Visual collaboration can now be carried out online, by providing a digital canvas in which teams can collaborate on an idea in real time from any location. This is important because as remote working increases, so does the need for teams to be able to collaborate effectively, no matter where they are.
Any type of video conference can benefit from visual collaboration technology now available, whether virtual or hybrid. It’s a huge area of investment and growth with new platforms being created all the time.
Its success can be traced back to the Pandemic where more business meetings than ever were held on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Individuals in different locations found it challenging to fully express their ideas, or feel part of the onsite team. Employees often sensed a lack of engagement and empowerment, impacting wellbeing and productivity.
Companies sought to rectify this because collaboration is paramount and the need for it to be smooth and fluid whether virtual, hybrid or in-person is clearly important.
How can visual collaboration benefit teams?
Visual collaboration can now use online platforms such as a virtual whiteboard to help ensure teams feel connected. Problem solving and innovation can be enhanced using new methods of thinking aided by visual collaboration tools and techniques. This results in teams feeling empowered as they are able to ideate as if they were in the room together.
The resulting speed at which projects are completed increases, which frees up time for other tasks, therefore increasing productivity. Furthermore, businesses which can streamline processes involving innovation will undoubtedly be in a stronger position than their competitors.
Getting a new visual perspective
Thinking visually can revolutionise existing ways of working by providing new perspectives on how to approach a project or problem. Rather than attempting to explain a solution or process change using words alone, diagrams and drawings can be shared to a virtual canvas for all attendees to see and comment on. It also boosts communication generally, by offering a new and often more intuitive way of leading and learning.
This means that its applications are not limited to business. As a visual tool in education, for example, it can provide a more engaging and accessible way of learning and teaching.
Another positive aspect of using a digital collaboration tool is its ability to keep a group focussed on a particular task by displaying only the necessary information related to a project. As well as this, documents are easy to view and add comments, promoting dialogue in a connected way, which manual methods often lack.
So, as well as sharing a presentation to the screen within a video conference, it is now possible to create entirely new diagrams, flow charts or hand drawn solutions, on the go. Not only that, teams can build on the idea in real time, increasing the flow of information. This also reduces the time taken to reach an agreement on how to move forward with a project.
What are the features of visual collaboration?
Features can vary and more are being added all the time but here is a flavour of what to expect:
- Infinite canvas
- Sticky notes
- Freehand drawing
All platforms are simple, effective and have a layout which is visually pleasing. Due to the number of platforms available, and their ease of use and versatility, it means organisations should have no problems implementing them as part of their infrastructure. Plus there are free trials available so you can try before you buy.
What are the applications of visual collaboration?
In reality, the applications are almost endless but from a top level perspective, visual collaboration can be used in 3 main areas which are meetings, processes and projects. Some of the most popular uses in a business setting include:
- Hosting engaging meetings or conferences
- Designing products
- Group ideation
- Thought organisation
- Project management
- Real time collaboration on a document
Which visual collaboration platforms are available?
The list of platforms is growing all the time. Most are software based while others require additional hardware. Some can be integrated with Zoom or Microsoft Teams while others can be used as standalone apps. Most platforms, such as Mural, Miro and Lucidspark, incorporate a form of online whiteboard while others focus on virtual text cards or lists as a way of tracking project developments, such as Trello.
The type of project or problem in hand will determine the most suitable platform for your organisation. Here are some of the most popular platforms:
- Zoom Companion Whiteboard
- Microsoft Teams Whiteboard
- Mural – can be integrated with Microsoft Teams
The Zoom Companion Whiteboard utilises an interactive touch screen display within a conference room. The content can be shared with the attendees, with annotation also supported.
The Microsoft Teams Whiteboard is integral to the app itself and can be accessed during a meeting by the click of a button. It supports drawing, sketching or writing on shared content, allowing an enhanced method of contribution from meeting attendees.
What about offline visual collaboration tools?
All of the visual collaboration tools and techniques discussed so far have been digital. But what about using your existing physical whiteboard as a collaboration tool within a remote or hybrid meeting? The Logitech Scribe can do just that with an AI-powered camera which displays the physical whiteboard in a meeting room to the attendees.
It can even make the presenter translucent so the content can still be viewed while the whiteboard is in use. The colours are enhanced and the images are incredibly clear making it a viable alternative to a digital whiteboard. So if you’re not ready to let go of the meeting room whiteboard yet, this may be the ideal option for you.
What comes next for visual collaboration?
Following the transition to remote working and hybrid meetings, visual collaboration is the next evolutionary step in increasing productivity and innovation in the workplace. Its ability to allow teams to collaborate across cultural and language barriers makes it a powerful tool to increase empowerment and engagement.
With so many options available to take your learning and communication to the next level, be it online or offline, diagrammatical or text based, it seems to be a concept which will be adopted by organisations in many sectors in years to come.
Digital Vision AV are able to install and supply video conferencing equipment which works with your chosen platform. We offer a free site survey and quote so get in touch to find out more about the benefits which can be brought to your business.