Why the ‘Corporate Huddle’ phenomenon is here to stay...
Think back over your working life, at the meetings you’ve been to. On the one hand, there were large, formal meetings, organised weeks – months – in advance, at which half the company seemed to be present. Those are what our friends in America often call “dog and pony shows.”
And then there were the informal meetings, arranged on the spur of the moment, between three or four of you with a specific problem you needed to solve.
Which of those two types of meeting do you recall were more productive?
For many people, the answer is the latter. That’s what’s given rise to the relatively recent phenomenon of the ‘huddle room’. But: what exactly is a ‘huddle room’? It’s generally defined as a space that will accommodate no more than six people. After that, the definition gets a little hazier. Generally, a huddle room is a more informal space, rather than chairs laid out around a table. But while many organisations create areas specifically for the purpose of huddling, in others, that space can be used for other purposes.
In fact, huddle rooms have been around for much longer than the last few years: what has happened recently is that they’ve acquired an official name. Why is that? It seems likely that it’s because AV manufacturers have identified these small, impromptu meeting spaces as a specific market and targeted it with specific solutions – not least because their physical and organisational requirements are in many ways different from those of larger, more formal spaces.
What are those solutions? The first thing to say is that many of them are wireless – because wireless gives the flexibility that’s required, as well as the reduced upfront investment in, for example, cabling. What these solutions do have in common, though, is that they are designed to make interactivity, sharing of information and collaboration easier. At their heart is usually a display – often an interactive touchscreen – which incorporates wireless BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) technology, such that meeting participants can easily share what’s on their screen – laptop, tablet or phone – with the rest of the group. Many touchscreens allow for annotation – often by multiple meeting participants at the same time - making it easier to capture ideas and decisions.
Also available are what are known as wireless interactive presentation gateways. These allow a group of people present wirelessly on to any flat panel display with a VGA or HDMI connection.
With such a set-up, a simple huddle room is enabled. However: they can be more sophisticated. For those occasions when interaction is required with colleagues at another office, simple – and, again, often wireless – audio- and videoconferencing systems exist with, for example, wireless microphones and cameras.
Large meeting rooms will continue to play an important part in business culture. Far from displacing formal conference rooms, huddle rooms are designed to complement them – reflecting two very different styles of meeting. However: the productivity gains that arise from smaller meetings – gains that are enhanced by sophisticated, yet easy to use collaboration tools – means that huddle rooms are not only here to stay, but likely to continue to grow in popularity.
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Here you can choose from a variety of technologies designed to work together, following this, you can save your configuration, generating a ‘wish list’ (which also includes all of the ‘hidden’ equipment that is needed to make the space work) and discuss your individual project needs with the Corporate Specialists at Midwich.
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