While many of us have gotten comfortable adapting to the new flexible reality with scrappy tools and setups, hybrid meetings that are conducted by in-person teams crowding around a laptop and hoping remote attendees can hear and see everyone aren’t good enough. Poorly facilitated meetings can lead to a wide range of inequities, including proximity bias, and a feeling of disconnection among teams. 

That’s why companies are adapting to this new normal with best-in-class hybrid communication technology. Hybrid teams love the Meeting Owl, a 360-degree video conferencing camera which automatically shows whoever’s speaking, picks up audio up to 18 feet around the table, and facilitates smoother, easier collaboration overall.

But things can get complicated when a whiteboard gets involved. How many times have you sat in a hybrid meeting and had to ask someone in the office to hold up the camera to the whiteboard so you can actually read it? It makes remote attendees feel left out, and they have a harder time contributing ideas when they can’t actually see everything on the board. 

Enter: The Whiteboard Owl.

The Whiteboard Owl is a one-of-a-kind wireless camera technology that syncs to your Meeting Owl using Owl Connect technology and broadcasts your whiteboard so all attendees can read every word — even if an in-person teammate is blocking it while writing down ideas. It’s easy to set up, and can be used in everyday meetings, workshops, or classroom settings to enhance the remote attendee experience, and make every team call more inclusive.

“In addition to a super clear image of the whiteboard, remote viewers can see the entire image, because we created technology to make the person writing on the whiteboard transparent,” says Mark Schnittman, Co-Founder + CTO of Owl Labs. “The Whiteboard Owl can accommodate any sized wall and it automatically resizes the image, making it easy to use. The camera watches the whiteboard, detects the person, and makes them transparent, creating a hybrid meeting experience where you don’t lose the content and you don’t lose the context.

“The Whiteboard Owl creates a hybrid meeting experience where you don’t lose the content, and you don’t lose the context.” Mark Schnittman, Owl Labs Co-Founder + CTO

The Whiteboard Owl allows you to create a full collaborative room ecosystem, making your team’s brainstormed ideas come through clearly for remote attendees. Using Whiteboard Enhance, remote participants can fully participate in brainstorms without needing to furiously take notes and hope they got the right message.

In this article, we’ll deep-dive into the benefits of the Whiteboard Owl, talk about Whiteboard Owl security features, and get into how to set up the Whiteboard Owl for hybrid meetings.

Key Whiteboard Owl Features

The Whiteboard Owl is the only whiteboard meeting solution of its kind, thanks to Whiteboard Enhance. With Whiteboard Enhance, the presenter writing on a whiteboard can magically be made transparent, giving a full view of the screen behind them. Remote viewers can see a light shadow where they’re standing, but they’re never blocked from reading the whiteboard

Whiteboard Owl features include:

  • Making the presenter transparent to provide a full view of the whiteboard
  • Reducing glare and shadows on the whiteboard from office windows or lights
  • Improving whiteboard visibility with higher-quality graphics, and increased contrast and saturation


woman participating in a hybrid video meeting with the whiteboard owl virtual whiteboard

The Whiteboard Owl reduces glare and shadows from office lighting and windows, and increases contrast and saturation on the whiteboard. Plus, the Owl Connect operating system updates automatically, so your team is always working with the latest version.

The Whiteboard Owl is the first hybrid meeting tool that allows remote teams to see the whiteboard just as well as those sitting in the office — if not better.

Whiteboard Owl security

Hybrid (and remote-only) meetings must be set up with technology that prioritizes privacy and security. Like for all Owl Labs products, Whiteboard Owl security is taken very seriously. 

Here’s everything you need to know about Whiteboard Owl security:

  • Security patches and improvements are built into frequent software updates with full release notes.
  • The Whiteboard Owl sends basic analytics data over HTTPS with TLS/SSL to the Owl Labs central server. It’s hosted securely, and can only be accessed by full-time employees of Owl Labs. 
  • Video data is not captured at all.

How to update your Whiteboard Owl

At Owl Labs, we’re constantly updating our software to make it smarter and more secure over time. We push out regular software, security and feature updates that your Whiteboard Owl receives if it’s connected to WiFi. Below are steps on how you can be sure your Owl has the smartest version of our software (aka the latest-and-greatest): 

  • If your Whiteboard Owl is connected to WiFi, you will automatically receive updates.
  • If your Whiteboard Owl isn't connected to WiFi, here are detailed instructions on how to update your Meeting Owl and Whiteboard Owl manually. 

How to set up your Whiteboard Owl

  1. First, place the Whiteboard Tags in the top-left and bottom-right corners of the whiteboard — this lets the camera know where to record.
  2. Mount your Whiteboard Owl. It can be placed on a wall, ceiling, or a tripod (for greater flexibility for multi-purpose rooms). Affix it 7-16 feet (2-5 meters) from the whiteboard, using drywall screws and anchors or adhesive mounting strips.
  3. Connect your Whiteboard Owl to power.
  4. Set up your Whiteboard Owl in the Meeting Owl App and pair it to the Meeting Owl in the room. You can also connect the two via USB, but connecting through the app is easier and leads to a better experience.
  5. When a meeting has begun, turn over one of the magnetic tags to signal to the Whiteboard Owl that it’s time to record. 

Make the most of hybrid whiteboard meetings

From a facilities management or meeting facilitation perspective, there are a few ways you can help improve visibility and meeting participation from the office. 

  • Invest in quality whiteboards, markers, and erasers. 
  • Reduce glare as much as possible with strategic whiteboard placement, curtains, and window film. 
  • Upgrade your lighting to a softer bulb or different setup that helps avoid reflections.

3 ways to keep employees connected and contributing with the Whiteboard Owl

The Whiteboard Owl makes collaborative team brainstorming easier and more inclusive than ever. Remote employees can always see and read the board, and both in-person and remote teammates benefit from not needing to take notes during the meeting.

Use the Whiteboard Owl camera in your next hybrid meeting to:

  • Plan out a product roadmap with timelines visually.

Take advantage of in-person whiteboarding or virtual whiteboards when planning development projects. Keep up with timelines in a project management tool and link recordings for additional, free-form details. 

  • Develop a content calendar or PR pitch plan.

During brainstorms, ideas start rolling and snowball into one another. Start with an idea and see how it grows with a whiteboard. 

  • Conduct new hire training and orientation. 

When instructors and some students are in the classroom, the Whiteboard Owl will pair with the Meeting Owl to stream both the instructor and the content behind them. 

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