Whiteboarding has long been an extremely useful tool for team collaboration. But as teams become virtual, particularly in a hybrid workplace, and video meetings replace in-person meetings, this effective collaboration tool has not made the required transition. Ideas for incorporating whiteboards into video meetings have largely been unsuccessful. Why it is so!, Varun Nair, B2B Marketing Head-India & SWA, Logitech Electronics, explores it here.
The good news, by the way? ITDMs can fix this situation.
As workplaces continue to evolve post-pandemic, an increasing number of knowledge workers are likely to split their work time between the office and home. In this hybrid model, it’s vitally important that remote employees have all the same information and the same ability to contribute as employees who are in the office.
Video meetings help immensely. But effective collaboration requires other tools beyond video conferencing. One tool employees need and want is a standard whiteboard, which allows impromptu brainstorming, sketching, note taking, and so on.
For visual brainstorming and ideation, whiteboards are the perfect tool. These collaboration tools can take various forms, including dry erase boards, whiteboard walls, even glass panes. They’re great for diagramming, illustrating concepts, free-form note-taking, organizing thoughts with sticky notes, etc. And when all attendees are present in the same room, whiteboards work well. Unfortunately, the whiteboard is often absent in video meetings—and employees miss it.
Perhaps, the major problem with whiteboarding during video meetings is that remotely located participants are seldom actively involved, the way people in the room are. More often than not, remote participants feel left out. Their input and opinions, while valuable, often do not become part of the discussion.
Sometimes, a meeting organizer will point a video conferencing camera or webcam at the whiteboard, but the person writing on it will often block part of the view. Even when that person steps out of the frame, the whiteboard can be hard to read because of the size of the image, of glare from lights and windows, or a skewed perspective from the camera angle.
Sometimes people resort to taking photos of the whiteboard to share with remote participants. If the photos are sent after the meeting is over, it’s too late for remote attendees to contribute. If the photos are sent during the meeting, in-room participants may have already moved on by the time remote attendees can respond. Neither is ideal, and both can be disruptive to the creative flow. In the end, for remote attendees it’s like watching other people collaborate.
A third approach organizations have taken is to purchase “interactive whiteboards.” These digital screens emulate the function of a traditional whiteboard or dry erase board. When the person using one is trained and familiar with the digital whiteboard, it can be an effective tool.
However, because of cost and complexity, organizations may purchase only a limited number of interactive whiteboards and place them strategically around the office.
An ideal solution to the problem of how to incorporate whiteboards into video meetings should meet the following criteria:
- It should democratize the collaboration experience to ensure everyone can contribute freely to the discussion
- It should be simple to use – the easier, the better
- It should take advantage of an existing process, leveraging the familiarity of whiteboarding to encourage user adoption
- It should extend your meeting room ecosystem and work seamlessly with your other video conferencing devices and applications
- It should be easy and fast to install so it can be deployed widely throughout your organization’s meeting rooms
Logitech’s answer to this is Logitech Scribe, an AI-powered whiteboard camera that brings the whiteboard into video meetings. Integrated with Microsoft Teams Rooms, Zoom Rooms, and other leading video conferencing services, Scribe broadcasts whiteboard content into video meetings with outstanding clarity. With Scribe, even remote participants can have the best seat at the table.