Where the Work is Done

COMMERCIAL OPENERBy Lilian Bories

The rapid growth of advanced hardware and software technologies supporting huddle rooms and teaming spaces has gathered speed recently. Driving the trend is a more mobile and geographically distributed workforce combined with an increasingly complex business environment where competitive market forces and regulatory requirements converge. How can an organization address business complexities with speed and accuracy on a daily basis? Solving this collaboration challenge is a critical engine of value creation for companies. Creating the right workspace for team collaborators – both physically and technologically becomes vital.

 

This is great news for the construction industry as the open concept office space evolves into a more activity based model. Organizations will now more frequently recognize the imperative to stay competitive through empowering their workforce with the tools for advanced collaboration. The information technology analysts at Wainhouse Research confirmed in a recent study that almost three-quarters of IT/ AC/ UC manager respondents expressed a strong interest in ideation rooms seating three to seven for a meeting, where most of the daily work is getting done, and nearly two-thirds indicated they were ready to invest in the technology to transform these spaces. 

How to design and build such spaces? This is where an understanding of meeting dynamics comes in. It is important to have a deep understanding of what happens in these rooms to deliver the right solution. Recent research highlights key pain points and critical factors in making these smaller meeting rooms successful.

Meeting phases are complex. Different stages of meetings (introductions, information sharing, content creation, key point discussion, conclusions and outcomes) all have different dynamics and best practices. Technology needs to support layers of engagement simultaneously to keep conversation flowing, and has to be fluid and flexible enough to support alternate meeting styles such as presentation versus brainstorming.

Remote collaborators need a seat at the table. IT is essential in these spaces and the underlying AV hardware and software needs to give them equal access to control and contribute dynamically and effectively.

Technology needs to be easy. Spending 15 minutes at the beginning of a meeting just to get everyone's technology up and running is a familiar and entirely unwelcome occurrence. Finding adapters, switching cables, or suffering through serial presentations kills conversation, distracts attention and destroys productivity.

Concurrent streaming capabilities accelerate workflows. When multiple collaborators can connect to an AV room system all at the same time, providing opportunities for sharing and comparing work products and editing documents simultaneously, sessions flow without interruption.

Consider the analog with the digital. While most knowledge workers are attending meetings with laptops (so power sources and wireless access points are essential), and ultimately all the meeting artifacts need to be digital, sometimes the best tools for collaboration and ideation are analog. So alongside large display screens for a shared pixel workspace, save a surface for old-fashioned whiteboarding. 

Clearly, the old model of one presenter/one screen/one cable connector is over. To unleash real productivity means empowering everyone at the table (whether they are in the room or not) to see the same thing at the same time in the same way.

Collaborators need to be able to connect, contribute and control the meeting environment seamlessly and simultaneously. When technology empowers a conversation – when the room and its equipment work for you and not against you everybody wins.

Collaboration is the competitive advantage enterprise customers are seeking, and a construction industry prepared to answer the call for this revolution in teaming rooms and huddle spaces is poised for long-term success.

Lilian Bories leads the marketing team at Oblong Industries. He has worked in several marketing leadership positions in global organizations such as Nestle and Avery Dennison on three continents. His main responsibilities have included launching new products and expanding consumer engagement with new, growing and established brands. 

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