By David Anderson – President at Mimo Monitors 

In today’s modern work environment, we are collaborating with people around the corner and around the world. Research shows this consistent collaboration is best done through video. Conference calls are old-school, and don’t meet our needs in today’s modern working environment. According to Gigaom, 87% of remote users feel more connected to their team when using video conferencing, and 43% of employed Americans spent at least some of their time working remotely, with the fastest growing segment being those who are working 80% to 100% remotely.

Both video conferencing and remote work will continue to grow due to their vast benefits for both the employee and employer. Research shows that those who telecommute are more efficient and more engaged. For the employer, it reduces turnover, travel and overhead costs. With video a necessity to keep those employees engaged and telecommuting on the rise, video conferencing systems more crucial than ever.

This shift in the way we work creates a growing trend in the commercial A/V industry, with a new and expanding expectation of video conferencing to enhance collaboration. Just a few years ago the landscape was much different. There were proprietary conference systems installed in boardrooms that could only be used to talk to a few select locations, which were almost always other internal large conference rooms. These systems were expensive to own and therefore were limited to only the high executives in major corporations. This configuration no longer meets the requirements of today’s workforce. With the ever-growing trend toward telecommuting, open offices, small start-ups, and the gig economy, companies need more flexibility and more conference areas to stay relevant and connected with their employees and clients around the globe. The previous conference room model is no longer efficient, so we must evolve.

It’s important to note that video collaboration is not just for employee to employee collaboration. Video-conferences are an integral part of engaging with customers. With 90% of communication being non-verbal, engaging customers over video cultivates better communication and stronger relationships. Through video-conferencing, salesmen can have the same benefits of in person meetings without the expense and burden of travel.

With many catching on to the importance of video to maintain employee engagement, accommodate the evolving workforce, and connect with customers from afar, we’ve seen a combination of factors enable the emerging trend in video conferencing such as: proliferation of high-speed internet, good low-cost cameras, and software and services from places like BlueJeans, Vidyo, Skype for Business, or Google’s Meet/Hangouts. While this has all been invaluable, it isn’t enough without the working world embracing it.

Now, this need for video and the evolution of our working landscape needs to serve as a catalyst for change in our conference rooms, which have sorely lagged behind. A key reason is that the cost has been prohibitive for many businesses, often at over $20,000 just for one conference room system. Recognizing this trend, we immediately jumped onboard to be a larger part of the modern solution. We’ve collaborated with multiple technology powerhouses, also seeking change in the conference room space, like Google with their G-Suite Hangout Meet hardware kit  and Logitech, with their Conference Cam Kit to create a true conference-room-in-a-box solution. These solutions house all of the necessary components to easily set up and manage a conference room, without the fuss. While a typical conference-room- in-a-box includes a speakerphone, camera, computer and an interface to the user, in the best systems, this interface is a tabletop touch screen like the Mimo Vue Capture with HDMI.

As a tech company and leader in touchscreen monitors, we’re in a unique position to offer insights to the shift in conference rooms we’re witnessing. One thing we know for certain is that in order for new technologies to become highly adoptive, they need to reach beyond just the cool factor, and be intuitive to use. With the proliferation of smart phones, a well-designed touch-based graphical interface of a touchscreen is already ubiquitous. Touchscreens, already in the mainstream, provide one-touch access to joining meetings, cutting costs and time by no longer needing IT on standby. Attainable in cost, and easy to use and install everywhere, we believe touchscreen-centric conference rooms are the direction of the present and future.

In fact, Google’s solution to the growing conference room conundrum grew out of their own frustrations in setting up and conducting meetings at its far-flung offices around the world. While Google is a large, global company, these conference-room-in-a-box systems empower companies of any size to feel the transformative impact of collaborating through video. No longer do you need big budgets and big IT teams to support video collaboration. Each solution includes all the hardware you need to build a great video capable conference room. Simplifying it even further, The Google Hangouts Meet Hardware kit includes all the cloud services as well so it’s truly plug-and-play. All you need is furniture, walls, and an internet connection.

Companies are just starting to catch on to the need for conference rooms to evolve and we truly believe that we’re witnessing the forefront of a conference room revolution. We’ve already seen and been part of these conference-room-in-a-box solutions coming to fruition and we envision this being the way of the future. These kits empower organizations of all sizes to meet face-to-face and cultivate a strong work culture simply unachievable only through email. The revolution has only just begun and we can’t wait to see how the future unfolds.

About David Anderson

David is an analog Engineer by education with a large breadth of knowledge and experience. David is highly technical with excellent business experience and instinct. Able to span disciplines from Analog to Digital, Engineering to Management, and Design to Business. He has experience in all aspects of Business: Design and Development, Management, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Manufacturing.

This blog was reprinted with permission from Mimo Monitors, it originally appeared here.