3 ways to use interactive whiteboards for business meetings
09 April 2018
A brief history of the whiteboard
The basic tools and principles required for collaboration and presentation haven’t really changed much over the last 100 years – they’ve just got much smarter. At the start of it all came the blackboard. This dusty favourite was perfect for presenting information to large groups, especially in education environments. Eventually, the humble blackboard was phased out and replaced with the whiteboard, but it took a while to be taken up by schools and businesses.
Although the whiteboard was invented in the 60’s, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that whiteboards replaced blackboards. Construction materials got cheaper, product quality improved, and as business processes evolved the demand for blank canvas collaboration increased. They quickly became a fixture in many office environments across the world because of their advantages over the blackboard, and the improvements they brought to meetings.
Fast forward to today, and the humble whiteboard is being phased out and replaced with interactive models that offer a vast number of features in addition to the ability to write thoughts and annotations on a blank canvas. As interactive whiteboards continue to evolve, they’re becoming more integrated in daily office activity. These multi-functional devices are changing the way businesses can conduct meetings, improving collaboration, increasing productivity, and even reducing travel costs.
Here are three of many ways your organisation can use interactive whiteboards in your business meetings:
1. Presenting and sharing information.
Historically, (and commonly still today) whiteboards were often utilised alongside non-interactive TV displays that allowed presenters to share information that is scaled up from a personal device, often in the form of a PowerPoint presentation or similar. These linear meetings were always presenter-led, often making collaboration restrictive or disjointed as presenters flip from screen to whiteboard. This style also meant that meeting recipients were more likely to be presented to, rather than have the ability to add their input.
Interactive whiteboards have flipped this approach on its head by allowing plans, designs, strategies and objectives to be displayed at earlier stages of the development process, allowing for group presentation and collaboration as well as the presenter-led style highlighted above. Annotation capabilities allow users to write directly onto documents, or employing a blank canvas brainstorm approach similarly to a traditional whiteboard. Because today’s whiteboards are connected to the business network, non-present recipients can view screens from any location, and annotations can be saved directly to a server or endpoint without the need to copy notes or take photos of any content changes for future reference. Interactive whiteboards have meant that presentations are no longer “death by PowerPoint”, and instead act as the focal point of successful, collaborative group sessions.
2. Video conferencing and collaboration.
Electronic whiteboards create a podium that allows for the successful and effective use of video conferencing in meetings. As the quality of video conferencing tools continues to improve, and as it becomes more integrated in business communications platforms, video collaboration is fast gaining traction in the workplace. It’s an effective means of meeting “face to face”, without having to travel long distances to achieve the same goal.
Interactive whiteboards allow remote video participants to join a meeting, and by appropriately mounting a video on a screen or utilising a camera integrated into the screen, these remote participants can view the meeting room and have more input than they potentially would by merely dialing into a call.
Video collaboration applications can also be used alongside data collaboration and screen sharing tools. These can be displayed side by side so that meeting resources can be viewed at the same time as video feeds, allowing for more effective and productive meetings that prevent distance from becoming a limitation.
3. Training sessions.
Interactive whiteboards also increase the engagement of your training sessions by promoting interactivity with recipients, but also allowing you to create digital training sessions that allow organisations to train delegates across multiple locations at the same time.
Today’s interactive whiteboards have complex annotation capabilities and integrate with a wide range of applications and software that were previously inaccessible in large group environments. Delegates can share their screens with other users, making it easier to discuss personal opinions and drive training sessions forward while avoiding PowerPoint-induced snoozeathons. By making your sessions more interactive, you’ll be increasing engagement, resulting in improved output from the training.
Interactive whiteboards also allow training sessions to be recorded for future reference, allowing delegates who couldn’t attend during the primary session to watch the recording at a later date, or to allow the trainer to review past sessions and improve in preparation for next time.
Creating the Modern Meeting Room with interactive whiteboards
Interactive whiteboards are an integral part of the Modern Meeting Room. Their ability to tie meetings together, increase engagement and make it easier for remote recipients to be involved makes them valuable tools for businesses of all sizes and sectors.
Find out more about how to successfully implement whiteboards in your meeting room strategy, as well as other ways to improve meeting productivity by downloading the free eGuide below.