Open Mic: The Trend

Architectural trends such as open floor plans and office hoteling are driving office building projects that feature not only more rooms, but smaller rooms.
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Open Mic: The Trend

Dec 29, 2014 2:33 PM

Architectural trends such as open floor plans and office hoteling are driving office building projects that feature not only more rooms, but smaller rooms.

BY THE NUMBERS

The meeting space shift is evident in the global statistics. There are now approximately 12.5 million meeting rooms worldwide*, and a 20:1 ratio of workers to corporate meeting spaces. For every telepresence room, there are 10 videoconferencing rooms and 100 huddle rooms. The opportunity is clear; think small and grow your integration business.

THE CHALLENGE

To thrive in this new environment, integrators must conquer several challenges presented by projects with a large number of rooms: different system designs, different programs, different user experiences in each room, greater demands on support staff, unique infrastructure in each room, and the challenge of centrally managing all rooms.

THE SOLUTION

To address all of these issues, integrators need simple-to-use, transparent, rapidly deployable, and highly repeatable solutions that deliver a consistent user interface across an entire enterprise. They should leverage existing infrastructure and be easy to implement, so less time is spent on custom programming and more on simple configuration of rooms based on capabilities. These solutions are often “all-in-one” and plug-and-play in design, and integrate with other devices and systems for control and management.

So what types of solutions meet all the above criteria?

Enterprise solutions, such as: Microsoft Lync-based group collaboration that extends the Lync personal communication experience to the conference room, such as Crestron RL; and all-in-one presentation systems, such as Crestron 3-Series DMPS, that connect to building management software, all leverage existing infrastructure. These are complete systems with built-in programs, and are all highly scalable, repeatable, and secure. Because they’re simply configured from a touchscreen, not programmed with a laptop, they offer a seamless, consistent user experience, thereby dramatically reducing support requirements.

MANAGEABILITY

Now that your clients have gone from, say, 50 conference rooms to 500 huddle rooms, how do they manage them with the same limited support staff? Considering the high costs associated with building and equipping so many rooms, technology standards and room management processes are necessary to ensure maximum efficiency, meaningful cost controls, and a high level of support.

Using enterprise-building management software, such as Crestron Fusion, your client’s IT staff can provide realtime remote assistance and chat with room occupants via the built-in help desk. They can take control of AV devices to provide optimal technical support in all rooms throughout a campus or global enterprise, even with limited staff. They can track equipment usage to schedule preemptive routine maintenance, thereby reducing tech support cases. When issues arise, using remote diagnostics, they can provide realtime remote technical support and receive instant alert notifications on any web-enabled computer.

WHAT ABOUT ROOM SCHEDULING?

Believe it or not, even with hundreds of rooms, there can still be availability issues. People often grab whatever empty room they can find, resulting in frequent disruption of scheduled meetings and disputes. People might book a videoconferencing room even when they don’t need video conferencing capability. Scheduled rooms often go empty when organizers cancel meetings but don’t update the calendar. Rooms booked without an end date often go unused. Meetings underway are interrupted by user errors or device malfunctions. Lost time and productivity can be immeasurable. So how can your clients manage it all?

Network room scheduling, such as that provided by Crestron Fusion, provides intelligent management of resources for increased productivity and efficiency. Automatically, based on data from occupancy sensors or other indicators, rooms can be released and made available when no one shows up for a scheduled meeting. Different types of meetings such as presentations, videoconferences, and ad hoc can be directed to only the appropriate spaces to ensure optimal resource allocation.

CONCLUSION

The trend toward more and smaller meeting spaces, enterprisewise, is clear. The good news for integrators is the solutions to capitalize on this trend are available right now and are actually easier to configure and deploy because they eliminate the need for custom programming.

*Wainhouse Research.

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