Video Conferencing &
The “New” Normal
We live in a world full of technology, challenged by the need to keep up with change and innovation. Many business operations have been forced to
re-evaluate their internal processes to align within the margins of government regulations. Some companies are even creating their own additional protocols to help keep their employees healthy. Now, more than ever, integrators have an important role to play in reshaping how end users interact with their technology. Amongst these new set of responsibilities, a shared goal has been born; to deliver an optimal solution that allows business operations to proceed as “normal” with minimal limitations.
How are you bringing forth valuable solutions that your clients can benefit from? What considerations and discussions are you having with your clients? What are the discovered commonalities? All of these are good questions to contemplate when considering how you can provide the best possible solution for any particular client.
The goal of Simplicity
Once you’ve identified a few of the main issues, the next step is to simplify and make things intuitive for common system functionality. A solid foundation of understanding regarding how your client might use the system, must be formulated in order to achieve this. (A good UI/UX should be easy to understand and use correctly with minimal training; and hard to use incorrectly.) Automated functions have become an obvious approach to creating a more “touchless” experience. Automated functionality should be logically intentional within this context, in order to maintain ease of use.
“We can’t hear you, You’re On mute”
Most high-end DSP equipment allows for monitoring audio signals as they transition from the inputs to the output channels. One potential solution here to help mitigate problems like these, is to monitor the input signal before a controlled mute point. This would allow you to analyze and compare frequencies within the normal voice range against a threshold level. You can then trigger notifications that remind the user to unmute themselves when the system “thinks” someone is trying to speak while they are on mute. Although it may be a small subset of the overall system functionality, we find many of our clients appreciate our meticulous approach to improving the user experience.
Most meetings are scheduled through enterprise solutions such as Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Google Calendar, etc. Monitoring room occupancy with sensors, people counting cameras, and automating tasks based on the data these devices provide, can have many benefits. The first is an implied cost reduction, due to increased meeting efficiency (i.e. less time wasted in getting a meeting up and running). It also helps to relieve on-site support from having to deal with issues. leading to a less populated spaces in an office environment. Room occupancy also allows people to find available rooms for ad-hoc meetings more immediately; resulting in some of the same presumed benefits in terms of public health and safety.
Touchscreens are a great place for germs and bacteria to collect. During the day when the cleaning staff isn’t able to readily access meeting rooms, simplification and automation strategies can help reduce quantitative direct contact with the devices.
Wireless presentation systems are equally becoming more common; as are mobile solutions for system control. In corporate environments where employee WiFi access points have been provisioned, users may optionally have the ability to interact with systems through a web front-end. This would allow for less cross-pollination of surface germs to transfer from person to person within any particular meeting space in a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) configuration. Wireless presentation solutions that don’t involve sharing a common USB or network “dongle” has the same inherent benefits.
Larger meeting spaces may have different requirements to create a more personable experience. On a video call where a single camera captures a full table, participants may be hard to distinguish on the far end of the call. With more people being allowed to work from home, viewing participants in a large boardroom on a small computer monitor during a video call might be difficult. Solutions that allow a camera to automatically track and zoom in on active speakers can not only help improve user engagement; they can reduce manual interaction with a control surface to point the camera where it’s needed.