March 22, 2022
Creating Better Conference Rooms
By carefully assessing their current environments and strategizing their next steps, organizations can build video collaboration systems and conference rooms that meet their current and future needs.
At many organizations, a large portion of employees have worked from home over the past two years. During this period, equipment upgrades often have been delayed as business and IT leaders waited for clarity on when and how employees would return to the office. At the same time, businesses across virtually all industries have become much more dependent on video collaboration.
For these reasons, many organizations are in dire need of a refresh effort for their conference rooms and video collaboration systems.
During CDW collaboration assessments, our experts first gain an understanding of how an organization uses its existing technology. We then make recommendations for next steps. Here are four areas where we often find opportunities for improvement.
It may sound ridiculously simply, but one of the most important things we uncover in our collaboration assessments is the sheer number of different video collaboration platforms running within an organization. For example, one department may be using Zoom, while hundreds of Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex licenses go unused. By standardizing on a single collaboration platform, large organizations can often save $100,000 per year or more. Also, standardization improves the end-user experience, as employees no longer have to worry about jumping between one platform and another. They’ll have a better feel for the technology, they’ll use it more often, and the organization will achieve a better return on its investment.
Moving to a cloud-delivered collaboration solution offers another area that can yield substantial savings. The cloud allows organizations to start small with their video collaboration environments and grow over time, rather than laying out a large capital expenditure up front for on-premises equipment. Also, cloud collaboration tools don’t bring the electrical and cooling costs associated with on-premises hardware, and internal IT shops no longer need to worry about ongoing hardware support.
As everyone in the tech world knows, a lot can change in two years. We’ve seen the market for interactive whiteboarding increase dramatically, and we also see more demand for touchless, voice-activated systems in collaboration and conference rooms. A few years ago, we rarely heard requests for people-counting features that can automatically tell whether a room is over capacity. Today, with the need for social distancing, these are practically standard. During our assessments, we can help organizations catch up with their peers while meeting their unique needs. For instance, something as simple as a glass wall or a particular table finish can have a significant impact on glare or acoustics. Some rooms are ready-made for ceiling microphones and speakers, while others require tabletop solutions. We help organizations find the right solutions to meet their needs, budget and timeline.
Finally, after our collaboration assessments, we come up with the best way to put everything together by optimizing designs for particular spaces and use cases. Often, we find that business leaders are surprised by how much they can achieve with their budgets, especially if it’s been a while since their last collaboration refresh. A setup that might have cost $75,000 only a decade ago may cost less than $5,000 today. As I said, when it comes to technology, a lot can change in just a couple of years.
Story by Hanny Alexander, who has been in the video collaboration space for over 25 years, an expert in his field across all platforms and manufacturers.