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Stepping into the Meeting Room, and Classroom, of the Future

The 'future' of meeting room and classroom technology is always around the corner as users demand faster and higher quality video and audio with support for various devices and connectors. Make sure you keep up instead of getting left behind.

You're in a meeting room, getting ready for a conference call with co-workers on the other side of the globe. In no time flat you see them pop up on the projector and you start sharing your screen to show them your latest presentation. Or, you're in a cooking class and the teacher is cutting up ingredients. A camera, connected to devices such as the ATEN Control System and Modular Matrix Switch, has a close-up shot of what she's doing, and the monitor in front of you displays it in real time. Meeting and learning spaces continue to evolve, but keeping pace with them doesn't need to be painful. In fact, not doing so could end up hurting organizations even more.

To illustrate the importance of having a cutting edge meeting space, consider this: Market analysts believe that anywhere between 38 and 50 percent of America's workforce will be working remotely by 2020. Currently in the US, for example, there are already about 3.9 million people working from home at least half of the time. These telecommuters have swelled in numbers: in fact, by 115% since 2005. Generally speaking, they're usually over 46, college-educated, work for companies with more than 100 employees, and make more than US$58 ,000 a year, according to research group Global Workplace Analytics. It's also an even split between men and women.

According to FlexJobs, the fastest-growing remote job fields are:

  • Client services
  • Virtual administration
  • Tutoring
  • State and Local Government
  • Therapy

Room for Innovation

Even if you're not working or learning remotely, chances are you'll still be spending time in meeting rooms and classrooms that are plugged in with projectors, cameras, and the ability for people to share screens and take video calls. Of course, this type of meeting or learning style isn't without its faults. Who among us has never had a laggy conference call that, to add insult to injury, also had bad audio? Or plugged in a USB to the class computer for our PowerPoint presentation only to find that it couldn't be read (and sighed in relief because we had the foresight to email ourselves the file and save it in the cloud). It's no exaggeration to say that there's always room for improvement when we want to use A/V technology on the go. Presentations can always be more interactive, and video calls and lessons can always stand to feel more natural. Making sure your meeting room is set up for maximum compatibility with legacy and modern devices and connections can be achieved, for example, with the ATEN VP1920 with its support of HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, Component, Composite, and even Coaxial cables. To combat conference calls with laggy video and poor audio quality, a solution such as the ATEN VP2730 would be ideal with its Ultra Seamless Switch with scaler function to ensure zero-second switching without latency, plus bi-directional distance-free content streaming, and built-in audio mixer.

Meeting rooms are changing rapidly but ATEN's Presentation Switch Series can help you to keep up by providing innovative video, audio, and connectivity features.

The Future is Near

Futurists will tell you that near-perfect holograms will soon be replacing conference calls, and they might be right. Throw augmented, and virtual, reality into the mix, sprinkle on some AI with a hint of Internet of Things, and the near future is looking more science fact than science fiction. How about, for example, a personal digital assistant with a camera that can transcribe everything said in a meeting, film whoever's speaking, and create messaging program notifications based on what's agreed to in a meeting? It's being worked on. Until then, though, our pro A/V interactions are still mostly of the 2D kind, but that still leaves plenty of room for innovation and, as a result, better productivity and learning.


What You Can Do

The best way to prepare for all this change and to boldly, and painlessly, step into the next generation of meeting and class rooms? Keep an open mind, be willing to adopt the best new technologies as they come along, and explain why they're a benefit to key decision makers. The repercussions for not doing so seem to be impeding organizational progress, according to the 2018 "Meeting Room of the Future" report by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). In fact, meeting room planners who are new to the field have shown an eagerness to keep up with the latest tech available to them. Their main complaint, though, is that suppliers, partners, and vendors are giving lackluster explanations about the benefits of their latest products. Regardless of where you fall on the decision-making ladder, it's important to realize that change is the only constant in the meeting room and classroom of the future.

Discover more about ATEN's Presentation Switch Series and other ATEN Meeting Room solutions here:

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