Most of us experience ineffective meetings periodically, some more frequently than others. To put a finer point on the problem, a study cited by a recent Harvard Business Review article finds that 71% of senior managers believe that meetings are unproductive and inefficient.
Obviously, there are things clearly missing from our meeting environments that are impeding group productivity. Meeting culture and process are certainly two. There are best practices for how to setup and run meetings that would greatly enhance productivity. That aside, what about the tools and technology side of the equation? Why is it that users still opt for whiteboards despite the presence of presentation or collaboration technology already in the room? We would argue that most in-room presentation or collaboration technology doesn’t meet the standards required for mass adoption which, in our opinion, are usability, performance, and reliability.
We unpack the more specific requirements of usability in an earlier blog as Must-have #1 where we briefly talked about performance and reliability. Let’s now take a closer look at these two key drivers of adoption and ultimately how they affect return on investment (ROI).
Performance. Group discussions are high stakes environments. One person’s time is precious, so ten people’s time is precious x 10. If a group is going to use a wireless presentation system, then that system needs to share content seamlessly without adding any perceptible friction to the discussion flow and present content in a high-performance manner. What are the requirements of high performance in these systems?
- Quality of Service (QoS) Support: We mention in Must-have #3 that being on-network is key due to security and usability. If the system is on-network, then the system should also support QoS so that the content it’s sharing can traverse the corporate network as efficiently as possible.
- Frame Rate: To stream HD quality video, the wireless presentation system should support streaming from laptop or mobile device to the display at 30 frames per second (FPS) with small enough variances that ensure that it stays above a minimum of 24 FPS.
- Packet Latency: Acceptable levels of time it takes for data to go from laptop or mobile device to the screen varies by content type. HD quality video has the most stringent requirement at 35 milliseconds – anything above that will make the video look choppy. On the other hand, business application sharing (eg, powerpoint) has a maximum latency of 175 milliseconds as the human eye is a bit more forgiving of delays when viewing slide transitions or typing.
Reliability. A highly reliable wireless presentation system remains (1) available for use and (2) high performing for very long periods of time across multiple use cases. The benefit of reliability is that users have great confidence that they can share content without disrupting the flow of the meeting. Key requirements of high reliability include:
- Sleep Mode Override: Just about everyone has experienced a laptop going into sleep mode while it’s presenting something on-screen which immediately interrupts the discussion flow because the content under discussion has suddenly disappeared. Wireless presentation systems should have the ability to continue sharing content on-screen even when the source device goes to sleep.
- Content Source Scalability: If you are considering a wireless presentation system that allows multiple users to simultaneously share content (aka a wireless collaboration system) or one user to share multiple pieces of content simultaneously, then the system should be able to maintain high performance (as defined above) under the load of simultaneous content sources.
- Network Optimization: The manufacturer of the wireless presentation system you choose should have proven and documented best practices that allow administrators to configure the network for high reliability under varying conditions.
Return on Investment. Generally speaking, ROI is the financial benefit of a solution divided by the total cost of ownership (TCO) of that solution. Given that roughly 7 of 10 meetings are ineffective and cost US companies $37B annually in lost productivity, one could easily argue that the single biggest driver of ROI for wireless presentation systems is user adoption. If content sharers have confidence that the wireless presentation system in the room is high-performance and reliable, then many more meetings will employ the system making them more collaborative and productive. The entry ticket to widespread adoption is performance and reliability. People need to know that they can share whatever content onto the screen whenever they want and know that it will look and sound good throughout the course of the discussion.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our five-part series on enterprise wireless presentation must-haves. We’ve covered a lot of ground over these five weeks:
- On-network Deployment
- Workflow Integration
- Performance and Reliability
We hope that you find the advice useful in picking your next solution. We encourage using the information as a foundation for building a test plan that allows you to demo systems under consideration on your network. As you probably know, actual results can vary greatly from what is shown on marketing material. So, there is no substitute for testing systems in your environment to see how the system actually performs and how the company advises and supports you.
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