B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 3 months ago

Ensuring Meeting Equity w/ Wireless Conferencing Capabilities


The modern workforce is more different now than ever before. Historically, people have worked heavily in office. Then, work shifted to a remote setting.  

Now, a majority of workers prefer working in a hybrid setting. 

Faced with issues that are unique to a hybrid work environment, meeting equity often suffers. One business is here to level the playing field between those working in office and at home.  

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Jen Sigmund , senior segment marketing manager, Meeting Experience and weConnect at Barco about:

  • Meaning of meeting equity
  • Importance of diversity and inclusion
  • Establishing equity with technology solutions    

Email Jen Sigmund for more information. 

Check out Barco and MeetingEquity.com for more information. 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify , Apple Podcasts or Stitcher . Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next, DOT INGRAM MICRO DOT com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Scare Hawk, and today I'm joined by Jen Sigmund, senior segment marketing manager, meeting experience, and we connect for Barco. Jen, welcome. Thanks, shelby. Thanks for having me on today. Absolutely well. Today we are talking about equitable meetings in this era of remote and hybrid work. But first, jen, tell us a little bit about Barco. Yeah, I will, because I know many people have probably heard of cliqu share, probably our lead product, but they have not actually heard of Barco. And essentially, you know, we're a global technology leader that develops, you know, networked visualization solutions for the entertainment, the enterprise and healthcare markets. So we make things such as projectors that do big immersive experiences like the Vango exhibit, if you saw that, the big immersive exhibit. And then, of course, click share does wireless conferencing capabilities. So most people are probably familiar with that product. And we also do healthcare. We do monitors and displays for the healthcare industry as well. So wide, a wide range there. But UH yeah, so based out of Europe, but I don't know if people knew that we're actually based out of courtrack, Belgium. So wow. Well, so I understand that Barco they've done some studies about hybrid work and worker satisfaction. So I wonder if you can go into a little bit about that study and share some of those findings. Sure happy to actually, we have been doing a cliqueshare sort day now for the past four years. Um, we introduced it in twenty nine. Is a way to keep on pulse basically, and how meetings are changing and what the role of technology is over time, you know, and from that research we created the Bargo meeting barometer, which you kind of measures basically how workers experienced the quality of their meetings. Um, the Baromber is measured kind of the same way in net promoter score is so by you know, you detract the negatives, people who think meetings have worsened, from the positives, people who think that meetings have improved. And at the time that we started this four years ago, overall there was a general satisfaction level with meetings. It's about a positive sixty three. And then after two years of Covid of course, as you would expect, it is dropped quite a bit. But in we still saw that employees were somewhat positive about meetings. But and we still had a positive index of about seventeen on on this whole meter. But in May of one it descended to, you know, kind of a negative and now it's actually drop even further. So essentially the toll, if you will, I think, of the pandemic and of all of the challenges around meetings have really kind of taken a toll and overall satisfaction. So before the pandemic it was at sixty three and now it's in the negative numbers. Correct, it was a positive sixty three, now and minus. So there's some work to do to improve the overall uh perception of meetings and how while they're working for people. That's interesting. Yeah. Well, so from this study, you know, I found a little bit about it and uh, you know, I thought that this fact was interesting, that of employees want hybrid work, but Sev seven zero are stressed by hybrid work. So that seems like somewhat of a paradox there. So can you, can we talk about some of the stressors with hybrid work? Absolutely. So, you're right, this is a bit of a paradox and on one hand we see that a vast majority of people are bought into this hybrid working mode. We've seen, you know, lots of studies, lots of research...

...is continually coming out about that. But the challenges, though, that hybrid meetings themselves, in essence, you know, being able to have that experience, that same easy experience, whether you're in a meeting room or whether you're from home, is now shifted and there's a lot more challenges around it. So what we're finding is that there's a lot more issues with engagement and hybrid meetings. Significant source really of the disconnect, you know, kind of emanates from a perception of oversight. Right. Twenty percent of people find it difficult to have their voices heard when joining a hybrid meeting from an off site location. Twice as many remote hybrid participants feel that meeting leaders cater too heavily to those in a physical meeting space when conducting a conversation. So, as you can think about it, you know, we are now taking something that we used to take for granted, meaning everyone being in a room. We have just always assumed everyone was everything was going well, and now we have split that dynamic. So when you talk about more just specifically on tech issues associated with hybrid meetings, you know you've got about people just struggle with cables, just connectivity into the meeting room itself. A majority of people have issues sharing content, you know, different platforms, different ways of sharing content, and a lot of that simply leads to a lot of stress and anxiety over that. So that's what we're like, that's what we're seeing. Yeah, yeah, so you alluded to this about, you know, meeting participants having feeling like their their voices aren't heard, both kind of literally and figuratively. So when we say meeting equity, what exactly are we talking about? And how does meeting Equity Affect Employees? Yeah, and then that's actually where I think everything is starting to go to these days, is around, Um, this whole concept of meeting equity. It's something that we never really saw before the pandemic. Right, when we talk about meeting equity, we're really talked talking about being seen and being heard equally, and it sounds really simple. But you know, when you think back, go back to two and a half years before the pandemic, most of us were in offices or buildings. Right, most meetings were in person. Occasionally you had that poor soul who was dialing in and trying to participate or whatever, but we never really thought about that. I was like, Oh yeah, we forgot that Bopa bill is on the line. Literally, if you walk out of the room and they're still there, they're like hello, are you still there? And before Covid, of course you maybe had one or two meetings that had video capabilities, which most people really didn't turn on. I know I worked for a couple of large corporations. We never used the video in those rooms and it's only been you know, fast forward when you think about what's happened in the pandemic. Of course all the calls were equitable during the pandemic because we were all remote. Right, so we're all dialing in, we're on teams, run zoom and everybody's remote. So of course everyone has an equal seat at the table. You can do the chat, you can follow everything, because it's easy now. What's happened is that people are returning to the offices with meeting rooms and now there's a video and most of them. And the challenges to ensure that everyone is included in these meetings, which obviously are now video first, and that, you know, people feel engaged and participating wherever they're located. And it's really making sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to communicate and contribute. And this is where the challenge comes in, because so many people just didn't use video before and now we're video forward in almost everything that we're doing. Yeah, I mean it's some of these issues are kind of coming screaming back to me from, you know, back being in the office and the corporate worlds one. Yeah, you were that that poor soul that was on the phone, and I think that maybe a lot of us can identify with this scenario. If you are maybe a more reserved person, you're already struggling with having your your voice heard in a meeting room. Maybe you are a working mother who has a sick kid and you know that that big meeting...

...that you have today, you've got to do it remotely and you're the one that's calling in, trying to either make a big presentation, which is just awful to be able to do, or you're you're pitching something and you don't have any type of feedback or you know instant, instant feedback of how it's being received in the room, that those are always a really difficult situations. So so, yeah, I think you're right that that meeting equity isn't wasn't something in our vocabulary even a year ago. Right. No, no, and I have to say, I need to say obviously as a woman too, you know, I used to always feel bad if I had a child in a room or something and be like, oh my gosh, you know, people do it. So to me, actually, what's been really wonderful to see during the courses pandemic is all the men, because we're honestly, we're in the tech industry, and all the men dealing with their kids during the meetings and it's wonderful. It's like it's okay, we get it, we get it. We're all trying to manage this, we're all having lives. So I think it has really changed the dynamic in terms of how we think of each other there and I don't know, I don't think anyone thinks twice now if you're on a call and, you know, a child comes into a room or dog's barks in the background. It's really shifted how we're thinking, made it, to me, a lot more authentic and a lot more real in terms of how we engage with each other. So that's probably the positive that's come out of this. It is it is we all understand each other very well and that that's helpful. And you're right about you know, maybe women in Business Um, can say from from experience that if you're one of the few women that's, you know, an upper management or you're in a technology field, you are acutely aware of this either perceived inequity or real inequity when your your voice and your image isn't being portrayed as equally to the ones that are in the in the room, that are in the office, that are sitting right next to the CEO and able to, you know, to have this kind of back and forth. Rapport so I wonder if you can expand a little bit on the feedback that you hear on this topic about meeting UN equity, in equity for women. Yeah, you know what it's and it's not just about women, but it's it's, like you said and alluded to earlier, people who just simply don't maybe like to speak, they're more introverted or they just simply they have some sort of other meaning or some sort of issue with with the way that they communicate and they're uncomfortable. So this goes beyond just simply thinking well, we need to make everyone feel good. This is a real business metric in terms of actually how companies perform. Interestingly enough, you know, Mackenzie has done some really interesting research around this and they you know what? They have found that companies that really systematically invest in equity and diversity have a competitive advantage. You know, inclusion really matters in terms of the more diverse companies are more likely to actually put out perform their peers on profitability. So it's it's not just something that's feel good, is something that is hard solid metrics behind it in terms of overall profitability. Companies in the for racial, you know, ethnic gender diversity on executive teams are significantly more likely to have high financial returns and profitability. So that is something that this should be important to every single company that is still trying to do something that differentiates themselves. It also makes organizations more attractive. Right of people say they've turned down or have decided not to pursue a job because of perceived lack of inclusion and an organization. So you know, we know as well and we saw this data and we thought this was interesting, but we also as well validated some of this. We did a recent joint study with Jabra showed that men and women with young children at home are more interested in hybrid working as well and also, interestingly, senior executives who have more space for private offices in their home also have more interest in doing hybrid working. So it doesn't just support this diversity inclusion, it just supports people working the way that they want to work. So we know that companies that are really seeking to optimize their business and crude and retain top talent, we know...

...it's a huge issue these days, especially right now, the ability to support hybrid working is critical and uh, you know, from a technology standpoint, you know, just making meetings, hybrid meetings, easy is going to be critical to supporting this type of a hybrid working environment. And, Um, you know, when we talk talk about demographics, and it's not just men and women, it's actually, you know, when you look at the I call the kids at this point coming out of college, but you know, it's it's really it's Gen z. They are also they're dying to kind of come back into the office get that mentoring, get that experience that they need. So they're interested in coming back. Others are interested in staying away. So we've got to found a way to just help everyone work in the middle there, right, and you're right, it's it's about finding how you work best while being most productive, because because there's a balance there. That leads into probably a whole other podcast about, you know, the great resignation and and being able to, uh, to fill fill spaces that you know, employees are are leaving, they're not coming back and they're realizing that this isn't what they want to do. But it's about a balance between honoring and respecting the employee and how they can work best for themselves, but also being able to produce results and and you know, all those kpis and all those things that you need to you need to see for your bottom line. H You know, companies want to be able to prove that a remote workforce or a hybrid workforce is a productive one. And so, uh, you mentioned this about technology. So what are the ways that we can establish meeting equity with technology? What are what are some of those tools that that can be used and implemented to make sure that all the voices in the room and at home are heard? Yeah, no, and this is an area, of course, obviously, where Barcos focus focused on, right, is cre eating this whole meeting equity through technology, which, I'm saying, is really focused on two areas, connectivity and USABILITY. And you know, when we talk about working from home, for two years right, people have used their own device, they've been using their laptops. I mean, I'm sitting here, I'm on my laptop, I'm using that, you're you're sitting there. Everyone is used to doing that. They're used to setting up meetings, running meetings, doing everything from their laptop. It's their productivity help, right. So as you come back into an office, the last thing you want to do is have a different experience. I still want to do the same thing. I want to do my meetings from my laptop. I want to still have to do all the things that I've been normally doing, so regardless of whether I'm working in a meeting room or at home. I really don't want to think about the technology. So that's the first thing. I really just don't want to think about it. I just simply want to do my job right. So when you're focused on the job with meetings, it is all about this user experience and anticipating a meeting workflow so that you make it so easy for the user that they don't have to even think about it. At Barco we're really working on these two areas and it's it's centered around two things, hosting a call and sharing content. And so you know, we've talked about you know click shares are big, you know there's a product everyone's familiar with, but we have it this these capabilities now that we're working on, which, in essence, is enabling people to walk into a meeting room, set up a meeting do their workflow without really having to think about it. So right now we have a series of capabilities that are going to be actually coming out in Bata here at the end of this month and they're gonna be all around workflow. So if I take my laptop and I'm walking into a meeting room, it would be really nice if I walked into that meeting room, I know I'm going to be hosting the meeting, if something were to pop up and just tell me, Jen I see you're walking into this meeting room. Would you like to connect and and have this hybrid call started? Absolutely. I clicked that button. And then when I do walk in, and in this present sense is what we call it, enables me to to bring that up on the screen. From there I get another screen that just POPs up...

...and says, Hey, I just want to let you know you're connected. Your microphones connected in the room, your speakers connected in the room, the camera's connected, everything is ready to go. Check your networks good and your computers up and running. That to me takes away so much of the stress. Like we said, we talked about people to stress out about walking into that room. So if I literally can walk in, press the button and have a conference start, we create that ideal user experience and meeting flow. So that's that's and then when you're on camera, probably the other biggest thing that's a challenge as you're holding a meeting is you'll start presenting, you'll start sharing content and then everyone disappears on your screen because you're showing the content and you can't see anybody else. So we found a way that that we're saying now, no, you need to have that up and available at the time. So that's the other thing. So being able to see your content, being able to see everyone else in the meeting room to see how they're responding to your message, is something that we're really focused on. So that's for really the the user, in terms of that connectivity and use the ability. You know, when we talk about another area, it's around it. So we're trying to improve overall the tools as well that are going to help them. So it's not only us in the meeting room, but it's also I t. So that's that's kind of where we're gonna be focused. That's interesting. When you're presenting something and it kind of takes over your screen, you're not seeing that feedback and again, going back to this idea, when you're presenting something or you're you know, you're pitching something, you need a little bit of that feedback and while you know, the in person feedback is probably the most tangible. You can feel that energy, you can feel the subtle nods or that just completely dead faces. So with good meeting technology, with, you know, good cameras, good connectivity, you can hear a lot of and see a lot of those, those kind of micro expressions, if you will. And and that is certainly a tool that really hasn't been addressed much in in the marketplace. Right now we're, I think, you know, we just came off of the Infocom obviously right and that was probably the biggest feedback that we received from people. Is like wow, this is this is kind of new, this is something that really is going to change the way we think about meaning. So, and it's an APP right now. That you know, we simply you can just simply download and all the capability comes through that. So you don't even need a button anymore. You can just do it through an APP. So, you know, for those that you know don't want buttons or something, it's just an easy way to to allow people to just continually work the way that they work. So again, workflows are most important, right, right. Well, so, you know, we we've covered a lot today for our listeners who want to to really understand the concept of it. We're talking about connectivity tools and tools that make technology meeting, technology easier, more equitable and end result makes employees more productive. I guess if there was a headline then that, uh, that you would want the listeners kind of take away from this episode. What would that be? It would be that we are enabling people to do the work they do and not have to think about technology. For Hybrid Meanings, so wireless conferencing capability that just simply anticipates workflow. That's longer than one headline, but essentially that's what we're doing. We're trying we're trying having not think about the technology. You're trying to create that seamless experience of fucking in and conducting your meaning regardless of you know, in any type hybrid situation. We've gotten so used to, you know, virtual assistance and, you know, in our phones being able to anticipate our needs, you know, showing those suggested APPs of maybe what you would normally be. You know what you'd normally pull up with those most frequently used APPs are, because it's trying to anticipate and make the technology just a seamless part you're not having to basically fight with the technology. It's just it's it's making your life easier, and so the same applies to h to the workplace then. Right exactly. I think an analogy that...

I use a lot if you think about cars today, right, you get into a car and you you get into a car and immediately everything is set for you, right. You your seat will adjust, your mirrors wal adjust, your phone connects automatically. Everything just happens and it's set up for the way that you work. And that's what we're trying to achieve with with the click share and in the ability to do that hybrid meeting. The same way. I'll walk into a room, everything is connected the way I wanted to. The meeting starts the way I wanted to and the way that I want to share information. Data. Just it happens and we just don't have to think about it and it's something I think if we can get down that path to providing that capability, we eliminate a lot of stressors that are currently existing out with with meetings today, with meeting flows. It's like the driver one, or driver too, of of meeting spaces. Exactly exactly. Also, as we start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? I know it's a broad question by design, so it can be within this space or it can be something, you know, a little bit larger than that. But, uh, but, Jen, where do you see technology going in the next year? Yeah, I'd love to boil the ocean and give a big picture, but I think let's focus on making hybrid meetings work because, truthfully, I think this is an area that is going to continue to evolve. We are already seeing it continue to evolve over, you know, the struggle of do we all come back in the office and we're staying at home. So just creating a seamless experience for people, regardless of the path that companies take in terms of how they're going to do, uh, their own employee management and meeting management, is probably the biggest thing we can do. So I guess I'm gonna have to reiterate it's really about two things. It's about that user experience and it's actually around, I. Team Management. You know, we talked about, you know, just eliminating the hassles that we know exist around cables, sharing content, you know, can acting audience video. People just struggle with that. So by just eliminating that and creating that great user experience, that's probably the first thing. And the second thing really is with I t. You know, think about all the ways right now that I t is pushed and managed to deploying and managing everything that's happening in an office, especially now the new challenges coming in. So if we can create a seamless way for them to either SPEC and deploy, you know, meeting hybrid meetings and meeting technology, meeting room technology, and then give them a very easy way to monitor and manage it, then they can do a whole lot of other things than answer, you know, meeting tickets, trouble tickets for meeting rooms, right, and we do that with our xms technology. So there's a lot of capability coming with that. It allows companies that are doing deploying, you know, if you've got fifty six meeting rooms, even tend you know, you want an easy way to be able to configure them, schedule updates, you want to be able to make retain them and you also want insights. Uh, you know, is this being used, what rooms are being used, what rooms are not being used. So if we can give them that capability, we believe that we can create a great experience, not just for the users, but we're also looking to do that for I t as well. Excellent. Well, Jenn, for our listeners who want to find out more about what we talked about today, how can they reach out? Yeah, sure, so a couple of different ways. First of all, BARCO DOT COM. This is our big website, but we actually have there's uh, we actually have a whole string. It's called meeting equity DOT COM. So if you go www, meeting equity dot com was really great. There is that. We have podcasts with a number of different experts in this field that are looking at everything from room design to use ability to uh, technology and great ways to think about rooms and spaces and really have a lot of great insights about that and around best practices for doing hybrid meanings, and so I would encourage full to take...

...a look at that. We also have an opportunity to a thirty day trial. That's also on the website. So if you are interested in looking at this for your organization, want to get you kick the tires and click sure and see how it works. There's a thirty day free trial. And, last but not least, if there's something else you need or what it feel free to reach out to me, Jen dot segment at Barco Dot com, and will make sure to direct or get the information that you need. Excellent well, Jen, a lot of great information. Thank you for joining me today. Well, thank you so much. It was a lot of fun and uh, I hope that this people find this useful. So thank you, shelby. Excellent. Thank you, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two be tech talk with Ingram micro. If you'd like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby Scare Hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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