Category AVI-SPL

Q&A on Supporting Productivity in the Workplace

On May 14, Beau Wilder of Poly will be the keynote speaker at AVI-SPL’s TechSpark event in Cleveland. 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. Wilder is the VP of innovation waves and new products for Poly. In the Q&A below, I spoke with Wilder about creating a workplace that enables people to be their best. He also offers a preview of his keynote talk at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Q: Why is workplace transformation so important?
Wilder: We’re all in this war for talent. The companies winning are the ones recognizing that their most important assets are their people.

We can work anywhere, anytime on any device using UCC technology. Those solutions have allowed work policies to be flexible, so we need spaces where we can make best use of that technology and its capabilities. If you don’t provide those spaces, people will vote with their feet and move on to a better situation.

Q: Considering the ability for people to work from anywhere, how important is the workplace?
Wilder: Even though research shows people are more productive at home, most choose to go back to work because they miss the collaboration. We want people to work together and feel empowered when they’re in the office. It’s that cross-pollination where new thinking happens. We’re always looking for the next big idea, and so we need to make it easier for people in the workplace to work together.

Q: How did the open office take hold as the new template for the workplace?
Wilder: We thrive as humans when we’re outdoors. The open office offers flexibility in creating an environment that mirrors the one outside. In these spaces, we’ve seen huge trends with health and wellness. Biophilic design that includes natural light and greenery sets people up to be their best. When people are happier and healthier, you have more productivity and creative output. But the open office comes with its own set of challenges.

Q: What are some of those challenges?
Wilder: Although companies have raced to open offices, some didn’t do it thoughtfully. It can be hard to work while people are collaborating near you. Therefore, we need to focus on a human-centric design in the office so we can be at our best by using technology that blends distracting speech into the background.

Q: What are the solutions for these challenges?
Wilder: Do your homework ahead of time and bring in your vendor partners early. You’ll also want to include your users in the journey toward workplace transformation. Focus on the human experience above the cost-savings. Collaboration in meeting spaces should be intuitive and easy. When you design for open spaces, consider the activity that will be happening and build in choice that allows for a personalized experience.

Q: What’s a realistic expectation for companies that want to transform their workplaces?
Wilder: Ask targeted questions of your staff. Find out where things aren’t working. As you design open spaces, let the technology do the heavy lifting. During my talk at TechSpark, I’ll go further into change management, what it can look like and how to approach it. I’ll also look at the science behind distraction-free open spaces and how they lead to success.

This process continues even after you’ve made the transformation. Understand that you won’t get your building right from day one. But by collecting data like occupancy and use of technology, you can be proactive in refining it.


To hear Beau Wilder speak in person on the benefits and challenges of open offices, register for AVI-SPL’s May 13 TechSpark in Cleveland.

Five Ways to Be Green at the Office on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, which people around the world are celebrating and observing as part of their commitment to improving the quality of life for people and the planet. Earth Day began in 1970 as a nationwide demonstration by millions throughout America for a “healthy, sustainable” environment. 

Nearly 50 years later, Earth Day has advocates in hundreds of countries, where they work to reduce CO2 emissions and the levels of plastics in the oceans, and take other measures (clean-ups, tree planting) that protect life.  Here are a few ways you can go green and be eco-friendly at work today and in the years ahead:

1. Reuse Cups and Utensils

According to an Earth Day Network fact sheet, we use over 16 billion disposable coffee cups and 480 billion plastic bottles each year.  Most of that will end up in landfills, waterways and oceans. Companies are taking action against waste by removing plastic cups and cutlery from their break rooms. You can help in this effort by bringing water bottles to work that you can refill, wash, and reuse. Your organization can also offer reusable cups and utensils, and encourage employees to bring their own silverware from home. 

2. Save Paper

If you use email, you may have read this below some signatures: “Please Consider the Environment Before Printing.” It’s good advice to follow when you consider the cost of printing (the electricity of printers, printer cartridges). I tend to print my documents to a pdf file. If you need a paper copy, and it covers multiple pages, print it out as a two-sided document. You should also have bins in the office for recycling paper when you don’t need those documents anymore.

3. Look for Energy Waste

A commitment to green AV helps the environment by limiting energy usage. It also helps companies by lowering the cost of running their facilities and the systems that their employees use. If you notice leaking faucets or lights that are out, report the issues to your facilities department. And please turn off the tap while you are washing your hands or dishes.

4. Add Plants to Your Desk

You’ll improve your indoor air quality by adding some greenery to your work space. Plants can offset volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and CO2 emissions, both of which harm indoor air quality. And the benefits go beyond measurable impacts on the environment. A study by U.K. researchers found that when people were surrounded by plants in the office, they were happier and more productive.

5. Choose Green AV Options/Recycle Old Tech

Instead of traveling to another office for a meeting, use video conferencing. Video conferencing can reduce your organization’s carbon footprint along with real estate costs. Work with LEED-accredited professionals like AVI-SPL to integrate sustainable technology that meets LEED-certified building standards.

AVI-SPL supports green AV through its participation in an electronics recycling program where out-of-service equipment is collected and recycled in order to fund technology labs for children who might otherwise not have access to computers. AVI-SPL also has LEED-certified engineers who can design workplaces that are energy efficient and help people collaborate easily with one another, whether they’re in the same room or at remote locations.

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 collaborative workplaces that inspire 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.

  • 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 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 meeting room experience

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 Solutions

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.

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 guide now.

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Video Shows Benefits of AVI-SPL Services Team

Thanks to the teamwork and expertise of AVI-SPL technicians throughout four global service operations centers (GSOC) worldwide, AVI-SPL offers businesses 24/7 proactive monitoring and management of their technology to ensure a high-quality experience with meetings and collaboration. You can see and hear those technicians talk about the value they provide in this AVI-SPL video.

From GSOCs in Denver, Philadelphia, UK, and Germany, AVI-SPL uses its Symphony platform to monitor and manage its clients’ AV and UC assets throughout their estate. It also automates their meeting scheduling, launching, monitoring, management and experience. Symphony provides customized analytics that show the frequency of room usage and the quality of the meeting experience so that companies can refine their investments and meet their business goals. 

Watch the AVI-SPL Video of Its GSOC

This video shows that AVI-SPL is much more than a global AV and collaboration systems integrator. We are a digital services provider that makes it easier for organizations to use and manage their solutions. You’ll also get a look at our Customer Experience Center, where you can explore new solutions and see how they would work in your environment. Toward the end of the video, you’ll see statistics that show the positive impact our GSOC support has had for organizations like yours.

Check out the video here, and share it with colleagues and those in your company who want their AV and collaboration systems to be easy to use while bringing people together so they can focus on the meeting, not the technology.

Special thanks to VideoLink’s VL Creative team for creating this video. And thanks to all members of our GSOC teams around the world for helping companies improve their ability to innovate, solve problems, and efficiently take on their daily operations.

TechSpark Showcases the Future of Workplace Collaboration

Throughout 2019, AVI-SPL is hosting its TechSpark series of evening networking events, which give you access to digital workplace experts and technology providers that improve team productivity and reduce your real estate costs.

At venues like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Ponce City Market, and TopGolf, you’ll learn how the new, agile, digital workplace includes the meeting solutions, video collaboration, and enterprise video capabilities that attract and retain talent.

You’ll understand how to apply technology strategies and solutions that increase business agility and results. You’ll also learn how AVI-SPL services ensure they measure up to your objectives. We’ve got six of our upcoming events already scheduled and ready for your registration.

TechSpark Cities in 2019

TechSpark Agenda

Each event takes place from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., local time.

  • 5 p.m. – Registration
  • 5:15 p.m. – Welcome by AVI-SPL office representative
  • 5:30 p.m. – Keynote speaker
  • 6 p.m. – Sponsor presentations
  • 6:20 p.m. – Networking
  • 7 p.m. – Q&A: Collaboration and Technology in Your Organization
  • 7:15 p.m. – Prize drawing

Register for the TechSpark event you’d like to attend >