Archive for January, 2011

Technology’s Role in Strategic Meeting Management

meeting technologyIf you want to have a strategic meeting management program then you definitely need to be well versed on the latest technology. Thankfully, the Groups and Meetings Committee of the National Business Travel Association has addressed this in a new white paper which is the fifth in the group’s “Framework of Success” series on meeting management issues.

The first part of the 11-page paper is titled “Choosing the Right Technology in Support of Your Strategic Meetings Management Program”.It discusses how technology facilitates all the different elements of an SMMP. It includes everything from cost-avoidance reports to proper meeting approvals. A simplified version from the author states that an SMMP should do a few things specifically:

  • Collect Meeting Data. This should include expenses across departments in order to report a consolidated view of your company’s meeting activity which can then be analyzed by vendor and meeting type.
  • Automatically notify legal or procurement departments if RFPs are of a certain size.
  • Include a searchable supplier database that can easily be found online which directs users to your company’s preferred suppliers.
  • Create a full slate of reports both customizable and standard.
  • Integrate with your company’s meeting-planning software for attendee registration and housing or, at least, have these capabilities itself.
  • Route meeting requests through the approval process and track meetings that do not receive the approvals necessary.
  • Help planners create, submit and compare RFPs as well as save all of the bids for future references.

Aside from that, the paper also considers the best practices when buying or even building a tech system. Overall, the author leans more towards the off-the-shelf systems. According to the author, “In recent years, with more visible products on the market and a growing understanding of the overall cost to maintain such systems, it has become widely considered a best practice to buy an SMMP technology solution, rather than build one.”

The paper talks about key selection criteria, including security, the ability of integration with other company systems, scalability, brand issues and ease of use as well as support for the customer as all things you should take into consideration when researching a potential meeting management technology.

Source: Meetings Net

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Collaborative Meeting Technology

Meeting CollaborationCollaboration in meetings is key, but it isn’t always easy. There are many different collaborative technologies that have been designed to help groups work with computer-based information in the meeting room. By utilizing such technology, widely dispersed work teams can share information without a hitch. With so many organizations focusing on teamwork today (and with good reason) easy access to all the vital information is what can help you succeed or fail.

One such technology is the SMART Board interactive whiteboard. This device allows you to access computer-based information directly from the meeting room and even record meeting information using a simple whiteboard interface. The board can improve not only your meetings but also the general productivity of your entire team.

The SMART Board Interactive whiteboard gives you control of computer-based information as well as the capability of the whiteboard you are familiar with all at your fingertips. It has a touch sensitive surface so when you project onto it you can control it by touching the surface of the board. Your finger becomes the equivalent of a mouse on a computer. If you want to open a Microsoft Windows document all you have to do is press the open document button on the whiteboard. Double-tap an application’s icon to run it or to do a number of other interactive things.

Another cool thing is the fact that since the SMART Board is pressure sensitive, you can pick up a dry-erase marker or interactive pen and write on the board. Your text will then be projected in digital ink from the projector. You can see what you have written on the SMART Board because the projector is projecting the computer monitor image onto the board.

There are a lot of benefits to using the SMART Board interactive whiteboard. It gives you access to important documents whenever you need them, allows you to deliver a presentation from the head of the room where you are the most effective, allows you to make changes to CAD/CAM drawings, documents or spreadsheets during the meeting as an immediate result of group collaboration and discussion, allows you to access live web sites during your meeting or even connect via Microsoft NetMeeting software to your colleagues in another location allowing notes and other information to be seen by others in a different location.

If you are looking for a great piece of technology to make collaborating within your meeting easier and more interactive then the SMART Board interactive whiteboard is definitely a good investment.

Source: Effective Meetings

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Making Your Meeting Room Wireless

Wireless Meeting RoomsWireless technology is finally making its way into meeting rooms and offices, and it’s about time. But before you go incorporating it into your office or meeting room, you need to know all the details. I mean, what good is going into a wireless meeting room if you have no idea what anything is or how it works?

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

If you want to know about wireless technology then you have to know about Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Bluetooth was developed by a Swedish phone company, Ericsson, and became an industry standard available to everybody.

Bluetooth products contain very small short-range radios that allow products like cell phones, printers, laptops and projectors to “talk” to each other without the need of wires. There is a 30-foot range on Bluetooth and it doesn’t draw a lot of power from your device.

Wi-Fi is also a radio technology. Wi-Fi is faster than Bluetooth and has a range of 75 feet to 150 feet in an office and up to 1000 feet in open areas. The only downside is that it requires a greater amount of power. Both of these technologies allow you to use any kind of technological device without the use of cables or wires.

Wireless Benefits

While both technologies are great and offer similar solutions, there are a lot if differences you should look at before implementing one or the other into your meeting room.

Bluetooth is great for cable replacement due to the small amount of power it consumes and the shorter range it has versus Wi-Fi. You don’t need any more cables for your mouse, printer, keyboard or other peripherals.

Wi-Fi is better for connecting large devices due, in part, to the longer range and the larger power consumption. In bigger devices, the larger power draw allows you to exchange data without a noticeable change in speed and users can be further away from the modem.

Price is also a factor. Bluetooth has been traditionally cheaper. It is expected that adding Bluetooth to your meeting room will only run you around an extra $10 per product whereas Wi-Fi would be about $35 per product.

Currently in production there are over 800 licensed Bluetooth solutions and over 500 Wi-Fi ones. Big name companies, like Intel, Microsoft and Toshiba, offer products that already have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth installed.

By slowly integrating wireless products into your meeting room, you can have the fastest, cleanest and most efficient meeting space in the entire company.

Source: Effective Meetings

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