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Pursuing meaningful collaboration in a changing world of work

I often think about how technology can help ensure truly meaningful collaboration and improve the effectiveness of how we work.

My previous blog looked at how interactive whiteboards are evolving the face-to-face meeting. Ultimately, these devices exist to make working life easier and more productive. I believe that these desired outcomes are more important than ever – think about increasing complexities, growing demands and the rapid pace of change.

Let’s look at some specific examples. AkzoNobel is a multinational paints, coatings and chemicals business. They have equipped 70 meeting rooms with interactive whiteboards to improve collaboration. This made inter-office working easier while reducing international travel, boosting productivity and increasing work satisfaction. With video-based communication technology at the heart of their business, AzkoNobel is embracing collaboration across multiple locations.

Interactive whiteboards are much more than helpful displays. They’re computers that intelligently aid collaboration at every step. One such example is the software, which uses voice volume to work out who is the main speaker and puts them front and centre. This “attention shift” mirrors the natural way we turn and look at the speaker in a meeting. It’s a simple but effective way of preserving and even improving on the immediacy of face-to-face contact.

Like AkzoNobel, we are a global organisation. Interactive whiteboards allow us to meet with colleagues across continents. We use them regularly to review plans with those based overseas. Annotating items in real time proves incredibly useful. Using interactive whiteboards also lets us discuss concepts and graphics, which makes things like feedback much easier to get across. Accompanying video and audio streamlines this process even further. The same goes for marketing campaign development. Discussing the fine details over the phone will never be as effective as the ability to actually show somebody what you mean.

Business processes can be effectively improved by this visual collaboration technology. Choosing between bid responses to RFPs is often a laborious process. Visually discussing these in a live environment helps companies add nuance and colour to their bids. Internally, all large companies must conduct regular personal and departmental performance reviews. Interactive whiteboards make this a far more vivid experience by enabling employees to dynamically showcase their best work and present in detail.

With age-old challenges such as budget constraints and the need to work faster and smarter, interactive whiteboards are becoming a valuable ally in the battle to ensure truly effective collaboration.

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