This month we hear from Dan Jackson, Research and Development Manager, Crestron Electronics on the evolution of technology in meeting rooms.
How has technology changed the meeting room environment?
Changes to the way that organizations work and do business in meeting environments have actually driven the need for new technologies. Meeting spaces were once simple rooms with whiteboards and very little – if any – technology. Now, they are much more than that. In fact, as businesses have increasingly become more collaborative, more work is done remotely and more of our content is digital, there is a growing need for the right technology to bridge that gap and ensure that employees can work together seamlessly – whether they’re in the same room, or somewhere else on the far side of the globe.
How has mobile technology impacted AV standards and common practices in meeting room setups?
If you look around the room at your next meeting, you’ll probably see quite a few people on their mobile phones, iPads or other devices. This connectivity means that employees are now expecting – and demanding – seamless and immediate integration between their meeting spaces and their devices. They expect to be able to walk into a meeting with just a mobile device or iPad, and easily present to the room. We’re going to start to see more demand for Bluetooth integration in meeting spaces and using a mobile device like it’s meant to be used – and not with five people sitting around it trying to communicate via the mobile device’s speaker phone.
How have organizations changed the way they’re investing in AV technology?
The general trend in AV technology investments is that it used to be a facilities decision. But, with the focus shifting toward standardizing technology in meeting spaces, the responsibility is increasingly falling into the IT department’s hands. In addition to the desktop experience, which IT already covers, the IT teams are the ones now tasked with creating a consistent experience in every meeting space across an organization – and that comes down to standardizing the technologies at hand. At the same time, companies have a growing need to communicate seamlessly with various regions around the globe. They want their U.S. employees visiting Stockholm, for example, to be able to walk into a room and immediately know how it works, and vice versa. It all comes down to maximizing productivity.
Recognizing where AV technology has come, where does Crestron see the meeting room technology moving to over the next 10 years?
Over the past 10 years, collaboration and AV technology have offered up much more of a seamless and personalized experience.Imagine walking into a meeting room and seeing a personalized welcome message, instantly sharing content from your mobile device, and having the lights and videos turn off automatically when you leave.That’s the experience that’s possible today. As the younger generations that have grown up on video and mobile step into leadership roles at organizations, expectations will continue to rise. We’ve seen a hurdle to adoption with some technologies and that’s going to disappear.
What is the most popular trend across organizations of all sizes?
The high level trend that we’re seeing is that the workplace is being designed to be more open. The privacy in closed offices and cubes is going away, as organizations adapt to different degrees of openness. It’s no longer a one size fits all approach. Instead we’re seeing that businesses are now building a variety of different meeting spaces and rooms to meet different needs. From smaller two-person huddle rooms, to large 10-person meetings, organizations are customizing spaces to adapt to the increasingly open workplace, while at the same time ensuring a consistent experience in each space no matter what the size.
What are 3 recommendations you’d give to any organization looking to design, expand or build new meeting room space?
Businesses need to understand what their people want to do first, before they even look at technology. Ask yourself, what are your people’s needs throughout the day and how can I meet those needs. Large organizations with big, morning meetings will have different needs from smaller organizations with open floor plans. Do I need to invest in a big videoconferencing infrastructure or will something smaller meet employees’ workplace demands? As enterprises become more collaborative, employees are increasingly working in teams, locally and globally. Once you step back and understand the needs of the people working for you, that can better drive and optimize yourtechnology investments.You can also have a more complete picture of the way your employees work around the globe to maximize your organization’s usage of those meeting spaces –saving money for the organization in the long run.
Another recommendation is to be sure to standardize for a consistent experience across your meeting spaces.When employees walk into a new room, they should be able to expect the same experience and technology at their fingertips. Whether it’s a small huddle room, or a vast conference room, a consistent experience will foster employee productivity and thus, greater organizational success. With our technology, that consistent experience can include video, audio, temperature, lighting, and visibility into every meeting room and the devices they include.
Finally, partnering with a single manufacturer should be treated like any IT buying decision and goes hand-in-hand with standardization. Think of the issues that can crop up, if you’re switching between different phone or email systems, and trying to create a seamless experience across your organization.Finding a partner that you can trust and rely on to standardize your employees’ work space experience is the key to spurring productivity and success.