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Fostering Better Collaboration In A Hybrid Work Environment

Meeting participants using the ClickShare Bar Dual Screen.

With return-to-office mandates still not bringing about results, enterprising businesses are trying to entice employees to come back to work by creating an engaging and flexible hybrid experience.

One way they are doing this is by embracing video-first experience, helping employees engage and share content through videoconferencing and other virtual meeting platforms to increase productivity, retention and inclusivity. 

Barco, a technology company specializing in collaboration and visualization tools, saw this video-centric future on the rise and began to develop its wireless meeting room system ClickShare Conference before the pandemic and launched it just a few months before the pandemic began. ClickShare Conference solutions enable users to host calls from their laptops with their preferred videoconferencing platform, leveraging the meeting room camera, microphone, speakers and display. 

“Our focus was already on video-enabled meeting rooms,” Barco Head of Global Strategic Alliances Dan Root said. “As the pandemic progressed, we continued our effort to design solutions that bring a more equitable hybrid meeting experience.”

As businesses began to reduce their office footprint, ClickShare portfolio facilitated the transition to hybrid work. ClickShare Conference simplifies collaboration by giving users more flexibility within the meeting room, creating an equitable collaboration experience for meeting participants without compromising information security policies, Root said. 

ClickShare’s ConferenceView feature enhances hybrid meetings by showing both participants on the call and shared content side-by-side on the meeting room display. With ClickShare’s extensive partner network, meeting participants can use the videoconferencing platform of their choice without worrying about if the equipment in the meeting room will work. 

Root said this method of “bringing your own meeting,” or BYOM, allows users to utilize their own devices while still having access to the AV in the room, the sort of flexibility they've grown accustomed to with remote work.

Meeting participants using the ClickShare Bar Dual Screen.

Barco’s new ClickShare Bar is a wireless-first video-enabled meeting solution that enhances the hybrid office experience for small and medium meeting spaces. This all-in-one video bar is designed with the simplicity of ClickShare Conference at the heart of the hybrid room experience, Root said. 

“Our ClickShare Bar Pro optimizes the virtual meeting experience with enhanced AI features such as group framing, speaker framing and composition views,” Root said. 

These video capabilities guarantee all participants within the room are captured optimally and equitably, which is key to successful hybrid collaboration. Some of these AI-powered features, like noise suppression and acoustic echo cancellation, which ensure that only the essential audio input is captured, are included on both the ClickShare Bar Core and Pro. 

Root said only one device is needed to equip the meeting room, and the hardware is interoperable with any videoconferencing platform. The plug-and-play hardware takes only seconds to power up.

Safety is a top priority throughout ClickShare’s design, Root said.

All transmitted data is end-to-end encrypted, and the company has several verification mechanisms in place while not storing any data on the devices themselves. For highly secure environments, ClickShare offers alternative 4K wired sharing options to make sure no data is transferred via the network, and it has frequent firmware updates to keep the data protection to the highest standards, he said. 

The company makes sure that the hardware has flexible and equitable access because each meeting type and space has specific requirements, Root said.

There are two main options for ClickShare devices.

“If a user is looking for a solution within smaller meeting spaces that require quick installation with a low total cost of ownership, then ClickShare Bar is our go-to solution,” he said. “If the organization already has an audio/video vendor of choice, we leverage our alliance partner’s peripheral solutions alongside a ClickShare Conference Base Unit.”

Root said that the most applicable use for the modular, peripheral setup would be in larger meeting spaces, typically taking advantage of dual displays, a ceiling microphone for better audio pickup and a camera, or cameras, with wider range and enhanced zoom to capture all of the participants. 

ClickShare recently partnered with Microsoft Teams to create a better meeting experience.

“ClickShare has been leading the market using its wireless BYOM approach with its portfolio making up an estimated 50% of the global wireless conferencing market,” Root said. “With more than 240,000 of our devices in the field, we feel we are a significant BYOM data source for Microsoft Teams Rooms’ Pro Portal and shared device management capabilities, and will feed into future initiatives.”

Root said the first step of their collaboration is to provide valuable insights for IT decision-makers without changing the user experience. 

“Through this integration, Microsoft and Barco will work together to build easy management systems at scale for customers,” Root said. “The joint forces are a first yet crucial step to explore market opportunities and establish a future portfolio of solutions that will take collaboration to the next level.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Barco. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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