Have you heard of the saying ‘the grass is greener on the other side’? Well, it’s true isn’t it! The grass always seems greener on the other side, and once people get a taste of that magical grass, they will not be willing to switch back to eating the old grass.
Same goes for us right now. I mean, let’s face it. Before the pandemic, there was no such thing as work-from-home. Yet now, there are some people who are looking for jobs which are solely work-from-home! Then again, who doesn’t like to sleep in an extra hour in the mornings, or save money on transport and lunch, or spend more time with their family, right? Right.
So there’s no denying it: the pandemic has dramatically altered the corporate landscape in the past 3 years or so. In fact, it has also forced several businesses across the world to overhaul their strategic operations in an attempt to wade through this period of high uncertainty.
As consumers moved online for every little day-to-day detail – be it making purchases of essentials or finding avenues for leisure and entertainment – businesses witnessed a paradigm shift in work culture, as a vast majority of employees across strata began bringing their offices into their living rooms in what is described as a rather forced adoption of remote work culture.
All this resulted in companies being forced to reassess their digital capabilities, especially within their existing physical workspaces. Efforts ensued to better align with the mantra of ‘people, process, and technology’ that became increasingly central to an organization’s strategic development. And many companies understood that continual dependence on legacy technologies, in addition to inefficient workflows and a prior lack of digitally driven capabilities proved to be some of the greatest barriers in holding their organization back from experiencing significant technological transformation.
With the corporate landscape subjected to a radical transformation thanks to the pandemic, and the realization that technology has come to a level where it can augment human ability better than ever before – companies displayed a sense of urgency in equipping their workspaces with the latest technological systems that would afford employers the capacity
to leverage the digital realm in a manner that enhances communication and collaboration, sustains productivity, and upholds compliance to optimum levels. These spaces included meeting rooms, conference rooms, training rooms, common areas, and of course, the all-important boardroom. And in doing so, the idea was to equip their physical workspaces in a manner that would allow employees a more flexible work environment akin to the remote work culture that everyone has gotten so comfortable with.
All-important among the list of aforementioned spaces – the boardroom in particular is a space that most corporates have always looked to with the greatest level of care and attention to detail. As the place that hosts the company’s board of directors, shareholders and other key decision making personnel – boardrooms have, traditionally, been viewed as a metaphorical statement of authority and a space that usually acts as a clear indicator of an organization’s approach to meetings and other such collaborative activities that help the organization work towards its goals. Since boardrooms have usually been reserved to discuss, share and display important data and information with the purpose of enabling quick and inclusive decision making – it has been found that well-equipped and impressive boardrooms have positively influenced the all-important first impression on clients, especially in scenarios that involve negotiating and finalising crucial business deals or any other important decisions that may impact the organization in some critical way or the other.
Video Collaboration tools help bring together a seamless boardroom meeting experience
Robust design and programming, reliable wireless connectivity, room automation & control, access to full control over different aspects of the meeting / meeting room through one’s own electronic device, simplified content sharing mediums, efficient remote diagnostics and support capabilities to reduce the risk of downtime and safeguard business-critical areas, have all become the cornerstones of what comprise work-critical technologies within the boardroom today. Reliable technologies in the boardroom have become paramount today; and capabilities such as occupancy sensors, conference scheduling and wireless source selection have become crucial to ensuring a seamless and safe meeting experience.
Of course, it is undeniable that display screens have assertively emerged as a key primary consideration when it comes to the actual AV system that is set to adorn the boardroom. With video conferencing emerging as one of the primary functional capabilities within the corporate scenario – the two basic types of displays preferred for video conferencing are either projectors or flat screens – each with their own merits. The design team usually decides which one works best depending on the physical space and dimensions of the room and the capacity for the video display to be used for other applications as well.
But whatever it is, it is always important to consider video displays as an investment, simply because by choosing a high quality screen at the onset, clients will be better prepared for advancements in the future, and the installed video displays can be more easily adapted to upgrades. This will ultimately save the client not just money but also crucial time in commissioning upgrades.
Here’s the thing – corporates have realised the multitude of value that video conferencing brings to the table – with cost savings, ease of reconciliation, less travel time, and reduction of pollution generated by means of transport being just some of the advantages.
And with the right tools, everyone can contribute qualitatively to a positive work environment.
Faster, more efficient collaboration with an embedded whiteboard, annotation tools, and content sharing option: With the sharing and in-take of information via visual means like videos, images, and written content, coupled with fast content sharing, real-time editing, and hands-on problem-solving, groups can collaborate more efficiently compared to other methods like email or written reports
More collaborative meetings: A clear 4K display supports screen-casting and annotating, which contributes to a heightened collaborative experience that help foster new ideas and build internal relationships
Wider-angled display for easier viewing: The ability to view the display at any angle up to 178-degrees allows the 4K display to be seen more clearly from wider angles in bigger rooms; which when coupled with accurate touch sensitivity, leads to a highly responsive, lag-free writing experience. Such display tools to exhibit and express ideas reduces meeting confusion, and saves crucial time with connecting devices, long discussions, and thereby enhance efficiency and productivity.
Another extremely crucial consideration for the boardroom AV system is that of the audio equipment – which in today’s world has come to comprise more than just simple speakers and microphones use with computers. With space and ambient noise greatly impacting sound quality in video conferencing - poor audio equipment, especially in a room not designed well for video conferencing can mean the difference between getting things done efficiently and straining to pick up the conversation.
To meet with the demands of today’s video-conferencing needs, audio equipment manufacturers offer microphones that are designed specifically for video conferencing. They are more sensitive, and as long as they’re positioned appropriately within the room, they will be able to capture sound with a great deal of efficiency while maintaining high quality pickup. This is particularly crucial for larger rooms where several inputs may be needed to cover the entire space, in which case ceiling or wall-mounted microphones can be used to ensure everyone can be heard no matter where they are in the room. This can also prevent people from moving microphones during the meeting, which can cause reverberation or squawking; in addition to the current ‘touch safety’ concerns. As a general rule, microphones would not be placed near the speakers, as since this can also cause the dissonance of unwanted feedback.
And in an important meeting, nothing is more crucial than ensuring there is excellent and uninterrupted voice pickup as well as voice amplification so that everyone can be heard clearly and meetings can take place smoothly and efficiently.
Minimalist audio solutions: With the pandemic, there is also now a huge emphasis on hygiene, wherein customers today look for touchless audio solutions that enable social distancing and minimize physical handling of equipment without sacrificing on audio quality. A minimalist audio solution that can sit neatly within a clutter-free boardroom without messy tangled cables is extremely crucial in such situations.
Plug-and-play systems which are easy to adopt: With the need for intuitive and easy to use audio solutions being a key determining factor in adoptability – plug-and-play systems that empower users and reduce reliance on IT support have now become essential.
So with all that said, what video collaboration tools should I get for my future boardroom?
Well, I have personally picked 2 of the most popular ones – Logitech Meetup and Logitech Rally. So let me briefly tell you more about them:
One of the front-runners of a video collaboration tool in my opinion, if not the most popular, all-in-one video conferencing appliance space is Logitech’s MeetUp Conference Cam designed specifically for small conference rooms and huddle rooms.
Its benefits include:
Super-wide 120° field of view (or 170° when panned/tilted)
Ultra HD 4K image resolution
Integrated audio with noise and echo cancellation effects
Compact all-in-one USB plug-and-play simple design
Another top-runner and a more premium one is Logitech Rally, which is known as a higher-end all-in-one video conferencing device. The original Logitech Rally is a system that includes standalone speakers, microphones and camera, meant for larger conference rooms.
Its benefits include:
90° field of view (or 140° when panned/ tilted)
Brilliant, sharp videos with its ultra-HD 4K imaging system
Easy plug-to-play compatibility