In the final part of our deep dive into the technology making our meeting spaces truly work, we take a look at developments in the world of IP video and digital signage, and ask what the future holds for this sector.
Exterity’s extensive range of IP video and digital signage solutions have long made the company a mainstay of the corporate world. Current trends in meeting room specification have been informed by some longer-term developments, implies Exterity CEO Colin Farquhar, not least in the way that the digital era has revolutionised how corporate and financial organisations communicate with employees, visitors and customers, and this has had a significant impact on how boardrooms and meeting rooms are designed. [Hence] it goes without saying that video-conferencing – a market set to grow to well over $6 billion by the end of 2020 [source: Synergy Research, January 2019] – is a crucial tool for the majority of meeting spaces, enabling employees working from remote locations to connect with workers who are in the office.”
But the versatility and quick-turnarounds expected of many meeting spaces are giving rise to some other functional needs. In an era when “remote working, informal working spaces and co-working centres” are becoming more commonplace, there is “increasing pressure on meeting rooms and boardrooms. This is due to employees needing them to connect with colleagues scattered across multiple time zones and locations, host confidential meetings, or to simply find a quiet area to work and meet with someone one-to-one, resulting in an increase in more casual huddle spaces.”
While standard tools such as Outlook can provide standard room booking and availability checking functionality, there is a move towards “digital signage and room booking tools being installed outside meeting rooms. This enables casual drop-ins or taking advantage of passing by an empty room, being able to see for how long it’s free, and with some applications booking at the door on the fly. Digital signage therefore adds another progressive element to the contemporary office by providing an active and dynamically updated form of communication.”
With digital signage there is also “the ability to stream high-quality video” – an aspect that is proving attractive to corporate clients.
Farquhar says that Exterity continues to evolve its product portfolio “in line with our customers’ expectations, with development driven to an extent by specific customer feature requests. Our combined digital signage and IPTV product, ArtioSign, was designed to empower organisations to create, manage and display eye-catching communications in offices and other business settings, enabling live TV and video to be incorporated into impactful screens that inform, communicate and engage staff and visitors around the company.”
And the development of visual systems in meeting rooms per se continues to evolve. Farquhar highlights integration of social media feeds into digital signage used with meeting rooms, and although he feels “we’re quite a way off from seeing mass adoption of VR and AR technologies in corporate facilities”, use of another new technology – 4K – is becoming more widespread. “More and more corporate organisations are utilising technologies that allow them to deliver high-definition video to screens around their offices,” he says.
The overall pictures that emerges of AV for meeting rooms is inevitably one of contrasts. At one end of the corporate (and budgetary) scale a high-resolution, large-format screen is likely to represent the greatest single investment by a company in terms of their meeting room AV. More sophisticated collaborative tools and room booking technologies may not be affordable – or indeed required. At the other end of the scale, interactive and collaborative tools to assist local and remote collaboration, as well as extensive wireless audio capabilities, are more frequently requested.
Underpinning the undoubted success of this sector in pro-AV over the last decade is the admirable ability that both vendors and integrators have demonstrated in catering to the complete spectrum of these requirements.
Read more about essential meeting room tech on a budget: