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The Future of Meetings

March 2016

The Future of Meetings

Living in strata and in our own personal lives we are sometimes required to attend a meeting, to chair a meeting, to write minutes for a meeting and sometimes to even organise a meeting. This traditionally involved sending out an invitation, managing the RSVPs and sourcing a venue large enough to hold the number of people who would physically attend. How our lives have changed. With people becoming more and more time poor and technology giving us more freedom to manage our time, people are no longer required to physically be in the same room as other meeting participants. Meetings have a new look, giving participants the flexibility to attend while never having to leave their home.

As we experience technology advancement the meeting of the future is going to look quite different. So what is available now and what will we see becoming the norm in years to come? People sitting together in a room conducting a meeting, I believe, is something of the past.

Current Solutions

Current solutions available include the following:

Skype is a free solution available for meetings and collaborations. Skype has the ability to invite people to a video call just by sending a link and participants can even join the meeting without personally having a Skype account. Many meetings are now being held through Skype calls which are especially handy when participants do not live in the same city or even the same country.

Another free solution and a more recent addition is Google+ Hangouts
Meetings can be conducted via video, voice, text or a combination of them all making participation easy. Hangouts allows conversations between two or more users and can be accessed online as well as through a mobile app.

If you are looking for a multi-media option where you can share documents and photos, take votes, share screens and even collate registrations then a popular choice is GoToMeeting. This is not free but the investment is worth it for the functionality you receive especially if you are planning to use it regularly. GoToMeeting has had many facelifts over the years and continues to evolve as needs of participants change.

These are just a few options which are currently being used by many meeting organisers with great success. 
The main items to remember are to be organised, make sure all attendees know the participation rules of the meeting and to test the efficacy of the solution before you start.

The Future

So knowing there are currently technology-based solutions out there, what can we look forward to in the future? We will see extensions of the current technologies as well as the introduction of new technology solutions.

Extensions of Current Technologies

Extensions of current technologies will include better network speeds, improved web browsers and of course faster, smaller and cheaper hardware making using electronic meeting technology accessible to everyone. Skype and Google Hangouts software is still maturing and definitely has not reached its potential. We will soon see quicker connections, simpler interfaces and additional functionality such as Skype Translator. All of these additions make it very exciting for users who embrace the technology and run efficient meetings.

Emerging Technologies

Emerging technologies are going to change the face of meetings significantly with the use of telepresence, virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
Imagine sitting in a meeting where everyone is on a screen. A product called  Kubi© has a screen which gives 360 degree rotation so remote participants are able to view everyone in the meeting. This is especially useful for hybrid meetings with some participants external and others in a room. The external participants are no longer ignored or unable to participate. This technology is available today and starting at 499USD, is quite an affordable solution.

Virtual reality is making a serious entry into the business world by offering virtual meetings and events. Again this is current technology available now but as it matures, the functionality will continue to serve the needs of meeting participants where this will become the norm. Attendees will enter their imaginary meeting room and participate the same as if they were in the room.

Augmented reality is a blending of virtual images with the real world. Microsoft HoloLens has made it possible for people to experience this for themselves. Science-fiction or reality? These technologies are here to stay making the way we conduct meetings a whole new ball game.

Finally the use of AI or Artificial Intelligence. No more taking minutes, in the not too distant future AI will be able to provide a person by person transcript plus deliver the minutes more accurately than ever before. Imagine running bi-lingual meetings without having to include interpreters, Skype Translator through AI can do it all.


Knowing what is available now and what we can expect shortly does make running a meeting quite an exciting possibility.

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Friday, March 18, 2016