Smart meetings and collaboration
Channel Middle East, in association with Microsoft, discusses the importance of remote meeting tools and software in facilitating collaboration within the distributed workforce
The digital workplace relies on collaboration tools to ensure productivity and mitigate business disruption. During the past decade, interactive technologies have become an integral part of the multi-faceted workplace, making it more flexible, productive and user-friendly.
The proper use of technology can empower employers to boost workplace productivity, foster teamwork and improve communication. At the same time, merely deploying new technologies does not necessarily lead to measurable returns on investment. It may, instead, hinder performance as employees switch between various applications for content creation, messaging, calling and meetings.
For brainstorming sessions, check-ins and in-depth discussion, team members usually want to connect face-to-face. Often precious hours are lost due to long meetings in the office that are not conducive to productivity. Additionally, unavailability of team members at the same time may delay discussions and subsequent action.
Virtual meetings offer a much-needed solution and are beneficial to both employers and their staff. Besides being cost-effective, they offer the required flexibility and accessibility without compromising on productivity and output.
Real-time collaboration can help users seamlessly integrate and connect a variety of devices and conference rooms while sharing data, dashboards and visual aids during the meeting. Conducting a remote meeting that is housed online, rather than at the office means that participants can connect regardless of the software they use or their location.
It behoves upon the organisation’s decision-makers to ensure that such tools can provide an enhanced and secure user experience that culminates into substantial financial and agility benefits.
Increase in demand for flexibility in the workplace has accelerated the adoption of next-gen collaboration strategy. For the distributed workforce, virtual meetings are both a necessity and a convenience. Intelligent meeting rooms with virtual assistants can help create a smart digital workforce that is faster, more efficient and productive. By selecting the right communication tool, teams can improve how they collaborate.
The market is flooded with virtual meeting apps that fulfil every day professional demands. Besides saving on travel costs, the virtual room itself allows for easy collaboration beyond geographical boundaries, in a timely and cost-effective manner. Clearly, users need a platform that is interactive, engaging and productive – one that is easily accessible and includes document and screen-sharing capabilities.
Several meeting platforms available today include functionalities that automate repetitive tasks, ensure privacy and engage virtual assistants or chatbots to enhance user experience. Further, vendors have integrated technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning within collaboration tools to offer services that enable greater efficiency and productivity, and in turn, a positive return on investment.
However, virtual conferencing may pose challenges that can offset any potential gains. Friction arising from these tools, such as coordinating between different time zones, internet speed issues and managing participants’ distractions, can make it challenging to stay productive. The upside is that such disadvantages are very manageable with the right online meeting software.
The first step is to understand the meaning of best-in-class collaboration. With remote work gaining momentum globally, organisations have started investing in comprehensive virtual networking and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, which enables unlimited chat and search, video calling, team and personal file storage and real-time collaboration on one platform.
Security within the virtual meeting room is paramount. The growing popularity of remote collaboration has attracted bad actors that take advantage of new and untrained users. This can be a nightmare for corporate security and individual privacy alike.
It is necessary to make security a priority in virtual meeting rooms to keep discussions private and safe from intruders. The good news is that many videoconferencing products include security settings that can prevent such incidents.
A well-rounded solution
There are many different aspects to achieve truly intelligent interaction within the collaborative and distributed workplace. To facilitate better communication and collaboration within the remote teams, it is imperative to invest in a conferencing tool that is intuitive and minimises distractions, records sessions and enables real-time interaction, and sports robust security features.
As teams become more reliant on virtual meeting and collaboration tools, business heads must enable reliable, secure and consistent experiences in the borderless office. It is equally vital for the users to understand that the digital assistants and advanced technologies introduced in the workflow are meant to empower users and not to replace them.
Finally, business leaders need to evaluate the capabilities of their existing platforms, available upgrades and new services or functionalities available with advances in technology. Equipped with this knowledge, they can actively plan how such developments can be utilised to reduce costs, improve revenue and gain process efficiencies.