A hybrid meeting is a gathering that features at least one group of in-person attendees connecting virtually with other meeting attendees. This series offers insight into designing and delivering the best hybrid meeting experience for your users or clients.
As discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, many elements are necessary to create hybrid meeting environments that work. The best results are achieved when architects, designers, furniture providers, technology integrators, and end-users collaborate early in the design process.
This chapter will summarize current technology considerations for hybrid meeting spaces.
The increase in demand for hybrid meetings for businesses is driving advancements in meeting room technologies at a staggering pace. The configuration, capabilities and quality of meeting room-specific technology hardware and platforms are already dramatically different today than before the pandemic.
All-in-one or pre-configured room systems have become popular and can work quite well for small to mid-size meeting spaces. They are competitively priced and can be configured for a company’s specific meeting room software platform such as Zoom or Teams and for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), making them much more straightforward to use than ever before.
Many equipment manufacturers have excelled at product development, increasing configuration options, expanding system capabilities, and continuously improving quality and ease of use.
In the meantime, meeting room software platforms are introducing artificial intelligence (AI) into their products to address some limitations of even the best hardware solutions. Microsoft Teams’ Focus Room concept creates a more interactive experience for in-person and remote attendees. Zoom has developed a promising new feature called Smart Gallery that separates in-room participants into individual video tiles from a single camera. This advancement will level the playing field for remote workers, creating an environment where all participants can communicate and collaborate in the same way. Consult with your technology integrator to separate the proven from the promised.
With meeting room technology advancing so rapidly, some of what we know today could be dated as soon as six months from now. Aside from the challenge decision-makers face regarding the rate of technological advancement, there are some basic factors to consider when choosing meeting room technology.
Meeting Room Size
Meeting Room Audio
Meeting Room Cameras
Meeting Room System Control
The reality: The demand for hybrid meeting space continues to grow. Technology advancement is dramatically improving the quality, reliability, and ease of use of hybrid meeting room systems
The challenge: With so many factors to consider, the continuous introduction of new features, and the lack of hands-on experience with many of these products for verification, decision-makers are often placed in a risky arena.
The recommendation: Engage an experienced AV technology integrator that designs, installs, and supports hybrid meeting room systems. Once they understand how you will use the room, they can recommend options to meet your objectives and budget while minimizing your risk.
A: You'll need a combination of hardware and software solutions to create a successful hybrid meeting. Some essential technologies include high-quality video conferencing systems, reliable internet connectivity, interactive displays or projectors, and collaboration software that enables seamless communication and document sharing between in-person and remote participants.
A: Maintaining a stable and reliable internet connection is crucial for a smooth hybrid meeting experience. To ensure a stable connection, consider using a wired network instead of relying solely on Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi is the only option, ensure it's a robust and secure network with adequate bandwidth to accommodate in-person and remote participants.
A: Several collaborative tools can enhance interaction and engagement in hybrid meetings. Some examples include virtual whiteboards, polling and survey platforms, live chat features within the video conferencing software, and screen-sharing capabilities. These tools empower participants to actively contribute, share ideas, and collaborate effectively, regardless of their physical location.
A: First, make sure the audio and video quality are optimized to allow remote participants to see and hear clearly. Additionally, encourage active participation from remote attendees by providing opportunities for them to contribute, ask questions, and share their perspectives. Finally, consider implementing a meeting facilitator or moderator who can ensure equal participation and provide support to both in-person and remote attendees.
A: Technical issues can sometimes occur during hybrid meetings, but there are steps you can take to address them promptly. First, ensure that all participants are familiar with the technology and provide clear instructions for troubleshooting common issues. Have a designated technical support person available to assist both in-person and remote attendees in real time. Conducting a pre-meeting technology check to identify and resolve any connectivity or hardware problems before the meeting is also helpful. A backup communication plan, such as a phone conference line, should also be available in the event of severe technical difficulties.