How Video Became the Hottest Meeting Room Technology


Guest Blog by Joseph Sarrasin, Unified Communications Strategy Director, Crestron

How Video Became the Hottest Meeting Room Technology

If you told an office worker from the 1950s that people would someday be able to hold face-to-face meetings with colleagues situated all over the globe, they’d probably think you needed to get your head checked (or maybe that you’d been reading too much science fiction).

Now, video conferencing is an almost non-negotiable component of meeting rooms — but it wasn’t always this way.

Video’s Rise to Prominence

Not too long ago, video conferencing remained in something of a silo, as a separate channel from all the other ways in which people worked and collaborated — email, memos, internal chat, individual document creation, and so on. Because all of these tools existed as islands, employees defaulted to the one that the largest number of users was comfortable with and not confused by — which generally was the telephone, including in meeting rooms.

That began to change as understanding and use of unified communications (UC) platforms expanded, driving employees to the idea that the platform they use for internal chats could be the same one they use to make video and audio calls, co-develop and edit documents, collaborate on projects and so forth.

Organisations realised that using video within a UC platform is the remote equivalent of a face-to-face meeting — sometimes even better, because UC platforms allow meeting participants to not just see their colleagues via video conferencing, but also view content and collaborate. It’s the closest thing to having everyone in the same place, even if people are conferencing in from other locations (e.g., customer locations, other company offices or their home office).

The rise of comprehensive UC platforms has made it seem like people are having more video conferences than they used to a few years ago — but in reality, they’re just collaborating naturally within these platforms, using the various tools at their disposal to facilitate efficient workplace communication in the most optimal way for each task, and often that includes video.

While video is the meeting room technology of the moment, it won’t stop there.

The Meeting Rooms of the Future

A decade ago, people were asking which meeting rooms would get technology. Now, they’re asking what level of technology goes into a meeting room, and which technologies will be deployed — because it’s no longer a question of “if” anymore; it’s “how much.”

Some predictions about future meeting room tech:

  • Video meeting room technology right now encapsulates 10 to 15% of the market, but in the next five years, it’s likely to hit 50% or more — especially as the trend toward remote work continues, and as more workplaces become equipped for 5G, which promises the high bandwidth and low latency that will make video collaboration lightning-fast
  • Local-only collaboration technology will improve, with new meeting room features like occupancy detection and schedule release. If an employee tentatively books a room and forgets to cancel it later, the room can detect that no one has entered five or 10 minutes after the start time, and the room is automatically released back into the booking system
  • Smart building controls will continue to be added to meeting rooms, so meeting participants can control factors like temperature and lighting, which — while seemingly minor players in a business meeting — go a long way toward improving the overall quality of a room for end users. If people are comfortable, it’s easier for them to stay engaged
  • UC platforms already add the ability to share content and collaborate, and their value as communications tools will increase with future capabilities like real-time translation — even if participants in a video conference speak different languages, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and the scale of the cloud, the screen will be able to display voiceover translations in real time
  • Eventually, meeting room technologies will advance to a point where a room will effectively become another employee: It will “listen” to what people say, transcribe it, break notes into bullets, and assign action items. This will allow participants to be fully engaged during a meeting without worrying about taking notes, and can eliminate miscommunication around who’s responsible for which next steps

Seamless Collaboration

Joseph Sarrasin

Joseph Sarrasin

The tipping point with any technology is when it moves from users taking advantage of it, to users demanding it, and today’s employees demand technology that helps them collaborate while also allowing flexibility of location within a single platform.

While video is the current hot meeting room technology — and is unlikely to go away any time soon — it isn’t, and won’t ever be, the only communications tool in a meeting room. UC is all about making a workplace more intelligent, efficient and collaborative, and video is one piece of a holistic system that creates seamless work experiences for people.

 

Guest Blog by Joseph Sarrasin, Unified Communications Strategy Director, Crestron
Joseph Sarrasin is the Unified Communications Strategy Director for Crestron, a leader in workplace technology. Joe has been working at Crestron since July 2014 and leads the company’s overall product strategy and direction for UC. Prior to joining Crestron, he has held positions with ESPN and Teliris Inc. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Degree and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

 

 


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