My everyday coffee mug at work is a giveaway from an event called DVC, or Desktop Video Conferencing, which was produced by Enterprise Connect’s predecessor company. No one around our office—myself included—remembers exactly when that show was held, but the best guess is 1995. The hot technology at the time was ISDN. Don’t even ask about ISDN.
I seem to remember that many smart people dubbed 1995 the Year of Videoconferencing. It’s a good bet because every year from the mid-'90s through the early 2010s received that moniker from some segment of the punditry. You don’t hear that proclamation made as often these days, I think because video is so ubiquitous both in our work and personal lives. It’s not coming, it’s here. And yet, in many ways, videoconferencing for business still hasn’t fulfilled its potential. And I think if you asked why, most people would say it’s because the systems currently in place are still too hard to use.
Enter the “Meeting Room of the Future.” No, really, enter it (metaphorically): Read this post by Robin Gareiss of Nemertes Research on No Jitter this week, and you’ll get an idea of the state of the art for making all room-based remote meetings—but especially those based on video—more useful and (dare we say) enjoyable. These Meeting Room of the Future initiatives are being driven by a combination of dissatisfaction with legacy rooms, plus new opportunities offered by emerging technologies, Robin reports.
“Meeting rooms clearly have become both a pain point and a huge opportunity for IT staffs,” Robin writes. “Meeting Room of the Future projects go beyond simply evaluating audioconferencing bridges and videoconferencing screens. They're looking at a wide variety of areas.”
If there’s one underlying theme to all of the potential changes to meeting rooms, according to Robin’s research, it’s improving the user experience. That starts with basics like providing enough electrical outlets, but quickly moves up to include places where technology can make a difference—specifically by making it easier and more intuitive to set up and join conferences, and even to track meeting room usage in real time, to avoid the problem that another No Jitter writer dubbed “zombie meeting rooms.”
The Meeting Room of the Future is a compelling topic that we’ll be addressing in several different sessions within the Video Collaboration & A/V track at Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018. For the past several years, video has been one of the most popular conference topics, and many of the coolest booths on the exhibit floor have belonged to companies showing new video platforms and innovations. These next-gen systems include “ideation,” which uses video, electronic whiteboards, and other display technologies to give users state-of-the-art collaboration experiences in the meeting room.
As Robin points out, video hardware, and technology like codecs, are among the least interesting aspects of the Meeting Room of the Future (OK, maybe electrical outlets are more pedestrian). What’s exciting are the collaboration systems that can facilitate meeting setup, or the speech interfaces that make it happen without users having to touch a single button. And what’s critical from an IT perspective are the challenges around provisioning a network that can support the new ways that video traffic runs, and the additional systems like collaboration and Internet of Things (IoT) that enhance the experience of the meeting room.
But for simplicity’s sake, we’ve put it all under our Video track and are getting ready to run it all at Enterprise Connect. You can register for Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018 here. I hope to see you at the show.