Virtual Meetings

Airport lounge, local coffee shop, on the beach or right in your own backyard are just some of the places you can conduct a small business meeting with one or many today using mobile devices and apps and cloud-based collaboration services. But the ease with which you can hold a virtual meeting doesn’t necessarily insure it will be successful. As Plantronics points out in The Better Meetings Blueprint, unless you have robust and fail-safe connectivity, you can’t be sure everyone can hear and will be heard; and if you are relying on video conferencing, that everyone can and will be seen

Plantronics offers seven technology considerations for virtual meetings to ensure you achieve your small business objectives. They include:

Mobility: Among your small business team, the desire to use preferred personal mobile devices and apps known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Bring Your Own App (BYOA) is growing. To support your mobile users, make sure you have a mobile strategy that outlines which mobile devices you support, what apps are needed for virtual meetings and how to provision security – set access privileges for your corporate data, for example – for each supported device

Sound: Mobile users can’t be certain about the noise in their environment; yet good sound quality is paramount to a meeting, especially when all users are not present in one room. Noise-cancelling headsets can enable audio clarity among mobile users. Poor acoustics in a conference room also can be offset by noise-cancelling speakerphones.

Video: Video conferencing capabilities are bringing people together around the globe. New unified communications (UC) systems integrated with video conferencing makes it particularly easy for participants to schedule a video conference or launch an impromptu one and invite others to participate by email or IM.

Network capacity: Without a reliable connection – especially high-speed bandwidth to accommodate HD video and audio – you can’t assure the productivity of your small business meeting. Ensure that your connection is reliable with minimal latency to maximize uptime across all video endpoints, conference bridges and firewalls. Advise remote users about best Wi-Fi practices to ensure they have the sufficient upload and download speeds to accommodate the demands of a web or video conferencing tool.

Security: Make sure to have strict security protocols in place for data transmission and for accessing your small business information stored in the cloud.

Interoperability: If you are implementing a UC system, you’ll want to be sure that the range of technologies you select and deploy for users to communicate with each for meetings are compatible.

Hosting: Outsourcing your UC system provides 24/7 support, guaranteed uptime and training for your team when you need it.

Be prepared in advance of the meeting

Before you get your meeting underway, make sure that everyone understands what technology is required. For example, if you are conducting a video conference, desktop or laptop users will need a webcam if they don’t have a built-in video card. If computers don’t have a built-in microphone, conference users will need a headset. Whatever tools are needed for a meeting, participants should test them out in advance.

In spite of preparation, something may go wrong. If possible, have technical support standing by and accessible via IM should anyone in the conference experience difficulties.

To find out more about technology requirements to ensure a successful virtual meeting, as well how to plan for successful outcomes, download Plantronics The Better Meeting Blueprint.