The Huddle Room – Finding the right technology solution

Ask any company about the secret to their success and often the answer will be collaboration; how the staff worked together despite being spread out across various sites around the world to complete a project. It makes sense to create a space in your organisation that makes it even easier for this type of work to take place. It does and it exists. They’re called Huddle Rooms.

The most common huddle we see is in the sporting world where a group of players gather in the middle of the field to discuss what’s going to happen in the next play. It is this same spirit of co-operation that can be fostered in the modern office.

Across Australia and New Zealand, there has been a significant increase in these advanced meeting spaces to help global teams in tasks that require cross-organisational collaboration.
Rather than pouring all the AV equipment into a single boardroom, businesses are defining other meeting spaces that hold 3-5 people. And unlike a traditional meeting room, the Huddle Room may not even have any chairs and tables. Some just have lounges and standing tables. But what they all have communication tools like a camera, microphone and TV screen.

The meetings are short, focused and agile; they are more like formal hallway conversations that aren’t bogged down with unnecessary details. This keeps everybody’s attention and ensure everyone is across the most important information.

The technology in the room doesn’t even need to be overly complicated. Companies don’t need to install expensive telepresence equipment – that’s meant for the boardroom. In the Huddle Room you can still have high quality audio and video without breaking the bank and still suit the needs of the business. These needs can vary depending on the size and the needs of the organisation. But to create an effective Huddle Room you need to do it right.

Bluebird Financial’s first attempt at a Huddle Room didn’t provide the best experience for the staff. There were problems with the video and audio. Some of the other offices were then enabled with high quality video and audio and they started seeing time and cost savings. And their efficiency increased. It wasn’t unusual for 232 calls to be made per day in the middle of a project. This was reduced to six.

The culture around the way we do business in Australia has changed dramatically with office walls literally coming down to symbolize the new openness to collaborate and the technology inside offers a wide range of options. Staff can use everything from pre-installed high definition cameras and microphones to plug and play devices that can move from room to room. Equipping a Huddle Room is much cheaper than fitting out a much larger conference room. This is a helpful fact to know in the present economy but businesses can still get what they need out of their office and facilities.

People in these workplaces, most are millenials who are thriving in this new work environment and collaboration method can also bring their own devices into the Huddle Room. Apple and Samsung mobile devices are the most popular in the Huddle Room with group messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger coming in to their own in this context of working together to reach a goal rather than the aimless conversations those applications are usually used for.

But the other important factor that brings this perfect storm of factors together is the rollout of the NBN which is providing a solid and reliable connection as well as providing the ability to enable high quality video connections – even at 4K resolution – anywhere in the office.

Forget having to book a conference room weeks in advance to have meetings about meetings, the Huddle Room is the best and most productive alternative.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: STEPHEN FENECH

Stephen Fenech is one of the most respected consumer technology journalists in Australia. He is the editor of the popular Tech Guide website where he publishes the latest reviews and tech commentary. Stephen can also be heard every Wednesday on 2GB on the Afternoon Show. He can also be seen on Channel 10’s Studio 10 where he is the resident tech and gadget expert. Stephen can also be heard on two of the highest-rating tech podcasts on iTunes – Tech Guide and Two Blokes Talking Tech.