In the next few weeks, thousands of employees will return to the office. But the new office environment will be drastically different from what we’re used to—COVID-19 has taught us the importance of being prepared, and now’s an ideal time to get ready for the unexpected. And in order to help your company prepare, Onepath recently presented a webinar concerning the future of work environments. What tools do you need to upgrade your meeting space? And what problems might you face when making these changes?
Video Conferencing for Remote Workers
The webinar began with Ted Hulsy, CEO of IronPath, sharing several statistics about the current COVID-19 working environment.
“This has been a transformative experience for companies working day-to-day,” he said. “16 million knowledge workers have started working regularly from home during the pandemic… Zoom went from 10 million active users to over 200 million users, and Microsoft Teams experienced 1000% growth in March 2020… Video conferencing is one of the things that has kept the American economy on the rails through this pandemic… And there are tremendous cost saving opportunities to having employees work from home on a more general basis.”
Hulsy then polled attendees on the following question: How much has your use of video conferencing increased after COVID-19 and the work from home phase? On average, respondents said they had experienced 100-200% growth in use of video conferencing.
Audiovisual in the Office
Next, the conversation turned over to Mitch Reiner, CFP and Managing Partner of Capital Investment Advisors (CIA). He explained that his company’s mission is to help 10,000 families find happiness in retirement. Currently, CIA has 3 offices and 41 employees, and in 2018, they moved offices and made massive updates to all their AV tech.
“Before 2018, we used AV with duct tape and toothpicks,” he said. “We were in the midst of a massive growth spurt and couldn’t keep up… our last building was small with wires running everywhere, and we knew that wasn’t how we could get from 200 families to 10,000… we needed to have the ability to scale, and innovation technology collaboration would allow us to do that... So we forced ourselves onto video because we saw a world where we’d have to use video. We just didn’t know it would be 3 months later. And without even knowing what to prepare for, we knew we wanted to be a culturally minded team that was adapting to innovation, and when we had to, we did.”
To Reiner, AV isn’t just useful for employees—it’s essential for external communications as well.
“The AV build is a tool for encouraging the cultural mindset that we wanted to establish,” he said. “My theme was, I want anybody sitting anywhere in this country to feel like they’re in the room with us. They’re able to experience who we are and see who we are via technology.”
Hulsy started the next part of the webinar with a second poll: When thinking about upgrading your technology, what are the things that keep you up at night that you know are going to be a problem? The main response was, “How can I afford it?”
Michael Lane, VP of Engineering at Onepath, was happy to answer that question. Through Onepath, clients can receive one of two packages—AvaaS Essential or AVaaS Accelerate—which are competitively priced and efficiently designed. Additionally, he explained which products are absolutely essential for an AV environment.
“It’s by no means a stretch anymore to say that AV and video collaboration are now business critical applications,” he said. “Because of that, your AV equipment needs to be reliable, sustainable, and repeatable. And when we think of modern meeting space, there are a few key things we think every room should have. The first is sensing—we’ve had a lot of people ask us about having touchless conference rooms where you walk into the room and the display automatically turns on... Second, once that screen turns on, you can show the room calendar on the screen, make sure you’re in the right room, and you know how long you have in that meeting… third, we know that post-COVID people won’t want to touch cords anymore. So, our wireless usage has gone way up in these conference rooms… Last, you need to maintain network security. Every one of these rooms and devices are now on your network. And because they’re on your network, they’re a security vulnerability, just like any other hardware… You need to keep the firmware up to date on those devices.”
If you’d like to hear the rest of our webinar, click the link above.