In corporate environments, the use of huddle rooms continues to grow, just as the rooms themselves continue to evolve. Fading away are the small closets outfitted with a table, chairs and telephone. Today’s huddle rooms are replete with advanced collaborative features like video conferencing, interactive whiteboards and cloud conferencing solutions.
It’s no wonder. As Millennials enter the workforce, they’re bringing their technology-driven communication habits with them and companies are responding. Millennials grew up with digital devices in-hand. They are a collaborative generation that shares photos, video and opinions as surely as they drink their certified organic juice each morning.
They expect to be able to do the same in the workplace and, since millennials will comprise 50 percent of the work force in just a few years, employers are responding.
Today, it’s estimated there are over 50 million huddle spaces in place, according to a Wainhouse 2017 research report, and that number is set to nearly double in the next five years, says a Knoll workplace executive survey. From small start-ups to multinational corporations, companies are carving out space for huddle rooms.
Why Are Huddle Rooms So Popular?
Huddle rooms are typically smaller meeting spaces for two to four people that feature collaborative technology. They are designed for more informal — even impromptu — meetings where colleagues can come together to brainstorm an idea or quickly discuss a project. Other times, they’re used to connect with clients or colleagues via video conferencing.
Both uses suit the working style of Millennials, who are used to immediate response times, file sharing, video on demand and apps that enable them to creatively interact with content. To them, video chatting is the norm.
Companies are quickly coming to realize huddle rooms can offer an excellent return on investment. First, they solve the privacy issue posed by capital-friendly open workspaces. Second, they save on travel budgets through video conferencing with clients and colleagues. They keep the growing Millennial workforce satisfied and free to do their best work. Finally, they can double as workspaces for visiting satellite or remote employees.
The trend toward employees working remotely is increasing rapidly. According to research conducted by International Data Corporation, by 2020 72.3 percent of the U.S. workforce will be working remotely. Keeping those employees feeling connected and current is a critical requirement to maintaining a productive company culture.
Huddle Rooms in the Real World
Tightrope Media Systems, a digital signage company in Minneapolis, Minn., is one company to which regular video conferencing is indispensable. “At Tightrope, we have quite a few people who work remotely,” explained JJ Parker, CEO.
“I want to ensure that our employees throughout the country feel connected — it’s really critical to building a cohesive culture. Of all the tools we can employ, I’ve always felt that video is the best way to help people feel connected. You get all the non-verbal communication other platforms really don’t allow for.”
Of course, huddle rooms are only valuable if employees use them, and that won’t happen with inferior video conferencing technology. Ease of use, reliability, and video and audio clarity are crucial.
Remember, it’s an increasingly visual world. No one simply talks at meetings any more, they display something. Huddle rooms need equipment that delivers great visual images and audio quality. Luckily, there are high-quality, budget-friendly options out there.
Vaddio’s ConferenceSHOT FX Fixed USB Camera is one option. The USB 3.0 output integrates itself with almost any display or pairing device without needing to navigate some of the more advanced protocols being transmitted using HDMI. ConferenceSHOT FX captures uncompressed video up to 1080p/60fps, with 3X zoom, manual pan/tilt and other features ideal for huddle spaces.
In addition, Vaddio is developing another new camera for huddle spaces. Previewed at InfoComm 2018, this all-in-one fixed camera has integrated audio and a superwide 120-degree field of view — appropriately named HuddleSHOT.
The AV Bridge Mini is a half-rack version of Vaddio’s highly popular full-size AV Bridge and AV Bridge Conference with several important updates. AV Bridge Mini captures and streams content from 4K HDMI signals (3840 x 2160) and audio sources into soft conferencing applications such as Skype for Business, Zoom and WebEx through its powerful USB 3.0 interface. It outputs simultaneous USB 3.0 and IP streaming with up to 1080p quality. The AV Bridge Mini is PoE powered, compact and easy to install, plus it features a very simple user interface and control — in other words, set and forget.
For more information on the benefits of huddle rooms to your corporate customers and what is required for a successful huddle room implementation, download Vaddio’s new ebook, How to Plan a Huddle Room.