At their core, meeting rooms haven’t really changed much in the last 50 years. A table, some chairs, some glasses of water, and your team. Those things have always been a constant—and for good reason! At the end of the day, in-person collaboration is hands-down the way to go for brainstorming, making a decision, and keeping people informed. So what has changed?
The obvious example is paper notebooks that have been replaced by laptops and tablets for note-taking. But there have been some pretty incredible advancements and new meeting technologies that have come about, even just in the last couple years, that completely change the way we collaborate. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite meeting room tools and technology.
Project Management Software
The most effective meetings start long before everyone sits down in a room together. A good meeting is all in the preparation. That includes making sure that everyone is in the loop before the session starts. Applications like Asana, Basecamp, and Trello allow everyone on your team (or teams) to track the progress of projects and associated tasks, allowing everyone to be on the same page about the status of a project. This eliminates hours of time that would be wasted in status update meetings. It’s also a great tool for keeping track of what happens in your meetings. Here at MicroTek, we record our meeting minutes and action items in Asana so that everyone can go back and look at exactly what happened in a given meeting.
Visual aids have come a long way in the past several years. Though projectors are still the most common display type in today’s meeting rooms, they're not necessarily the best anymore. In many cases, reading small text on a projector is nearly impossible. The image can also easily get washed out if you're in a space with lots of natural light. With the falling prices of high-definition screens, a big screen monitor or television is often a better option. The picture quality of a backlit 4K (or 8K) monitor or TV is miles better than any meeting room projector. With a traditional display, you also don’t have to worry about them heating up or adjusting the focus. Throw in an articulating wall mount and you've got more freedom to rearrange your meeting space for optimum productivity!
Virtual Meeting Apps
Hosting a meeting with people in other locations has never been easier. Services like Zoom, Skype for Business, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, and Join.me make it easy to connect with your team wherever they are. When comparing these services, it’s important to make sure you consider what devices and operating systems your team and partners will be using. At MicroTek, we love Zoom for our own internal remote meetings. With dedicated virtual meeting room URLs, it’s just like being able to step into a conference room at the end of the hall. Someone sends a quick IM to the team members they need, everyone clicks the bookmarked link to the given room, and we’re all chatting within seconds.
Virtual Meeting Tech
Today, we have incredible flexibility when it comes to getting remote attendees involved in the conversation. There's nothing more frustrating than dealing with terrible picture and audio when on a video conference call. Ensure your remote team members are using HD cameras and microphones. The ones that come built into today's laptops often don't cut it. Laptop cameras and microphones are one of the most common places that hardware manufacturers cut corners. Get your team using dedicated HD webcams and microphones, and it can feel like remote users are right there in the room with you. But you can't call it quits there. You want remote users to have a good handle on what's happening in the room too. If your meeting space is equipped with dedicated wide-angle meeting cameras and omni-directional microphones from industry leaders like Avaya. Whether your team is down the hall, or on the other side of the world, everyone can have the same experience and contribute to the conversation.
Internet connectivity is the lifeline of today's meeting room. None of the cool gadgets and tools above will provide any benefit to your meeting experience if you don't have the broadband connection to support it. Without a quality connection, you'll be waiting for videos to buffer, dealing with choppy video of remote team members, and struggling to understand the delayed audio that keeps cutting in and out. If your organization deals with a large amount of video streaming or video conferencing, internet connectivity is not something you want to settle for. In most major metropolitan areas, many ISPs offer fiber internet connections with speeds up to 400 times faster than traditional broadband connections.
Implement things into your organization's meeting space and you'll take your organization to a whole new level of collaboration productivity!