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How Can You Keep Your Meeting Room COVID-Secure?

Young people with face masks back at work in office after coronavirus quarantine and lockdown.

The way we approach the modern workplace has changed significantly since the events of 2020.

When the pandemic struck, the demand for more hygienic interactions increased. Contact centres were shut down for fear of having too many people in the same room. Cramped office spaces suddenly became more dispersed, with partitions to separate desks in an “open” environment.

The meeting room is just one of the many landscapes set to change as we begin our slow transition back into office life. Before COVID, concepts like “huddle” rooms, with more people working together in small spaces were growing in popularity. Now, the demand will be for larger spaces, ready to support social distancing, and reduce the need for contact.

Keeping the Meeting Room Safe: Smarter, Bigger Spaces

The first, and perhaps most important step in keeping the meeting room COVID-safe, is space. During the pandemic, we all learned to place more space between ourselves and our friends, loved ones, and colleagues. As the return to the office begins, this need for space will continue. As a result, companies will need access to plug-and-play meeting room kits that can turn any room into an office.

These meeting kits will not only need to be simple enough to adapt to any environment, but they’ll also need to have the right technology to allow for better, clearer connections. Virtual microphone technology that can pick up voices from all over a room and wide-angle cameras for capturing wider spaces will be more essential.

Going forward, the demand for intelligence in meeting room environments will grow too. Cameras equipped with AI algorithms that can automatically detect and frame faces will be essential here, allowing users to maintain focus wherever they are in the room.

Technology in microphones that can simultaneously block out external noise and distractions, but home in on human voices will be a must-have. Employees working in a larger meeting room session should feel as though they’re sitting side-by-side with both their in-house and remote colleagues.

Crucial Considerations for Safer Spaces

Bringing intelligence into the meeting room could be a particularly important step as we move into the post-pandemic age. Clever meeting room bars and video cameras can automatically switch themselves on when a sensor detects motion in the room, reducing the need for physical touch during setup. Some cameras can even detect the atmosphere in a room, evaluating things like airflow, temperature, and even how many people are present.

Intelligent technology also paves the way for more contactless meeting room environments. With smart assistants that can respond to the human voice, users can set up a meeting in seconds, without having to touch anything in a shared space. Assistants can also use voice commands to zoom in on a participant in a meeting or bring up meeting documents without the need for touch.

Other crucial considerations for safer spaces might include:

  • BYOD technology: Giving your users the freedom to bring their own devices into the meeting can be an excellent way to keep everyone safe. When sharing content and information, users can use their own laptops and smartphones, rather than having to access a shared tool
  • Touchless systems: Touchless systems that allow users to interact with systems through gestures or voice will reduce the need for cleaning in between meeting sessions and keep spaces as hygienic as possible
  • IoT sensors: Sensors connected by the Internet of Things will be able to collect information about the number of people in a room, their temperature, and even how often meeting rooms are used. This will make it easier for companies to schedule cleaning sessions for rooms and set policies about how to meet safely
  • Data collection: Tools for data collection will be essential moving forward. The more information a company can collect about its hybrid meetings, the more intelligent future decisions about the meeting room can be. Tools that integrate with analytics services and machine learning systems could be extremely valuable
  • Bring your Own Meeting: For people who want to get up and running in a meeting space for multiple teams or companies, bring your own meeting could be ideal. This will allow people to simply log into their meeting system of choice, with the hardware that’s currently available in the room

Is your meeting room ready for safety in the post-pandemic era?