The Meeting Room Equipment Market in 2020: The New Meeting Room is Here

Exploring the World of Room Kits and Devices

UC Today Insights
The Meeting Room Equipment Market in 2020: The New Meeting Room is Here

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Huge, cluttered meeting rooms filled with people taking notes and staff members falling asleep are a thing of the past. Businesses are quickly transforming into a new, more agile way of work, where conferencing sessions are fast and focused, enabled by one-click video conferences, team collaboration tools, and artificial intelligence.

In an age where only a percentage of your workforce is likely to be in the office at any given time, it’s no wonder that our past meetings are being replaced. According to Gartner, the flexible huddle room is the meeting room design of the future, perfect for plug-and-play accessibility in an ever-changing world.

However, there’s more to the modern meeting room than the desire for smaller and more flexible spaces. The rise of new technology is everywhere, appearing in forms like cognitive collaboration, artificial intelligence, and even the potential of VR.

Here’s your introduction to the new age of the meeting room.

The Future of Meeting Rooms: New Delivery Models

When properly planned, improvements to your meeting room strategy can lead to huge returns on investment in everything from management costs to workplace productivity. Improving your meeting experiences leads to faster and more efficient problem solving while reducing the demands placed on technical support whenever team members need to get together.

As the way that teams work together continue to change, we see an increase in the number of flexible meeting rooms. Custom-built boardrooms that are expensive and digital to manage are being replaced with quick and convenient room kits that come with everything you need to launch a session in seconds. Kits from leaders like Cisco, Microsoft, and Zoom come packaged with conferencing phones, video, and team collaboration tool access, all available at the touch of a button.

To minimize costs for smaller businesses, some vendors are even beginning to explore the benefits of rooms as a service. This new go-to-market strategy allows resellers to hire meeting room equipment out to businesses. These rooms can include everything from virtual assistants, to digital whiteboards, all available at a fraction of the cost of a full purchase.

What’s more, vendors are working hard on reducing the complexity of the modern collaboration environment. Rather than complicated systems, businesses can now tap into tools that give them everything they need from file sharing to video conferencing with just a couple of clicks. Plug-and-play devices have USB connections so employees can launch video calls with any computer or laptop in minutes. The impromptu meeting room supports this always-on culture that we’re living in, where user experience is critical.

AI in Meetings, Mixed Reality and Cognitive Collaboration

It’s not just agility and simplicity that’s changing the modern meeting room, either. Along with trends like rooms-as-a-service and wireless connectivity, we also see evolutions in the hardware and software that businesses can use for their meetings.

Through cloud-based video conferencing, businesses can connect their collaboration software to state-of-the-art integrated displays with 360-degree cameras from their favourite vendors. These cameras are even being increasingly updated with new tools to make collaboration easier, like background blur technology to reduce distraction. There are even document cameras that capture written information clearly, and wide-lens cameras ideal for capturing all meeting attendees in smaller rooms.

As we head into the new decade, the evolutions in meeting room hardware could eventually begin to venture into even more futuristic environments. For instance, we’re seeing many leading companies in the technology landscape experimenting with VR/AR headsets. These headsets, combined with 5G technology, could create a future where team members can work together in a virtual environment.

In the meantime, Artificial Intelligence and cognition is changing the software side of the meeting room. Already, AI technology is making meeting spaces more convenient and productive with things like in-line message transcription to improve understanding between team members, and real-time translation. Within meeting rooms, employees can use voice assistants to schedule new meetings, record sessions, or even pull up critical information in a time-sensitive environment.

Virtual assistants in the meeting room can recognise people who step into the meeting room by using biometric technology in cameras and deliver their documents and calendar to a screen in a matter of seconds. Companies like Cisco are even experimenting with ideas like cognitive collaboration. This concept involves bringing more context into the meeting room conversation with things like people insights, designed to give you essential information about the people you’re collaborating with.

Companies could even use the latest in meeting room equipment to improve the security and compliance aspects of their organisation. With biometric voice computer vision recognition, you can ensure that only certain people have access to crucial documents for a presentation.

Creating Tomorrow’s Meeting Room

The evolution of everything from cognitive collaboration to AI means that the meeting room of tomorrow is ready to deliver better productivity and performance than ever. Computer and machine vision will allow AI to see employees as they step into a meeting session, opening the door for ideas like gesture control instead of remote control.

AI can even play a role in improving the quality of a meeting by providing better noise suppression techniques, and higher-quality audio during a conversation.

Technology like this, combined with the accessibility and flexibility of new go-to-market models like room kits and rooms as a service. This ensures that businesses of all sizes will be able to build some of the most productive meeting rooms that we’ve ever seen, for increasingly affordable prices.

In the years ahead, we could be hosting meeting rooms in an environment complete with virtual reality headsets, where attendees can interact with documents in real-time.

Future employees may even using gesture technology to flip through pages of a document, and translation to see the words that their colleagues are speaking projected in front of them.

Although it might be a while before we unlock the true potential of concepts like AR and VR in the meeting room, many of the evolutions we would consider to be part of the “future” meeting room are already available. Meeting room technology is now accessible on a plug-and-play level, with access to virtual assistants, voice activated technology, and state-of-the-art biometric security.

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