Keeping up With Technology is a Must

Michele Warg
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What does the conference room of the future look like? Before the advent of videoconferencing, a meeting room probably resembled a wide-open room with tables that faced each other. At one end of the room was a podium with a microphone where one person spoke. Office technology changed office meetings forever, and administrative assistants should be at the front lines when it comes to keeping up with the newest technology.

According to Zeus Kerravala, the new conference room is about multimedia content sharing rather than showcasing faces on a big screen. Legacy meeting rooms, by contrast, may not have been updated for years and often contain stale office technology that is hard to use and lacks integrated components, such as interactive whiteboards with video and audio features.

Older conference room spaces can be cramped areas that do not allow workers to conduct meetings efficiently. It may take too much time to set up newer technology in older spaces, which can be a huge time waster may limit collaboration opportunities among employees.

Administrative assistants who stay on top of the newest trends of videoconferencing can help save money and reduce expenses. Upgraded conference room technology means greater effectiveness, more reliability, simplified meeting processes and elimination of IT department involvement. Fixed-room PC components are unwieldy dinosaurs of the past. Now, administrative assistants should be able to present meetings from any mobile device, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

One essential element of a new conference room includes the ability to record meetings for later playback. Any participants can refer to the recording for later reference, or absent staffers can see what they missed.

Interactive whiteboards on flat screens can be small or large, depending on someone's requirements. A single whiteboard screen with touch-screen capabilities can link directly to screens in other locations to provide graphical representations of information. Dry-erase boards plug into a smartphone or tablet with a USB cord and can be run with an app that's installed on the phone. The phone then acts as a controller that records, plays back and allows the person running the meeting to write on the screen. Other participants can chime in, ask questions and see what happens from their own mobile devices containing the same simple app.

The easiest way for administrative assistants to keep up with this new arrangement is to learn how to use new technology. Executives should offer on-site training or give assistants time to learn new meeting styles, and the executive assistant can pass on this knowledge to relevant employees. The administrative assistant now becomes a valuable technology trainer and not just someone who answers phones and arranges travel plans.

When businesses combine mobile apps and touch screens with audio fences and speaker-tracking technology, they have a cutting-edge meeting room that broadcasts to dozens of remote locations. The infrastructure is there for a viable conference room, and office assistants must be ready.


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