The basis: A good Internet connection
Technically speaking, the brave new New Work World thrives on the Internet. As soon as we moved into the home office, we noticed that daily work with Microsoft 365 and Teams, including telephony, only works with a stable Internet connection.
We also noticed in the first hybrid meetings: Simply connecting the laptop directly to the beamer is not a good idea. Just as little are the integrated on-board devices such as camera and microphone suitable for meeting rooms.
What makes on-site preparations for a hybrid meeting much easier is a USB-C docking station: It bundles all connections from the laptop to screens, speakers, and microphones. And a network cable can also be connected in case of emergency. At the start of the meeting, all that's left to do is connect the laptop you brought along via USB, and you're ready to go.
Good connection for mobile participants
We already know it from conference call times: It could get exhausting if participants were there via the mobile network. What definitely ensures much better quality in Microsoft Teams meetings: Use the Microsoft Teams app on the move via the mobile data connection. As long as you have secure wifi available on the road, e.g., via EAP SIM, this can also be used! This way, you stay in IP telephony and have no disruptions due to the transition to the old circuit-switched telephony. In addition, you now have almost all the functions of Microsoft Teams on the phone via the app that you are used to from the laptop.
In virtual space, image and sound set the pace
Over the past two years, even skeptics have been convinced that virtual appointments work just as well as face-to-face meetings. On one condition: the picture and sound have to fit. To remind you again: Why were we fans of face-to-face meetings for a long time? Precisely because there is no substitute for facial expressions, gestures, and behavior, as well as speech.
We have set ourselves up professionally in the home office with a webcam and headset, but our conference rooms have now had to follow suit. In a nutshell, you could sit five people in front of a laptop or everyone sits in front of their own screen - which is what we actually did in the beginning when we were in need. But let's be honest: Can you imagine such a successful hybrid meeting?
The good news in advance: In the meantime, the image and sound offerings for conference rooms have become very diverse. Many manufacturers such as Poly or Logitech offer out-of-the-box systems as well as optimized solutions for teams, zoom, etc.. In the meantime, entertainment specialists such as Sennheiser also have business solutions in their range. Shure has also developed an entire business line with Stem , where everything from ceiling microphones to loudspeakers can be optimally combined. Those who are now afraid of horrendous investments can calmly read on: In the mid-price segment, there are already very good solutions that quickly pay for themselves through savings on travel costs.
Webcams and large screens for the live experience
Another companion from the old days will leave us: The beamer. For hybrid meetings, today's affordable screens are far better suited than the beamer wall. The latest Surface Hubs from Microsoft are particularly elegant: they are not just a screen, but an all-in-one solution for any form of meeting.
For this, the webcam is now conquering meeting rooms. If you position the camera cleverly, a lens with a wide angle is even enough for large rooms. Here, too, there are now ready-made systems from various manufacturers, such as Jabra , which are quite easy to install.
Just in case: The analog meeting room manual
What is tremendously helpful for a relaxed start of a meeting: A conference room guide - especially if not all rooms are identically equipped. Often a one-pager with instructions on how to get started plus important tips, tricks and contact persons is enough. In addition to the digital original, the banal analog form can also save the day in an emergency: Simply print it out and lay it out nicely foiled in the middle of the meeting table or stick it on the wall.