Seamless hybrid meetings for the Mendip District Council (UK)
Mendip District Council first partnered with professional AV systems integrator, Forward Vision Solutions, in 2014 when installing the AV equipment in their then newly extended Council offices. Six years later, with the need to remotely access council meetings at new levels, Mendip District Council needed to enhance their conferencing facilities. An upgrade in the Council Chamber and additional meeting rooms needed to provide an intuitive way to facilitate both Microsoft Teams video conferencing calls and live stream Council meetings. Making the facilities future-proof and fit for hybrid collaboration.
Now, with ClickShare Conference as part of the meeting rooms’ ecosystems the main requirements for the project were met. A user-friendly, wireless conferencing solution now gives users access to the existing AV set up. The agnostic nature of ClickShare Conference allows for greater productivity and transparency in virtual meetings and videocalls, using UC solutions like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
Wireless collaboration with one single click
The council office has an additional five meeting rooms, all of which required enhancements to facilitate videoconferencing using Microsoft Teams and Zoom. One of the challenges was that the solid floors made it impossible to run cables from the screen location to below the table.
Barco ClickShare Conference was the ideal choice to overcome this hurdle, as it allows users to wirelessly connect their laptops to both the AV of the room and the in-room displays for presentations and conferencing using either Microsoft Teams, Zoom or other conferencing applications.
As an existing ClickShare user, upgrading the council’s system to the latest model was an obvious choice. By trading in the CSM-1 systems, Forward Vision Solutions offered the new CX-30 models for each meeting room at an even better value.
Taking interactivity in hybrid meetings to new heights
ClickShare’s newly enabled touch functionality, paired with touch screen monitors in each meeting room, brings the option of more interactivity and annotation to every meeting. With touch-back users control their laptop wirelessly via the large meeting room display. Both blackboard and annotation modes allow users to save drawings back to their laptops as a PDF document while connected to ClickShare.
Giving new life to existing equipment
The sizeable Council chamber is used to facilitate in-person meetings as well as remote and hybrid gatherings. As such, the AV system design needed to be flexible to accommodate the needs of each meeting type without adding complexity to the system functionality. The existing audio-visual equipment within the chamber was assessed to retain viable equipment and only replace items where necessary.
The original ClickShare wireless presentation system was re-used as add-on to the newly installed conference room, enabling easy wireless content sharing in the upgraded AV environment.
“With the Forward Vision Solutions AV system installed in 2014 working so well, we were delighted to have them on board to help us with the videoconferencing elements we needed. The pandemic brought a new challenge of running our meetings initially remotely and then, with changing regulations, in a COVID-safe environment,” says David Clark, Head of Law & Governance Services and Monitoring Officer, Mendip District Council. “We can confidently run hybrid meetings with everyone in the chamber, and no one is left behind remotely. Working with ClickShare Conference in our meeting rooms has improved our collaboration even in the most challenging circumstance.”
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