Here at Displaypoint, we spend a lot of time talking about technology for collaboration. You can’t blame us really; the right technology can improve the productivity of just about every business in one way or another.
But of course, when you mention ‘collaborative working’ the image that usually pops up is of a group of people all huddled around a touchscreen. And whilst in a very literal sense that is collaborative working, we’re here to remind you that there are many different ways of collaborating on projects and a wide range of amazing technology to help you do so.
So jump in and prepare to have a bit of a rethink about what collaboration really means in the modern workplace.
What actually is collaboration?
When you stop to think about it for a moment, the process of collaborating consists of a far more diverse set of practices than most people give it credit for. After all, two people who have never met – and never will – can quite easily collaborate on a project simply by sharing files on Dropbox or Google Drive.
The conventional image of collaboration, i.e. people huddling around an iPad, touchscreen or projector, is in fact what is known as synchronous collaboration. That is, when a group of people are working on the same task simultaneously. And while technology certainly enhances the process, people haven’t always needed iPads or display screens to work on a project together.
In fact, it’s asynchronous collaboration that has been enabled by the rise of technology – a group of people all working on the same project at different times and in different locations. It is this rise of remote working, along with changes in how teams participate, engage and share work and ideas at any time, from any place that has been enabled by the impressive technological developments of the last few decades.
Here’s a look at a handful of the tools at the forefront of the digital collaboration revolution.
Tired of the hassle of trying to connect different laptops and tablets to the meeting room display screen? Have the IT department started screening your calls for help? You’re not alone. Luckily the era of tangled cables is quickly coming to an end and tools like Barco Clickshare are the ones heralding its farewell.
Clickshare allows you to share what’s on your laptop or other mobile device with a single click of a button or the tap of an app. The portable, wireless buttons can simply be plugged into the USB port of your laptop or computer in order to share the screen with the main console, and thus the display. The most advanced models like the CSE-800 support up to eight independent users on two 4k screens simultaneously.
The ease of use is the key to the success and value of this device. Yes, we’ve been able to share content from our laptops on a display screen for a while now, but Clickshare has removed the hassle and therefore the barriers to doing so.
Similar to the Clickshare system, the NEC MultiPresenter makes it easier to share content from personal devices on the main display screen or projector in the room – thus facilitating collaboration and discussion.
The system is completely wireless and uses a simple auto connect + PIN feature in order to get you started, and is fully compatible with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems.
Multiple devices can connect at the same time so your team can switch between presenters as they’re talking, again bringing down the barriers when it comes to getting everyone involved.
The MultiPresenter has an extra trick up its sleeve to take collaboration outside the realm of the meeting room too. Not only can you connect multiple input devices, but you can also connect multiple display screens too so you can share content from your laptop, tablet or smartphone in multiple rooms in different areas of the office building at the same time.
The big win here? Sharing valuable, contemporary business information with multiple teams to get everyone on the same page with just a couple of clicks.
Video conferencing technology
Video conferencing tech has been around for many years now, but it wasn’t until Skype came along that the idea of video conferencing someone on the other side of the country, or even the world became a tangible possibility for a productive business meeting.
Since then, the industry has sky rocketed. Now it is integrated video collaboration systems like this Yamaha CS-700DS that create a single interface that’s optimised for the specific challenges and conditions that conferencing in meeting rooms can present – wrapping everything from video, to audio and screensharing into one.
While Skype created a single application that anybody could access for video conferencing, the Yamaha device takes the whole experience one step further, by adapting the technology for the workplace environment and using premium video and sound technology to add impact and make communicating easier and more straightforward than ever.
Now not only can you hear and see a single colleague in other office, but you can see and hear the entire team with 120-degree ultra-wide angle cameras and next-level microphones than give everyone the platform they need to have their say.
If you ask us, these are some of the most powerful collaboration tools available at the moment, but it’s certainly not an exclusive list. If you want to find out more about the other products available on our website that can help optimise your collaborative workspace, have a look through our range of meeting room technology here. Alternatively, contact us and we’ll be happy to put our experience to good use and get you the best tech for your office.