How to prepare your meeting rooms for multiplatform video conferencing
Apr 8, 2021
For many organizations, the past few months have been all about digital collaboration. Many organizations have implemented (or accelerated) a solution for online meetings during this period and are now in the process of setting up a new standard. What we see is that organizations focus on the desktop meeting software. After all, most employees work from home and can easily dial into all types of online meetings from their laptops. But have you also thought about what digital collaboration and online meetings will look like when employees gradually start working in the office again? Can the video conferencing systems in your meeting rooms actually handle the new meeting software? Is the convenience that employees now experience with their desktop app also achievable in the meeting room? High time to start thinking about that as an organization. In this blog, I explain why and help you get started.
The challenge of multiplatform collaboration
In the ideal world, your organization uses one meeting platform and you have the meeting rooms at the office that are specifically designed for this. Things are often very different in practice, especially for organizations with multiple (international) user groups, departments or branches. For example, the marketing team uses Zoom for external communication and webinars, while branches in the USA are standardized on Microsoft Teams. And then you have all kinds of different conference rooms: Teams Rooms, Zoom Rooms, but probably also rooms with traditional video conferencing systems from, for example, Cisco or Poly. In addition, you have to take into account external partners and customers who each use their own platforms. Supporting all these different platforms and systems is quite a challenge. However, the goal is very clear:
Regardless of which meeting room they enter, employees should be able to join any meeting at the push of a button.
How to handle your video conferencing rooms?
Multiplatform collaboration requires a connection between different types of meeting software and video conferencing systems. And it is precisely with the latter that things get tricky. Because while employees can easily join any type of meeting on their laptop, things are often very different in the meeting room. This is because the systems in these rooms do not support all meeting software. You will then be faced with one of the following situations:
- The hardware in a room is very specifically set up for one meeting platform (e.g. Teams or Zoom), but can’t simply talk to other meeting platforms.
- The traditional video conferencing hardware in a room, also called VTC systems, may communicate in a universal video conferencing language (SIP protocol), but not in the language of specific meeting software like those from Google, Teams or Zoom.
In both cases, you have a problem: users cannot dial in to all types of meetings from the conference room.
Looking for a solution for your existing video conferencing systems
To avoid such problems when employees return to the office, it is important to start thinking about a solution now. Roughly speaking, you have two choices here:
- Refurbish all meeting rooms according to a new standard with the associated new hardware;
- Or making sure your existing video conferencing systems can “talk” to all types of meeting software.
Option 1 logically carries a considerable price tag. Moreover, it is not always possible or desirable to change all the meeting rooms from one day to the next. Existing systems have not yet been depreciated or you are simply not in a position to impose one standard on all (international) offices. It is therefore much smarter to ensure a connection, a “bridge”, between the most important platforms and systems within your organization and those of your external partners.
Connecting meeting platforms and video conferencing systems
That bridge between platforms and systems is often quite easy to build. Sometimes it requires simple adjustments in your settings, other times it requires a special ‘gateway’ solution. The most important thing when setting up the link is to focus on ease of use. Setting up the link technically is one thing, making it easy to use is another. You want to prevent employees from having to search for meeting links and login codes in the meeting room. What you want is for one meeting start button to be visible upon entry, and for employees to not even have to think about what type of meeting he or she is actually going to dial into.
“I was looking for a solution where participants only have to enter a room and press a button.”
Read how a combination of Cisco & Pexip provides the simplicity and functionality Nutreco Skretting was looking for.
Are your meeting rooms ready?
To ensure that digital collaboration and online meetings continue to run smoothly when employees (partly) return to the office, you should already be thinking about your meeting rooms. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of video conferencing rooms do you have?
- What meeting platforms are you dealing with?
- Can the rooms dial in to all those different platforms?
- And can this also be done in a user-friendly way?
Need help answering the above questions or finding the best solution for your specific situation? Please feel free to contact me, I would be happy to help you!
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