The video conferencing market has been growing at an impressive rate over the past few years. Experts estimate that it could be nearly an $8 billion industry by 2023. It's not a fad, either. From 2007 to 2017, the percentage of people telecommuting for work at least some of the time rose from 9 percent to 43 percent!

If your company allows remote work, or you want to be able to video conference with clients, you have probably spent a significant amount of time considering the audiovisual equipment in your meeting rooms. Simply buying some fancy gear and hoping for the best is not going to cut it. You need to make sure that your setup is serving its intended purpose.

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It is important to periodically survey and discuss your video conferencing system with the employees who use it the most. This could mean sending out a digital survey or meeting face-to-face with people. Email and Slack provide easy, scalable options for surveys to get feedback from all employees (even globally.)

Before making any large-scale purchasing decisions, bring in the head of each department to talk through pain points, technical needs, and how the business is affected by failing technology. Armed with detailed feedback, you will be able to make an informed decision that factors in those who use your video conferencing options the most.

Here are a few questions we suggest you ask when getting the information you need.

1. Do your meetings normally start on time?

In the context of audiovisual equipment, this is a much more pertinent question than "Do your meetings run over?" Having meetings habitually start late could mean that the participants are facing technological hurdles each time.

Taking an extra 10 to 15 minutes to set up the video or audio system can add up to a significant amount of lost time (and money) over the course of a week, month, and year. If you find this is the case, you would either have to provide additional training or upgrade to a more user-friendly setup.

2. Is the technology easy to use?

Contrary to what your conference room setup may look like, it's not 1987 anymore. While technology has gotten increasingly more complex throughout the years, the user interfaces have been simplified and made easier to understand. Gone are tangles of wires and all solutions requiring an IT guru on hand. More and more video solutions are easy enough for any employee to set up and get going in under five minutes.

If you're still using older setups, or your current system is especially difficult to use, there could be issues that hamper productivity and communication. You may have to modernize or replace your current configuration if you notice employees are consistently having trouble with the technology. Before authorizing an upgrade, you'll want to do your due diligence researching your options.

If you always go for the cheapest one, you may find the problems persist and another replacement will be needed. Save yourself the headache by going to YouTube and finding videos of the software or hardware in action.

See how convoluted or intuitive they are and search for reviews that bring up any flaws. Run what you gather by the IT manager and get her or his input on your findings. That way, you can make a truly informed decision and get the right setup for your company the first time.

3. What could be improved?

This is vital information that can help you make the right choice about what to do with your audiovisual setup. Frequent users will be able to tell you all about the bugs and difficulties they have on a daily basis. These could be small issues they would not bother bringing up if not directly asked.

If you notice a trend from your employees about certain concerns, you should ensure that your solution addresses them. Small, common issues from multiple employees can add up to major productivity loss, so don't ignore them.

Don't forget to ask for feedback from both remote workers and in-office employees. The feedback and observations you receive from employees on both ends of the video conference are valuable. You may be fooled into thinking all is well if your in-house team is fine with your setup, but what if the remote worker is seeing grainy, choppy video? Or the audio cuts out randomly at times? Definitely not a good experience for your remote worker.

According to a recent survey, 48% of remote employees have "missed conversations" as the biggest obstacles they face as well as "staying in the loop." A well thought out video conferencing system can alleviate these concerns and have them more engaged and productive in their positions.

So, no real surprise that communication is the key. Get genuine feedback and you can improve your employees' work experience. This leads to more efficient, productive workers. If you find that your video conferencing system is lacking, try the Meeting Owl. The hardware setup is a snap and it seamlessly integrates with your preferred video conferencing software. It's an intuitive, comprehensive package that's fantastic for hybrid teams of both remote and in-office employees.

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