With hybrid meeting, we are faced with quite some challenges for workplace collaboration and communication. And these all boil down to meeting equity. Or inequity, to be precise. When not all participants are sitting together in the same room, their experience differs. The meeting dynamics change and not everyone is inclined to participate to the fullest.
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“Meeting equity is not just a nice-to-have. It has a huge impact on a corporate culture. It’s about improving employee engagement no matter where employees are, about creating a sense of belonging and get people working together as a team.” Sudeep Trivedi, Head of Alliances & Go-to-Market at Logitech
How can we avoid that the remote user becomes the stepchild of the meeting? Technology! It’s the key to more participation and inclusion in hybrid environments. And it is rapidly evolving. What are the coolest innovations currently driving intuitive, equal experiences for meeting participants, no matter where they are?
How tech blends virtual and face-to-face into one simple experience
With that quote Greg Harper from Harpervision completely undermines the intro of this article. Or not? We can’t ignore the fact that technology is crucial in bridging the gap between in-office and remote users. But that technology should be seamless. It may not get in the way of meetings and should function, in the background, to make the hybrid meeting experience natural, intuitive, flawless.
ClickShare, wireless room systems, do exactly this with the introduction of their smart meeting flows powered by the ClickShare App. The flows are automating and orchestrating the meeting for the user. Users can walk into a meeting with their own laptop and preferred platforms. Automatically they connect to the meeting room and the App guides them as host or participant to the One-Click-Join. Thanks to features like Advanced Sharing and Conference View, hybrid meeting is done with confidence, equity and without stress.
“People want to step into a meeting room and don’t care about the technology. Tech should be supportive and automate things that people don’t want to take care of. People want to discuss, collaborate. They don’t want to worry about which cable to use or how to activate a whiteboard. All of this should be at the flick of a button or be automatically detected preferably.” Oliver van Camp, Product Manager ClickShare
Innovations to look out for
Let’s bring in the cool stuff to further enhance that equitable experience. Automation (Yes, we just covered that!), artificial intelligence, beamforming technology, multi-stream camera views, spatial audio. We dive into three main topics here: audio, video and interactivity.
You can’t have a meeting without audio
“We can tell who’s speaking and we also know where people are. The camera zooms in digitally on the person.” Aurangzeb Khan, Senior Vice President Intelligent Vision Systems at Jabra
Remote users often have a hard time capturing all what is being said in the meeting room itself. Audio breaks up, mics don’t capture all voices and sometimes they hear too much of the ambient noises.
Spatial audio & other technologies can help solve the audio issues in the room and make the complete sound experience more equitable when you are following a video call remotely. AI helps to locate where the audio is coming from precisely - even in large rooms - and helps mics to pick up audio coming from active speakers. In addition, noise cancellation helps to capture only the voices and discussion, not the background noises.
Should you place more camera’s in the room?
“One of the main issues today is making sure you have eye contact. Let’s create the ability for the speaker to look the remote participants in the eye. It’s crucial that everybody gets the same views.” Greg Harper, HarperVision
You want people in the room to see everyone at the remote side. In addition, you want the remote users to experience the room dynamics too. That’s when camera positions and the use of artificial intelligence to track sound and movement (AI) in the room become hyper important. You need the room overview, as well as the zooms on the active speakers to be able to follow what’s going on inside the meeting room as a remote user
Typically we have just a single camera in front of the conferencing room, which makes the people in the room very small in a remote view. That’s why adding more camera’s, driven by AI, and special microphones are key. Multiple video streams give remote users a complete insight in the room. Camera’s that use AI can focus, isolate and zoom in on active speakers, their expression and mics capture their voice. Speakers are given prominent real estate on the available pixel space of the display. In addition, 360° camera’s show dynamics and reactions in the rest of the room (panoramic view).
What about whiteboard content?
When you’re remote, it’s hard to follow quick, engaging and interactive sessions. Especially when an in-room whiteboard is used to make the discussed ideas and schedules visible and concrete. It can be the crucial place for ideation and collaboration, and you are just missing all of the action.
Today, whiteboards with an integrated camera help remote users to feed more included in these creative sessions. Next to people, all whiteboard content can be effortlessly streamed as a separate camera feed. AI helps to maintain optimal color and clarity, remove reflections and glare
To conclude, tech companies are constantly innovating. To make the hybrid meeting experience simple, intuitive for in-office workers, so it’s never a burden to involve the remote colleagues. And to create natural, true collaboration at the other end, for remote workers. The latest innovations in AI and automation bring the best of both worlds together in one inclusive and equitable meeting experience for allDownload the meeting equity research
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