The IT Leader’s Guide to Collaboration Huddle Rooms

There are several new realities to which organizations must respond. These realities hold no bias. They impact companies from all around the world and across industries. And they all are driven by one thing: technology.

The telecommuting phenomenon has spread worldwide, with 70 percent of professionals working remotely at least one day a week, and 53 percent working remotely for at least half of the week. Although employees are no longer forced to travel to headquarters or local offices to complete tasks — eliminating costly trips and even long, stressful commutes — employees still crave face-to-face interaction and collaboration.

Huddle rooms help teams spark collaboration and foster candor that is sometimes difficult to achieve when employees are disconnected. And technology is what augments the huddle room experience.

What exactly is a huddle room?

It’s easy to see the term “huddle room” and imagine a small space brimming with people chatting and sharing ideas. But thanks to technology, it has become so much more than that.

TechTarget defines huddle rooms as: “Small and private meeting areas, typically seating three to six people and equipped with teleconferencing and collaboration technologies.”

Huddle rooms give employees the power and flexibility to meet on their terms — and employers the ability to improve efficiencies and streamline costs. Rather than spending thousands of dollars flying out employees for important team or client meetings, organizations can invest in technology to equip their huddle rooms with all of the features and capabilities required to have a stellar collaborative experience.

Of course, companies may have more than one huddle room in their offices, depending on the size of their business and number of employees who commute daily and who may only travel to the office for important meetings. A company could also decide to have larger-capacity conference rooms and boardrooms function in the same manner, so remote team members can connect to larger meetings — even company-wide discussions.

Video conferencing: The linchpin to successful huddle rooms
Video conferencing is a critical ingredient for great huddle room experiences. It enables team members to have face-to-face conversations that encourage better listening, more valuable conversations and more productive collaboration.

Video conferencing technology connects a multitude of endpoints and software that further augment the experience, including:

  • Collaboration platforms
  • White boarding technology
  • Display screens of various sizes

Companies use a variety of terms for video conferencing technology, such as video room connector, video teleconferencing and standards-based conferencing, At the core is software-based video room systems or endpoints with internet connection and a multi-point control unit (MCU) or bridge for multi-point conferencing.

Regardless of preferred terminology, video conferencing transforms the typical small conference room into a digitally powered huddle room that inspires creativity and supports more seamless and secure information sharing. As a result, team members from all around the world can communicate and collaborate as if they were sitting in the same room.

GlobalMeet provides video room connections to support modern teams — and empower IT

Video conferencing technology is the foundational technology that supports huddle rooms, the employees who use them and those who log in from afar. And now, GlobalMeet® is working to help organizations of all sizes bring their huddle rooms to life so they can support “any-to-any” collaboration.

The new video room connector within GlobalMeet was designed to empower teams and IT by:

  • Integrating seamlessly with the GlobalMeet platform
  • Supporting legacy and new standards-based video room systems, ultimately lowering IT costs
  • Allowing integration with emerging huddle rooms
  • Easily supporting future integrations with other collaboration solutions

Are you ready to get your huddle room up and running? Learn more about VRC from GlobalMeet.

The Most Common UC Terms Explained

There are many important Unified Communications (UC) applications and tools available today and, yet, the terminology can often be misunderstood given the many capabilities and delivery models of UC.

Unified Communications consolidates phone, email, chat, video, conferencing and collaboration, enabling communication on any device regardless of platform. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a delivery model in which a variety of communication and collaboration applications and services are outsourced to a third-party provider and delivered over an IP network, usually the public Internet.

Here’s a list of the most commonly used terms and their definitions as they relate to UC and UCaaS:

IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch Exchange)

Unified Communications includes a phone system that integrates with external components -- sharing presence information and voicemail. The phone can be accessible using your computer. Computer-based call control enables people to answer and transfer calls, initiate dials and adjust phone features from their desktop, laptop or mobile device.

Email

The second most used and critical components of any UC solution is email because it is where most digital workers keep schedules and contacts.

Unified Messaging (UM)

Messaging refers to the ability of the PBX to deliver voicemail and faxes as email to eliminate the need to check a second (or third) location for messages.

Instant Messaging (IM)

Also referred to as chat, IM is a type of communications that doesn’t require a phone conversation, IM was also the first real presence application (to see if someone was available).

Presence

Typically presence and IM are one in the same, but this term refers to a message that someone leaves to describe what communication method they prefer as well as when they are most available to be contacted.

Desktop Video

Simple video communication using embedded or attached webcams. The technology is moving fast, and it is an important consideration in the UC landscape, especially since face-to-face is one of the best ways to communicate.

Collaboration

Collaboration includes conferencing services such as voice or audio, web and video. Typically, this is team collaboration or project-based collaboration which is different from more traditional conferencing tools.

It also describes the ability to pull multiple parties together into a workspace to share documents, presentations, video, etc.

Mobility

Mobility generally enables people to use a mobile phone to perform many of the functions listed above. But, via UC, mobile can also refer to the ability to answer calls that were intended for an office line from any location – meaning that UC systems can easily function on your phone.

Application integration

Integration reduces double work and ensures data still reaches multiple systems, like customer relationship management (CRM) to enterprise resource planning (ERP) and accounting systems.

To learn more about Unified Communications, please download our new Unified Communications 101 eBook, today.