms of upfront expense, projectors beat out flat panels.

So, where should projectors be featured in your building? In oversized spaces where an oversized image is essential for the audience. Large training rooms, for example, are well-supported by projector technology.

For Many Organizations, There’s Room for Both

For the vast majority of rooms, digital flat panels are a perfect fit. They only have issues filling out extremely large spaces, and even in this case, there are single flat panels that reach up to 120 inches. There are also video walls and direct view LED panels that can be pieced together to make displays of any size or shape.

Those solutions can definitely wow an audience, but they’re expensive. They may not always be, but for some organizations, there isn’t room in the budget for a video wall. In this instance, a projector is the less costly alternative.

Can’t Decide Between Digital Flat Panels and Projectors? Talk to an AV Integrator

As you can see, there’s room for projectors and digital flat panels in most buildings. If you’re still not sure which technology should go in your meeting rooms, a certified AV integrator can help. Their expertise with display technology means they can analyze your rooms and select the best fit for each space.

What Components Are Needed For A Modern Conference Room System?

A conference room system may be audio only, or it may combine audio and video for a more engaging experience. Conference rooms come in a variety of sizes and layouts, so there isn’t a single best solution that works in every space. There are, however, components that every modern AV conferencing solution should come with, including: Continue reading “What Components Are Needed For A Modern Conference Room System?”

Poly Crestron and Avocor Conferencing Solutions Are Now Available With Zoom Rooms

Poly and Crestron have offered industry-leading conferencing hardware for decades. Zoom offers the world’s most popular conferencing software, used in more than half of Fortune 50 companies. Now, Poly and Crestron are partnering with Zoom to offer the best of both.

The Poly Studio X and the Crestron Flex already come with easy deployment, scalability and excellent call quality. They are now designed to work with Zoom out of the box, which makes them easier than ever to set up and operate.

Continue reading “Poly Crestron and Avocor Conferencing Solutions Are Now Available With Zoom Rooms”

Why Should Organizations Consider Conference Room Scheduling Software?

Conference room scheduling software makes it easier to organize meetings, and this can save your team a lot of wasted time. How much time? According to a survey of 1,500 managers, put together by Doodle, the typical administrative staff member spends nearly five hours a week scheduling and coordinating meetings. Time is money, and all that wasted time means U.S. businesses are losing nearly $400 billion every year according to Doodle’s 2019 State of Meetings Report.

Companies can get this time back with conference room scheduling software, along with many other benefits that come with more efficient and transparent meeting organization. Continue reading “Why Should Organizations Consider Conference Room Scheduling Software?”

Conference Rooms Are Better With Digital Signage

video conference

Digital signage’s potential is limitless when used as a form of external communication, but it also offers compelling benefits when designed for internal use. A 2012 McKinsey Global Institute study drives this point home. According to that study, when digital signage is properly positioned, designed and configured, it can improve productivity by up to 25 percent. That’s millions or billions in lost productivity that could be recovered with a proper digital signage solution, like the one experienced AV integrators are able to provide. Continue reading “Conference Rooms Are Better With Digital Signage”

What To Consider When Selecting Conference Room Audio Equipment

AV Huddle Room

Conference Room Audio Equipment: The Four Major Factors

Conference room audio equipment is what powers a call, and when it is selected, installed and configured carefully, it makes the conversation flow naturally and clearly. Audio conferencing remains an essential part of collaboration, according to a 2015 survey published by Wainhouse Research. That survey found that the use of audio conferencing doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 78 billion minutes of use to 150 billion minutes of use. The survey’s respondents cited reduced costs, better usability, better availability and the rise of the remote employee as reasons for adopting audio conferencing. Continue reading “What To Consider When Selecting Conference Room Audio Equipment”

Conference Room Design Essentials

Conference Room Design

Every business needs a space for employees and clients to gather to work effectively and to foster its sense of community, so conference room design is critical to ensure that it can serve its many purposes. Thinking through those purposes at the outset will promote efficiency and save time and money in the future. Consider these factors to guarantee that the room will serve its needs and grow with the company. Continue reading “Conference Room Design Essentials”

How To Select A Sound System For A Conference Room

Many businesses have no idea where to start when it comes to designing a sound system for a conference room. Thankfully, A/V integrators are there to help.

The following is a list of important questions to ask yourself and your A/V Integrator when considering audio or sound equipment for any sized conference room. Then we will examine each question a bit more in-depth. Continue reading “How To Select A Sound System For A Conference Room”