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What Creates An Office Huddle Space

When new A/V technology offers better collaboration solutions, it is the office huddle space that is first transformed by the leap forward. In other words, the huddle space is a place where A/V technology is best represented. Industry experts have developed all kinds of reasons why that is the case – some of them practical and some of them a bit far-reaching. But regardless of why the office huddle space is a tech hub, it’s clear that this phenomenon is here to stay. Compact collaboration rooms are an expected feature in modern offices, and A/V solutions are what makes them possible.

Where has the office huddle space come from?

Why is tighter collaboration more attractive than ever? There are certainly plenty of theories. Some experts believe that the influx of millennials into the professional world has driven the adoption of advanced A/V technologies. Millennials, after all, are known for their savviness regarding technology, so it stands to reason that they would respond to it better. What seems more likely is that the nationwide increase in real estate prices, and especially in urban centers, has made space a premium for businesses. No longer can companies afford to hand out private offices to everyone, and larger meeting rooms are often best divided into several collaboration hotspots. And, of course, there is power in small team collaboration. It’s well known that as the size of a meeting increases, the ratio of active participants to silent observers drops. People are more comfortable working in smaller teams and more likely to offer their input – and companies are more productive when they get that input. The truth is likely a combination of all three, but for A/V integrators, it doesn’t much matter. The goal is establishing spaces that elicit the kind of collaboration that makes complex, critical projects possible.

Where is the office huddle space going?

Huddle spaces are small – sometimes no larger than a 10x10 space. That means that A/V integrators have to jam pack as much technology as possible, as seamlessly as possible. And more than ever, companies are demanding better control over these spaces, ensuring that they utilize them to their full extent. So, what are the standout features of a huddle room?

1. The foundation – Effective collaboration is impossible without accessible, engaging audio and video technology. A clear LED display is the focal point, and though many teams prefer to use the onboard speakers on their own device, some companies prefer to integrate speakers into furniture or mount them to the walls to get a better sound. Interactive displays are increasingly seen as essential for better collaboration, as they allow users to quickly scrub through a lot of information and make important annotations with little effort.

2. Communication technology – Collaboration is not always about the people in the room. Sometimes collaboration involves connecting teams that are elsewhere in the building, or in another building entirely. Traditionally, this has been accomplished using audio and video conferencing solutions. They are still valuable in this regard, especially when the conferencing equipment is integrated into the room. However, companies are starting to emphasize unified communications, or UC, for their collaboration efforts. Pairing UC software with conferencing hardware means users can quickly talk to each other using the device of their preference. UC software also does a better job of keeping people connected even when they are not all sitting in front of a camera and microphones, so collaboration can be managed with mobile teams.

3. Getting connected – A/V solutions are often focused on getting the best picture and the best sound for a better overall experience. But IT managers want something that will actually get used. This means providing a solution that is easy for people to tap into and something that makes sense across a range of devices. Connectivity is a big word in A/V now, and it includes both modern wireless network connectivity, and good old physical connectivity. For example, more and more companies are looking at USB 3.0 as the path toward universal connectivity for audio and video. USB 3.0 makes Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, strategies more realistic, and industry experts predict that as device manufacturers start adopting USB 3.0 over HDMI and DisplayPorts, it will only make sense to provide USB 3.0 connectivity in office huddle rooms.

Wireless boxes are so ubiquitous at this point that they might as well be considered a foundational aspect of collaboration spaces. Wireless boxes allow multiple devices to connect to each other and to the room’s display equipment to make for meaningful interaction between users. This technology also ensures users can easily get into the collaboration process, as BYOD emphasizes usability.

4. Manage it all – As the use of a particular strategy grows (in this case, huddle rooms), eventually it needs to be made more efficient. This is now a growing concern among office managers, because huddle rooms have a tendency to fill up quickly. Management and UC software now makes it possible to track huddle room performance, so office managers know when huddle rooms are filling up and what technology is actually getting use. For example, UC and management software can be used to assign each huddle room with a unique identifying string. This string is presented on the display in each room, and when users access the room’s equipment, this pings the management software, letting the office manager and everyone else know when a room is in use. This makes for more efficient meeting organization and helps track worker performance in utilizing the space. Again, space is a premium, so extracting every last bit of value means a lot of money over the long haul.

Office huddle rooms are where A/V integrators can really flex their muscles and demonstrate how A/V solutions can make a major impact. For company owners, it’s an opportunity to get the most out of every precious square foot.