Best practise videoconferencing tools for managed sessions

By dr. Matevž Pogačnik and Uroš Kostelac MSc

At the time when hybrid has been heralded as the future of work, the videoconferencing solutions have seen an unprecedented rise on the global market. Even though the global pandemic seems to be slowing down, the hybrid model of work has become the “new normal” and is here to stay. Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, Google Meet and others rode the pandemic to skyrocketing success, mostly taking advantage of remote work and distance learning needs. During the pandemic these videoconferencing platforms have matured and evolved from pure videoconferencing tools into applications offering a comprehensive assortment of options. As such, they have become the standard tools for online work, lectures and meetings.

Figure 1: Managed session agenda and voting

However, with the focus on the mass market needs, these videoconferencing tools are lacking the support and functionality required for managed sessions of assembly boards, ministerial conferences, company management boards, parliamentary sessions, or municipality council sessions. This niche has been covered by specialized tools such as QUOROOM, Webex Legislate and Interactio, to name a few. Among these, QUOROOM tool stands out as the ultimate hybrid solution, which provides council or board members with full participation in managed sessions using agenda- based discussions under full chairman control, secure voting and benefit from recording, web streaming and automatic generation of meeting minutes. International meetings need simultaneous interpretation and a simple selection of the desired language’s audio channel.

Figure 2: Simultaneous interpretation

While these features may be covered by many of the videoconferencing tools, QUOROOM shines when it comes to accessibility support. It provides accessibility for deaf users through automatic subtitling in several languages, as well as sign language interpretation in a separate video window. The sign language video can be conveniently resized and moved across the user interface, so the deaf user can personalize its position for the best user experience. Despite the growing awareness about accessibility needs, mandated by the EU Web Accessibility Directive, compliant with the much talked-about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1), the accessibility features make QUOROOM a unique videoconferencing tool for managed hybrid sessions.

Figure 3: Sign language interpretation

It seems, that the future mode of work is not exclusively remote but will remain hybrid. This is especially true for managed sessions of governmental and municipal Councils, ministerial conferences, and other high-profile events. These often include decision making sessions, requiring voting both onsite through standard conference voting hardware as well as remote voting. QUOROOM is again the only solution which can securely operate in a remote, hybrid, or onsite mode and is fully compatible with Bosch conference voting systems (Bosch Dicentis and DCN). QUOROOM has proven its worth in the last 12 months of heavy usage, enabling several EU ministerial conferences during the Slovenian presidency to the Council of EU, hundreds of state and municipal sessions, thousands of votings and discussions, all without failures or breakdowns for hundreds of simultaneous participants. In addition, passive session participants were able to follow the sessions through online streaming channels such as YouTube or Facebook, further increasing the audience reach.

Figure 4: Conference voting hardware

Not every governmental od municipal organisation will be making sweeping changes to the ways their members can participate in online decision-making sessions, but everyone is looking to each other for inspiration as well as trialling new models and practices to see what’s working. Those who are making changes can see the benefits of tools such as QUOROOM that will endure far beyond the pandemic.