Over the last few decades, boardrooms have undergone major changes. Chances are the boardroom you sit in today is a far cry from those of yesteryear. Businesses have wised up to the fact that polished tables and plush leather chairs are no longer enough to furnish a boardroom – various tech tools and programs are also essential in creating a fully functional workspace.
Evolution of boardroom technology
With the advent of new technology in many aspects of our daily lives, it was inevitable that boardrooms would evolve to reflect the information age.
In years past, planning and preparing for a board meeting was an arduous, time-consuming and expensive affair. Directors and company executives had to carry heavy paper-based board packs and meeting materials were often lugged around in large binders. As you can imagine, securing sensitive company secrets was a nightmare since pages of board papers could easily fall off and be forgotten in planes, taxis or hotel rooms. There was a need to develop a more secure and convenient means of preparing and storing meeting materials. This led to the development of board portals.
The first step towards developing board portals was transferring the board packs to digital formats and coming up with electronic board books. With technological progress, these eventually became obsolete, giving way to modern board portals. These tools provided more options for their users, making meetings more convenient and effective. They allow better meeting and documentation management and make team sharing and collaboration a breeze. They are also eco-friendly since they have greatly eliminated the need for paper documentation.
Nowadays, companies such as Diligent Corporation specialize in developing solutions to improve your boardroom experience. Take their diligent portal software for example. This intuitive software is a simpler and easier to use alternative to cumbersome and often unsecure paper and PDFs. It provides invaluable assistance in managing the different aspects of a boardroom meeting.
Since it can be installed on tablets, PCs and other mobile devices, you and your colleagues can enjoy access to board materials anywhere, anytime. It’s also quite secure, enabling you to quickly define individual or role-based access to different materials as needed. Furthermore, it saves valuable company time since only the final clean version of the board book is retained after any meeting. You won’t have to wade through massive reams of company meetings to find the information you want.
Pros and cons of new boardroom technologies
Bringing new tech into a boardroom setting undoubtedly comes with numerous advantages and some disadvantages. The simplicity, convenience and practicality of having digital board portals available on devices such as tablets and iPads is invaluable.
You can now quickly and proficiently organize productive and effective meetings. Additionally, tech devices help you meet a variety of boardroom needs including recording, editing and sending minutes, writing and sharing notes with colleagues prior to the commencement of a meeting and quick voting on meeting resolutions. You also have unlimited storage and instant access to past meeting archives whenever you need them.
iPads in the boardroom prove crucial when it comes to the safety and security of sensitive board information. They offer adequate security since each can have a user-specific password or pin in addition to data encryption. If one is lost or stolen, the information in the device can be remotely wiped out to avoid falling into the wrong hands.
Having tech devices in the boardroom comes with the temptation to do away with physical meetings altogether. This is not advisable. Several experts agree that a virtual meeting is never going to have the same spontaneity that a face-to-face meeting would. Some of the best decisions in business have been arrived at during good old-fashioned brainstorming sessions that involved bouncing ideas round a roomful of people. It is unlikely that tech will replace this in the future.
Other essential tech to have in the boardroom
If you frequently attend board meetings, you will realize that PowerPoint is the default program for most presentations. However, this program can quickly become boring and monotonous. Fortunately, there are other presentation software options out there that can help you come up with engaging presentations. These include:
- Prezi – Instead of having different slides, Prezi allows you to have one large picture that zooms and glides from one point to another. It allows several individuals to collaborate on an online presentation so it works really well for groups. You can easily make an attention-grabbing presentation that is compatible on smartphones, tablets, Macs and PCs.
- SlideDog – This software is perfect for presentations that utilize different types of media. It incorporates videos, photos and pdf files into a seamless presentation that is sure to wow your audience. SlideDog allows you to share your presentation via a live link where you can also interact with your audience, letting them add comments and feedback to your work.
- Projeqt – Providing an interesting twist to traditional slide shows, Projeqt allows you to pull live feeds from sites such as Facebook or Twitter. You can also add any media you want to your presentation. It also comes with a “stack slides” feature so you can stack extra slides behind your main slide to provide additional information. This software is compatible with all screen sizes.
While all these programs provide excellent assistance in making presentations, you will still need to outfit your boardroom with the finest tech hardware for the best experience. This involves installing tools such as:
- Interactive whiteboards – These upgrades to traditional whiteboards boast a multi-touch experience allowing you to write, perform mouse functions or manipulate objects using your fingers. They can be connected to a computer and printer to enable file sharing among participants.
- Digital visual presenters (e.g., document cameras) – These are the modern equivalents of the classic overhead projectors. By using video cameras to project documents and even 3D objects onto a screen, they make it much easier for participants to follow your presentation.
- Speakerphones – This device comes in handy during those moments when a phone call needs to be made or received during a meeting. They have been specifically designed for conference meetings and their great voice quality ensures that all participants will be able to clearly hear the conversation.
Boardroom meetings are a vital part of the work environment so it’s important for them to be equipped with the latest tech to foster problem solving, brainstorming and decision-making.