Everyone is tired of hearing about “the new normal” or how things are going to be vastly different after the age of COVID. Yes, things have changed, and yes, there is a desire to get back to the way things used to be. Will that ever happen? The answer is no ... but that is a good thing.
In terms of how business and meetings are conducted, the world was not asked to change, it was forced to change. And now, the idea of the hybrid meeting space is here to stay. What does this mean?
It is conducting meetings through a combination of the way it used to be (in the office) with the way many would argue it should have always been (from anywhere). It is not only meetings, but everything we do in our lives—weddings, concerts, art shows, trade shows, you name it, and it will start to have a hybrid or virtual component to it.
What does all of this mean for the professional AV industry and those of us who drive it? The exponential growth of everything.
The coming years will bring about a new age of technological breakthroughs from manufacturers we know and new innovations from many we do not. It will mean consultants and integrators being busier than ever with a new demand for spaces and experiences rich in audiovisual technology that are reliable and repeatable. The need for a consistent user experience and standards across larger enterprises will dominate, and the drive from consumers and employees for a reliable experience will ensure success for design and integration firms that understand and flawlessly execute this concept.
By establishing clear objectives and goals, users and designers can enhance their overall experience with meeting technology in the workplace, and AV companies will be able to capitalize on more than equipment. Ensuring that systems are well-received by all within the organization—whether using hardware, software, or a mixture of both—is the key to successful implementation of any system.
In the new, modern workplace, it is important to select the correct system addressing the problems of the organization while also ensuring that system is within budget and can provide a measurable ROI.
On a basic level, it is important that all participants—both in the office and remote—receive a webcam as this allows for a more interactive and engaging experience. It is always recommended that all meeting participants, no matter their location, take special consideration of their environment including lighting, window treatment, room temperature, and being in non-reverberant rooms.
How do we answer the question “What’s next for conferencing and collaboration?”
Simply put, we don’t yet. We don’t know the specific technologies that the future will bring, but we do know that simple, fast, and reliable hybrid solutions will be driving modern meeting spaces. It is exciting to think about what cloud platforms, new camera technology, and advancing audio technology are on the horizon and hopefully someday soon we can all experience it together, and in-person.