Technology revolutionising the way enterprises collaborate – meeting room trends

Updated: December 10, 2019 4:48:51 PM

Meeting Room synergies are being shaped by emerging technologies, methods and patterns.

There is only one certainty for the future – tech solutions will keep on revolutionizing the workplace and the meeting room environment, in particular. (Representative image)

By Rajiv Bhalla

Enterprises can structure improved turnaround and stronger business relations around new-age collaborative technology as it minimises wastage of time and human resources during inefficient meetings. Indian professionals are geared up to experience disruptive technology in all domains of their life, including their jobs and they are especially looking ahead to immersive technology in meeting rooms.

Looking back on how technologies like touch, wireless presentation, remote meeting, UC&C solutions, AV control management etc. have changed meeting efficiency and collaboration over the past years, there is only one certainty for the future – tech solutions will keep on revolutionizing the workplace and the meeting room environment, in particular. We can expect giving instructions to technology using hands and voice coming to the meeting room soon, along with options of using video filters to always look your best in remote meetings. With this technology revolution on its way, following are the five major trends we can look forward to in 2020 and 2021.

Voice Recognition
According to “The Future of Meetings” white paper launched by Barco ClickShare, in association with independent research agency Savanta, 83% of us want to see voice recognition in meetings within the next two years. Alexa and Siri are already our BFFs in the home environment and personal lives. So why not have a new friend in the meeting room? One that listens to our commands to set up a call or looks up a graph on our computer.

Voice recognition in the office is expected to be one of the next big changes: tech in office environment attaining the same level of sophistication as the latest personal tech like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod. Two in five professionals worldwide (40%) want this in meetings now, increasing to around half of professionals in India (50%), the US (49%) and China (48%), and just under half of Millennials (47%).

Video Filters
The survey mentions that 81% of us want to see video filters in meetings within the next two years. Playing around with filters for photo editing on social media has been trending for some years. Filters that double or halve your age, give you piercings, make-up or a smoother complexion: the sky is the limit. Snapchat was one of the first to introduce and really start to market their filters. Facebook and Instagram soon followed.

Video filters are in high demand when it comes to the corporate space. With video set to feature in the vast majority of meetings in the future, participants want to look their best! One in three (32%) are already eager for this technology now and four in five (81%) want it within the next two years. A meeting is a show where we are on display. Confidence matters, and a cool feature like video filters can help to provide this.

We want hand gestures

Where’s the clicker? Anyone seen it? Imagine not having to worry. Instead, what if you could use hand gestures to control technology in meeting rooms, such as ‘swiping’ between slides or adjusting the brightness of lights by opening or closing your hand?

Similar to voice recognition, this could vastly improve efficiency and convenience in meetings – nearly a third (30%) want this now and 80% within the next two years.

We want avatars or bots

Not long ago bots and avatars were more often seen in Hollywood movies. Now they’re everywhere. There are major benefits that bots and avatars – e.g. virtual assistants – can bring to meetings.

How bots and avatars should be used though is more divisive. Baby Boomers want bots and avatars to do administrative work: creating written transcripts of meetings (56%) and providing timing reminders to help keep the meeting on track (54%). In contrast, Millennials prioritize interacting with bots and avatars to enhance the meeting, by checking facts or databases to answer questions in real time (54%), and comparing participants’ calendars to find free timeslots for the next meeting (54%).

How would you use a bot or avatar to add most value to your meetings?
Hand Gestures
The Barco-Savanta survey holds that 80% of us want to have hand gestures for tech in meetings within the next two years. In a recent blogpost, Google stressed the importance of hand-gesture recognition and how its development could help us in creating new applications that would allow us to interact with our smartphones naturally.

The technology is evolving at a rapid pace and coming into our lives at different levels, be it in the world of gaming, healthcare, robotics or simply as a replacement for password authentication. So why not have hand gestures in the meeting room? Similar to voice recognition, this could vastly improve efficiency and convenience in meetings – nearly a third (30%) want this now and 80% within the next two years.

Avatars or Bots
Over three-fourths of us, 78% to be precise, want bots and avatars in meetings within the next two years. Remember Disney-Pixar’s Wall-E, James Cameron’s Avatar or R2-D2 in Star Wars? Not so long ago, bots and avatars were merely Hollywood stars, imaginative mechanical characters on a big screen and, solely for our entertainment. Who would have guessed that robotics would be all around us today, appearing in our everyday life?

What would the advantage of having a robot in a meeting be? A so-called virtual assistant could bring many benefits to meetings: as a notetaker, a facilitator, a timekeeper, or even a researcher… There is actually a generational difference in our perception on the use of bots and avatars in meetings. While Baby Boomers want bots and avatars to do administrative work and improve efficiency by creating written transcripts of meetings and providing time reminders to help keep the meeting on track, Millennials prioritize interacting with bots and avatars to enhance the meeting by checking facts or databases to answer questions in real time, comparing participants’ calendars to find free timeslots for the next meeting and controling the presentation screen.

Augmented Reality
The survey mentions that 77% of us want AR in meetings within the next two years. AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) have already entered the world of gaming, learning, construction, architecture, military, etc. Customers can visit a virtual version of their future home, kids can go on a journey to the other side of the world by putting on a VR headset, marketing campaign mix holograms into your surroundings: all resulting in helping experiences become immersive.

Meeting attendees see significant potential from AR overlaying information in real-time (65%). We also want AR to bring in relevant information from external sources such as internet pages (61%). 49% expect details on the mood of meeting participants (e.g. show when they are becoming tired or bored) and 43% on the room environment (e.g. air quality, temperature).

Meeanwhile, VR is also anticipated to take off, with 81% expecting it to be made available for meetings in their organization within the next three years.

These trends testify that though technology has already changed meetings, there is still a long way to go. Attendees want voice recognition, video filters, hand-gesture control, AR, VR and bots all to be commonplace in meetings within the coming years. This will improve remote collaboration, enable more efficient meeting management, and increase engagement.

Looking at the timeframe in which employees expect to have certain solutions up and running in their workplace, it looks like a good time for businesses to start budgeting and preparing for their future workplace strategies.

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