Hybrid In-person/Virtual Meeting and Workshop Equipment

SteveWickSteveWick
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edited September 10 in Tech Tips & Virtual Engagement

Hello everyone!

At the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council we are slowly reopening our office and will be holding our first in-person board meeting in September. For the past 17 months we have held every board meeting, panel review, and workshop in a virtual environment via Zoom.

As we move towards more in-person events we are toying with allowing for hybrid situations where some people can be present in person while others attend virtually. We wish to do this both for allowing folks to make their own personal health choices but also to allow for increased accessibility since we cover a very large geographic territory.

Does anyone have any experience with this? How has it worked for you? Any difficulties to be aware of?

And most importantly, what kind of audio/visual equipment do you use? Our current setup in our conference room is inadequate for picking up multiple voices in a meeting and are seeking ideas.

KaraAdamsDarahMooreKathyBakhshi

Comments

  • We also still allow for virtual as well as in-person for our meetings. We use our conference room TV and google cast with a Meeting Owl. I find that the Owl is a little low so I do set it on a small plant stand on the table in the middle. It works really well. https://owllabs.com/products/meeting-owl-pro

    KaraAdamsSteveWickKathyBakhshi
  • Thank you both to @DebbieStanton and @MarionGreen for your suggestion of an Owl. I've set up a meeting with them to see if they will be able to fit our needs.

    KaraAdamsDebbieStanton
  • We have a television in our conference room with a web cam set up on the top of it. We connect a laptop with an HDMI to the television and connect the webcam to the laptop. It works quite well for us so far. The camera covers the board table and chairs from where it sits. My biggest take away is to have one person solely in charge of running the computer and software you choose (we use Zoom) to be able to watch the chat and any other issues. Best of luck with your meetings!

    AnnButterfieldSteveWick
  • @RhondaReichert thank you! This is what we had been using and found that it was often difficult to hear everyone in our space due to it's size and air ducts.

    RhondaReichert
  • We did the same as @RhondaReichert but we did purchase a good webcam that has a very good microphone. It only cost around $150 compared to the Owl which is $1000. We're a small nonprofit, so we took the affordable way. Pitfalls of this is that you can't automatically move the camera around to focus on other people. We just focus it on the main group. I hate hybrid meetings, but it's here to stay. At some point, we may invest in something like the Owl.

    SteveWick
  • Thanks Carol! I'll have to look into that if our hybrid meetings become more of a thing (which I'm sure they will). Spending $150 on a good webcam could go a long way for us as we are a fairly small non-profit as well.

    KaraAdams
  • At Foundant we have invested a lot in our Zoom Rooms Conference rooms so I am a huge Zoom fan, but I thought I would throw out some other ideas.

    The Owl is great depending on the size of the room as well as the number of attendees. They use to give some away to NonProfits as part of their charitable giving but it looks like now they discount refurbished ones https://resources.owllabs.com/blog/meeting-owl-for-good.

    If everyone has laptops, you could ask them all to bring in the laptops for individual web cams, but then do not dial into the zoom computer audio to reduce feedback.

    Depending on the size of your room, Jabra makes a really nice conference room speaker/mic that can be paired together. https://www.jabra.com/business/speakerphones/jabra-speak-series.

    I set up a conference room for a local non profit in Bozeman, MT with the following and managed to complete the entire room for around $2,500. If your community supports it, see if you can get a business to sponsor the equipment.

    1.) $200 TV stand,

    2.) $500 TV

    3.)$100 Logitech HD web cam

    4.) $600 for 2 of the Jabra Speak 710s linked above

    5.) $700 for a micro PC to run Zoom

    I highly recommend creating a meeting etiquette guide. It becomes really easy for attendees to forget about your remote participants.

    SuzieBoyerKaraAdamsSteveWickRhondaReichert
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