We’ve all been there — an extra half hour added to a meeting, often more, thanks to an equipment malfunction. It seems like a small sacrifice, but that time (and frustration) adds up. In fact, 15% of meeting time is wasted, primarily due to inefficient meeting room equipment.
The problem is most companies do not typically update their office AV setups. While equipment promises a long life, even up to a decade, once you’ve had a piece of hardware for five years, it might start to feel outdated and end up costing you time.
Updating technology to avoid these problems is more important now that our remote and hybrid working lives rely so heavily on tools. Yet, our propensity to upgrade hasn’t caught up with our workplace behaviors. About 34% of employees report that their employers are not prioritizing investments in better hybrid working technologies, according to a study by Barco.
Pre-pandemic, in a mid-size company with 10 conference rooms, there might have been two rooms that needed a fully equipped AV system. Now, pretty much every room in the workplace needs to be ready to provide a high-quality AV experience.
Updating tech can not only help solve problems and save time, but it can also level up the experience of meetings and give employees that extra boost of productivity and inspiration.
What Kind of AV Technology Needs to Be Upgraded?
In short, you need to update whatever pieces of hardware and equipment that are important for your setup. If something isn’t upgraded, it could cause wasted time.
Camera and microphone systems are the major must-haves for a reliably great AV experience. That could mean upgrading to camera systems that can pan around the room based on who is talking or multiple microphones across the room that can focus the input of the audio toward particular speakers.
As part of the Barco study mentioned above, interviewees were asked what kinds of technology they felt needed upgrading. Videoconferencing capabilities were a big request, with 77% of respondents believing that all meeting rooms should be set up with videoconferencing technology.
Then, there are tools in which upgrades will take your work to a new level. Touchless technology, for example, could drastically streamline your meeting practices. Integrate your call system with your AV system and have a one-touch meeting start, seize the energy in the room, and start right on time.
Technology that empowers hybrid and remote workers is also crucial. Per Barco, 35% of employees would like to have personal touchscreen devices, for example, and 36% want tech that enables them to use their laptops as the centers of their in-office and home-based work.
What Can Teams Gain From Tech Upgrades?
There’s obviously a cost involved in staying proactive about upgrading tech. Still, the benefits and costs saved from increased efficiencies will most likely outweigh the initial expenses of hardware and installation. Consider these benefits:
- Overall improved productivity. Upgraded AV can cut time and inefficiencies, saving meeting time for more productive tasks. People in meetings will feel the benefit of enhanced engagement because they can see, hear, and collaborate with each other more clearly. This has an inevitable impact; working relationships are more effective, and morale becomes higher.
- Increased actionability of meetings. The human brain has a limit, and now that we’re more immersed in technology than ever, we’re also more distracted. The average American looks at their phone 344 times per day, and people remember only about 10% of content two days after hearing or seeing it. Better presentations mean increased engagement and better recollection of information, which in turn makes meetings more actionable.
How Can Companies Successfully Upgrade Their AV and Hardware?
The aim is to better engage workers and make workflows smoother and more efficient. The process for identifying your AV needs and installing upgrades should bear those objectives in mind. Start here:
Stage a walk-through.
To make sure upgrades are practical and needed, walk through the rooms that need technology. What do you use this room for? Who uses it? The exec team? Sales? What kind of meetings take place here? Are investors or clients present? Create an inventory of these rooms. This will help you understand the type of tech you need and how “mission critical” each upgrade choice will be.
Identify which tech is best.
You can use an AV integrator to identify your needs and what the best, most reliable and well-priced equipment options are. Because an integrator is manufacturer-agnostic, its role is to understand your situation and make recommendations based on how you use rooms in your office. Pay attention to how experienced an AV integrator is. Supply chain issues are plaguing the world right now, and an experienced integrator will know which items can be sourced the quickest, so you can move forward with the critical job of running productive meetings.
Updating your organization’s AV setup has been important for a while, and it’s becoming impossible to overlook this task. As we gear up for even more hybrid work in the future, we all need to hear and see each other as best we can. Start upgrading today!
Bob Marsh is the chief revenue officer at Bluewater, a design-forward technology company that helps craft moments that connect and inspire. Specializing in retail technology, displays and fixtures, as well as AV integration and event tech services, Bluewater works with top brands like Walmart, Ford and Rocket Mortgage.
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