By Corey Moss

Take a look at this image:

33801794 - three business people on a meeting

Yes, for those who may not have been paying close attention over the last several years, this is the type of meeting environment that has continued to grow in profile, especially in the enterprise. For those in the know, we also refer to smaller meeting rooms as huddle rooms, one that normally seats four to six people comfortably, and can be outfitted with technology to communicate and collaborate with those inside as well as outside the organization. Along with technology providers who design solutions for such room environments, furniture manufacturers design specifically for them as well as this has become a booming focus overall for the enterprise, to go along with SMB of course.

Pictured above, three business people with four devices present in the room – a laptop and three smart phones. They could be sales management reviewing sales person budgets, heads of finance reviewing the bottom line or the executive team planning goals for the next year.

What’s interesting is that while once this was done in either a medium to large size meeting room, or even the CEO’s boardroom, nowadays the huddle room becomes the place to join, even at the last moment, to make determinations on enterprise business.

In terms of an organization’s technology focus, there was a time when IT handled the computer and network side, and AV and facilities departments primarily oversaw the audio visual integration deployments. Now, the large percentage as we know falls into the hands of IT, from the administrator up to the CIO. Where integrators have needed to pivot to adapt to these changes, and there are those who have done it well, the concept of how IT owns the technology in the room is still a consideration that needs to be understood throughout the industry.

Where the whole AV/IT discussion (which started over a decade ago) is concerned, one needn’t look any farther than who for the most part owns the IT and AV technology implementation and integration in the organization – it’s IT.

A large component of this type of space, as you can see in the picture is BYOD, where we see less in-room computers and more people bringing laptops and mobile devices to present as well as communicate and collaborate. As those who have said that PC’s could soon be replaced in total by mobile devices (OK well that hasn’t happened just yet), the small meeting room just may be the environment that will continue to help fully signal that transition.  Market research firm Gartner, in 2014, issued a prediction that by 2018, more than half of all users will use a tablet or smartphone first – instead of a laptop or desktop – for all online activities. With this, the huddle room will be the designated place to carry on most meetings at that point and the technologies to support these room environments and device usage will be of ultimate necessity.

With the types of technologies continuing to be developed to go into these room environments, there soon will be absolutely no need for a PC in the room – or soon, on the desk as devices will just continue to move from meeting room to work place and vice versa.

One thing to note though, while in numerous instances one can bring technology in terms of devices to the room with no problem, a majority of these types of room environments, along with larger rooms, are not properly outfitted with technology. There are those who may still be using out of date technology in a room that will hardly satisfy the presentation and/or collaboration needs of the organization (like this for example, which still unfortunately does exist) –

meeting room disaster
old equipment, speakers hung out of the ceiling, those cables, and all those remotes…

– or have rooms with no technology at all, where it would present a true bonus to doing business on the whole with the latest solutions for communications and collaboration available.

A meeting is taking place right now with an employee working remotely and interacting with team members in a small meeting room over a videoconference, while in the room they may be collaborating with an interactive display board, however this scenario is certainly not occurring as much as is possible across the world with the technologies that are present today – hardware, software or cloud-based, and some are combined hardware and software or cloud.

Crestron Mercury

Certain newer solutions have come to market, one of them is the new Crestron Mercury (introduced at ISE 2017), provides videoconferencing & web collaboration, voice calling and audio conferencing and BYOD multimedia presentation.  It also integrates directly with Microsoft Exchange Server or Crestron Fusion Cloud to allow seamless room scheduling and automation for any number of Mercury-equipped rooms and provides room usage data as part of a complete managed enterprise system. Cloud-based provisioning enables complete network configuration in advance of hardware delivery, with touchless updates following installation. Management and monitoring through Crestron Fusion Cloud, and advanced security features include 802.1x authentication, Active Directory credential management, LDAP directory management and more.

revo-yamaha-cs-700

Another is the brand new Yamaha CS-700 video sound collaboration system designed for huddle rooms, developed by Yamaha and Revolabs (being introduced this week), which combines best-in-class audio with high-quality video to fulfill these types of room requirements with collaboration capabilities in an all-in-one, wall-mounted system. Through the integrated USB port, the CS-700 is ready to connect to an organization’s chosen unified communications platform, such as Microsoft Skype for Business, Zoom, Blue Jeans, Cisco Spark, and many others.

prysm-enterprise-100643750-large

Prysm Visual Workplace delivers a seamless collaboration experience that helps organizations drive active engagement, streamline communications, increase productivity and more. Prysm Visual Workplace combines all of the content, applications and communication tools together into a single digital canvas for individuals and teams to share content and drive decisions. With dynamic workspaces, anywhere device access, out-of-the-box integration with leading tools (including Box, Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, Skype for Business and most major VTC solutions), and content security with enterprise-level encryption, backed up on multiple, redundant servers presents a true enterprise-grade communication and collaboration solution.

Where videoconferencing and collaboration for smaller (as well as larger) meeting spaces is concerned there exist numerous options – hardware, software and cloud – and certain well-known providers like Pexip, Zoom, Polycom, Cisco and Blue Jeans, as well as Microsoft Skype for Business.

Something that I saw recently pointed out certain types of investments that end users need to consider to build in high end usage, as well as efficiency, in these meeting room environments:

  • Wireless presentation solutions
  • Unified Communications and collaboration solutions
  • Productivity Tools
  • Meeting room scheduling software

These types of solutions will both enhance as well as integrate advanced technologies into these types of existing rooms (along with new rooms) giving enterprise end users the necessary tools they require to get business done.

For those who are aware that Enterprise Connect is taking place in Orlando this week, they know that this is one of the prime trade shows to see all of the above, where attendees learn more about solutions to go along with processes and workflow, and in certain instances, how data can help them to better utilize workspaces.  AV industry attendees will certainly learn about the latest of what can be presented to clients, a majority of them being Enterprise IT attendees, who are responsible for outfitting the organization’s environment with the solutions and tools they need.

There will be many new unified communications and collaboration product releases at the show – here is a list of all of the sponsors/exhibitors. All of the above-mentioned companies will be at Enterprise Connect – I discussed the show with certain people who will be exhibiting there, and what they will be showcasing: (on Convergent Tech Blog)

Jeff Singer at Crestron

Jordan Owens at Pexip

Amy Barzdukas and Andy Cuneo at Polycom

Randy Lee at Revolabs (discussing the Yamaha CS-700)

me-suit

With almost 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent Tech – online publications Convergent Tech Blog and Convergent AV – and consulting. Corey writes for the publications and hosts/produces podcasts – Convergent Tech Blog Discussion (on Convergent Tech Blog) and The AV Life, The Edge of AV, EdTech Focus and The Show Corner all on Convergent AV. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.

Find out more about Corey on LinkedIn and on Twitter @Cbmoss.