Using collaboration as a sales tool

Opinion Guy Coen Oct 28, 2013

How new technology is transforming meeting rooms

The reliance on technology for sales and training tools is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s increasingly digital corporate world. Presentations are expected to be slick, shared, and often include interactive elements for participants, to make training sessions and sales meetings as productive as possible.

One of the key drivers to more efficiency during presentations in meeting rooms is choosing the right technology. Aside from the obvious factors that contribute to the success of these types of sessions, such as the relevance of the topic, a concise agenda and effective visuals, the most important element is the use and availability of the highest performing technology and equipment.

When selecting the right technology, a number of factors have to be considered. The most common requirements include having the correct tools in place to collaborate with other meeting participants, a system that is easy to connect to, having the ability to share content from preferred devices, as well as quicker start up and even wireless connectivity to a projector

The meeting room environment has been transformed beyond recognition in recent years, from traditional technology, such as the overhead projector, to modern devices such as interactive whiteboards and desktop computers. The upsurge in BYOD is also changing the demand for the meeting room set up. The importance of mobile devices has grown exponentially and as the majority of trainees and employees all use smartphones, tablets and laptops, the potential to create a more engaging environment is far greater than it was just a few years ago. Of those countries addressed, the UK is the most tech-savvy nation. 83 percent of managers use laptops to share information in meeting rooms, 53 percent use tablets, and even smartphones are no longer uncommon, at 41 percent.

This in turn has affected those chairing the meetings, as 74 percent of business leaders said they would find it useful to have the ability to use their smartphone or tablet to show content on a large meeting room screen. Despite the substantial benefits it could bring to the efficiency of meetings, businesses are not always up to date when it comes to enabling the BYOD trend.

Technologically savvy businesses are already using tablets and smartphones as a combined personal diary, communications device and even notepad. However, their potential goes way beyond what was offered by the personal digital assistant, and their connectivity options make these devices ideal for meeting room collaboration. The sharing of content stored across devices makes them useful for a wide range of meeting scenarios, from sales presentations and planning sessions to training.

Perhaps it is surprising then, given that BYOD has become so prevalent in the workplace, how slowly these advantages are coming to be realised, again this could stem from the chosen technology. For example, in a situation where a sales leader and the other meeting attendees are sharing ideas and content visually on the same screen, each participant would need a cable to connect to the screen, settings would need to be configured and it would take time to get up and running. The result tends to be a less than perfect representation of the content due to distortion, incorrect screen settings or resolution. 

Recent research commissioned by Barco, gave an insight into today’s meeting culture and revealed that the majority of the 1,338 respondents expect a lot from their meeting room technology. More than eight out of 10 European directors and managers said they recognised the potential of electronic devices and feel that the right technology was vital to making meetings more productive. While technology is the key to success, ironically it is technical issues that are also one of the main factors holding back the effectiveness of meetings. Technology alone is clearly not enough; users also need it to be fail-safe to improve meeting room performance. 

The solution is for businesses to make wiser investments in the right technology then the true benefits can be recognised with the use of collaboration technologies, specifically designed and ideal for use in meeting room environments. Emerging solutions, such as wireless collaboration technologies can bring all users’ devices together to support an increasingly mobile-centric workplace.

The call for collaboration solutions is loud and clear. Innovative presentation technologies will allow personal content to be displayed quickly and efficiently while avoiding the all of headaches associated with system interfacing and signal management. Integrated collaboration solutions also include unified communications, as it goes beyond the traditional definition of voice, data and video convergence to encompass digital media, conferencing and social media. These solutions are changing the way sales teams work and communicate by seamlessly connecting physical and virtual environments to improve productivity and information sharing.

For any business leaders involved in sales or training, these all-in-one packages can create a state-of-the-art meeting room that will improve the efficiency of every session. Video conferencing, networking, information security and, now, wireless and smooth running presentation equipment can work together to improve both the performance of the technology and the outcome of the meetings themselves.

 

 

Guy Coen is general manager collaboration, Barco

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