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As people return to the office or settle into hybrid work environments, the importance of effective conferencing and collaboration has become increasingly apparent. As such, many organizations have decided to consolidate from several platforms to one. Here's why—and how Microsoft Teams Rooms and HP Poly products are playing a leading role. 

Using multiple conferencing and collaboration platforms for work became the norm during the pandemic, as organizations rushed to support remote work. Today, organizations are beginning to rethink that approach for a variety of reasons, including driving employee retention in a hybrid workplace

Pivoting away from using several collaboration platforms to one platform enables you to enhance the employee experience while reducing costs. Maintaining employee satisfaction and retention in a hybrid work setting demands equipping your people with premier tools and platforms that enhance their work life and ensure meaningful meeting equity, where everyone can see, be seen, hear, and be heard equally. 

If your goals include enticing some or all employees to come back to the office, you must provide an experience that is equal to or better than their work-from-home experiences. Most employees welcome the opportunity to return if they can participate in high-value meetings, in-person activities that build camaraderie, and in-person collaboration experiences where "sharing the air" can build trust and foster inclusion. Yet, to impact employee retention and ensure peak productivity, you need to provide consistent experiences wherever they work, from home, a branch office, on the road, or at the corporate headquarters, as well as from meeting room to huddle space. These are just a few of the numerous important benefits of consolidating to a singular robust platform.

Simplicity is key when it comes to hybrid workforce collaboration 

Reducing the number of meeting tools and endpoints benefits many constituents. For example, collaborating via one platform is significantly easier for IT to manage. It also streamlines the set-up and management of conferencing technologies for facilities personnel. With that said, your employees benefit the most by gaining not only consistent experiences and seamless transitions between on-the-road and in-office meetings but also less friction, greater ease and vastly increased productivity. 

Having fewer vendors means lower cost

Consolidation impacts costs on several fronts. Fewer vendors mean you can rationalize cost, consolidate licenses, and drive significant cost efficiencies, especially when it comes to enterprise agreements (EAs) renewals. Continuing to license your entire workforce with two or more providers for audio tools, meetings, and productivity software in most cases, may not make sense in terms of cost or maintenance.   

Consolidation also allows for the cost-effective transformation of outdated conference rooms and other spaces to meet your new hybrid workplace needs without spending as much money—especially as you may need to build or update more huddle spaces than rooms for large meetings. The key is to keep top of mind that consistency of good experiences is non-negotiable—and much more important than custom bells and whistles.

What to consider when selecting a collaboration platform

When you evaluate collaboration platforms, make sure to prioritize flexibility and the ability to integrate capabilities and tools both within the platform and with others. A good example of a highly flexible platform is Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR).  

Many enterprise and public sector organizations already have Microsoft Teams installed as their default platform, and they already rely on Microsoft IM and chat capabilities. MTR is a no-brainer for them, as instant messaging and chat features frequently escalate to one-on-one and group voice and video calls. It's therefore a logical natural progression to integrate conference room participation capabilities. 

Microsoft Teams also provides a single pane of glass for all your collaboration needs. It is integrated with the entire Microsoft platform, including tools like Word, Excel, SharePoint, voice, video, and more. This drives productivity—especially with the introduction of AI via Microsoft Copilot. Simply put, if you use technology embedded in the Teams ecosystem, you can conduct your day with ease no matter where you are. It provides numerous useful capabilities such as:

  • Automated notes via Copilot that allow you to be fully engaged while presenting a meeting
  • If you enter a meeting late, Meetings provides dynamic notes so you can quickly and easily get up to speed
  • It enables you to join meetings on 3rd party platforms directly from Teams with its Direct Guest Join functionality

What to consider when consolidating tools and technologies

When you are evaluating collaboration and conferencing technologies, make sure that:  

1. The products are high-quality with advanced capabilities.

HP Poly offers some of the most advanced products in the industry both in terms of video and audio capabilities. They have extensive video framing capabilities that deliver equity or focus on active speakers, depending on the nature of the meeting.  Camera framing is built to make at-home participants feel like they're right there in the conference room space. AI-enabled capabilities for collaboration spaces with glass walls are learning the difference between people in the room or walking past outside so they don't unwittingly frame individuals who are not part of the meeting and cause distractions. And among the newest features is the HP Poly E60 cameras for larger meeting spaces such as classrooms, auditoriums or expansive boardrooms. 

HP Poly provides a wide variety of high-quality audio capabilities including active noise cancellation, audio AI to reduce sound reflections, and algorithms that auto-mute. Among their innovative solutions is NoiseBlockAI, which effectively eliminates extraneous noises beyond the frequency range of human speech, such as HVAC systems, keyboard typing, paper rustling or outdoor machinery like lawnmowers and leaf blowers. Additionally, the Acoustic Fence feature establishes a virtual perimeter, isolating sounds originating from outside this boundary. Whether situated in a noisy office, a bustling coffee shop, or a home office with the lively presence of pets and children, the integration of NoiseBlockAI and Acoustic Fence ensures that call recipients receive only the speaker's voice. These advancements in HP Poly's acoustic offerings set a standard of excellence in the industry, setting a new benchmark for audio clarity in diverse environments.

In short, HP Poly products have features that make conference rooms exciting again. And best of all, they are all designed with meeting equity in mind.

2. They integrate well with platforms including Microsoft.

Ideally, collaboration and conferencing products should be unobtrusive and provide the same experience regardless of the platform they are integrating with. This is the case for HP Poly products.  

All HP Poly products are Microsoft-certified and integrate well with the Microsoft platform. In fact, they work with Microsoft in lockstep as new capabilities are developed. They also give you choice and consistency because they work equally well with Android and Windows platforms.

3. They are easy to set up, install, and use.

HP Poly products are extremely easy to set up and come complete with installation, adoption, and training services to help you set up or assess as needed. You can purchase them from partners like WWT who can also help with such things as:  

  • Creating a larger collaboration and productivity strategy that meets with your unique organizational needs– making sure your selections drive your desired business outcomes
  • Assessing your digital workspace and providing agnostic direction, feedback and options that are best for your organization
  • Designing your collaboration meeting spaces
  • Helping you procure and provision, so products are ready from first power on by leveraging the WWT North American Integration Center (NAIC)

4. They will stay relevant in an ever-evolving industry. 

HP Poly's commitment to developing products with longevity, built to evolve alongside the advancements of major conferencing platforms, ties into their strategic implementation of cutting-edge technology such as I7 (Intel) processors, next-generation chips, and readiness for Android 13. This ensures that their conferencing solutions remain at the forefront of compatibility and performance, enabling users to leverage the latest functionalities and enhancements offered by these platforms without the need for frequent hardware updates.

Top use cases for collaboration and conferencing products 

The right technologies can address the diverse use cases of today's dynamic workforce. Three key use cases include: 

For individuals seeking focus and freedom from distractions: 

New parents or those who thrive in controlled environments can benefit significantly from HP Poly's noise-cancellation and sound management technologies. These features help create a focused workspace by minimizing background noise and distractions, essential for maintaining productivity in potentially chaotic home environments. 

Management and team leaders requiring effective remote interaction: 

The advanced video framing and tracking capabilities of HP Poly products ensure that managers and team leaders can have meaningful face-to-face interactions with remote employees. This technology fosters a sense of presence and engagement, making virtual meetings nearly as effective as in-person ones. 

Hybrid employees participating in critical meetings: 

For those who commute to the office for specific, high-value interactions like negotiations, partnership discussions, or strategic brainstorming, HP Poly's solutions enhance the quality and effectiveness of these meetings. By integrating seamlessly with major conferencing platforms and offering superior audio-visual quality, these products support a high level of collaboration and ideation, regardless of participants' locations. 

Elevate your meetings and collaboration with WWT and HP Poly solutions, designed for today's hybrid workspaces. Learn more

Connect with the authors

Mike Davis, WWT, Technical Solutions Architect - WWT Microsoft Teams Specialist

Joe Mukherjee, Poly, Director - America's Channels and Canada Sales Engineering