Think about your last meeting. How was it scheduled? Were you in a conference room, office, or huddle? Did everyone have the technology they needed and did it work? Did you waste time on setup? Was the environment conducive or hindering to working together? These are just a few of the questions companies need to be asking when it comes to updating their meeting rooms.
Meeting rooms are “badly in need of transformation,” says Robin Gareiss from Nemertes Research. According to her article, the typical meeting has not caught up with advances in Unified Communications and Collaboration technologies and is plagued by a lack of organization, streamlined collaboration, and consistency.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that many IT leaders have made creating better meeting rooms a more important priority and are focusing on bringing together the right combinations of technology, environment, and standardized attendee experience.
Modernizing The Meeting Room
Half of the IT leaders Nemertes approached for their Unified Communications and Collaboration research project indicated they had formal projects aimed at modernizing their meeting rooms underway. Modern meeting room projects aim to employ automation for more efficient use of meeting time, feature centralized and consistent technologies, and entail standardized design of physical spaces, including furniture choice and connectivity.
Automation can enable greater efficiency in both scheduling meetings and in preparing spaces for attendees. It would manage the adjustment of lighting, startup projectors, presentations, and video conferences, and even signal to others that you are using the conferencing space now or at a future time if something changes.
Unified Communication and Collaboration tools will play a key role in the modern meeting as a centralized console for all meeting activities. Managing time and attendee schedules efficiently is crucial in a fast-paced workday. UC can do this with ease by integrating scheduling tools with attendee calendars, managing various applications and disparate systems, and providing a single virtual meeting room for all attendees to login in. UC will also allow for local and long-distance attendees to be on the same page with videoconferencing, digital whiteboards, and crystal clear sound quality.
Optimizing the environment to be more ergonomic and connected is another objective for meeting rooms of the future. While the traditional meeting room is usually a large conference room with long tables and ample seating, new “huddle rooms” are becoming a more common meeting space. And regardless of room size or furniture, the ability to connect using wireless technology, outlets, and presentation tools is also becoming a top priority.
A Wainhouse Research survey says 66 percent of respondents plan on deploying more videoconferencing equipment in huddle rooms, which are smaller spaces meant to encourage casual, ad hoc meetings.
“We've seen a huge shift in the way people work, and that includes a big uptick in huddle rooms or space where people can meet on the fly,” said Zach Holmquist, CTO and co-founder of EventBoard (now known as Teem). “In today's flexible, fast-moving workplace, impromptu meetings are something companies need to accommodate.”
By integrating UC technology, automation, and connectivity capabilities with the spaces most conducive to getting things done, businesses can make important strides towards modernizing the meeting experience.