The way we work has drastically changed in the past couple of years, and it looks like these changes are here to stay. As more and more companies solidify hybrid models of work, the way we interact with our colleagues and customers has changed as well. Hybrid conference room setups are now more important than ever in order to ensure effective communication and collaboration. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of robust meeting room audio video setups and how they can help ensure successful meetings.

The current state of hybrid work

It’s no secret that the global pandemic has forced us to re-imagine the way we work. And because of that catalyst many companies have shifted to remote or hybrid working models. This means more meetings are taking place virtually, and having a reliable conference room audio video setup is essential for a successful meeting. A good audio video setup allows for clear communication and collaboration between all participants, regardless of their location.

Having a reliable conference room audio video setup is essential for companies that are transitioning to–or maintaining–hybrid models of work. Meetings in a hybrid model are often split between physical and virtual participants. Participants can be at home or elsewhere on a laptop or phone, or themselves in another meeting room. This is why it’s important that the audio and video coming entering into the mix from meeting spaces is as good as it can be.

The old default for meetings

Just a few years ago, the default was that meetings were held in physical conference rooms, with participants coming together in the same room. The default was face-to-face conversations and collaboration, and that had its obvious set of drawbacks. Yes there was remote meeting software, but, depending on the technology accommodating remote participants was much less flexible, for tricky connections, phoning in to was much more commonplace.

Post-pandemic, we see more and more companies opt for hybrid models of work. The reason being that many companies realized how much flexibility and efficiency hybrid work models provided for their organizations during the pandemic and for all participants, whether they were attending meetings in-person or remotely. This hybrid approach has reduced, if not eliminated, frustrations about having to reschedule or cancel meetings, which has allowed for smoother, undisrupted business operations.  That being said, it’s now more crucial than ever to have audio and video solutions that allow for productive and engaging hybrid meetings.

Is it really that common for companies to go hybrid?

Recent studies have shown that more and more companies are transitioning to hybrid models of work. According to a recent survey by Accenture that polled 200 CEOs globally, 68% of high-growth organizations companies are now using productivity anywhere models of work, and this number is expected to grow in the coming years. This means that having a reliable conference room audio video setup is more important than ever, as it ensures that the flagship of meeting locations, the onsite conference room, can be a flawless participant in modern meetings.

Staying up to date is beneficial for all participants

Having up-to-date meeting room equipment can go a long way to ensuring a successful meeting. The systems need to be reliable, that’s a given. It’s also important that the control components for these systems accommodate different types of participant technology. One of the most discouraging things in meetings is having difficulty connecting devices to present or share essential meeting content with others. This means that it’s important to invest in technology that considers these various aspects as it will help ensure that meetings run smoothly and effectively.

What’s more important though, video or audio?

When it comes to information retention, there has been lots of debate as to the type of information in question and the expectations of retaining that information. Studies have shown that audio information is better for immediate recall. In situations where collaboration is key, this is an important factor. Audio has a powerful and subtle impact on how information is transferred and perceived. An easy way to think about this is to think about the effects of audio in a movie: it has a huge ability to set the tone, create and dissipate tension, and draw viewers in. The same is true, to a degree, for meetings. Having a reliable conference room audio setup helps create an environment where participants know that clear speech and vocal inflections are communicating as intended. It also helps ensure that everyone can absorb the information being discussed without being distracted by poor sound quality or technical difficulties.

So, when it comes to conference room audio video setup, it’s important to understand that both audio and video are important. Video is great for allowing participants to see each other, which helps create a more engaging environment. This means that both audio and video are important for a successful meeting, and it’s crucial to invest in quality audio and video technology in order to ensure a successful meeting.

Processed? Or just “passable”?

To further illustrate the importance of audio and video for a successful meeting, let’s compare a “passable” remote/hybrid experience versus a fully DSP-powered (digital signal processing) one. In a “passable” remote/hybrid experience, participants in a remote meeting or presentation can hear and see each other adequately, but there may be some limitations or challenges in terms of audio and video quality. For example, participants may be using their built-in laptop speakers and microphone, or an older-generation table microphone, which can result in subpar audio quality. That alone could be a problem, but combine that with a choppy or low-resolution video feed due to slow internet speeds or inadequate video codecs (“codec” is short for “coder-decoder,” and it refers to the process of converting raw video data into a compressed format for storage, transmission, or playback) and things just break down.

On the other hand, a full DSP-powered setup, with DSP-powered, steerable microphones, multiple speakers, and a high-speed video codec, provides a much more immersive and high-quality audio and video experience. This is not just an issue of vanity. Meeting participants’ time is important, so meetings need to be pleasant and effective.

Teams and Zoom certified products deliver

When it comes to choosing audio and video technology for your conference room, it’s important to choose products that are certified and/or vetted for the meeting/collaboration solutions that your organization uses. This will ensure that the products you choose are reliable and compatible with the sophisticated meeting functions available in popular collaboration tools such as Teams and Zoom. If you’re going to invest in a conference room audio video setup, make sure it’s current and ready for the next evolution of work.

This isn’t done by just merely selecting a product off the shelf

It’s important to understand that selecting the right audio and video technology for your conference room isn’t as simple as selecting a product off the shelf. It’s important to consult an expert who can help you choose the right products for your specific user experience needs and the technical specifications of your network, as well as stewarding the installation and setup of the products.

Overall, consulting an expert is essential for systems of this nature, not only because it’s an investment in a core part of a modern work infrastructure, but also because their hands-on expertise can save you time, money, and frustration by ensuring that your system meets your specific needs and budget, and that configuration and user training is done in such a way as to eliminate human error as much as possible. Nothing is more frustrating than having an excellent system on premises that, due to oversights in configuration, delivers far below it’s potential.

It’s key to understand the importance of having a current and reliable conference room audio video setup if your organization is taking part of the ever-growing norm of hybrid work environments. Quality audio and video for your hybrid meetings isn’t just a luxury. It’s a major step in achieving effective communication and collaboration between all participants, regardless of their location. By choosing products that are certified and/or vetted you ensure your setup is reliable and compatible with the latest technologies. All meeting space audio equipment is not created equal. Knowing this is half the battle. Getting to a place where your meeting spaces are effective, regardless of participant location, is the victory for meeting participants and the organization as a whole.

If you’re thinking about updating your conference room for evolving work in hybrid environments, you’ll want to talk with us first. From network evaluation to matching you up with the integration expert best suited to your needs and location, to helping with proactive supply chain planning so your project is supplied with the products needed. SFM can help you.

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