The world of work is changing. Businesses are becoming increasingly decentralised, with flexible and agile working practices on the rise and developments in technology revolutionising our jobs. Inevitably, this has had a huge impact on one key office ritual: the meeting.
So how do you make sure a modern-day meeting runs smoothly and efficiently? From technical difficulties to fears over security, there are plenty of collaboration challenges brought about by the evolution of the workplace. Ensuring your tech is helping, not hindering, discussions is essential to making the most of your time. And with technology now being specifically designed to make meetings more efficient and effective, you’re missing out by sticking to outdated, clunky systems.
The rise of agile working
One of the biggest business shifts in the last few years is the move towards more agile ways of working. Motivating employees with flexible working options has been proven to boost productivity while encouraging remote working has tangible financial benefits, from lower travel costs to reduced overheads.
Inevitably, the traditional meeting setup has moved with the times too. It’s no good allowing staff the flexibility to work from home if they have to physically come into the office for meetings. And busy employees are far more likely to be engaged and productive in a session if they don’t feel like their time is being wasted with mandatory office hours and pointless presenteeism.
It’s not just a case of adapting meeting arrangements to meet employee expectations, there are real business benefits too. Gone are the days where everyone has to be sitting in the same room to have a productive discussion. In fact, sometimes the most productive meetings bring together employees virtually from all over the world – some of whom may never have met in person. Once restricted to who you could physically get together, technology is making it far easier to get the right people together in one virtual space.
Getting the most out of the room
Bringing everyone together – remote and onsite – is a great step, but lack of productivity is a universal meeting gripe. When employees are taking an hour out of their busy days to meet, that time needs to be used efficiently to produce meaningful results. Basic tech tools have enabled more flexible meeting models, but for many businesses, the existing tech is more of a hindrance than an asset.
Slow, complicated equipment can take time to set up, different cables may be required to connect each attendee’s portable device and some devices may not be supported at all. Content sharing can also prove a challenge – when everyone’s using a different screen, time is easily wasted making sure everyone has access and is looking at the right part of the presentation or document. Plus there’s the chance that this flow of information inside and outside the office may not be secure – and with cybercrime on the rise and hefty fines for data breaches, this is a big worry for any business.
This is where businesses can benefit from making the most of the latest tech solutions. Designed specifically with collaboration in mind, tools like the Intel Unite® solution resolve common issues by using an open platform to bring applications, document sharing and presentations into one hub in each meeting room. From this hub, there are multiple means of joining the meeting and the option for up to four presenters to switch between their screens seamlessly.
The system is designed to work with the OS and applications organisations already have, supporting plugins for tools like Skype for Business and IoT equipment such as smart in-room control systems. It is also built to work seamlessly across all common devices, so there’s no need to invest in new uniform hardware. All you need are an Intel® Core™ vPro® processor, managed PIN service, and the app on whichever devices you choose to use.
To tackle the issue of security, the Intel Unite solution is encrypted with an SSL connection between the hub and client, ensuring content is only shared with approved participants. The Intel Unite hub is PIN protected and security codes are regularly refreshed.
With the mechanics of connecting easily and safely with your remote workers ironed out, you can turn your focus to the built-in features designed for enhanced collaboration, whether the meeting involves external participants or not. The system is touch-enabled so users can make the most of the latest touchscreen technologies and there is also an annotation feature, allowing the presenter to use their screen like a whiteboard. Unlike a whiteboard, this will be visible to anyone accessing the shared screen, allowing presenters to draw participants’ attention to precise areas of documents or add shared notes as they speak.
For businesses needing extra flexibility, Intel also offers the Intel Unite® Cloud Service. With this, you get all of the features of the original service, but with no need to manage an on-premise PIN server – everything is managed through an admin portal. As with the on-premise option, you’ll need an Intel Core vPro processor and the app on each device.
AI and the meeting room of the future
So where can this go next? Artificial Intelligence is evolving from an intriguing future technology into an office reality. While you’re not going to find a robot running your meeting any time soon, AI assistance technologies are on the rise in the workplace. In meetings, they can take out the monotonous admin tasks and free up time to focus on creative, meaningful discussion.
One ever-advancing AI technology is the voice assistant. Many of us are already kitted out with AI voice assistants in our personal lives, and the principle is largely the same when transferred to a meeting room environment. With voice control, you can run the meeting without the distraction of having to manually scroll through or share content on screen.
With the increasing sophistication of these applications, handy tools are becoming vital ‘co-workers’. AI technology is already able to perform basic admin tasks and offer voice control, and it is well on the way to being able to take minutes, distil action points, check schedules to set up follow up meetings and pull up data and information as participants speak.
With the right technology, you can not only solve your meeting headaches but get so much more out of your discussions. Plus, if you invest in the right flexible solutions, you’ll be poised to make the most of new cutting-edge technology as it’s released.