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Apps, Alexa, and Audio Hardware – Web Conferencing Vendors Try Different Approaches to Ease Setup Pains

No matter what the IT department says, the employee experience using web conferencing technology in boardrooms often leaves a lot to be desired. Getting connected to the right virtual conference room too often involves juggling several remotes and playing guessing games with cables. Vendors in the space are aware of this pain and are coming up with creative new ways of addressing it. Let’s examine announcements made by two vendors in the past couple of weeks.

GoToMeeting Partners With Dolby Voice for New Hardware

Following an early summer announcement about a new partnership with Dolby Voice, GoToMeeting announced that its GoToRoom technology is now supported by Dolby’s hardware: Conference Phone, Voice Camera, and Voice Hub. Natively supporting the GoToRoom software, the Dolby equipment can upgrade a web conferencing experience by offering zooming and panning with the camera, a head-on view of the whiteboard, high-dynamic range mapping to handle different lighting situations, and the ability to capture distant voices.


Dolby’s conference room hardware collection will now natively integrate with GoToRoom. Source: GoToMeeting.

GoToMeeting Updates Mobile App With Room Launcher

Customers who use the GoToMeeting mobile app and have GoToRoom-enabled meeting spaces will benefit from these new features, announced August 12. An app update will deliver the feature that uses Bluetooth to detect nearby GoToRoom spaces. Look for the new Room Launcher icon. From there, tapping on a meeting in your calendar can automatically launch the connection to the room you’ve selected.

GoToMeeting mobile app users will find Room Launcher added with its latest update. Source: GoToMeeting.

Poly Upgrades Its Conference Hardware to Add Alexa

Amazon announced Alexa for Business in fall 2017 and has been adding more partners to the program since, but without as much fanfare. Poly (formerly Polycom) is the latest partner to support Alexa for Business, adding the voice assistant to its Trio conference systems, reports the Skype for Business Insider. The RealPresence Trio 880 firmware update brings Alexa along for the ride. It allows users to ask Alexa to complete a range of tasks: make phone calls, join meetings, start or end meetings, book a conference room, or access company custom skills.

Our Take

Money spent on high-quality web conferencing systems goes to waste if the equipment is too hard to use. If your staff often complain about meetings gone awry because of clunky equipment or setup requirements, do the research on what intuitive approaches your vendor has made available or are currently in development. Sometimes all it takes to turn web conferencing setup from a disaster to a delight is a good mobile app or an assist from Alexa.