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Is the traditional boardroom meeting dead? The rise of the Smart Room.

Is the shift to flexible working and the widespread utilisation of mobile technology killing the traditional boardroom meeting?

The business meeting has been the mainstay of business communication for decades. The meeting has long been a key facilitation tool for organisations. It’s a chance to discuss issues, resolve challenges together and communicate decisions.

Managing this key outcome has been a challenge with work practices changing:

  • Teams are often distributed around a city, county or globally. It is increasingly rare for all the key stakeholders to be in the same place at the same time.
  •  The drive towards more productive work, utilising new mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets. There has been a massive uptake of these devices with many professionals relying on them to undertake essential work tasks such as email.
  • Flexible work hours. Staff are increasingly working flexible hours often logging on from home, outside of the typical nine-to-five routine, to join meetings.
  • Standard boardroom technology, even the humble blue VGA cord, is no longer cutting it, as the multitude of mobile devices in use today won’t plug into or be able to access the technology, causing increasing levels of hassle and delay as presenters struggle to set up their devices for the meeting.

Certainly many larger organisations have started to adapt to these changing circumstances, installing complex and usually very expensive audio-visual systems, often with integrated video conferencing, in the main boardroom. However this is an unaffordable luxury for most companies. But more importantly, it still forces the majority of participants to gather in the one central location.

The Rise Of The Smart Room

Toolsets are starting to emerge to solve these challenges. The “Smart Room” is developing as a leading contender, providing greater flexibility and affordability. Rather than investing solely in the main corporate boardroom, organisations are starting to respond by installing smart rooms throughout the business.

The 6 elements of a Smart Room

  1. A good sized wall mounted panel.
  2. The ability to wirelessly present to the room, also known as “airplaying.”
  3. High definition video conferencing capability. This element is likely to represent 25%-50% of the total cost of the solution.
  4. Virtual workspace enabled devices so participants can bring their familiar desktop experience into the meeting.
  5. Multi-site user access. The ability for users to access the meeting simply from multiple locations using multiple devices.
  6. Electronic whiteboards that all participants can see and access, allowing for greater interactivity and participation from remote users.

The price point for a Smart Room continues to fall quickly and currently sits under the ten thousand dollar mark. At the same time, the bandwidth requirements for a good user experience are also coming down.

With these six elements in place an organisation can run an effective decentralised meeting, providing a consistent, high quality experience to all users, regardless of their location. Attendees are able to join the meeting using their preferred device, log on quickly and securely access the information they need for the meeting.

Looking at a more flexible workspace - download our Flexible Working whitepaper.

Tags collaboration, Innovation, conferencing, Smart room, Cisco, mobile technology, video conferencing

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