Category AV in Meeting Spaces

Creating Better Workplace Meetings With Crestron Flex

In a fast-paced, productivity-focused workplace, time is at a premium for everyone. Meetings have to start fast, run as expected, and support the way participants want to collaborate. Less time worrying about how to use technology means more time to maximize productivity and create new ideas that benefit the business. 

Because not every meeting has the same number of people or same general purpose, smart workplaces will feature a variety of spaces: huddle rooms, open areas, personal desks, executive boardrooms, and traditional conference rooms designed for small, medium, and large groups. 

These spaces are typically aligned with purposes suited to their size: the quick brainstorming huddle, the strategic presentation, the training session, the group presentation. Though different in size and purpose, most share similar technology systems. The types of collaboration technology in these spaces often include preferred UCC platforms (think Microsoft Teams Rooms), wireless connectivity from BYOD, ready-to-go video conferencing, and interactive displays. 

Regardless of your particular industry — whether it’s higher education or any number of corporate sectors like energy, finance, legal and transportation —  you can make use of the variety of collaboration spaces for quick huddles, training sessions, and strategic-minded presentations. Common to these organizations is their reliance on speed and agility. To reach business outcomes and outdo the competition, they must give their talent the tools they need to quickly come up with ideas and strategies that they take to market. By establishing technology standards for each of these spaces, you create a consistent, a high-quality experience that encourages collaboration and optimizes your workforce’s effectiveness. 

Crestron solutions set the standard for collaboration across industries and applications. In particular, Crestron Flex is a pace setter for key activities like quick-start meetings, video conferencing, collaboration, and content sharing. There’s a Crestron Flex solution for any size and type of conference space – including private and custom spaces and rooms designed for groups of various sizes. Wherever they gather, even from remote locations, meeting attendees have the same easy ability to work together. 

Users can connect their personal devices into their Crestron Flex device and start working with one another from their preferred UC platform. Crestron Flex natively supports whichever popular platform you choose, so once you connect your laptop via USB, you’re ready to collaborate. 

I encourage you to look at the Crestron Flex series of products so you can get an idea of how they’ll play in your workplace. For companies like yours, you’ll have a meeting-room solution that’s affordable and supports the way your teams produce the outcomes that drive your success in the marketplace. These solutions include:

  • Crestron Flex B-Series Smart Soundbar
  • Crestron Flex C-Series Integrator Kits
  • Crestron Flex M-Series Tabletop AV Conferencing
  • Crestron Flex P-Series Desktop Phone

You can learn more about each of these solutions at the Crestron Flex page.

Want a demo of Crestron Flex so you can see firsthand what it can do? Contact us at AVI-SPL and we’ll answer your questions and show you how Crestron Flex transforms your meeting experience so you get the business outcomes that spark success.

 

 

 

 

How to Build Huddle Rooms That Increase Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a crucial success factor for staff retention and company profitability. Gallup reports that “companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share.” Meanwhile, “87 percent of employees worldwide are not engaged.” What does this mean for you?

The challenge is on to create workplaces like huddle rooms that inspire collaboration and employee engagement.

How do you deliver a digital workplace where on-site and remote coworkers can easily connect and share ideas? Offer plenty of video-enabled huddle spaces for small, impromptu working sessions. Need inspiration? Follow this roadmap to build huddle rooms that increase employee engagement.

Create your huddle room success team

Start by creating a huddle room success team. Include stakeholders who support or will benefit from attracting and retaining top talent through employee engagement. Consider the desired huddle room user experience or UX, before you build or upgrade collaboration spaces.

  • It’s essential that the group represents the departments that hold the project’s purse strings too.
  • Consider huddle room build, design, video conferencing systems, support, and software budgets.
  • The team may consist of C-Suite members, end users, human resources managers, workplace strategists, IT staff, and facilities managers.

Define employee engagement benchmarks and goals

Next, define what successful engagement looks like by identifying benchmarks and setting goals. Example benchmarks include average employee tenure and current conference room utilization and the number of video meetings booked each month. 

Third-party focus groups and one-on-one interviews can also help you define current engagement levels and collaborative workspace preferences. Now set goals based on how much you want to improve these metrics each quarter, or annually after you’ve installed your huddle rooms. 

Develop a huddle room video adoption plan

Beautiful huddle rooms outfitted with the latest digital workplace solutions won’t necessarily increase employee engagement if your small collaboration spaces sit empty. Before the team starts construction, write a video adoption plan to encourage huddle room utilization.

  • The adoption plan should include employee training and a way to measure room and technology use.
  • Staff must know how to reserve huddle rooms and use new video conferencing and collaboration tools.
  • It’s also helpful to identify an influencer at every level from executives to end-users to champion video adoption and encourage employee engagement.

Design a user-friendly huddle room

Ever have to wait 10 minutes for a video conference to start? To encourage video adoption and engagement, ensure that huddle room equipment is easy to use. Include equipment and software staff members prefer, and that IT can easily support. Refer to your research to review which collaboration tools staff members like to use.

You can track current conference room usage via existing support software, or your scheduling system such as an Outlook calendar. Look at which rooms employees reserve most often. Study what type of video conference equipment is in your small meeting rooms.

Also, track how many employees were in the room and the number of remote employees that logged in to each meeting. Use this information to determine how many huddle rooms you need, and the room sizes that work best for your teams. Consider how to support bring your own device (BYOD) preferences when designing your digital workplace.

Use Room Standards to Create a Replicable, Positive User Experience

Based on your research and goals, develop huddle room equipment and software standards. Your standards are a finite set of hardware and software options. Most importantly, stick to these guidelines when building new collaboration spaces.

With standardization, employees will be familiar with meeting room controls. End users can walk into any huddle room and start the meeting quickly and easily. Remember that meeting that took too long to start? Standards help eliminate wasted meeting time. Limiting available options can streamline the IT support process also.

Positive user and IT staff experiences can lead to increased video conferencing adoption and employee engagement. Ask for staff suggestions on how to make meeting room control more user-friendly too. Allow users to provide feedback anytime through apps or email.

Consider Huddle Room-Specific Devices and Software

The popularity of huddle rooms has sparked suppliers to create hardware and software specifically for use in huddle rooms. When outlining your room standards, consider these collaboration solutions designed specifically for small meeting spaces. Huddle room gear can be more affordable than hardware designed for larger areas. Streamlined collaboration solutions can also be installed faster than more complex systems.

Cisco Webex® Room Kit Mini

Cisco’s Webex Room Kit Mini huddle room solution is easy to install and use. It’s a single device includes the codec, speakers, microphone, and camera.  This Cisco hardware is ideal for teams of two to five people. It allows users to connect to laptop-based video conferencing solutions via a USB connection.

Barco Clickshare CS-100 Huddle

Barco’s Clickshare CS-100 Huddle wireless presentation system helps small teams collaborate with fast and easy screen sharing. Users can share content from any laptop, tablet or smartphone using the Clickshare app or button.


Monitor huddle room devices and track room utilization

Tracking the goals your team set at the start of your project is essential to measuring room utilization and employee engagement. AVI-SPL’s Symphony user experience application makes it easy to monitor global room and device usage on a single screen, from anywhere.

Symphony proactively monitors conference room equipment. Your staff can address issues before they negatively impact huddle room user experiences and employee engagement. If your IT resources are already strained, consider a managed services solution as well.

Keep in contact with end users and IT support

While you deserve to celebrate your huddle room success, don’t disband your team once your small conference rooms are in use. Review end-user feedback to find ways to improve the meeting room experience and increase room utilization rates.

With your huddle room utilization rates in hand, measure them against changes in staff turnover. Look for correlations between employee engagement via collaboration in huddle rooms, and longer employee tenure. Update your room standards as needed.

Get more huddle room planning ideas

Ready to get started? Check out the How to Create Inspiring, Collaborative Huddle Rooms guide for further details on how to build small collaboration spaces that increase employee engagement. Read ideas on how to determine the number of huddle rooms you’ll need and how to estimate costs. Download the huddle room guide now.

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Five Steps to an Outstanding Video Conferencing Experience

A big part of the user experience in meeting rooms is the user interface. And by that I just mean the control panel that participants will use to start the meeting, video call, and sharing capabilities. As I’ve learned from AVI-SPL’s programmers, these control panels should support the different ways people want to work in these spaces.

David Thorson, vice president, programming at AVI-SPL, reviews five steps to building a video conferencing user interface (UI) that delivers a positive meeting room user experience (UX) in your digital workplace. Thorson will help you understand issues like:

  • Defining user expectations for the meeting room experience
  • Creating the UX architecture
  • Choosing the right hardware and software based on your user interface blueprint
  • Using meeting room standards for a consistent experience
  • Monitoring the usability of your solution

You’ll also learn about some specific Crestron solutions that help meeting attendees experience an outstanding video conference.

Read “User Experience-Driven Meeting Spaces Meet the User Interface” >

 

How to Create Meeting Room Standards

If you want to encourage effective collaboration within your organization — and who wouldn’t? — then you need to establish standards for your collaboration rooms and the technology within them. “Why is that?” you might ask. Well, in this AVI-SPL white paper, you’ll discover the benefits of creating meeting room standards for your workplace. You’ll also learn:

  • 5 keys to successful collaboration
  • How to choose solutions for different types of rooms
  • How to know if your standards are working

After reading this paper, you’ll understand how to create technology standards for different rooms and how those standards can make your meetings run smoothly. This will lead to a better user experience during collaboration sessions, and your employees will increase their use video collaboration in dedicated spaces.

You’ll also have a concise resource you can go to again and again. This guide includes a table of the common types of meeting rooms and the technology systems that usually go in them.

Get your copy of “The Enterprise Guide to Creating Meeting Room Standards” >

How to Decide Which UCC Team to Join: Cisco or Microsoft

You want to create a reliable strategy for improving your company’s unified communications and collaboration (UCC) experience. The better the collaboration among team members, the better the outcomes for the organization. 

The AVI-SPL Customer Advisory Board (CAB) includes large enterprises (including Fortune 500 companies) that met over three months in 2019 to discuss UCC platforms and their process of determining which ones are right for their operations.

Now you can draw on their experience and insight through this overview of their discussion of UCC platforms and their related challenges and opportunities.

UCC solutions like Cisco Webex Teams and Microsoft Teams can power a collaborative workplace, connect team members for meaningful collaboration in meeting spaces, and link offices around the world. In this article by AVI-SPL SVP of Marketing Kelly Bousman, you’ll learn:

  • How to assess your current collaboration state (with a chart to serve as your guide)
  • How to determine user preferences for your current UCC tools
  • Why companies like Cisco and Microsoft are developing their UCC capabilities
  • How Fortune 500 companies assess and compare the benefits of UCC solutions
  • The challenges that come with multi-vendor systems

With this information in mind, you can do what the CAB members have done or are doing — determine the benefits of improvements to their UCC capabilities and the ways to achieve those benefits. You’ll have the information to build a case for the UCC platform (or combination of platforms) that delivers the business impact you need.

Read “Deciding Which UCC Team to Join – Cisco or Microsoft” >