The future is all about change in how we collaborate. No longer are video conferences conducted just in the Executive Boardroom, the modern trend is to “trickle down” to more informal meetings in many smaller rooms and spaces with emphasis on collaboration. The modern meeting room is about creating a space that provides the right kind of experience for the end users.
The consensus is that more smaller and medium sized meeting rooms are needed with less emphasis on larger full blown boardrooms. Interestingly and perhaps a bit counter intuitive, the trend towards personal video calling will actually drive more of these smaller meeting rooms rather than being an alternative to them. The meeting spaces of the near future break down into four categories:
A staple of the past the number of new room executive boardroom deployments is not expected to increase significantly, but existing rooms will be modernized with the latest in intuitive and easy-to-use video conferencing end points and all bells and whistles such as multiple high quality microphones & speakers or speaker phones, large screens with high resolution video and pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras. Money is still not an object in these rooms as organizations will spend what’s needed to provide the best service.
Standard Conference Rooms
Like boardrooms, in the past these were complicated rooms with lots of technology. In the future they will be less complicated, with simplified designs, all digital, with focus on how the rooms feel and the experience. This is driving the costs down, simplifying the user interface and making the rooms more accessible to everyone. Some boardroom meetings are migrating down to this type of room while other meetings normal conducted in this type of room are migrating down to huddle rooms and teaming spaces. The future will continue to see deployments of these types of rooms, but in a simplified form factor that drives scale.
The typical huddle room is a small and basic meeting room for 5-6 people, equipped with standard furnishings and basic technologies. This is a place to get work done. Such rooms are equipped with video conferencing, audio conferencing and content sharing (both wired, and wireless for next-gen workers). There is little or no technical support in this type of room as there are too many rooms to support. The technology is cost effective, simple to use and easy to deploy and is highly reliable due to remote monitoring. The huddle room is poised to become the work horse of the collaborative environment and ready for large scale deployment.
These special rooms for “uber collaboration”, and include many displays of different shapes and sizes, comfortable furnishing like comfortable chairs and small table or couches with no tables at all, or even bar seating. The focus is on a collaborative experience, a space for creativity, brain storming, analyzing information and decision making. It’s all about the value of the people in your organization.
The room of the future is not just a physical meeting room and not just a virtual meeting room. In any given meeting some participants will be dialed into these meeting rooms virtually from their homes, their own work space, or from other meeting rooms while others are physically present in the room. These sessions will demand that other participants can be brought into the meeting adhoc or by scheduled invitation, and to participate fully – meaning video, audio and content sharing.
As Huddle rooms become the work horse of collaboration the equipment will become easy to install and support and the price total cost of ownership of the equipment will decrease significantly due to the sheer volume of huddle room deployment. Video will become easy to access and as a result the value of video will be realized by the enterprise.
The culture of some organizations is to use the desktop while others prefer meeting rooms and still other use a mix. The technology of the future must embrace all of these preferences to allow the end users to collaborate in the most natural ways.
We may not be wearing Virtual Reality headsets or video conferencing in 3D just yet, but the future of collaboration is about changes for people, business and technology. Huddle rooms will become the work horse of collaboration in the enterprise. The future is about increasing usage and getting more people into more rooms (either physically or virtually) where a more casual environment fosters creativity and collaboration.