With the continued growth in remote working comes the need for more effective collaboration between groups of people at different locations.
Large enterprises have been well served with a range of solutions, but small and medium-sized businesses have struggled to find a way through complicated and expensive products. Fortunately, that’s changing as vendors introduce feature-rich unified communication and collaboration solutions at a range of price points.
Open plan offices are commonly used because they can be re-arranged easily to accommodate changing employee numbers and different team structures. However, it’s not easy to have a private conversation, and some organizations discourage interaction meaning group discussion must move to an office. Additionally, meeting rooms are often only used 50-60% of the time, making them a wasted and expensive resource.
Huddle rooms – offices or conference rooms that can be quickly re-purposed into multi-party meeting rooms – fix these problems. They’re not a new idea, but the availability of portable, plug and play collaboration solutions has increased their use and their value. Some research estimates there are about 50 million huddle rooms worldwide.
A lot of that growth is down to senior managers who balk at the expense of large meetings but are a lot more positive about the productivity of smaller meetings and the cost saved by carving up bigger rooms into smaller ones.
Meeting room collaboration solutions provide voice, video, and apps that make collaboration easy and affordable regardless of organization size. They’re quick to set up and stand down and remove the need for dedicated video-conferencing office space.
There’s a good choice of products available now, and there are a few things we suggest you consider before making a choice:
Products are generally sized by the number of meeting room participants they support, so work out the typical number so aren’t over or underpowered.
Make sure it’s truly portable since you’ll want to use it in different locations. The Konftel Ego and Cam20, for example, weighs in at less than 1 kg.
Buy the best you can afford. A shaky video feed or frequent voice drops will ruin the experience for everyone and discourage people from using it.
Buy a product that can integrate with a range of collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom.
Taking the time to think about what you need will make sure you buy right first time.