What is One-Way Glass?

Q: What is One-Way Glass?
 A: It’s a special behavior of breakout room #8 that lets participants hear the conversation in the main room, without being heard by the main room. 

It’s not uncommon for a conference service to allow “break-out rooms” in support of private conversations away from the main conference. A ZipDX conference offers eight such private rooms adjoining the main conference. However, room #8 is a special case as it features One-way Glass.

One-way Glass provides a dedicated, private conference room specifically for the people observing main conference from a distance. Conversation from the main room is heard in room #8, but the main conference cannot hear anything happening in the breakout room. Thus the group in the main conference room can conduct it’s business undisturbed, completely unaware of the observers group, even as they listen in.

Example Applications

One-Way Glass is applicable anywhere you might want to have one group of people monitor, but not interfere with the activities of another group. Market research or focus groups are one possible application for One-way Glass. A virtual focus group can be assembled in the main conference room. Those managers who are not directly involved in the focus group can join the conference call, but hidden behind one-way glass there’s no risk of them disrupting the focus group.

It would be equally well-suited to a human resources training application. In the main conference room an HR staffer could be interviewing someone applying for a job. At the same time, tucked discreetly behind one-way glass in room #8, other HR staff listen in on the interview. They remain at arm’s length from the interview, but are able to chat amongst themselves, discussing the technique used to interview the job candidate.

One-Way Glass Modes

One-way Glass features two modes of operation:

(1) Automatic Mode

In the default, “automatic” mode, any conversation between the people in room #8 causes the sound from the main conference room to be automatically lowered. When local conversation stops the sound from the main room is quickly restored to normal volume so that that the focus group can once again be heard clearly.

(2) Fixed Mode

With One-way Glass in “fixed” mode all participants in room #8 except the host are soft-muted. Upon joining the call they hear an announcement pointing out this fact and advised them on how they can unmute, if desired. In fixed mode the audio level from the main conference remains constant, regardless of activity in the side room.

A Host can toggle the One-Way Glass mode from the keypad of their telephone using *85.

The Observer Role

In setting up a call that uses One-Way Glass the organizer can issue invitations such that each participant is automatically joined to the correct room as the call begins.

Those who should be monitoring, but not actively participating in the conference, should be assigned the role of Observer. This will cause them to be placed into room #8 when they join the conference.