Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

84 INTERVIEW Supporting the return to the office Jabra’s Aurangzeb Khan shares why offices should invest in high-quality video technology to create an engaging and equitable meeting experience for employees According to Jabra’s 2023 Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report, there has been a five per cent increase in people working full-time in the office in the past year and a nine per cent decrease in employees completing all their hours remotely. Aurangzeb Khan, senior vice president of intelligent vision systems at Jabra, believes that the rise in employees returning to the office could be due to the collaborative environment it offers. “The office is where you build social capital,” he says. “It’s where you have those serendipitous conversations, bump into people and do a lot of whiteboarding, and there is a lot of unstructured energy.” However, organisations must equip offices with the right technology to support the needs of employees in the modern digital workplace. “If the technology is not as good as it is at home, it takes away from the sense of productivity that the office can provide,” says Khan. “If people are trying to collaborate at the office, but don’t have the tools to do so, it can impede them in their work.” In fact, only 15 per cent of employees said that all their office’s meeting rooms are equipped with video cameras for online meetings in Jabra’s report. One way to help organisations adopt new technology is by introducing artificial intelligence-powered solutions that create an intuitive and easy-to-use environment. Jabra is integrating AI into its products to create seamless and intuitive communication experiences for customers. One example is the intelligent zoom feature in the PanaCast 50 Room System, which automatically detects if the full range of its 180-degree cameras are being used, and if not, will reduce the field of vision accordingly so that just the participants are framed by the camera. Also, Jabra’s virtual director uses AI to determine how the camera should move and frame the participants in a natural manner. “Should the camera cut away from one speaker to the next, or should it pull out one or two speakers and place them next to each other on the screen?” says Khan. “How do you pan, cut and create that curated experience? We can’t hire a director to stand in our meetings and make these decisions, but AI can.” Jabra is also combining video and audio AI capabilities to identify individuals on screen based on data about their faces and voices. Users that have opted in to some of the new smart features in Microsoft Teams can already take advantage of this technology. “If you’ve enrolled your voice, it will recognise you when you are speaking, even if there are multiple people in one room and on one camera,” says Khan. “Your name will appear in the transcript Teams creates – it will be like having a a person in the meeting taking minutes with great accuracy.” BY AMBER HICKMAN “ If people are trying to collaborate at the office, but don’t have the tools to do so, it can impede them in their work”