Category AV in Meeting Spaces

TechSpark Preview: Q&A on Flexible Workplaces and the Future of Work

On July 16, Dusty Duistermars will be the keynote speaker at AVI-SPL’s TechSpark event in Detroit. During this evening event, attendees will learn from digital workplace experts and technology providers about how they can shift their organizations toward the future of work. Duistermars is the senior vice president of digital solutions for JLL, which specializes in professional services in real estate. In the Q&A below, I spoke with Duistermars about changes in the workplace: what’s driving those changes and how companies can adapt. He’ll address these and related topics at his keynote talk at Topgolf in Auburn Hills.

Interview With Dusty Duistermars

Q: What is the flexible workplace and what makes it so attractive?
Duistermars: Technology — specifically, mobility — has been impacting where and how we work for over two decades. The flexible workplace is simply space that allows employees to work in non-traditional ways, including remote work, co-working and desk sharing/hoteling. Flex space is typically higher-tech enabled, allowing employees to reserve space based on the type of activity they’re performing and only for a limited duration. These activity-based working spaces include a variety of supportive technologies like interactive video conferencing and wireless sharing of content that can be annotated in real time by participants.

We can trace this to a couple of factors: millennials and technology. Millennials have grown up with the technology that allows them to be in touch with one another on a 24/7 basis. So it’s no surprise that they expect the same of their work environment.

Q: Are we at a point where people can say “no thanks” to a company that doesn’t offer them the experience and resources they need?
Duistermars: Absolutely. Due to the overall talent shortages, employees have options. They could also go freelance; we’ll see the gig economy double in the next five years. If employers are not leveraging their space as a differentiator to both retain and attract employees, they will ultimately fail.

Q: What does this shift look like from the company side?
Duistermars: It’s no longer about occupancy, it’s about utilization and productivity.

Q: So instead of permanent assignments to space, assignments to real-time usage?
Duistermars: Right. You might have 200 or more people assigned to a designated area (typically referred to as a ‘neighborhood’) that only has 100 desks, and that will work because they’re not there at the same time.

Q: To do this, don’t you need a culture that welcomes and supports people working in and out of the office?
Duistermars: Yes, and you can build that culture by making collaboration technology systems and spaces available to them. Focus groups, design partners, and IT will help figure out how flexible to go in those areas. They’ll also account for work types, as on-site engineers will require different types of space than say the national sales team who’s rarely at ‘their’ desk. The idea is that more personalization and flexibility add to the employee experience.

Q: Where are companies at with the move to flexible workplaces?
Duistermars: First off, this doesn’t happen overnight. There are multiple steps, including detailed change management and communication strategies that are needed to be successful. That being said, we see, on average, about 5-10% of client portfolios being flexible. It’ll grow to roughly 30% within the next five years.

Q: What will account for that increase?
Duistermars: Talent is driving a lot of this. Millennials want the flexibility. It also a much better cost model for employers. A dedicated space can cost employers on average, $10,000 annually. That’s a lot of money for someone who’s only in their seat about half the time. Thus, desk sharing makes business sense too.

Q: Let’s shift perspective to the IT side. As more spaces become flexible, how does that affect their management?
Duistermars: It makes managing those spaces a challenge if you don’t have the right tools in place. Some platforms are capable of managing numerous aspects of the ecosystem. Or if you’re using a point solution/best in class model, you’ll want to make certain that it’s integrated properly and that you’re getting the right data (typically utilization) out of each system and able to analyze holistically.

Q: How is JLL helping companies that need employees on site?
Duistermars: That’s a great question. Allow me to break this down: First, we involve our consulting and labor analytics group to make certain the company is choosing the right markets/locations based on the type of talent that they need.

From there, we help them create great spaces where employees want to be. We also lean on partners like AVI-SPL to make sure the experience from desk to meeting spaces is frictionless.

Q: What advice do you have for companies that haven’t yet bought into the idea of workplace transformation?
Duistermars: The only constant is change. If you’re not getting ahead of this by focusing on your people and your technology, you won’t need to worry about any of this in five years; your company won’t exist.

To hear Duistermars speak in person about changes in the workplace and how companies should adapt, register for the July 16 TechSpark event in Detroit.

How AI and AVI-SPL Are Improving the Workplace

As I read the new AVI-SPL tech brief, “How AI Will Make Collaboration Experts of Us All,” l saw parallels between the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace and what AVI-SPL delivers to its clients through services that range from consultation to design to integration and support. 

That paper combines research with the insights of AVI-SPL’s Customer Advisory Board (or CAB). This CAB of large enterprises (including Fortune 500 companies), looks at the ways AI is being applied in the workplace to improve the processes associated with meetings and collaboration. The tech brief gives a good overview of issues like:

  • In-meeting productivity
  • Security risks
  • Virtual digital assistance
  • Project management
  • Resource allocation

Using AI to Improve Operations

The issue of meeting support has its own list of opportunities for AI systems to improve efficiency and accuracy while maintaining quality. Opportunities include: 

  • Schedule meetings
  • Room set-up
  • Take notes; suggest resources that help with meeting objectives
  • Report on the project progress
  • Track projects and assign deadlines and tasks to help with their completion
  • In-meeting technical support (instead of calling a help desk). The system can rout the issue to a technician if necessary.

Beyond collaboration, AI systems take information and learn from it to make decisions that align with a desired outcome or set of outcomes across departments and uses cases:  For example: 

  • Human resources
    • Recruiting, onboarding and training
    • Answer employee questions
  • Customer service
    • Analyzing customer sentiment and making recommendations 
  • Marketing and sales
    • Improving customer resource management, like finding specific types of customers
  • Education
    • Help teachers adjust their approach to the learning styles of individual students
  • Healthcare
    • Recommend treatment options

AI may also recommend cross-departmental collaboration opportunities, fix equipment failures, predict when downtime is likely to occur and take steps to mitigate its impact.

AVI-SPL Simplifies the Workplace

Similarly, AVI-SPL improves the workplace by freeing up its people to do more of what they’re good at so they and their organizations can grow and succeed. People across different departments don’t have to be experts in meeting-room technology to collaborate with one another. IT doesn’t have to devote its resources to being AV help desk assistants. And companies don’t have to go it alone in keeping up with the latest technology solutions.

As I’ve learned over the course of nine years with the company, our client projects are guided by a long-term view, one that seeks to understand how new solutions will affect an organization’s network and infrastructure, how the company sees itself changing, and how its market may change. In the discovery process with the client, AVI-SPL listens to their needs and begins a conversation about how to think strategically about implementing AV, video collaboration and UCC solutions. Along the way, account managers, technicians and engineers share the knowledge that answers many client questions, including:

The Customer Advisory Board developed from AVI-SPL’s need to understand the issues facing today’s companies so that it can continue to be a partner that delivers high value. The role of AI in the workplace is one of those challenges. By understanding the role artificial intelligence plays and will play in a customer’s environment, AVI-SPL continues to develop technical skills and thought leadership in this area. Wherever AI may be relevant to a company’s growth, that knowledge gives AVI-SPL the ability to present a high-level strategy that leads to digital workplace transformation.

Read “Why AI Will Make Collaboration Experts of Us All” >

Case Study: Business Development Bank of Canada

BDC, the Business Development Bank of Canada wanted its new Montreal headquarters to be a place for “social collisions.” The collaboration solutions AVI-SPL integrated promote entrepreneurship among its employees, offer its clients a space where they can interact with their representatives and connect those in the head office with colleagues on and off site.

Read the BDC case study >

Webinar Recording: Why You Need AV over IP in the Workplace

The recording for our webinar on the value of AV over IP in the workplace is now available. In this webinar, presented by Crestron’s Dan Jackson, and hosted by AVI-SPL, Commercial Integrator, and My TechDecisions, you’ll understand why AV over IP is the right choice for your organization and how you can leverage your current devices and infrastructure. Dan and Josh Vallon, an expert programmer with AVI-SPL, also address issues like security, image quality, bandwidth costs and more, including:

  • Crestron solutions including NVX Network AV Digital Media and XiO Cloud
  • How to evaluate your current streaming video quality and infrastructure
  • Top network security considerations

AV has traditionally been designed around having a matrix switch in the middle that you tie your AV devices into. Today, a host of applications are possible with AV over IP, making for a better meeting experience and helping IT manage signal distribution. 

Get the recording for “Why You Need AV over IP in the Workplace” >

InfoComm 2019: Take AVI-SPL’s Guided Tour of New Solutions

Make the most of your time at InfoComm 2019 by taking AVI-SPL’s Guided Technology Tours of select partner booths, where we’ll highlight prominent digital workplace video and UCC solutions. Each of our five tours is curated by AVI-SPL and features the guidance of subject matter experts from our leading vendor partners as well as your AVI-SPL hosts.
 
We’ll begin the tours at AVI-SPL booth 3852 in the Orange County Convention Center. From there, we’ll spend about 15 minutes at each partner booth to learn about solutions that improve collaboration, engagement, productivity, and talent attraction/retention in your workplace. At the conclusion of each tour, we’ll raffle prizes at our booth. 
 
Register early to reserve your space. Registration will also be available prior to each tour at our booth. Tours include:

  • How to Optimize Your Huddle Rooms
  • Enterprise Video Production and Management
  • Connected Smart Spaces
  • Wow-factor displays and projection
  • AV over IP

Our tours will visit the booths for Barco, Biamp, Cisco, Crestron, Exterity, HARMAN, Legrand, LG, Mersive, MultiTaction, NEC Display, Onelan, Poly, Samsung, Shure, Sonic Foundry, and Sony. There will be plenty to learn from these vendor partners, and taking our guided tours is a great way to efficiently allocate your time while at the show.

Register for AVI-SPL’s Guided Technology Tours at InfoComm 2019 >