Rethinking Your Conference Room and Huddle Spaces

Conference RoomMost people don’t know that we ‘huddle’ every morning at PTG.  It starts at 8:15 with the services and sales teams and runs for no longer than 15 minutes.  At 8:30 our leadership team huddles and outlines any big issues of the day or things that are top of mind.

By 8:45 our entire company is ‘in sync’ with what needs to happen for us to deliver a phenomenal customer experience that day.  It is my focus to make sure that our team members feel like they are completely engaged.  (For a great read on this, I recommend this blog post from Steelcase.)

These huddles take place no matter where our team members happen to be at these designated times.  While we want them to be in the office, sometimes that is just not possible.  Skype for Business allows them to call in (from any device). If they're calling in from a tablet or smartphone they can see video and shared content.

The key to making it work? Having the right technology. For us, that's Skype for Business and conference phone that supports it.

In the past, a highly connected conference room or huddle space was easily a $10,000-$25,000 expense.  With a few smart purchases – it’s easy to make your conference room a great place for employees to collaborate, impress your customers when they come to visit (and maybe even get a little work done!).

Here are a few options:

Jabra Speak 510:  This handy little speakerphone is always with me in my bag.  I can plug it into my PC and do a conference call via Skype or pair it with my cell phone via Bluetooth.  Retail is $149.99 and I recommend it for anyone who travels regularly.  It can also be used in very small conference and huddle rooms.

Logitech Connect Camera:  This is slick ‘canister’ looking speakerphone and webcam is ideal for smaller huddle rooms.  It supports HDMI, Bluetooth, USB, Near-Field Communication and has a 1080p HD camera.  You could plug it into a PC/Mac (what most folks do for smaller conference rooms) and or pair it with your cell phone via Bluetooth.  With just this and a small TV you could have a great conference room/huddle solution for less than $750 in hardware costs!

Polycom Trio RealPresence Phone: This is the workhorse of our conference room.  It is a full-fledged conference phone that connects to Skype for Business and allows you to ‘start’ a meeting with a single touch of a button.  It can also be paired with a cell phone for conference calls that happen on the fly.  It’s a little more expensive with a retail cost of $1250.  Admittedly, that’s a lot for a conference phone; but it works very well in our conference room.

Intel NUC PC:  This small form factor PC fits nicely in a cabinet or on a shelf.  It’s very cheap (around $350, depending on specs) but is more than enough to support web conferencing and desktop sharing and collaboration.

If you are interested in an example of a larger scale video conferencing hardware, check out the Logitech Group offering (expect it to be around $1250).

You can see how building out a nice collaboration space doesn’t have to be expensive. Using these examples you could build out a very nice space for around $1100 (Logitech Connect, $500, Intel NUC, $350, and a 42” TV for $299).  Every space is different!

If you would like for us to help you put together a great collaboration space – please reach out to us!

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