According to Microsoft, it takes around 8-10 minutes to start a meeting. Most people I’ve spoken to think practically it’s often double that! By the time you’ve figured out what cables are needed to connect to the screen or the projector, set it to the right resolution, selected the right input for video AND sorted out the audio, you are more than likely 15 minutes into your meeting.
It gets worse. It’s not just your time that you’re wasting. Multiply the set up time by the number of people in the room. Then multiply by the number of meetings. You can see the cost of unproductivity spiralling out of control.
It’s no wonder that most people avoid meeting room technology like the plague.
So what should you do? Get rid of all the cables and invest in the latest wireless presentation solution? It sounds like a simple enough strategy, until you realise the scope of the task. Everyone works differently and they usually use different applications and prefer different devices. If you are interested in a wireless solution, it’s important to remember that there are more variants of mobile computing devices than there are video cables! And because they are software-based, they change. Constantly. So this can become a bit of minefield. Better take a step back!
How to go wireless
If your organisation has already invested in a web conferencing solution, such as Skype for Business, then you’ll find support for most mobile devices, and all of these devices can join the meeting. Simply by using desktop share you can wirelessly present, both in room and remotely.
Secondly, try to identify those devices users that have the most problems connecting to the screen and select the best solution that meets that particular need. If it’s mostly iPads in your meetings, then Apple TV may be the right solution. If it’s a mix of Apple and Microsoft devices, you can source a wireless player better matched to the device. But how do you avoid users needing to switch between them?
Thirdly, what do your users actually want to present? If its Powerpoint or Prezzi most units will support transition and animation as you step though. However, if you want to share 4K videos at 60 frames per second, with audio sync, then fewer players can support this activity.
Finally, has your organisation invested in touch screens? If so, make sure your wireless solution supports touch! Alternatively, you could run a USB to the desk so the user only has one simple USB cable to plug into.
The next step – the “one touch meeting”
The benefits of wireless presenting aside, I’ve spoken to many organisations that have spent a lot of money on video conferencing to improve remote collaboration and find that most of them report no more than a 15-20% take up rate.
The problem here is that the solutions are usually pretty complex, and users may only have had cursory training on how to operate them. No matter how intuitive the systems are designed to be, the user interface is not going to be as familiar as using the PC on your desk, especially if you only get to use them once a week, or once a month.
The good news for many users, is that Microsoft have been working on establishing the familiarity of the desktop into meeting rooms and meeting spaces. Skype Room System can be incorporated into existing meeting rooms without expensive touch screens and video conferencing systems.
Several vendors have announced solutions based around SRS, including Logitech.
Simply email the meeting invite as normal and the meeting appears as a tile on the meeting room console. One touch and all of the audio and visual facilities in the room are activated and remote participants are connected. There are controls for projection and dialling that are simple to use.
If you’d like to explore your options for making meetings a more efficient and productive process, the AV team and I here at Stone are always happy to chat about your individual requirements.