Simple Presentation Systems for Effective Collaboration
It’s a pretty basic expectation really. We want to walk into a meeting room, connect our laptop, and present. And you can. Your conference room or huddle room system can be a simple plug-and-present. It can be a wireless solution or one that is controlled by your smartphone. But, like all good designs, great outcomes depend on great input. While any of those solutions may be an effective presentation system, if it doesn’t suit the needs of the user, it will fall short. An effective presentation system is not as much about the technology as it is the user experience, and that starts with a few simple questions.
Defining needs and designing to meet expectations
The first step in designing a system is to define the desired user experience for all users. The right solution will depend on:
- Who will be using the system?
- What is their experience level?
- What are your company’s workflows?
- Are you wanting audio conferencing, video conferencing, data sharing, whiteboarding?
- Is there a company standard such as Skype for Business?
- What is the desired interface? Minimal interaction, single button press or plug-n-play? Do you want to avoid the use of small, uninstalled units such as a hand-held remote control that may disappear in a huddle room?
- Will users be mobile – on smart phones and tablets? And how many connections?
- Do you want the system to detect user mobile phones, syncing the system based on the room’s scheduled calendar event?
- Are you wanting to create a standardized solution that will be replicated across the enterprise?
Effective Communication – Are we speaking the same language?
In this era of rapidly evolving technologies, new terms and acronyms abound. VC, VTC, VMR and UC, for example, can mean different things to different people. One person’s definition of video conferencing may mean a traditional conference room setting with dual screen monitors that display far side participants as well as shared content, while another may be imagining a video call with a completely remote or mobile staff of a few dozen. Collaboration is another term that requires a clear definition. To some it means simple screen sharing via Webex or Go-to-Meeting while others imagine a fully interactive experience that allows wireless sharing of multiple PCs or collaborative whiteboarding.
Wired, Wireless and your IT Department
Wireless presentations from a laptop, tablet or mobile phone (BYOD) can offer seamless, convenient connectivity to the shared display, but not all IT departments embrace this accessibility due to network security. Several solutions are available today offering point-to-point connectivity. Accessing a self-contained Wi-Fi or presentation button, users can present without being on the network. Some companies require heightened security measures, restricting wireless and providing only a secure wired solution.
Designed to Grow
Your communications, conferencing and presentation systems are a strategy, not a trend. Be sure your system is based on your needs and desired outcomes and not a particular piece of equipment. It should take into account your potential for future growth and needs and provide scalability. As you add spaces and staff, it is a clear cost advantage to standardize on a solution that can be replicated throughout the building or across the campus. Not only will it save in design and installation costs, but users will be more likely to adopt and use the technology in the room if they are already familiar with it. Costs are also saved on employee training.
Scalability needs to meet technology needs as well. A well thought out strategy and design will provide IT infrastructure to support growth over the next 5 years. Network and data requirements, multiple VLANs and robust Wi-Fi can be implemented now, along with conduit and pre-wire for future expansion.
The solution drives the best possible outcome. Partner with an AV/IT professional to create huddle spaces, meeting rooms and board rooms that are efficient, effective and impactful, for your users and for your bottom line.
PC Magazine’s “The Best Video Conferencing Software of 2017”