Last week we looked at some strategies for organizing effective meetings for members of distributed and international teams. In light of a recent study from Ovum and by LogMeIn that surveyed nearly 4,000 professionals about how they collaborate, it looks like we aren’t the only ones with meetings on our minds. Among other findings, the report concludes that while the number of virtual meetings workers attend is increasing, those meetings aren’t being sufficiently supported by traditional web conferencing solutions. Teams are so frustrated, in fact, that 66 percent of corporate buyers are on the hunt for new conferencing solutions. In short, our collaboration tools haven’t caught up to the way we collaborate. So what will the virtual meeting tools of the future look like? Here’s our vision:

  • Higher quality: At the most basic level, any collaboration tool has to facilitate clear communication. There’s nothing more frustrating—or less productive—than a meeting in which you don’t know who’s talking or can’t understand what’s being said. Any tool worth its salt has to get that crucial component right.
  • More mobile: With ad hoc and virtual meetings on the rise, collaboration is becoming increasingly mobile. The conferencing tools of the future won’t tether workers to meeting rooms or desks, but will easy accommodate them wherever they happen to be, on whatever kind device they have close at hand.
  • Easier to use: The Ovum study reports that 42 percent of buyers looking for a new collaboration solution are simply looking for a better user experience. Expect the tools they choose to allow for easy scheduling and even easier ad hoc meetings, with one-click solutions replacing traditional dial-in numbers and passcodes.
  • Less expensive: As the workforce grows more agile and workers start bringing their own apps to work, fewer and fewer businesses will rely on expensive conferencing services that require long contracts and comprehensive support. They’ll seek out solutions that are as flexible as they are.

We’ll take a look at more non-meeting-focused forms of virtual collaboration next week. For now, I want to hear your thoughts. Are you finding yourself in more virtual meetings lately? What kind of tools work for your team?