Promising Meeting Solutions at InfoComm 2022 That Copier Dealers Should Consider
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Last week, I was in Las Vegas for InfoComm 2022—one of the largest audio/visual (AV) tradeshows on the planet. There was education, training, networking events, and an ENORMOUS exhibition—too much to cover in just one short blog. So, for the sake of brevity, I am going to focus on the conference as well as collaboration and meeting room technologies I saw at InfoComm 2022 (and the problems that they solve) that can help office equipment dealers evolve beyond print.
Meeting Efficiency Solutions at InfoComm 2022
There is a lot of wasted motion that comes with meetings—sometimes before the meeting even starts. We’ve all had complications with finding a meeting space, starting meetings on time, and sharing content through a smartboard, for example. Sure, it might only be five or ten minutes here and there, but all that wasted time can add up—especially when you consider that the average worker attends 62 meetings a month. There was a slew of meeting solutions on the exhibition floor to help address these problems, but I am going to focus on Appspace and Sharp Synappx.
Appspace’s solution, Employee App, enables employees to reserve meeting spaces or hot desks. Employees can select which room or desk that they want to reserve visually through a map on their smartphone, or by interacting with panels that are typically hung outside conference rooms. The solution integrates with popular conferencing apps like Teams and Zoom so users can receive notifications about their meeting (like changes in the reservation) through their existing conferencing solutions.
Sharp Synappx Meeting helps users start the meeting, automatically mirroring their device on the meeting room’s smartboard and connecting to your web conferencing solution of choice. Users don’t have to struggle with dongles or waste time trying to connect their device. Once the meeting is started, the Synappx presents users with a timer so they can see how they are doing on time throughout the meeting. The solution also provides users with fast access to meeting attachments and supports voice commands so you can run meetings hands-free. Once the meeting is over, the solution disconnects all mirrored devices, disconnects the web conference, and updates the room calendar so others know it’s available.
Hybrid Conference and Collaboration Solutions at InfoComm 2022
There were several Conference and Meeting Room solutions providers that addressed the inequitable meeting experience between remote and in-person participants. For example, many remote workers are stuck with a single camera view of the meeting room that doesn’t provide much detail. If in-person participants are collaborating on a whiteboard, then it is difficult for remote workers to see what’s happening on that whiteboard. Remote meeting participants also miss out on a lot of non-verbal communications—such as one’s facial expressions—which are key to interpreting language. The experience can be alienating and cause remote participants to tune out. Essentially, their time is wasted.
Several solutions, like Canon AMLOS and Crestron Sightline, address this issue by leveraging powerful cameras and AI to create an immersive and engaging meeting experience for remote participants. The system that Crestron demoed during InfoComm leverages seven cameras and AI-driven audible detection capabilities to provide users with dynamic views based on what’s happening in the room. If an in-person participant speaks, the camera will cut to them. If that person were to pace back and forth, the camera would follow them. It will even cut from one angle to another if the speaker is to turn their face. Sightline can also cut to split screen in case another in-person participant asks a question, displaying the presenter and the person asking the question side-by-side.
Canon’s AMLOS demo also had some impressive features, such as the ability to use hand gestures to start and stop meetings, and to “spotlight” objects—such as a whiteboard—providing remote workers with tight, cropped shot of that object. So, if you spotlight a whiteboard, remote participants will have an up close and personal view of that whiteboard and be able to zoom and pan around where they need a closer look. Remote participants can also customize up to three streams so they can focus on parts of the room that are most important—one stream can be on the whiteboard, another can be on the speaker, and the third on some other important person or object in the room, for example.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
The hybrid office is here to say. According to Keypoint Intelligence’s 2021 Future of Office Survey, 95% of workers want to work from home at least part-time, even after the pandemic subsides and it is safe to return to the office. Indeed, many businesses have been able to implement solutions like Teams or Zoom to enable collaboration among remote and in-person workers. But we are now learning that simply connecting people with each other is not enough. Between scheduling meetings, getting them started on time, keeping them on track, and ensuring that all meeting participants have an equal voice and engaging experience, businesses need plenty of help as they continue to adapt to the hybrid workplace.
This presents office equipment dealers with an outstanding opportunity, especially at a time when print is in decline and dealers are looking to replace those lost revenues. Unlike with more complicated pivot strategies (like managed IT), you don’t need to invest as much time and energy into launching a conferencing and collaboration (C&C) solutions business. In fact, you might already partner with a manufacturer who has these kinds of technologies in their portfolio. The labor requirements are nowhere nearly as complicated—existing technicians can be upskilled/retrained—and the business model is much more familiar to your existing one. Better yet, virtually anyone who is buying print is also spending money on some form of C&C technology, so you already have a ton of leads. It shouldn’t be difficult to use C&C solutions to get facetime with existing customers or to finally penetrate those accounts that you’ve been after for years.
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