By Cory Rehfeldt, Director, Collaboration Practice, Logicalis US

No matter how technically savvy you are, everyone’s been in that uncomfortable position when they’re trying to join a collaborative workgroup during a meeting or join a meeting remotely and … the technology doesn’t work.  There’s some problem with your equipment connecting to the meeting equipment and, all of a sudden, you realize you’ve missed half of what was said because you were completely consumed with the technology rather than the business you were there to conduct.

That’s not collaborative – it’s stressful.  Which means, people who are not technically astute will avoid collaborative meetings with a vengeance.  But when the technology works, the kinds of things that can be accomplished in shorter timeframes and with greater accuracy make the struggle – almost – worthwhile.

Now, with the recent introduction of the Cisco Spark Board, there’s a new kind of next-generation meeting technology available that will eliminate all of this, and it’s something that has impressed us at Logicalis.  It will roll all the previously disparate technologies used in collaborative meetings – personal rooms, audio and video, real-time annotation collaboration, smartboard capabilities, and even instant messaging – into a single, easy-to-use platform at a significantly reduced price.

While Logicalis prides itself on being “vendor neutral,” I feel confident in saying your competition is going to be looking at this.  There will be no more disparate legacy platforms for collaboration because, with this kind of next-generation platform, all the pieces finally work together. It’s everything we’ve been watching this industry evolve into for the last two decades, and it’s here now.

If your meetings are less effective than you had hoped, if your users avoid taking advantage of the technology you’ve deployed, and if you’re worried about duplicating these environments because the cost is too high, there are five important reasons to explore a next-generation meeting solution.

Improves Ease of Use

In next-generation meetings, the hassle of connecting to remote colleagues or participating from another office will be eliminated. As meeting participants file into a connected meeting room, their mobile device will instantly recognize the room’s collaboration solution and can automatically connect them to a persistent, immersive experience that includes audio and video conferencing, instant messaging, smartboard-like interactive drawing and presentation capabilities. Next-generation meeting solutions will combine the functionality of all your previously employed disparate devices and roll them into a single easy-to-use experience at a lower price point.  For people who are less technically savvy, the ease-of-use inherent in these next-generation meeting platforms will eliminate the stress involved in making the technology work, leading to higher user adoption.

Lowers Cost

If your business is like many organizations, you may have only one room outfitted with collaboration tools, forcing people to schedule meetings when the room is available rather than when they need to meet. Having multiple connected rooms from which to choose has been on many organizations’ wish lists for some time, but with sophisticated collaboration solutions running hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement and maintain, the idea was often cost-prohibitive. Next-generation meeting solutions like Spark, however, are expected to resolve that, reducing the typical investment for a collaborative meeting room by as much as ten times, which means businesses will be able to implement more collaborative workspaces and more affordable price points.

Bridges Generational Gaps: As millennials become the new consumer, it’s critical to interact with them in the ways they find most appealing and comfortable – and that typically includes electronic modes of communication.  So, in business-to-consumer settings, deploying more interactive next-generation meeting solutions will soon be both a business imperative and an affordable, easy-to-manage option that bridges the gap between Baby Boomers and millennials and reaches young consumers in a way that is both engaging and meaningful to them.

Advances Agility

In business-to-business settings, the ability to use a next-generation meeting solution improves the speed at which decisions can be made and work can be done.  Imagine the task of building a skyscraper, for example. How much faster would things progress if all stakeholders could attend every meeting, and if everything that was discussed, shared, changed or said was preserved indefinitely for anyone that needed to review it later?

Eliminates Size Barriers

Because next-generation meetings are easier to use and more cost-effective to deploy – and because anyone using Spark with a mobile phone or tablet can download the application free – it makes collaborative meetings between big businesses and small businesses more accessible, eliminating size as a barrier to working cohesively together.

 

Want to learn more? Listen to a webinar about next-generation meetings, then explore the complete communication and collaboration system transformation many businesses are undergoing. Find out more about Logicalis’ capabilities and the ways Logicalis and Cisco can help. Then read Logicalis’ recent collaboration news as well as a series of expert blog posts about collaboration.