Over the past year, almost every aspect of our society has shut down, slowly reopened and transitioned into the new normal. While there’s no telling what the future will bring, one thing’s for sure—it won’t be the same as it was before. Both businesses and employees have discovered the benefits of remote work and though many companies have already returned to the office building, many are doing so with remote working still remaining part of their ongoing operations. This new hybrid workspace is impacting the collaboration technology and spaces in conference rooms across the country. Remote collaboration and automated conference and huddle rooms are nothing new, but events of the past year have accelerated these trends in the workplace. Here’s a few trends that promise to be big into 2021 and beyond:
Zoom and Microsoft Teams Integration
With the overnight change from at work to completely remote collaboration that occurred a year ago, people needed a fast and easy way to reliably connect and collaborate from home. Zoom and Teams were the answer for many and have become the gold standards in remote collaboration. Many solution providers are now integrating Zoom and Teams to offer fast and easy collaboration through a user’s preferred meeting solution. A popular example being the Crestron Flex, a videoconferencing solution that allows users to easily control their collaboration needs from one touch screen including room scheduling, initiating a Teams or Zoom meeting and launching their presentation via Teams or Zoom.
In addition to the Zoom and Teams integrations, collaboration systems that allow meeting participants to easily control everything from one unit are in high demand. This includes control of collaboration and scheduling as well as room controls such as to raise or lower shades and even providing data and connection to smart building controls to deliver automation of HVAC and lighting.
High Quality Audio and Video
Huddling close together over the tabletop unit or laptop to be able to clearly hear and see remote meeting attendees or a graph or chart has become a aux pas in the new pandemic and even in to the post-pandemic era. In order to avoid these close encounters, high quality audio to allow anyone to clearly hear every person in the meeting as well as mounted high-resolution displays offering a clear view of attendees and presentation materials is expected to become trending conference room requirements. Cameras that offer clear picture quality that automatically adjust for ambient lighting conditions and that can automatically pan, tilt or zoom will be found in many a conference room to provide the best picture quality for all attendees.
In the wake of a pandemic shared touchscreens are sure to continue to be a source of fear and insecurity and many systems are already offering ways for users to connect via mobile device or laptop to control meeting functions. Wireless connections and apps provide meeting participants with the ability to connect to meetings, schedule meetings, and even control room lighting and other functions via their own device, thereby reducing the chances of disease spread.