Category Unified Communications

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.

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 >

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.

Poly’s “Power of Many” Message for Businesses

Poly made noise in the AV and workplace collaboration industry this week as it became the new face of the combination of Plantronics and Polycom.

The company is supporting its first marketing campaign, “The Power of Many,” with some high-profile announcements that focus on product integration with technology from Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Poly made these announcements while at Enterprise Connect in Orlando.

In the days that followed the rebranding as Poly, the company announced:

The Power of Many

Common to these products is their emphasis on bringing people together, which is the message of Poly’s “Power of Many” campaign. The “power of many” also describes the functions that are brought together in a solution. Systems that combine useful functions are what you might envision when you hear the term “unified communications” — the ability to review one’s calendar, join a meeting, and make video calls from one device.

Along with this versatility, the goal is simplicity, which is key to the user experience of solutions that combine multiple functions. You could say that’s the main appeal of a solution that includes Alexa, making it possible to manage meetings and room devices through voice.

Poly’s solution announcements this week indicate their focus on a positive user experience. Common to each of them:  These solutions integrate with systems that people are comfortable with and want to keep using in a way that isn’t needlessly complex. One phrase on the Poly website touts the ability to “concentrate on ideas in the air, not devices in the room.” When people use workplace collaboration solutions, they shouldn’t notice the technology to an extent that is disruptive. Rather, they should be able to give their attention to the collaboration that the technology is making possible.

As new solutions enable us to do more from more places, companies are wise to incorporate those solutions in the workplace to attract talented people who want to be able to collaborate in a variety of ways and do it on demand.

The solutions that are easiest to use will be the most attractive, as long as they have the capabilities that people expect. Those capabilities are with us in a variety of solution packages. The power of Poly’s message is in its focus on how its solutions make it easier for people to produce the products, ideas, services and innovations that keeps their businesses growing.

Webinar Recording: Improving Your UCC Meeting-Room Audio

In this webinar, recorded on March 6, learn what it takes to deliver high-quality audio throughout your organization’s meeting rooms so that all participants — including those joining remotely — have an effective, productive experience.

The most important part of any video call or conferencing meeting is the audio. Without good audio, there’s no meeting. Get the recording of this free Commercial Integrator and MyTechDecisions webinar, and learn how Biamp audio solutions provide a high-quality experience. Zach Snook, product manager for Biamp, covers:

  • Beamtracking microphones
  • Power-over-Ethernet amplifiers
  • desono™ conferencing speakers
  • Soundmasking
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • DSPs
  • VoIP deployment tools

You’ll also hear from Charlie Salto, a project engineer for AVI-SPL. Charlie gives his insight into audio design for meeting rooms. Whether you’re refreshing a meeting room or designing and installing a new solution on a tight timeline, experts from Biamp and AVI-SPL explain how they can address these challenges quickly and efficiently.

Get the Recording for “Improving Your UCC Meeting-Room Audio” >