Three people in a large meeting room smiling up at a screen out of shot with an array of HP devices on the table.
Image: © Connor McKenna/SiliconRepublic.com

HP Inc wants to make hybrid meetings feel a little less virtual

11 May 2022

SiliconRepublic.com got a glimpse of HP Inc’s new suite of collaboration tools, which includes an AI camera and satellite microphones.

A knock-on effect of the pandemic has been the acceleration into a new way of working in which many more of our colleagues can operate remotely. That’s not to say that companies are going to get rid of the office environment completely, with many now opting for a more hybrid approach.

But that comes with its own challenges. While a fully remote workforce will be well used to the teething problems that come with virtual meetings – “Can you hear me now?” – hybrid meetings have the potential to make it more difficult to interact with remote employees if some of the attendees are in the same room.

Future Human

This the challenge HP Inc is hoping to tackle with a new portfolio of conferencing and collaboration tools known as HP Presence. The suite launched in Ireland at the end of April and includes special meeting space satellite microphones, audio bars and AI cameras to give hybrid meetings more of an in-person feel.

Speaking to SiliconRepublic.com at the Irish launch, HP’s Sarah Drysdale said the company has a strong belief that asynchronous collaboration is the way forward in the future of work.

“We’ve worked over the last four years to develop HP Presence as a seamless collaboration tool integrated with people like Microsoft Teams or Zoom to really give you that in-the-room experience regardless of where you are,” she said.

“If I’m a remote attendee, I want to be able to dial into my call and see everyone that’s in that space. We’re missing those behavioural cues; we’re missing seeing what people have been up to and how they’ve changed over time and that in-person interaction.”

Some of the features include HP Speaker Frame, a picture-in-picture mode that spotlights in-room speakers; HP Auto Frame, which puts meeting room attendees into perspective by framing out white space; and HP Speaker Tracking that allows speakers to move around the room while keeping them in frame.

HP Inc’s Ireland country manager, Neil Dover, said that while having your voice heard while working remotely is “massively impactful”, security is also an important factor as automation becomes more common in workplaces.

“We need to tie that security piece and the collaboration piece together in the trends as they go forward and that change in behaviour becomes a secure change rather than just an ad-hoc change as it has been in the past,” he said.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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