Monday, 20 December 2021 00:30

iTWireTV Interview: Barco A/NZ MD, Claudio Cardile, shares a fresh outlook for the post-Covid workplace


GUEST INTERVIEW: Although the spectre of Omicron hovers, people are nevertheless returning to work in a hybrid fashion, with the demand for modern, fast and fluid videoconferencing experiences never greater, whether at home, at work, or other remote working scenarios, so what are the trends for a world on the mend?

Barco. The company delivers cutting-edge professional meeting room visualisation and collaboration solutions, and uses technology to “transform the quality of life: from improving health outcomes to changing the way people work and creating compelling experiences.”

The company’s tagline is it designs technology to "enable bright outcomes" around the world, and as it “sees beyond the image,” the company offers "visualisation and collaboration solutions to help its customers work together, share insights, and wow audiences."

Not only a provider of workplace collaboration solutions, Barco says its focus is on three core markets: Enterprise (from meeting, classroom and control rooms to corporate spaces), Healthcare (from the radiology department to the operating room), and Entertainment (from movie theatres to live events and attractions).

In 2020, Barco realised sales of 770 million euro, with a global team of 3,300 employees, whose passion for technology is captured in 461 granted patents - and with a long heritage in tech stretching back to 1934 with an impressive history of technological development, Barco exemplifies its statement that: “It’s innovation that pushes the world forward.”

To learn more about the company and its detailed, 15-page “Outlook for the post-covid workplace” (PDF download) report, Barco A/NZ MD, Claudio Cardile, joined iTWireTV to discuss the findings, the company, its products and services, Covid learnings and more, with that video interview embedded immediately below, after which is more information including a summary of the topics we spoke about, so please watch, and read on!

The report highlights five major trends in its Outlook for the post-covid workplace:

Trend 1)

Office optimism returns. Back to office scenarios are not only pushed by C-level management, they are completely in line with what employees want. More than half of the workforce is ready to return and 92% is expected to be back in the office one or more days by the end of June 2021. They want to work less from home than six months ago (2 days in 2020 – 1.5 days in 2021).

Trend 2)

The Barco Meeting Barometer takes a plunge as people struggle with an overload of virtual meetings. An index of -25, compared to +17 in 2020 and +63 in 2019, clearly shows that meetings deteriorate. 54 per cent feel remote collaboration does not come naturally.

Trend 3)

The search for more engagement drives us away from virtual. We look for more in-person meetings and less virtual interactions. One in two employees goes back to the office to host a meeting. The preference for hybrid, in-person or virtual, meetings depends on the purpose and type of a meeting, as well as on the number of meeting participants. High engagement activities like decision-making, solution-solving or relationship-building require office-based meetings.

Trend 4)

The laptop is our interface to the world. As the preference for people-centric tech becomes clearer, the laptop remains the number one tool for 69% of employees to host videocalls from. Traditional in-room systems are no longer preferred, in favour of BYOD and BYOM.

Trend 5)

The employee-centric workplace arises. Hybrid meeting investments should be in sync with employee expectations on how and where they want to work and collaborate. 39% believe that the company has not prioritised the investments they needed for better hybrid collaboration while 88% think that all meeting rooms need to be equipped with videoconferencing technology.

The “Outlook for the post-covid workplace” report (PDF download) was conducted 784 white collar workers from different industries, seniority levels and company sizes. We’re told the sample consists of employee from 7 countries worldwide: the UK, US, India, Singapore, Australia, France and Germany, as to give a global overview of the workplace trends.

You can also read about Barco's Meeting Barometer report here, too.

Amongst a wide range of products, Barco’s award-winning wireless presentation and conferencing hub is called Clickshare, which promises to "make hybrid collaboration flow, in one click.”

The system works with 50 meeting room ecosystem players with leading businesses from around the globe, while the ClickShare Alliance Program has created an ecosystem giving a “seamless hybrid experience in and outside the meeting room, enabling flexible video conferencing powered by the ClickShare portfolio and 331 validated peripherals from alliance partners,” guaranteeing compatibility.

Barco ClickShare also won the 2021 Connected magazine “Most Popular Award” for Presentation and Collaboration Tools, with Anna Hayes, editor at Connected magazine stating: “Over the past 18 months, we've seen a massive upheaval in the way we live and work, and many of this year's results reflect that change.

“Nowhere is this fact more evident than in our Communications category in which competition was fierce with a number of new players in the mix. The fact that Barco has maintained its first-place position, in such a tumultuous landscape, is testament to the quality of its solutions and the trust that its customers place in them."

Here’s a summary of the topics Claudio and I covered in the video interview:

  • I started by introducing Claudio and welcoming him to the program, after which Claudio spoke about Barco’s history and what the company has grown to offer today.

  • Then we moved onto the “Outlook for the post-covid workplace” report and its findings, including the five major trends as listed above, while also noting the report was released just before the Delta strain and subsequent new lockdown that hit in the middle of the year, and just as things were starting to get back to some kind of normal after lockdowns ended a couple of months ago, Omicron has arrived at year’s end, although so far, while it appears to be more transmissible, it also appears to be milder in its effects.

  • We spoke about the Barco ClickShare solutions, as you’d expect, which are in creating leading-edge hybrid workplaces and hybrid collaboration experiences and the technologies that enable that, which deliver an "employee-centric work model".

  • Naturally, we spoke about the learnings from the pandemic by Barco and its customers, and whether offices were being upgraded during the lockdown earlier this year, in a COVID-safe way, to take advantage of empty offices that could have such meeting rooms upgraded without disrupting what would normally be a busy workplace, in preparation for the lockdown to end and more office based hybrid work recommencing, but with nicely upgraded videoconferencing equipment.

  • Claudio then shared memories of his first computer, his first video call and first remote working experience, long before COVID, how he thinks Barco might evolve over the next couple of years, and where he sees the industry in 2030.

  • We ended with Claudio sharing the best piece of advice he has ever received to help him get where he is today, followed by his final message to current and future viewers, readers, customers and partners.

So, please watch the video interview above with Claudio to learn more!

Here is Barco's infographic on its report:

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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