Technology and gadgets at meetings can make the meeting more effective, but also fun and different. If you want to use technology and gadgets, it is important that you use them carefully. It often ends up with the new technology not promoting the purpose of the meeting, but instead becoming an unnecessary distraction that steals the attention of those taking part.
You can begin by asking yourselves:
What's the reason for using the technology? If the primary reason is that everyone else uses a meeting app and you don't want to appear old-fashioned, you probably ought to think about whether it's worth the expense. If, however, your purpose is to involve the participants in new ways, or to better document the meeting's outcomes, it is no doubt worthwhile.
What technology is helpful to us in achieving our goal? New technical aids are emerging all the time, which can make it difficult to get an overview. On the other hand, there is no reason to limit yourself to a single option. Meeting apps have been "in" for a long time, but there are other ways to go, such as robots and social media.
Is it all worth the money and the trouble? A lot of aids are expensive to use and require the building of extensive settings. So think carefully about whether you really need them or whether there's something else you can use instead. For example, do you need a meeting app to take a vote or to ask questions about the presentation? Conversely, the effective use of technology can significantly increase the value of your meeting time. A meeting app can, for example, provide you with a lot of valuable information.
Here are some examples of useful technological aids:
Meeting apps There are a host of meeting apps on the market. They are most often used to manage the meeting programme, lists of participants and practical information. They can also usually be used to count votes, submit questions to the speakers, make notes and exchange business cards. Many apps have other functions that can be both fun and useful. The simplest apps are often the best. If you choose to use a meeting app, you need to keep in mind that everyone may be online at the same time. One option is to purchase a complete solution with a closed network, in order to protect information and be certain that it works. Some providers also issue devices, such as iPads, to all the participants.
The Radisson Blu One Touch App collects all the information about the meeting in one place and gives meeting planners and participants a host of benefits. See more
Co-creation tools There is a long list of software that can help meeting participants develop ideas and knowledge together. Most meeting apps have this type of function, but there are also many free applications and low cost online tools.
The Catch Box is a microphone encased in a rubber cube, which makes it possible to throw it around The Catch Box is a fun gimmick that can produce a different kind of interaction between participants.
Telepresence robots. As globalisation develops, it has also become increasingly common to have hybrid meetings, where there are participants who are not physically present, but are following the meeting from another country or another city. In this context, so-called telepresence robots - basically iPads on wheels - have been developed. The robot can be controlled by a computer and it means that a non-physically present participant can drive around at the meeting and converse with other participants during breaks and mobile sessions.
Go-pro cameras are cameras which can, for example, be mounted on a participant's head in order to film the meeting from that person's perspective. The film can be used as documentation, but it can also be streamed online to participants that are not physically present at the meeting.
The technology of the future
There is some truly exciting technology that will probably start to be used in our meetings soon.
Drones can make it possible to film and observe the meeting from completely new angles. A number of issues relating to safety and surveillance that have not yet been resolved still remain, but numerous industry participants are working on finding solutions. For example, the entire American Super Bowl was filmed from the air using a drone.
Portable technology is technology that has been built into clothing, coffee cups and meeting folders and which is used to collect information about participants' behaviour, for example. Such information and that pertaining to participants' preferences is essential in evaluating meetings and being able to create future meetings that are as good as possible.
Virtual reality is predicted to be the next big technology in the coming years. The technology itself has been around for a long time, but it is only now that the price and quality allow for its more widespread use. Imagine products or presentations made with the help of virtual reality technology.
By Bo Krüger, meeting developer, facilitator, lecturer and writer, Moving Minds