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The Right Technology For Agile Working

technology for agile working

Technology enables agile working – but getting it wrong can slow people down. We look at choosing the right technology for agile working environments:

Agile working is the means of being able to work anywhere. At home, in a café, on a bean bag in the office, or indeed at an office desk. Anywhere. And it’s technology that allows us to do that. It’s all about having the freedom and flexibility to choose where you work. But getting technology right in an agile working environment isn’t simply about giving people a wi-fi password and a laptop. Too often businesses choose to adopt agile working without giving enough consideration to what they really need.  So what technology is the right technology for agile working?

The first thing to be clear on, is what does ‘agile’ truly mean? ‘Agility’ is the ability to move quickly and easily. So, an agile working environment should allow workers to move from one place of work to another, quickly and easily. Whether it’s a meeting room, a breakout area or your home living room. But this is often where technology for agile working falls short. People are held back by fiddly wires, unreliable connections and frustrating ‘computer says no’ scenarios.

Getting technology right in an agile working environment is about choosing the right solutions that give people the flexibility to work anywhere. Not giving them a tech-headache because things don’t work as efficiently as they should. As with most technology decisions, simplicity is the key.  Here are a few ideas:

Technology for Agile Working

The Right Technology For Agile Working

From Agile Space to Personal Desk

Often businesses that promote agile working use hot-desking or hoteling as a cost-effective way to make the most of their space. But trying to hunt down a vacant space can really slow you down. Try using a simple, easy to use booking system like GoBright. A simple colour coding system makes it easy to see and book available desks either online or in person. It will hold your seat if you have to go away or release desks where someone hasn’t shown up. And once you’re logged in via your smartphone or personal NFC-card, the sit or stand desk can automatically adjust to your personal preferences.

The Right Technology For Agile Working

Plug and Play

Agile working often leads to activity based workplaces – offices that are designed to accommodate different activities – from quiet working spaces to collaboration zones and huddle spaces. To collaborate, workers need areas where they can connect their laptop to a big screen to share their ideas with others – not have everyone crammed around someone’s laptop. But fiddly wires to connect can really take the spontaneity out of a huddle meeting.  Wireless presentation systems like Clickshare provide an easy plug-and-play solution to connect your screen to the big screen. Whether you are working from a laptop, tablet or mobile. It’s quick and easy – everything agile working should be!

The Right Technology For Agile Working

From Desk to Meeting Room to Living Room

Cloud-based technology is the secret to agile working. There is nothing more frustrating than not having access to files and materials because you are not sat within the company network. Make sure your servers are accessible (and secure) for everyone, anywhere. And then choose technology that allows you to maximise this feature. For example, an interactive display  which is connected to the cloud, gives you the option to access files from your desktop, annotate and enhance in a meeting, and then save and access again the next day when you’re working from home. For creatives, the Nureva Span provides a digital canvas that teams can use for collaboration and then save to the cloud to revert back to wherever they may be working next. So working is seamless, and, well, agile!

The Right Technology For Agile Working

Instant Recognition

We’re getting so used to intuitive, simple tech in our personal lives – with fingerprint, voice or iris recognition, shouldn’t we have the same simplicity in our agile working environments? Increasingly intelligent solutions are being adopted with our workplace technology – where all you need is a personal security card, thumb print or your smartphone for technology to assume your own personal settings. Take for example the new StarLeaf Touch 2045; the video conferencing main control unit will instantly recognise registered users when their smartphone comes into close proximity. So that scheduled meetings are synced with the systems and ready to take place at the touch of a button. Now that sounds like the sort of recognition that we all deserve!

Home, Sweet Office

If you’re a fan of working from home do you ever worry about the impact on collaboration when people aren’t all in the same office? Often, there’s a sacrifice: meetings get postponed or decision making is delayed as key stake-holders are missing. But if you have a reliable video communication channel this doesn’t have to be the case. We like StarLeaf for video communication – not only are their simple meeting room systems really easy to use, their secure network allows you to speak to anyone from anywhere. Call quality is great (subject to internet connection) and you can see when someone is available to chat – so you can still ‘drop-in’ on a colleague working from home. From quick catch ups, to decision making meetings, to screen-sharing,  a great video communication system will ensure agile working  does not compromise on collaboration.

The Right Technology For Agile Working

Agile working has many benefits for an organisation. But the technology that enables it must also be right, so that it doesn’t ultimately slow you down. We work with many businesses to help them identify what technology is going to help them work quickly and easily. We also have a partnership with office design experts Blueprint Interiors, so if you want to design your office to support agile working or create an activity based working environment, we know exactly where to start. Contact us to find out more…

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Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

Neutral decor

If the array of Interactive Displays on the market has left you feeling spoilt for choice, maybe its time to let the experts decide….

In the world of interactive displays there are so many options to choose from. How do you even know where to start – let alone which one to pick?! We look at why the award winning interactive display range from CleverTouch might be the answer to your problems…In the world of interactive displays there are so many options to choose from. Different types of touch screens including IR on glass, EMR (electromagnetic resonance) or infrared. Different features available including video calling, simultaneous annotation and software and app availability. Various connection outputs as well as choosing inbuilt or external PC… The list goes on and on. Every feature requires careful consideration to make sure you get it right, because every organisation and its needs are different. But if you’re looking for a quick place to start, looking for an award-winning interactive display might save you some valuable research time.

For me, I have been recommending interactive display solutions to our customers for many years across a range of manufacturers, depending on their budget and needs. But recently one of our favourite interactive display manufacturers has been reaching high critical acclaim, and we know why. CleverTouch have been continually evolving their interactive displays for many years. The current CleverTouch range offers multi-award winning interactive displays which offer solutions for a range of customers. Keen to find out more..?

What Makes an Award Winning Interactive Display?

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

The CleverTouch Pro Series

First of all, let’s start with the basics: the CleverTouch Pro Series offer two models of interactive display designed for business: the CleverTouch Pro Series E-CAP and the CleverTouch Pro Series High Precision. The first features dual touch-screen technologies designed to recognise both stylus and hand gestures simultaneously. The latter offers an ultra-precise writing experience. The CleverTouch range has received many awards and was most recently awarded Best Display Technology for Collaborating and Conferencing at the inAVation Awards.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

Simplicity + Quality

Whichever model you go for, each screen features 4K Ultra HD resolution, 20 point touch, integrated speakers and 8ms response time. But the real draw with these award-winning interactive displays is the simplicity of them. They are easy to install, easy to update, and super-intuitive so whatever your background, you’ll feel comfortable using them. With Clevershare, you can just walk into the room and tap in your 6 digit code to instantly share your laptop with the main screen. Its as simple as that. And you can switch between laptops just as easily, either by using the app or one of the included Clevershare USB dongles – so even guests can share with ease.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

For Collaboration Spaces

The 4K screen and intuitive touch makes it really easy to see information in meetings. They’re designed to be used in meeting rooms, auditoriums, reception areas and break out spaces – in fact anywhere where people need to collaborate or get creative. With an inbuilt 4K PC, the display makes for a very neat solution which can be either wall mounted or on a mobile trolley so it can be moved between spaces – ideal for agile working or breakout spaces.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

App Access

The CleverTouch Pro Series offers a complete package of apps and software, as well as access to the full Microsoft software suite, to enable seamless collaboration. These include apps for screen sharing, remote annotation on shared documents and an infinity whiteboard designed for business. It also includes Sedao digital signage software so the screens can be managed centrally to communicate messages to users. This might include alerts when a new meeting is due to start or company communications when the screens are not in use.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

Partners

You can easily combine with a video conferencing app like Skype for Business or StarLeaf to provide a high quality, complete collaboration solution. Connecting people, wherever they are, and helping them to work more efficiently and more collaboratively.  Best of all, the apps and software are available free, for life, with no subscriptions or additional charges from CleverTouch for updates. Now that sounds pretty seamless to us!

By partnering with some of the big names in workplace technology, including Intel, Microsoft, Zoom and Skype for Business you can guarantee your CleverTouch interactive display will work easily with programmes from these brands and give you the same reliable experience.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

Updates & Upgrades

If you’re in charge of managing technology in your corporation, you’ll be pleased to know that updates, upgrades and user support are covered with remote management for 5 years, saving time and resources that can be spent elsewhere in the business. These screens are easily integrated with existing systems and processes, so installation is really simple. And security is paramount, so CleverTouch includes features like being able to work completely off network when required and automatically wipe the screen after use or via a centralised control. All this with a 5 year warranty as standard.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

Touch Technology

The two models of the CleverTouch Pro Series for business, the Pro Series E-CAP and Pro Series High Precision, offer different touch technologies depending on your needs. The E-CAP uses a combination of IR on glass plus EMR (electromagnetic resonance) which provides a highly accurate and responsive screen for dual pen writing functionality. But it also recognises finger and touch gestures so you can write and gesture simultaneously. It is also a slimmer and more lightweight model.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

Intuitive Writing

The CleverTouch Pro Series High Precision also offers dual pen / dual colour stylus functionality but using infra-red technology for an enhanced standard of precision for writing.

This basically makes the E-CAP somewhat more intuitive, as you can write with a pen, swipe with your hand, highlight things with your finger, all at the same time which really comes into its own when collaborating.

As with any interactive display, I could write for hours about the intricate details of these solutions, but ultimately the proof is in the testing. So if you want to try out the award winning interactive display from CleverTouch for yourself, why not get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to arrange a demonstration.

Is THIS The Ultimate Award-Winning Interactive Display?

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The Benefits of Video Conferencing (and Why You Haven’t Adopted it Yet…).

benefits of video conferencing

Video conferencing has so many benefits so what’s holding people back?

Video conferencing can save time and money on business travel, whilst offering a benefit that can help to attract and retain talent. It could even help to address gender balance in the workplace…. So why aren’t more companies adopting it?

The benefits of video conferencing are being enjoyed by businesses, large and small across the globe. With instant cost savings on travel to meetings, the return on investment can be quickly calculated. Time saved on business travel is perhaps even more valuable for some. People spend less time on trains, planes and in cars so they can be more productive in the workplace, but also have a greater work-life balance without the pressures of excessive business travel or commuting.

Video conferencing can therefore help businesses to attract and retain the best people. In particular, groups such as working parents and millennials often prefer businesses that can offer them flexibility with when and where they work. Video conferencing provides a valuable medium to enable working from home, supporting those who want or need to work from home including working parents or people with disabilities.

So, if the benefits of video conferencing are so valuable, what is holding organisations back?

The Benefits of Video Conferencing (and Why You Haven’t Adopted it Yet…).

It’s too expensive…

Historically, video conferencing was a medium reserved for large corporates who could afford the large and expensive servers that were required. But now cloud-based video conferencing designed for business, means that you can get secure video conferencing plus desktop video calling at a very modest cost. For example, installing a single StarLeaf meeting room system for video conferencing can provide desktop video calling across an entire organisation, with the ability to video call anyone who has an internet connection and a camera.

The Benefits of Video Conferencing (and Why You Haven’t Adopted it Yet…).

It’s too big a change …

Of course, a major hesitation is cultural; leaders are nervous to take on a major change which will ultimately impact the working culture in their organisation. People often feel nervous or self-conscious seeing themselves on camera which can create a resistance to adopting video communication in an organisation.  Talking to your people and explaining to them why the company is moving to a video culture and explaining what’s in it for them, will help to address their concerns. Training and practice will also help people as they start to get used to a new way of communication. And once people get used to it, they will realise that the experience is so much richer than a phone call that they wont want to go back!

The Benefits of Video Conferencing (and Why You Haven’t Adopted it Yet…).

We’ll be open to hackers…

Security is also a concern. Businesses are often concerned that a more affordable cloud-based system cannot be relied upon for security of networks and puts them at risk of hackers. But choosing a provider with its own fully-owned network and known Points of Presence means you only need to open your firewalls to a single IP or DNS name. Endpoints outside the firewalls are at risk of spammers but choosing a network which can place endpoints inside your own private network will maintain security.

The Benefits of Video Conferencing (and Why You Haven’t Adopted it Yet…).

It’s just not reliable…

People are also put off by those awkward, stilted video conversations where sound cuts out, connection is lost and the conversation is a series of repetitions and confusions. If you’ve ever experienced this, it’s likely that you’re either on an old system, or a system that has been piecemealed together and is not fit for purpose. Choosing a complete, properly managed solution from a provider that is able to offer guaranteed uptime and responsive tech support will ensure your video meetings are as polished and professional as you are. It’s just about getting it right.

We have an organisation full of technophobes!

Most organisations will have a certain number of techno-phobes, and these people will provide a considerable resistance to change. But choosing a video conferencing solution that is intuitive and easy to use will help to appease anyone who is hesitant to adopt new technology.

Ultimately, as with any change, you need a considered strategy for implementation that looks at not just the technology, but also what changes need to be made to people, tasks and organisational structure too. Change is hard, but a necessary part of business success in the modern world. The key is to keep talking to your people, explaining the reasons and the benefits of video conferencing and supporting them as they adapt.

The Benefits of Video Conferencing (and Why You Haven’t Adopted it Yet…).

At TecInteractive, our philosophy is that technology should make life easier not harder. So we find solutions that are simple to use and that just work. If you’re ready to take the video conferencing challenge, we’ve got lots of ideas to make it a success – why not arrange a free trial so you can ‘try before you buy’? Just contact us to find out more.

The Benefits of Video Conferencing (and Why You Haven’t Adopted it Yet…).

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Best AV Tech for Meeting Rooms 2020

benefits of video conferencing meeting rooms 2019

For the best AV tech for meeting rooms 2020, these audio visual solutions will get your business ready for the year ahead

The leading workplaces of today value collaboration, flexibility, wellbeing. And technology is a great enabler of these things. Workers want tech that makes their lives easier – that promotes work-life balance, that eliminates (rather than causes) workplace stress and that helps them to streamline their work and be more productive. Businesses are also thinking about Brexit, and growing doubt over HS2 which would change the future of business travel in the UK.

Our choices for the best AV tech for meeting rooms for 2020 have been influenced by all these factors. Take a look at our list, and see what AV you already have in your meeting rooms. And which ones you want to tackle in the year ahead…

Best AV Tech for Meeting Rooms 2020

1. Plug and Play AV:

The best AV tech in meeting rooms will enhance user experience – not bring it down. There’s nothing more frustrating and time consuming than fiddling with cables and wires at the start of a meeting. Plug and play has gone from being a buzz word, to being an essential feature for workplace technology and meeting room AV.

To wirelessly connect to a big screen, products like Clickshare are priceless. Or if you need to quickly connect to a camera and audio for video calling, plug and play technology like Logitech Rally, definitely fits the bill.

Best AV Tech for Meeting Rooms 2020

2. Video-Ready Meeting Rooms:

The growing accessibility and quality of video calling means that businesses everywhere are making their meeting rooms video-ready. 70% of SMEs would rather have a video conference than travel to meetings. It saves time and money and is likely to grow in importance if businesses move outside of the UK post-Brexit or HS2 is shelved.

Whilst SME’s maybe adopting video because it’s more affordable and efficient, larger organisations with legacy video systems like Cisco or Polycom are also overhauling their systems.  Businesses large and small are reaping the benefits of cloud-based systems like StarLeaf that offer secure and interoperable video calling that allow you to call anyone with an internet connection and a laptop camera. Or if you just need to upgrade your camera and audio, take a look at the new Logitech Rally. It offers a great quality camera and audio combo in one.  As technology develops, who knows, we may have hologram-calling in meeting rooms in the not too distant future!

Best AV Tech for Meeting Rooms 2020

3. Sound Systems That Talk the Talk:

Crystal clear audio in a meeting room is essential. Whether you’re having a conference call or showing a video presentation. But you no longer need a fancy integrated sound system. There’s a growing trend for simple plug and play speakers and microphones that offer great sound quality, without messing around with the office infrastructure. Products like the ground-breaking Nureva HDL-300, provides crystal clear sound and microphone coverage from its wall-mounted position. It offers quality and simplicity, connecting easily to personal devices for both network calls or the UC application of your choice.

Best AV Tech for Meeting Rooms 2020

4. Remote Collaboration:

As the trend for remote working continues, the need for remote collaboration only increases. We realise we need other people to work at our best, but video and conference calling can only get us so far. We’re therefore seeing more people using interactive displays to enhance AV tech in meeting rooms in 2020. These popular, touch screens are great for collaborating together in a room, but many models allow you to collaborate on the screen from different locations. You just connect to the main screen via a tablet or a laptop. This allows different users to collaborate on the same document, wherever they may be in the world. Combine this feature with great video and sound quality VC to get a truly collaborative experience. Cloud-based storage allows anyone to access the project afterwards to review or make changes from their personal device.

Best AV Tech for Meeting Rooms 2020

5. Standardisation of AV:

A key trend in meeting room AV is standardisation of meeting rooms. As technology develops it makes more sense for your AV deployments to be managed centrally through a remote source. This means every meeting room needs to have the same technology, rather than taking a piecemeal approach. Meeting room booking systems are a great example of this. They let anyone book and see room availability and they provide central analytics and management functions.

Video communication networks like StarLeaf allow all room deployments to be managed and maintained through a centralised system. It means you don’t have to visit every system in the business for maintenance or repairs. Not only are these solutions great for meeting room management, they also provide a simple and consistent experience for users. This reduces stress and downtime for users as well as calls to IT helpdesks with people just trying to figure out how things work.

Best AV Tech for Meeting Rooms 2020

6. Seamless AV Experience:

When people get into a meeting room, they need to have the same user experience as they do when they’re at their desk. Whether that’s accessing files or wifi, screen-sharing like you’re showing a person next to you or using your usual UC portal. We’re seeing an increase in technology that moves people towards a more seamless AV experience from desk to meeting room. For example, Teamline by StarLeaf provides Skype for Business video conferencing in a meeting room. Without Teamline, S4B users find it difficult to collaborate with others in a meeting room setting, the same way they do at their desktop. Teamline bridges this gap, increasing usability but keeping things simple for a seamless AV experience.

At TecInteractive we live and breathe AV for meeting rooms and the workplace. If you want some advice about choosing the best AV tech for meeting rooms you should adopt in 2020, why not contact us for a free consultation. Or download our free Guide to Meeting Room Tech.

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7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

Neutral decor

If you’re designing a video conferencing room these tips will help you get it right

Designing a video conferencing room requires a very specific brief. It’s not just like any other meeting room. Get it wrong, and you’ll find your meetings are less productive, as you struggle to connect with, see, hear and collaborate with your associates. But that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to get it right. Follow these steps for designing a video conferencing room and we’ll make sure your video conferences are picture (and sound) perfect!

7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

1. Neutral Room Décor

Don’t get us wrong. We LOVE funky room décor: bold wallpapers, bright colours. But it just doesn’t work when you’re designing a video conferencing room.

Ideally you want a neutral or pastel coloured wall behind you that doesn’t detract from the subject (you!).

But you also need to avoid white walls (and tables!) that reflect the light and make you harder to see. Keep it simple and save any statement design pieces for walls that are out of shot!

7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

2. Acoustically Challenged

Large rooms in particular can prove a real challenge for acoustics. The empty spaces can make your voice take on a somewhat echoey tone which is off putting for both you and your associates.

An acoustic ceiling is a good way to address this or you could use acoustic absorption panels on the walls.

For optimum acoustic absorption, we recommend having suitable materials on about half of the wall space – ideally on two adjacent walls rather than on opposite walls.

7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

3. Sounds Good 

There are so many great products available now that offer high quality audio – both in terms of picking up sound and in delivering it. For large spaces the Nureva HDL300 is a wall mounted sound bar that sends out thousands of virtual microphones in to the room picking up sound perfectly wherever people are sitting. Mounting it on the same wall as the video screen provides a more authentic, look-at-me experience as the sounds comes from the same place as the person speaking.

For smaller spaces and flexible sound, the Evoko Minto is easy to use, move and connect to via Bluetooth or cable. If you go for a separate microphone and speaker combination, make sure your microphones are well distributed and that the speakers are pointed away from them.

7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

4. TV, Camera, Action

Getting the layout of your TV screen and camera right is really important.

Ideally the camera should be at eye level for a natural experience. But depending on the size of your room and the camera you have this may not always be possible.

A camera set above the screen will cover the room well but can throw faces into shadow and won’t be too flattering on bald spots! But below the screen can be too low and give less coverage. See how it looks given your specific room, technology and light.

And maybe consider getting a special wide-angled camera if designing smaller video conferencing rooms.

7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

5. Have it All

You might find it makes more sense to invest in an all-in-one camera and audio system. We really like the new Logitech Rally which delivers studio quality video with impeccable voice clarity and clever science to make sure all voices are heard equally.

The modular audio systems can be used in medium to large meeting spaces, where additional microphones and speakers can be added with no added complexity. Its simple to use with a separate display hub and table hub to hide away all those messy wires.

It also integrates with any video conferencing application that is accessed via a computer or USB including Skype for Business, Google Hangouts and Zoom.

7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

6. Content Sharing 

The best video calls give you a true face-to-face experience – as if you were really in the same room as each other.

A big part of that is to be able to show your associate what you are looking at or working on.

Having an additional screen for presentations and screen sharing may be appropriate in some larger video conferencing rooms. But for smaller spaces make sure you have a screen sharing function as part of your video conferencing deployment.

A solution like StarLeaf Breeze allows you to switch seamlessly between seeing the person you are speaking to and screen sharing, for a more authentic meeting experience.

7. Connectivity

If you have technology that people are going to connect to then it needs to be easy to use. Consider if you will have wired or wireless connections. If wired, will you offer an array of connections depending on the device?

For connecting to a screen, a simple solution like Clickshare can save a lot of time and hassle. If people will be video conferencing using their personal laptop or mobile phone, choose speakers and cameras that are easy to connect to, to help enhance the experience.

7 Steps for Designing a Video Conferencing Room

At Tecinteractive, we know a lot about video conferencing. But we are also partnered with office design experts Blueprint Interiors.

So if you are looking at designing a video conferencing room, we have the know-how and the contacts to make it happen.

Why not give us a call and we’ll be happy to have a chat – or a video call to see how we can help.

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Image credits: Blueprint Interiors

Tips & Technology for Easier Meeting Room Management

easier meeting room management

If you’re managing multiple meeting rooms, our tips can save you and your users time and headaches:

In any business or organisation with multiple meeting rooms, there is a considerable workload involved in maintaining and managing those meeting rooms. In many businesses these rooms are in use from 9 to 5 (and beyond!) which means they need to be fully functioning all the time. The technology within them needs to be simple to use, and it needs to ‘just work’ – without the need to call IT or facilities every time a meeting is due to start. There needs to be a simple process for rectifying problems and a means to address them quickly and efficiently. Standardising meeting rooms is a great solution for easier meeting room management. Not only does it provide a predictable and consistent experience for your users, it makes management more efficient too. So here are our top tips for making your meeting room management easier and more efficient:

1. Meeting Room Fit Out

You know that shoe-cupboard-sized meeting room with the peeling wallpaper that no-one ever wants to use? Exactly! Standardising meeting rooms starts with getting the basics right. You’ll have less people clamouring for the best spaces whilst other rooms lay idle, if all rooms are well-decorated and furnished appropriately.

Tips & Technology for Easier Meeting Room Management

You don’t necessarily want to furnish every room the same, as rooms will come in different shapes and sizes. But choosing a reputable company to fit out and furnish all your meeting spaces, means you have one point of contact if anything breaks or needs replacing. There’s no tracking down where that table came from or who fitted this workbench. They can also ensure that every room has the same quality and desirability, whilst meeting different needs.

2. Room Booking Systems

One of the simplest ways to make meeting room management easier is with a meeting room booking system. Whilst one office may go through a secretary, another office may have a shared spreadsheet or use their company calendar. It can be really confusing – and time consuming.

Tips & Technology for Easier Meeting Room Management

Increasingly, meeting room booking systems are seen as an affordable way to standardise room bookings across organisations. Systems like Evoko allow people to view and make room bookings from either their outlook calendar or directly at the room, via an intuitive touch-screen interface. Colleagues can see real-time, what rooms are available, if there is a no-show or stop room-thieves! Evoko gives you knowledge and analytics on how the rooms are being used and can be managed centrally. It also saves down-time for the next users as faults or problems with a room to be reported directly, .

3. Screen Connection

How long do you give yourself before a presentation to get set-up? Quite often, we have to allow extra time to connect our device to the main screen if we don’t know what cables or ports we are going to be faced with. Or else delay the start whilst we get our tech working.  You could standardise your meeting rooms, by ensuring every space has the same, vast array of ports and cables to accommodate every device – including that of visitors. But this is confusing in itself for the non-tech savvy!

Tips & Technology for Easier Meeting Room Management

A better solution for easier meeting room management is to provide a wireless presentation system like ClickShare which allows anyone to connect to the main screen wirelessly via either a USB plug-in button or a downloaded ‘button’.  Clickshare is so simple to use, it takes away the frustration and time-wasting of fiddling with wires. Both small meeting rooms and large conference spaces can be accommodated with the range of different sized solutions. This means that whichever room you are in, you get the same standardised experience.

4. Video Conferencing

Gone are the days when video conferencing (VC) was reserved for the executive board rooms or meetings with overseas associates. In our geographically dispersed working world, where collaboration is vital and technology is accessible, video (including use of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams) is proving to be a great tool for people who want to collaborate but don’t have the time to travel. So it’s becoming more of a necessity for meeting rooms to be equipped with suitable VC equipment.

Tips & Technology for Easier Meeting Room Management

Affordable cloud-based solutions like StarLeaf offer businesses a simple way to make video accessible to everyone. With solutions designed for both smaller huddle spaces and large conference rooms, staff can have the same easy-to-use, intuitive system whichever room they are in, without having to plug their laptop in. With meeting room solutions that also integrate perfectly with Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams, StarLeaf offers a centralised meeting room management solution which allows you to seamlessly manage all your meeting room technology deployments via one centralised system.  Now that’s the kind of ‘standard’ I expect!For more information or to arrange a free consultation on how you can standardise your meeting rooms for easier meeting room management, contact us today.

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Standardised Meeting Rooms: Why Standard Meeting Rooms Make Sense

Standardised Meeting Rooms: Why Standard Meeting Rooms Make Sense

If you want a predictable and consistent experience with meeting room technology, standardisation is the key

For many of us, there’s no such thing as a standard day at the office. Every day there are different priorities, different tasks, different meetings. It’s what makes things interesting. But whilst we often crave a bit of variety in our lives, there are times when ‘standard’ is just what we need. Standard means predictable and consistent. It means less stressful, more straight-forward. If ever there was something in our lives that needs to be all these things, it’s workplace technology. And even more specifically, meeting room technology. Here’s why standardised meeting rooms are the way forward:

Standardised Meeting Rooms: Why Standard Meeting Rooms Make Sense

Standard meeting room problems

There’s nothing more frustrating than walking into a meeting room and not knowing how anything works. Even worse, to expect you’re going to have a certain amenity, like a display screen or conference speaker, only to find it’s not there.

When you’re on the go, dashing from one meeting to the next, you want to be sure you’ll have the equipment that you need and that it will work first time, every time. And this doesn’t just affect you, the end user. IT and facilities departments around the globe are consistently inundated by support requests, trying to help users get meeting room tech to work, rather than dealing with bigger picture stuff.

It’s no surprise that a recent study by Nemertes Research has found that standardisation of meeting rooms is one of the highest priorities for IT departments.

Standardised Meeting Rooms: Why Standard Meeting Rooms Make Sense

How to standardise meeting room hardware

When choosing hardware, choosing a brand of technology that is uniform across all meeting rooms can be really helpful.

But in the absence of this, trying technology which helps to standardise usage, for example wireless presentation systems that plug in via a USB.

This takes away the need for different wires and ports, keeping things simple for the user and less hassle for the IT Team.

Standardised Meeting Rooms: Why Standard Meeting Rooms Make Sense

What is a standardised meeting room?

But what do standardised meeting rooms look like and how do you achieve this? The reality is that meeting rooms will vary from business to business, depending on the organisation’s specific needs. But the idea is that within any given organisation, staff can expect the same meeting room experience whichever room they are in.

It could start with something as simple as a standardised meeting room booking system.

This allows users to book or change room bookings and see room availability from either their own desktop or an interface outside the room. It really simplifies the process for users but also provides analytics of how rooms are being used which could shape your facilities strategy or office design going forward.

Standardised Meeting Rooms: Why Standard Meeting Rooms Make Sense

Centralised meeting room Management

Centralisation is also a key consideration for many IT departments. If you’re rolling out technology to 20, 50 or 100 meeting rooms in an organisation, it’s important that it can be managed centrally. You don’t want to have to physically go round every meeting room in the company to fix or maintain your equipment.

Whilst choosing meeting room technology that can be managed centrally is more efficient for the IT department, it also prevents downtime for the end users. Problems can be addressed as and when they happen – rather than only being identified when someone starts to use the room. Some great examples of this are the Maestro management platform for StarLeaf video conferencing or a room booking system like EVOKO.

The Benefits of Standardised Meeting Rooms

The reason standardisation of meeting rooms is becoming such a focal point for IT departments, is due to the associated management, efficiency, usability and cost benefits.

  • Meeting Room Management: Whether you’re responding to broken equipment, user queries or maintaining IT solutions, managing meeting rooms can be a real drain on time and resources. Standardisation makes meeting rooms easier to manage. If there’s one supplier for broken equipment or centralised maintenance of technology meeting room management is a lot easier. Having analytics on how your standard meeting rooms are used can also shape how they are managed going forward.
  • Meeting Room Efficiencies: Being able to respond to all meeting rooms in the same way makes meeting rooms more efficient to manage. Even more so if there are centralised maintenance solutions that allow all rooms to be managed remotely. It saves time for the IT and facilities team and also saves down-time for the users.
  • Meeting Room Usability: For the end user, standard meeting rooms means less down-time figuring out how things work. It also puts less pressure on the IT team to respond to technical problems associated with people just not knowing how things work. And if all meetings rooms are created equal, there is less pressure on a limited number of more desirable rooms.
  • Meeting Room Costs: It’s true that to standardise meeting rooms, with a good quality fit out and enabling technology is going to cost money. But this can be offset against the cost savings of people working more efficiently, being less stressed and being more satisfied in the workplace. Things that can ultimately improve staff retention too.

Making it happen

The reality is that standardising meeting rooms can be a complex task. The trick is to identify the elements that you have that can be used, re-used or upgraded. What purchases offer value for money for your business and what will provide the greatest benefit? Technology is just part of the equation; you’ll need to think about the fit out and furniture of your meeting rooms too, in order to maximise the value you get from your technology purchases.

At TecInteractive, our customers value our personal, consultative approach which means we can help you identify the most effective ways to standardise your meeting rooms. Our partnership with office fit out experts Blueprint Interiors means we can consider every element of your meeting room design to make sure your standardised meeting rooms are anything but standard.

Contact us to book your consultation or check out Tips & Technology for Easier Meeting Room Management to find out more..

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Image Credit: BluePrint Interiors

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

ultimate huddle room or space

For anyone who has had the need for an ‘on-the-fly’ meeting, a ‘quick catch up’ with colleagues or the chance to share what they are working on away from the hustle of the open plan, a huddle room is often the perfect solution. Whilst not a new arrival in the workplace, huddle rooms have been growing in popularity in the last few years, as businesses place greater emphasis on collaboration, the need to get together for a ‘quick meeting’ and workspaces now being designed with less private offices or ‘cubicles’.
Today there are an estimated 30 to 50 million huddle rooms world-wide*. Whilst definitions of what exactly constitutes a huddle room are a little hazy, the most basic answer is, any small meeting space that can only accommodate a small number of people. That sounds simple enough, but we don’t want to create any huddle room. We want to create the ultimate huddle room. And we have a few ideas on what that looks like, so here are our top tips:

Create The Ultimate Huddle Room: Tip 1

Huddle Furniture

The furniture you select for your huddle space will impact how the room is used and ultimately its success. Comfy chairs may look and feel nice but will they encourage quick, productive meetings? Do you need a big table or will a small workbench suffice? Should you consider a standing height table to encourage quicker standing meetings, with optional bar-height stools for comfort when required? Furniture that is flexible and moveable is helpful as the set-up can be adjusted for the meeting in hand. We like Workszone’s range of collaboration tables, these can be both height-adjustable to accommodate sit or stand meetings and are also moveable for added flexibility.

You may also want to consider soft fabric huddle chairs and sofas that can be used in an open plan office to create a huddle space. The acoustically chosen fabrics absorb sound so there’s no need for walls and doors – just grab a booth or a sofa for a no-hassle huddle.Save

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

Create The Ultimate Huddle Room: Tip 2

Capture ideas

When heading into a huddle, you may not have time to grab a pen and paper. Perhaps more importantly, you might want to jot down ideas that everyone can see and share. Whiteboards are popular additions to many huddle spaces but we think to create the ultimate huddle room you need to go digital. For just a few hundred pounds you can furnish your huddle room with a SMART kapp digital whiteboard – it has the same simplicity and functionality of a standard whiteboard, but uses digital pens and allows you to capture and share the contents of your board at the touch of a button. As you can elect for others to see the contents of the board through their personal device in real time, you can also bring people into the meeting that aren’t physically there. Choose to have your SMART kapp wall-mounted or on a mobile trolley for additional flexibility.

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

Create The Ultimate Huddle Room: Tip 3

Connectivity

Connectivity is key. So many huddle rooms (and other meeting rooms) fail where even the local coffee shop can succeed. When we move away from our desks, we need (and many now expect) the same level of connectivity as we do from our primary workspace. A huddle room without power or Internet is at best frustrating and at worst a detriment to our productivity. As a solution, try incorporating your technical integrations into your furniture. Some collaboration tables like the TopTec Synergy or Workszone Collaboration Table have integrated connectivity units which can be designed bespoke to suit the requirements of an individual business. By making our huddle rooms an extension of our personal workspace we can create environments where flexibility can flourish.

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

Create The Ultimate Huddle Room: Tip 4

Displays and Video Conferencing

Whilst there is nothing to say having a flat screen display or monitor in your huddle room is a pre-requisite, if you want to create the ultimate huddle room, it is a necessity. By its very definition, the huddle room is designed for ‘huddles’. But having half a dozen people crammed round someone’s laptop may be a little too close for comfort for many people. Having a wall mounted screen that users can easily connect to will make presentations and discussions much simpler and more comfortable. Some huddle furniture can have flat screen displays built-in to them for a space-saving, technology efficient workspace.

If the space is to be used for video conferencing too, then Logitech’s Meet-Up conference cam, speaker and microphone is an all-in-one solution that works perfectly with any video app that you already use, such as Skype for Business, Zoom, Webex and many more.

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

Create The Ultimate Huddle Room: Tip 5

Interactive Displays

Taking your display one step further, why not opt for an interactive display? These large touch-screens can offer various capabilities depending on the brand and model you choose. For example, an all-singing, all-dancing Microsoft Surface Hub, has integrated computer with full Microsoft suite, and can provide access to files, and the ability to annotate and draw over files using intuitive hand gestures and digital ink. Some also have video conferencing integrated so you can connect and collaborate with remote users. If you think an interactive display would be beneficial for your business, give us a call or arrange a demo so you can see what the different options are and how they work.

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

Create The Ultimate Huddle Room: Tip 6

Wireless Presentation

If you have a flat screen TV and connectivity then you need to be able to connect quickly and easily to maximise your huddle time.  Wasting time with fiddly wires while you connect your device to the main display is counter-productive. In these situations, we recommend using a tool like Clickshare for ‘plug and play’ collaboration sessions. The TV display is connected to the Clickshare hardware so all you need to do is plug in a Clickshare button to your computer via the USB port and you have a wireless connection to the display. It’s as simple as that. For mobile or tablet users, you can download a Clickshare button onto your device for wireless connectivity at the touch of a button.

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

Create The Ultimate Huddle Room: Tip 7

Accessibility

Our final tip on how to create the ultimate huddle room is about accessibility. Where are they? How many are there? There is no point in providing huddle rooms for a ‘quick meeting’ that you have to walk up three floors to get to, on the off-chance one may be free. The great thing about huddle rooms is they don’t take much space so make space for them and have enough of them. More often than not, a huddle room is not bookable, to suit on-the-fly meetings. But you might find having a room booking system like the Intevi Room Sync is beneficial, allowing you to book, unbook, and view availability from your desktop or personal device – as well as from the room itself.If you are looking to create a huddle space, then why not get in touch, so we can show you some of the great solutions available on the market. Our expertise lies in understanding the needs of your individual business and making recommendations from there, so get in touch today for a free, no obligation consultation.

Create the Ultimate Huddle Room: Our Top 7 Tips!

*References: http://www.raconteur.net/enterprise-mobility-and-collaboration

To find out more about any of the solutions listed above, why not get in touch?

How to create the ultimate demo room that your customers will love:

How to create the ultimate demo room that your customers will love:

For many businesses today coming up with the ideas is just half of the challenge. If you are a business that relies on pitching, presenting or demonstrating to clients to get those ideas off the ground, then you will recognise the growing need for a meeting space that enables that process. That space must allow for not only the presentation of ideas, but also for the process of gaining feedback and interaction from clients. An opportunity to collaborate and develop ideas in these meetings can be a fundamental part of ‘getting things right’. Over recent years we’ve worked with several clients to create these types of spaces so here are our tops tips on how to create the ultimate demo room that your customers will love:

The Ultimate Demo Room: Step 1

Comfort:
This needs to be a primary concern for the ultimate demo room. Firstly, comfortable surroundings will make people feel at ease and relax so that everyone is in the meeting with the right frame of mind. Secondly, the process of reviewing, agreeing and developing ideas can be a long one. So having people stuck on hard seats without refreshment is neither good for relationship building nor for the required longevity of the process.

A great demonstration suite should accommodate the different activities that may take place there – formal seating for meetings and presentations, comfortable breakout seating for when you need to ‘step away’, desks to work on – perhaps consider standing desks or bar stools to encourage different postures and ways of working. And making sure everyone is fed and watered will also improve comfort, so consider a drinks fridge, fruit bowl, coffee machine etc… Not only will everyone work more productively when their elementary needs are provided for, your customers will really appreciate that you are looking after them.

The Ultimate Demo Room: Step 2

Connectivity:
Evoko_Minto_Front_Angle 400wOften in a presentation environment you want a degree of privacy and not to be disturbed – but don’t let this mean you forgo connectivity. Great wifi so people can stay in touch with the wider world will help them to remain present throughout the process, as well as allow them to connect with other parties who cannot be present but who may need to be involved. You could even consider an interactive display which allows you to connect with other remote users or a portable conference phone like the Evoko Minto might also be a simple solution to help people stay connected.

The Ultimate Demo Room: Step 3

Presentation:
Choosing the best medium to present your ideas takes a lot of consideration. Not least because there so many products out there that can help you achieve this, it can be hard to decide which solution will suit you best.

Nureva span ultimate demo roomProjection is a favourite option as it takes minimal space and offers flexibility of walls and space when the projector is not being used. The challenge is that this can be quite static and not as engaging – particularly when image quality isn’t as high. A product like Nureva Span for example can overcome these challenges, offering you an interactive digital canvas that you can project your ideas on to and edit as you go along adding images or digital flip-notes as required.

A video wall allows you to use multiple screens to make up your presentation canvas. The result isn’t so interactive but you would have high quality visual and the opportunity to display either one large image across the wall or a series of smaller images.

CTouch by TecInteractive ultimate demo roomFlat panel displays like a simple ‘television’ are a traditional option and you can have as many as you like in a variety of sizes. But before you opt for a straight forward screen, why not consider an interactive touch-screen flat panel like a SMART kapp iQ Pro or a CTouch Leddura which allows you to edit, highlight or interact with the screen as you go along for a more engaging presentation. The CTouch Leddura can even be turned into an interactive table for different styles of collaborative working.

The Ultimate Demo Room: Step 4

Interaction:
As already highlighted under ‘Presentation’, the best kinds of presentation or demonstration offer some form of interaction. Interaction means engagement, and engagement means ideas can flow and develop. The best client pitches seek feedback and ideas from the clients themselves. Choosing interactive mediums like a Nureva Span projection system or a touchscreen display really invite your audience into the process. People become more engaged if they can literally reach out and touch the ideas or add their own edits, notes and feedback. This kind of technology is intuitive so anyone can use it allowing everyone to be a part of the process.

The Ultimate Demo Room: Step 5

Capture:
Ideas spur ideas. When the creative process starts it can be explosion of new suggestions and concepts that need to be captured and explored. Of course some of the presentation systems we have discussed offer that facility within them but for those presenting on simple flat-screens or for those that need an additional means of idea capture there are a few good options. Whiteboards and flip charts have always been a simple way to achieve this. Although recent technological developments have seen the arrival of digital capture boards like the SMART kapp or kapp iQ that take that process to a different level: capture your ideas as you would on a traditional white board but save your musings at the touch of a button, ready to save and share as you require. Meeting participants – including people working remotely – can view the contents of the board on their own device whether that be a laptop, mobile or tablet.

The Ultimate Demo Room: Step 6

Huddle tables:
Desk space is always useful but tables that offer connectivity can bring that to another level. Tables like the Workszone Collaboration Tables are not only mobile and height adjustable; they also provide an inbuilt connectivity ‘hub’ allowing users to connect to either adjoining screens, or USB’s through hidden but easily accessible wires. We’re even seeing the arrival of ‘charging tables’ – just put your phone down on the table and let your battery re-charge!

Creating the ultimate demo room requires a lot of investment – it’s not just the cost; it’s the time investment spent researching what products are available and what would work best for your own business. If you are thinking about investing in a presentation or demo suite that your customers will love, why not give us a call. We can arrange product demonstrations, free trials and we can help you to discover what solutions are out there and what would best suit your business.

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Create a great first impression with your office reception area

Reception area cool

Re-Designing Your Office Reception Area?

Create a great first impression with your office reception areaYour office reception area is your face to world. It’s a place where impressions are created and expectations are formed. It stands to reason that this is a part of your office that needs some attention. It is more than just a holding room where people wait before a meeting. This should be a space that creates an experience for visitors and clients alike. If you are refreshing or designing a reception area for your business you need to think about what that experience looks like. Here are our top tips for creating a great impression with your office reception area:

A place to relax

Your office reception area should make people feel comfortable and at ease. Whether your visitor is a potential new employee or a client, if they feel relaxed you will have better meetings and create a positive first impression. Having comfortable seating is a must – but make sure your choices are durable, as they will quickly look tired in a high volume area like a reception. Offer visitors a drink when they arrive, or simply provide a coffee machine and water cooler for people to help themselves. Think about other elements that create a sense of wellbeing – do you have access to natural light that you can emphasise or could you use plants (real ones!) to create a nicer ambience?

Tell a story

Your reception area is the perfect place to tell people about your brand, communicate your brand identity, your values, what you’ve achieved. You can do this through subtle branding or quite literally with corporate literature on the coffee tables and awards and accolades on the walls. A more memorable way to communicate to your visitors is through large screen displays that can be regularly updated to display what information is current and relevant. Video walls are also a great way to add impact to your office reception area.

Maximise Efficiencies

Nobody likes to be waiting around to be signed in when you have places to go and people to see, so make sure your meet and greet procedures are as efficient as possible. Do you have enough receptionists? Do you even need receptionists? A visitor booking-in system may provide you with the flexibility to manage busy periods or to negate the need of a receptionist all together. Think about how your resources and your visitors’ time should be used most efficiently.

An office away from the office

Providing something simple like wifi can make a massive difference to your visitors’ experience. But by providing connectivity you also open up the opportunity for people to work from the reception area. Businesses are continually looking for more flexible ways to use their office space and a connected reception provides an ideal spot for an informal meeting or for people to get away from their desks. Advances in technology mean you can now go that extra step further and provide interactive touch-tables where visitors can peruse the internet or company information. If your reception area is designed with flexibility in mind, you can move furniture around so these touch-tables can become a focal point for a meeting or collaboration session.

Moving on

Evoko_hand 1200wFor many visitors their next stop is a meeting room. Ensure the transition from reception to meeting room is seamless, with a room booking manager display located in the reception area, detailing real-time information on what rooms are free and which rooms are busy. No more awkward moments trying to find a meeting room with your visitors or wasting time moving around from room to room.

Think about what kind of experience you want to create for your visitors. What do you want them to think? What kind of first impression do you want to make with your reception area? Once you have an idea of what you want to create, then you can start to find ways to deliver that. And if you need any help and advice on how technology can help you to create a great first impression with your office reception area, then give us a call at TecInteractive and we will be happy to share what we know.

Main Image Credit: Morgan Lovell

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