When we think about the changes to our daily lives brought about by COVID-19, one of the first things that comes to mind is the consolidation of remote working. Although, in general, remote working only began as a kind of ‘experiment’ out of necessity, the truth is that as a model, it really works. So much so that more and more companies are starting to treat it as a normal part of their operations.
For months we have all been working from home, using just our laptops in most cases, because we did not have any other choice. Videoconferences all day long, getting used to coordinating remotely with people we had always dealt with on a face-to-face basis, and getting used to new technologies that we did not know before… But since a new norm has arrived, we also have found out that remote working full time is not the most convenient option in most of cases, there are still some situations that may happen in the office or at least, are more convenient for them to happen there. However, to work efficiently and effectively, sometimes it is essential to leave home.
More and more, remote working will form part of a hybrid model, one designed to take advantage of the best of what this new way of working has to offer, without losing what the traditional way of doing things has also brought us. But let no one have any doubts at this point that there is no going back.
Since regular use of videoconference has taken off, many have complained that these technologies are no substitute for face-to-face meetings. How can virtual contact ever take the place of meeting with somebody in person? Why are we in such a hurry to compare them? Rather, we could see them as a wonderful tool to complement what we had before.
Let´s explore an example. While some months ago we held meetings with around 10 people in a meeting room, it looks like the most common scenario nowadays is the hybrid meeting, 50/50, 60/40 or so. Then, normally around 5 members would attend the meeting physically and in the same room, and the remaining 5 would connect remotely. By incorporating interactive screens such as MIRA, corporations can opt for teleworking by ensuring permanent collaboration and videoconference between those in the office and those who connect remotely from home or from remote offices.
This hybrid model also helps by saving time – During lock down we noticed that videoconference meetings are more efficient. Waiting time for attendees is reduced and topics are addressed more directly. Using a personal device such as Flex, they serve for much more than just holding meetings, as they encourage the creation of collaborative digital spaces where people can interact, share ideas, documents, make notes in real time and hold simultaneous conversations.
In this new reality there is another frequently used scenario, that is not just taking place in the education environment, but also in the corporate business, when making presentations. With the current situation more than ever, it is necessary to share the content with the students/attendees regardless of whether they are physically or remotely present, and to connect the remote attendees by videoconference, with the tools of each host´s choice. An external camera to record the session of the speaker interacting with the interactive display during the presentation is key to catch the audience´s attention. In the case of remote learning, the engagement of sharing content remotely to the students increases when the teacher is being seen interacting, writing, drawing, etc. as they do in face-to-face lessons. In the case of an additional webcam embedded in the touchscreen, it can face the room-based attendees too, which makes the solution even more powerful.
Our environment has a clear influence on the way we work, and being properly updated and prepared for any possible contingency will help us to deal with changes in a more efficient and advantageous way. Having the right technology gives us the capacity to adapt, and currently having interactive solutions such as MIRA or Flex, which facilitate remote or face-to-face collaboration, will help us to more easily face the new realities that arise, both in the corporate and educational environment.