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From Smart Rooms to Smart Meetings: AI is Changing How We Work

Collaboration has changed with the rise of remote work and distributed teams. To adapt, organizations are turning to new technology and audiovisual solutions to improve the collaboration experience.  

The latest solutions, especially those powered by artificial intelligence (AI), are game-changing and have quickly transformed both the in-person and virtual user experience. 

If you’re considering AI tools but aren’t sure which ones meet your users’ needs, this post offers a primer on AI-powered smart rooms and smart meetings.

The Role of AI in Conference Rooms and Meetings

When it comes to AI audiovisual solutions, it’s tempting to geek out about their algorithms, sensors, and high-performance computing. Yet where these tools really shine is how they solve some of the most frustrating challenges users face when trying to run or participate in an effective meeting.  

We all know it’s hard to focus on driving innovation or solving problems when it’s difficult to book a room, you can’t see or hear other participants, the lighting makes the display hard to read, or you speak a different language than the presenter.  

AI can automate mundane tasks, personalize and enhance the user experience, and improve overall meeting efficiency.

What’s a Smart Room?

A smart room is a physical meeting space with one or more AI-powered technologies. It creates a seamless, immersive, and intuitive environment that allows users to focus more on collaboration, problem-solving, and decision-making and less on managing the space itself.

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Examples of smart room features that use artificial intelligence are:

  • Smart cameras and microphones track speakers around the room, ensuring participants feel like they’re in the same space, no matter where they are located. In addition, intelligent cameras can automatically adjust for changes in color temperature, ensuring a professional experience for remote participants. 
  • Automated room scheduling streamlines reservations, making it easier for users to manage the space and ensure it’s available to others if meetings are cancelled or end early.  
  • Intelligent noise cancellation automatically identifies and filters out background noises, such as HVAC or outside traffic, to reduce distraction and enhance speaker clarity.  
  • Voice-controlled or voice-activated systems make it easy to control various aspects of the room, like lighting, temperature, and AV equipment.  
  • Room analytics offer insights into room usage patterns so you understand how spaces are utilized and can optimize your real estate.  
  • Intelligent systems can support your sustainability goals by opening blinds to harvest natural light, thereby reducing the need for artificial light.

What’s a Smart Meeting?

While a smart room provides the infrastructure and tools for collaboration, a smart meeting uses AI tools to optimize the meeting experience and achieve better outcomes. 

Smart meetings can be in-person gatherings in a smart room, virtual meetings that use a videoconferencing platform, or hybrid meetings that include a mix of both.

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Examples of smart meeting features that use artificial intelligence are:

  • Automated transcription and summaries can capture meeting conversations in real-time and provide summaries for those who couldn’t attend.  
  • Real-time translation allows people who speak different languages to understand each other instantly. This capability is particularly helpful for global companies.  
  • Intelligent meeting assistants capture key points and action items so users can stay focused on the conversation rather than taking notes.  
  • Brainstorming and idea-capture tools allow people to contribute ideas from anywhere and analyze and categorize ideas for you.  
  • Participant engagement analytics can help facilitators equally involve everyone in critical conversations and create more inclusive outcomes. 
  • Audio and video optimization is possible even without intelligent in-room hardware. Collaboration platforms can automatically improve camera framing and eliminate distracting background noises from the meeting.

Some of these capabilities are built into collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams; others require third-party integrations.  

As it relates to Microsoft Teams Rooms, here are some of the AI-driven features our clients appreciate most:

Voice recognition uses a profile of your voice to suppress background noises in Teams meetings through voice isolation. When using an intelligent speaker, your voice profile is used to identify you in meeting transcripts. 

Facial recognition uses a profile of your face to automatically recognize and display your name during meetings and add your name to the participant list as you walk into a Microsoft Teams Rooms. This feature requires supported equipment. 

IntelliFrame uses artificial intelligence to zoom in on and frame the faces of the in-room participants so that online participants can see their expressions and gestures more clearly. It also shows the active speaker and the layout of the room. Some intelligent cameras support Multi-Stream where individuals are separated into their own video tiles.  

Intelligent Capture is a feature that allows Teams Rooms devices to share the content of a physical whiteboard with remote participants in a meeting. It uses a dedicated content camera that intelligently detects, crops, and frames the whiteboard, even when someone is standing in front of it. It also enhances the whiteboard images and text, so they are clear and readable.  

Copilot for Teams questions, seeks clarifications and generates new ideas during or after the meeting. Copilot works in real time and does not interrupt the discussion. You can also use Copilot in chat and channels to get up to speed on conversations by quickly reviewing the main points, action items, and decisions.

How to Get Started with AI

If you’re unsure where to start adopting AI tools for your meeting rooms, here are some considerations:

  • Identify your team’s pain points: Conduct a quick survey to understand employee frustration with current meetings.  
  • Select your tools: Research and select the AI tools that address these frustrations.
  • Pilot and gather feedback: Choose a small team willing to try one or more tools and offer their input. 
  • Refine your approach: Use the pilot feedback to refine your approach and address any user experience or technical issues.  
  • Rollout and train: User adoption is critical to your success. As you roll out tools to a broader group of employees and offer tips and training on using the features effectively. Consider using QR code links to knowledge articles and short how-to videos.

Above all else, focus on user benefits and how AI solutions can improve meeting rooms and meeting experiences for everyone.  

Instead of going it alone, perhaps you want to work with a trusted AV partner. AVI Systems and our Microsoft business, Magenium Solutions, offer deep expertise in helping companies make the most of their audiovisual technologies and Microsoft Solutions – including the AI tools covered above.

About AVI Systems 

AVI Systems is the largest global audiovisual and unified collaboration systems integrator with 33 locations in the United States, and the ability to do business nearly anywhere in the world.  

With our team of experts and a proven four-step process, we can help you plan for and implement a range of AV solutions – including those driven by the latest AI technology. Contact us today to learn how.

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©AVI Systems, Inc., 2024

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