Research shows collaborative environments foster innovation, improve team performance by ensuring everyone is working towards the same goal, and increase employee retention since people prefer to belong to a team and contribute to the team’s goals. Next generation workers and the need for companies to compete on a global basis will drive demand for collaboration solutions throughout the organization, according to a Wainhouse Research study.
Perhaps that’s why, in recent years, a more agile approach to meetings and working in collaborative groups has been embraced by schools and businesses of all sizes. Implementing collaboration solutions such as huddle spaces, or small-space meeting areas, in addition to larger conference rooms is one of the ways organizations are making this change.
What is a huddle space?
A huddle space is a smaller meeting space, which can take place just about anywhere. It typically accommodates six or less attendees. They range from basic spaces to well-equipped and advanced rooms. Basic huddle spaces, with either open area or private closed rooms, may be equipped with a small table, some chairs, a speakerphone, and perhaps a dry erase board. Whereas, well-equipped and advanced huddle rooms may include flat panel displays, integrated AV conferencing, and a wireless presentation system. Huddle spaces do not typically include enhancements such as ceiling speakers, acoustic wall treatment, or AV control system.
What should your huddle space include to promote collaboration?
The way huddle spaces are used varies by organization, location, vertical market, culture, etc. Whether or not a huddle space is effective depends on the given task and requirement of the space. If you’re planning for a well-equipped huddle space, you should also consider your AV technology needs as well.
In general, your huddle space should include equipment that has:
- Interoperability with other products you may have in the space such as screens, projectors, panels, or touchscreens.
- BYOD support which allows collaboration/sharing of any type of device the meeting participant has. For example, participants could bring a laptop, tablet PC, mobile phone, or netbook and connect with ease.
- Content sharing capabilities. For example, a presenter may need to share any number of pieces of content with other participants simultaneously.
- An intuitive interface, which will reduce barriers to use. The easier your equipment is to use, the more participants feel comfortable using new technology.
- The ability to allow an unlimited number of users to participate. While there is a practical limit to the number of people that can fit in a room or share a screen, facilities change and so do user’s needs. Try not to get locked into limiting systems which only allow 4-6 concurrent users.
In addition to many of the items needed to make a good huddle space, for your larger conference rooms you may need additional AV solutions.
What should your modern conference room include to promote collaboration?
Today’s larger meeting rooms often come with higher expectations. They will certainly start with the same type of collaboration solutions discussed earlier for huddle spaces. Additionally, they must provide support for tomorrow’s technology using today’s design. These rooms often require more types of equipment, which may require support for a wide range of video signals.
In general, your modern conference room should include equipment that has:
- Switching capabilities to manage video signals that need to be shown on one or more displays.
- Presenter control options for switching. For more efficient meetings, select a switch that automatically switches to a new source when a new user connects a device.
- Scaling able to work with a wide range of video signals, both current and legacy, to ensure the display is compatible with anything that needs to be presented.
- Reliable video distribution capabilities to send and receive audio, video, control and even power from another room or building.
- Video wall capability to display any source from anywhere with switching control.
When designing and outfitting the spaces, it’s important to think ahead and design for AV systems that can adapt and grow as technology changes.
Have a collaboration space that needs to be enabled by AV technology? Call a Black Box AV expert.