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Ruth Clifford

Whiteoaks

Junior Account Executive

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Productive meetings – fact or fiction?

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Most of us can agree that technology exists and continues to develop at a rapid pace for one main reason: to make our lives easier. From staying in touch with friends, navigating a foreign city and being able to stream movies into your living room, to working from anywhere and accessing a company network from almost any device, technology continues to add convenience to our lives.

This is especially evident in the working environment. With transformative trends, such as cloud computing, BYOD, collaboration and mobile working, taking a firm hold, technology is expected to empower the workforce and deliver benefits including increased productivity and efficiency.

In the past, smaller businesses have been unable to capitalise on the benefits of technology due to lack of budget – that is, only large corporates could afford to implement the latest technologies.

However, as technology, and indeed attitudes toward technology, evolves, smaller enterprises are able to make use of these business-enabling technologies and gain similar advantages from its implementation as their larger counterparts. Cloud is a case in point with the same benefits enjoyed by both large and small businesses.

Now, apply this to the meeting room. Does your organisation have the technology in place to foster collaboration and increase productivity? And are the benefits of BYOD – employees using their own devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops – realised in this setting.

The odds are that you’ve answered no. And this is most likely due to compatibility. Meetings, especially collaborative ones, require engagement and this often comes from sharing documents, presentations or websites. Connecting your device, be it an iPad, laptop or smartphone, to the presentation technology can be a challenge, especially if cables, adaptors and connectors are required. But what if the machine, typically a fixed PC or laptop, is not compatible with your device and only supports one operating system? In some instances meeting room technologies don’t even support smartphones, so in order to successfully share, another device is needed.

Ideally, wireless capabilities would bring more efficiency to the meeting room, if the issues of compatibility can be overcome. In addition, in the true spirit of collaboration, having the ability to share the screen with colleagues, several at a time even, would further bring productivity back into meetings.

Time is a commodity and having the ability to effectively conduct and engage in meetings without the need for technical assistance, reconfiguring device settings, or using cables and adaptors is within reach.  In an ideal world, or the meeting room of the future, a combination of wireless and USB capabilities, a multi-device-supported environment and operating system neutral technology will dominate.

So from a technology point of view then, it is possible to revolutionise the meeting room by ensuring ease of use, simplified set-up and the support of any device, with a new market segment emerging as a result. However, technology can only go so far in ensuring productivity, and it is up to meeting participants to capitalise on this sound foundation to gain the most benefit from their collaborations.

By Guy Coen, General Manager Collaboration, Barco

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Ruth Clifford

Junior Account Executive

Read more from Ruth Clifford
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