It may be a while before people are returning to work and, even then, not necessarily at the same time or with the same routines. If they weren’t already, many people have become very familiar with video conferencing platforms over the last few weeks. It’s likely that this form of collaboration will be required for the foreseeable future. However, not every organization has the same tools available in all office locations. How do we keep large teams collaborating locally and remotely upon return to work?
If you are planning to deploy collaboration rooms in the near future, there may be some critical choices to consider before you get back to business as usual. Keeping staff safe is always going to be top priority. We may see a phased approach when coming back to work to ensure social distancing measures are followed. In addition, travel may be restricted, making video conferencing even more essential. These new working conditions may come with pressure to implement new solutions quickly to maintain high levels of productivity.
Integrating AV with video conferencing platforms in your meeting rooms can improve collaboration activities. When choosing a solution for a collaborative meeting room, the main focus should be on audio. Having clear, intelligible audio allows teams to communicate most effectively. There are a few options to consider especially if you have budget constraints. Speaker and microphone placement are critical; speaker and microphone coverage areas should be mapped out in advance to ensure everyone will be able to hear local and remote presenters from any location in the room.
- Implement simple acoustic treatments and reduce noise reflection.
- Invest in a system with Acoustic Echo Cancelling (AEC) capabilities.
- Remove any unnecessary, noisy electronics from the room
Another important factor to consider with collaboration solutions is the ability to share presentations and data effectively. The main sharing enablers are displays and the user interface. The display doesn’t need to be fancy. Almost any monitor or TV will allow teammates to share their content. But if your data is highly detailed, the size and resolution of the display become factors to consider.
User experience needs to be intuitive enough for any user to boot up and begin a presentation. Most people working from home have been using remote collaboration services. Choose a user experience which operates similar to those products to help meetings get started on-time and reduce calls for support.
Selecting the right camera is the next technology consideration. Although face-to-face interaction is important, budgets may dictate tough investment choices. In these cases, video cameras can be categorized as “nice to have”. Depending upon the intent, successful meetings can result from sharing verbal and written information, not necessarily seeing each other.
Prioritizing your conference room needs can be difficult, especially in a time of uncertainty. Remember, audio should be the main focus. Finding a solution that fits your organization’s specific needs will be key. Getting a head start on planning now will increase your collaborative success upon return to work.
About Mechdyne Corporation
Mechdyne Corporation is a broad-based technology company with business units developing solutions for immersive virtual reality, audiovisual and information technologies (AV/IT), software and content development, and IT and technical support services. Mechdyne’s Integration Business Unit has deep experience in virtual reality extending back to its founding in 1996. The integration team has a long track record of success with innovative solutions that enable research, improve design, speed decision making and push the boundaries of both science and technology. Headquartered in Marshalltown, Iowa, Mechdyne serves a global client base that includes leading government laboratories, university and research centers, energy, aerospace, manufacturing, and health care organizations, as well as any other users of advanced technology.