21 May 2019 by Aske Korsgaard Hejlesen
6 minute read
Take your meeting room to the next level by diving into the latest meeting room and collaboration space tech trends in 2019 and beyond.
Any office has some kind of meeting space, whether it is a large conference room or just a small room with space for 3 people. No matter the type and size of room, you need to have the right kind of technology to support your meetings, help you share content and collaborate – hopefully without the stress and headaches that is typically associated with meeting room tech.
Thankfully, meeting room and AV (audiovisual) technology is getting a lot better, in the sense that audio and video quality is improving rapidly, and getting more flexible, accessible and affordable. In this article, we have a look at some of the biggest trends and technological advancements and how they will impact meeting rooms and collaboration in 2019 and in the future.
BYOD or “bring your own device” is a policy that is growing in popularity in workplaces, and it is a trend that will only get bigger in 2019. It allows employees to use their own personal devices -such as laptops, tablets, smartphone or virtual assistant in the meeting room, rather than using conferencing systems. The BYOD phenomenon has come to be thanks to the emergence of several types of mobile devices, cloud computing, communication and collaboration apps and the subsequent growth in popularity of remote working.
The widespread adoption of these different technologies makes BYOD a smart option for business. By equipping their employees with a variety of devices they are familiar and comfortable with, they can increase employee’s satisfaction and productivity. BYOD is also a great way to support flexible and remote working; employees will able to get access and work at any time and location, including while they’re travelling.
Now that you have a better understanding of what BYOD is, how does it impact your meeting rooms?
The modern way of working has been transformed – we are seeing an ever-increasing collaboration between employees and teams; both offline and online. As a result, professionals are having more meetings than ever, and that requires the right IT and AV infrastructure to support it. The modern meeting room in 2019 needs to be flexible enough to handle all the devices presenters are using to share content, regardless of brand or the type of technology.
Some things are essential when equipping your meeting room to make it BYOD-friendly. For example:
In 2019, we see more AV and IT manufacturers focusing on wireless presentation systems, focusing on increased device compatibility and on developing complete BYOD systems, not just devices.
In today’s global economy, video conferencing is an essential collaboration tool for every company. With video, remote workers can have face to face communication in a more natural and immersive format. The value of the enterprise video conference market has exploded in the last few years and is expected to reach USD 4.48 billion by 2023.
Cloud-based solutions have become an integral part of many enterprises’ IT infrastructure – the classic example is Microsoft’s Office 365 for Business. Cloud-based solutions are cost-efficient, scalable and secure while increasing a company’s ability to communicate and share information easily. Therefore, it is natural that cloud-based video conferencing is the next step in the digital communication industry.
We believe that enterprise video conferencing solutions will continue to simplify their interfaces and setup; providing a streamlined user experience, in order to better reflect the simple and intuitive interfaces users are used to from home-based technology such as FaceTime or Messenger. Furthermore, there will be a greater focus on video quality, where vendors will try to replicate the quality and experience of a face-to-face meeting. When people have HD and 4K displays at home, they will no longer settle for mediocre video and audio quality at the workplace; they will demand the same level of quality from their video conferencing solution. Finally, we see a great integration between video conferencing solutions and collaboration tools, where people will be able to share information in one unified collaboration environment.
AI is disrupting the AV and meeting room technology industry, just as it did with virtual assistants in the home tech market a couple of years ago. AI will doubtlessly shape the future of the industry, where it brings the promise of better and smarter collaboration in meeting rooms and conference halls.
The most basic version of meeting room automation is already present. AI is eliminating boring, time-consuming functions such as scheduling, starting and ending meetings and recording them. Voice recognition and control is also playing an important role here; now it’s possible to have voice transcription technology to automate meeting minutes, which will be instantly available at the end of the meeting. AI will also enable hands-free voice control of different equipment in the room, giving room users the ability to control room temperature, adjust lighting, TV and sound settings and even the content on the screen.
AI is also improving camera technology in video conferencing. Imagine having a virtual meeting with people you’ve never met before. Instead of spending valuable time making introductions, AI will scan faces and make each person’s name and title appear below their face. On stage, cameras can now track body movements and automatically follow the presenter as he or she walks around, instead of having a person physically operating the camera. Facial tracking can focus and zoom in on the person currently speaking in a video conference, eliminating the traditional “bowling alley” down the conference room.
However, the biggest impact AI will have on meetings is by creating value through superior data analysis – helping to make meetings more productive and actionable. AI in the future will be able to connect data from CRMs, ERPs, and raw content recorded during meetings and combine it to make actionable data that can help business development and decision-making.
Display and consumer screen technology has been evolving at an astonishing rate and will continue to do so in 2019. There is a huge variety of display types on the market that offer amazing flexibility and can be used in very creative ways. See our blog post about different ways you can use interactive displays at the workplace.
Let’s have a look at the different display technologies –
Thanks to massive competition and the introduction of newer technology such as OLED, LCD displays have become significantly cheaper, while at the same time becoming bigger and thinner. LCD displays are a battleground for giants such as Sony, Samsung, LC and NEC. 65” inch displays have now become a standard size in private homes, and in the corporate world we’re seeing a shift to even bigger displays; up to 90”. Fueling this the big screen trend’s growth are new “gen-10.5 LCD fabs”; panel manufacturing plants that are optimized for TVs 65” and larger, making production more efficient and prices cheaper.
LCD, LED, QLED… All the acronyms in the display world can be quite confusing. LED displays, as most are today, is a further development of the traditional LCD, where the CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) backlight is replaced by LED’s instead. LED’s can either have LED (light-emitting diodes) on the edges of the screen (called LED edge lighting) or full array lighting, meaning that the LEDs are arranged in rows and columns along the back of the screen. Edge lighting is what allows manufacturers to provide thinner displays. Full array LEDs backlight provides images with better contrast and a more even illumination at a higher efficiency rate than edge-lit LCDs. In 2019, we see greater adoption of large LED displays with finer pixel pitch in meeting rooms and boardrooms.
In retail, digital signage will continue to explode in 2019. Advancements in LED technology is resulting in displays with a much lower pixel pitch; improving screen resolution, providing crisp and seamless images (even up close) with incredible brightness (thanks to the high concentration of LEDs).
LCD wall displays come in all sizes, but for meeting rooms and boardrooms, we see combined sizes between 110”-165”, and therefore replacing the old school projector/screen solutions. The edge-to-edge fit and flow between these screens have become so natural that you no longer notice that several screens are being used.
Newer LED displays are also treated with a polarizing haze film, which is a huge benefit for digital signage that needs to be clearly visible all day long. LCD display quality can be marred by ambient lighting from the sun or artificial light indoor. Anti-glare haze film is the name given to a special type of surface treatment that disperses light, rather than reflects it; effectively removing glare from screens. This technology, therefore, helps display screens look great in any type of lighting environment. In 2019, we see an improvement in haze polarizing technology, crisp, natural images and being LCD video walls being used in 360° settings!
OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is a relatively new player in the display game. The fundamental difference between OLED and LED-LCD´s is that in OLED, each pixel illuminates itself, while in LCD all the pixels are illuminated by LED backlights or edge lights. This difference means that OLED provides an overall superior picture quality compared with LED; deeper black, higher contrast ratio, better brightness consistency and wider viewing angle. This quality, however, can come with a hefty price tag. We are expecting OLED to grow in popularity in the corporate world and in digital signage in the coming years.
4K has definitely consolidated its position as market-leading technology during the last couple of years. 4K, or ultra-high-definition, has effectively become the standard resolution for any kind of display larger than 40”. 8K is the newest type of technology, quadrupling the total number of pixels in 4K, just like 4K did with 1080p or HD displays. Although we have just witnessed the launch of the first 8K consumer displays in 2019, we think it will be a long time until 8K displays become affordable and widespread.
There are several advantages to having 4K technology in the meeting room. Display and AV manufacturers are pushing 4K to be standard technology – investing in 4K, therefore, is a good way of future-proofing your meeting room equipment. Furthermore, 4K display give you crisper text in presentations and a higher quality viewing experience when video conferencing.
Regardless of the number of meeting rooms, their size or the number of gadgets and equipment you currently have, it’s important to stay informed on meeting room trends and new technology that is available. Collaborative meetings and remote working will only keep growing in popularity, and the right technology can definitely help you improve the quality and efficiency of your meetings.
If we had to pick one trend in this article that you should definitely focus on this year, then we believe your focus should be on ensuring that your meeting room is BYOD-friendly and compatible with the wide range of communication devices that are available on the market.