5 Things to consider when buying web conferencing solutions
The unstoppable rise of web conferencing
Remote meetings were already popular before the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering savings in both time and costs. For example, remote teams could meet more easily, and manufacturers and suppliers from around the world could do business without the need for constant travel. Communication and engagement possibilities were much improved by the use of ‘live’ video interaction.
The global Covid-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns and travel restrictions triggered massive growth in adoption of video technology to support online working and learning which no one could have predicted.
Hybrid working & learning
The use of presentation and collaboration tools supporting multi-modal and hybrid teaching and working models has rapidly become the norm. Hybrid modality supporting simultaneous participation for both in-person and remote-attendees in a variety of situations, for example, classrooms, meeting rooms or courtrooms has become essential.
In universities, the way that universities approach course design and in how they plan to provide high quality contact time for their students has changed dramatically, with the realisation that the hybrid world is here to stay.
Companies have adapted quickly and are now enjoying the benefits of a flexible workforce. Despite the call to ‘return to the office’ post-pandemic, hybrid working has proved so popular, many workers are now opting to work remotely for at least part of their working week.
The legal community also had to make massive changes in the way justice was delivered in courtrooms. With a backlog of cases waiting for trial, remote technologies have been implemented, and will continue to be used in the future, helping to deliver increased productivity, efficiency, and cost savings.
Web conferencing has become a key component of the new hybrid world. Online services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and many others have seen dramatic growth over the last two years. For fixed installations such as in meeting spaces, classrooms, and courtrooms, a professional solution is essential, and it is with these environments in mind that we turn our attention.
It’s not simply about choosing an online web conferencing service – it’s about examining how it will be used, and whether the new solution provides the same standard of flexibility, functionality, and usability, as an existing ‘in-room’ only installation.
Let’s take a look at some of the key considerations that are often overlooked, when selecting a new web conferencing solution:
1. Consistent working and learning
A key consideration is whether in-room meeting attendees and remote participants enjoy the same on-screen experience.
Is the on-screen content material the same for everybody, and do all participants who are actually sitting in the room, have the opportunity to easily share their own content onto the local display screen? Can this content then be easily shared with remote participants?
If the answer to this is no, or only with extreme difficulty, then you are making compromises in your hybrid working and learning environment. Consider the flexibility of in-person working and learning, and try to maximise the possibilities for a blend of in-room and remote attendees.
2. Flexible content sharing
An inherent problem with web conferencing is the quality of presented content material. A lecture or meeting entirely based around PowerPoint slides will cause the audience to quickly lose interest when no engaging elements are included.
The importance of engaging an audience using high quality interactive visual materials, both physically in the classroom or meeting room, and when online is vital for the success of hybrid working. The impact is always beneficial when a presenter is able to switch between multi-source materials such as a video, a web browser or other eye-catching materials.
We’ve spent a lot of time developing our Cynap user interface so that it’s intuitive, and hassle-free to use, and you get the same simple icon-based GUI whichever one of our Cynap models you're using.
It’s no longer enough to enable screen mirroring for in-person meeting delegates Remote attendees need to see what is on-screen in the room, and it must be simple for the meeting host to operate.
3.Connectivity for all laptops, tablet PCs and smartphones
There are many hardware solutions on the market that include a web conferencing service, together with various elements of BYOD wireless presentation and collaboration tools.
You should look for a solution that can accommodate wireless connection of all types. It’s no longer enough to provide a decent meeting experience only for laptop users. Tablet and smartphone users also expect to be able to start or join meetings easily.
It’s also not convenient if everybody has to use a different method to connect. Consistent connection workflow and standardized operation will minimize delays, and ensure that connection problems are avoided. In situations such as a courtroom where a wide variety of people may be coming to the courtroom on any given day in order to present their on-screen content, you must provide connectivity for all personal devices, in a manner that is quick and easy to manage for administrators.
Also while mentioning judicial installations, in addition to the requirement for easy connection workflows, it’s essential that on-screen content can be moderated before being allowed to be shown on-screen.
In a meeting room or classroom, enabling everybody to connect to a Cynap attached to a central screen avoids the inevitable audio issues that results from multiple attendees in the same room dialling in to a call because they want to share the contents of their device on the main screen.
4.Keep it simple!
Web conferencing must be reliable, easy to set up, and offer a range of features that are simple to use, and which provide added value to your presentation or lesson content.
WolfVision customers tell us that using the built-in multi-platform web conferencing solution that comes with our Cynap systems does just this – providing additional functionality at the touch of a button, such as a whiteboard, an easy to access web browser, or quick access to files, that really make a difference in enhancing the quality of working and learning.
5. Multi-platform gives you flexibility
There is also the question of what services you're going to use. A single service is usually not enough, and most organisations have a need to be able to accommodate multiple web conferencing services.
This is not so difficult, but what is important is that workflows for using the various services are easy to use, and contain a degree of standardisation. Otherwise, users are more likely to be frustrated in their efforts to interact with hybrid audiences.
Wireless presentation, web conferencing, and collaboration solutions from WolfVision
Our unique range of Cynap wireless presentation, web conferencing, and collaboration solutions are used by many of the world’s leading education, corporate, and judicial organisations.
In a rapidly changing world where web conferencing has already become an essential part of our everyday lives, for effective collaboration it’s more important than ever before to ensure that high quality on-screen presentation content materials are available for both in-room and remote-located meeting participants.
Contact us now to explore how our systems and solutions could help your organisation to provide a consistent working and learning experience, staying connected in the new hybrid world.