While businesses have traditionally invested in meeting and presentation systems for boardrooms and large conference rooms, there is now a greater focus on enterprise-wide communication and collaboration, says Byron Edwards, sales engineer at technology integrator IVC Technologies.
The company is well placed to identify investment trends; it has provided organisations including media giants and global investment banks with AV and IT solutions for more than 25 years.
Corporates are investing in dynamic internal communications including digital signage and IPTV throughout the enterprise and in large videowalls to make an impact in receptions and lobbies, Edwards observes, but it is the adoption of collaborative working that’s having the most impact on investment.
“More meetings are ad hoc and take place outside formal conference rooms,” Edwards explains. “These usually informal meetings are held in small rooms or in zones within an open area, dubbed huddle spaces.
They typically involve three to five people some of whom may be joining remotely and require technology to facilitate communication, presentation and collaboration.
“Large organisations need a lot of these huddle spaces to ensure their employees have access when needed, putting the focus firmly on a low cost of ownership, ease of deployment and maintenance and the ease of use,” he adds.
Edwards says all-in-one systems such as Cisco WebX solutions or Clevertouch are ideal for small meeting rooms and huddle spaces, but it doesn’t stop there. When planning a huddle space solution Edwards advocates consideration of four factors.
First, consider the acoustics of the space – look at the location and the footfall levels and consider the implications for sound. Participants need to hear each other clearly, especially when joining from a remote location.
Consider how manageable the device will be. Will it sit on the network and can it be remotely managed for maintenance, upgrades and analytics.
Investigate who will use the space, what devices and services they will expect to use – they are likely to include personal mobile devices these will need to be supported.
Also consider the nature of the collaboration: will video conferencing be required? Will there be any wireless collaboration? Will meetings include guests? This will help you plan wired or wireless connectivity.
“Our job as integrators is to balance all these factors,” concludes Edwards. “We understand the client’s area of risk . We work with all the leading manufacturers and products so we’re able to design systems that answer their specific needs. They might also need room booking and control, for example – not only for ease of access for users but also for effective management of so many meeting spaces.
“These are significant investments and we are seeing interest in alternative finance options through licensing models and leasing that shift CapEx to OpEx, helping to spread the investment load and in turn enable organisations to overcome investment barriers, encourage collaboration and increase productivity.
To read the full interview in AV Magazine’s AV in Corporate supplement click here