Huddle spaces are on the rise-and-rise: Sri Srinivasan of Cisco runs through some new solutions from his company that are due for imminent release.
Knowledge workers bring their work from home to desktop to meeting room to coffee shop. In a recent survey, Millennials reported that they were much more likely to work at the same organization in five years if there is flexibility in where and when they work.
And flexibility adds value beyond employee retention. It is also a strategy in this disrupt-or-be-disrupted environment. Almost six in 10 CEOs agree that “agility is the new currency of business.” Hierarchies are being broken down, and small teams are being empowered to work informally and with flexibility to make organizations more agile.
Traditional workspaces are not set up to support the workflow needs for fast-paced, informal team gatherings. It’s no wonder then that the huddle-style of working is on the rise, and office spaces and tools to accommodate these informal meetings are a hot topic with both facility managers and IT leaders. We’re defining huddle spaces as small offices and open spaces that can accommodate up to five people. Recon Research reports that there are 20 million huddle and small offices, growing at double digits.
We at Cisco believe huddle spaces have only just begun to transform the workplace. And that’s because almost half of huddle spaces have little to no collaboration technology. And eight of 10 users say they are frustrated with current huddle space collaboration solutions. In many cases department managers are buying solutions for their teams, typically on a tight budget and from a variety of vendors. The result is a poor and inconsistent experience for team members and a challenge for IT to manage and scale huddle solutions across the enterprise. These challenges create barriers to growth and adoption.
Cisco is knocking down these barriers with a cohesive huddle portfolio that is easy to use and manage, with a solution to fit every budget. We’ve designed solutions for uses from effortless content sharing to clearly communicating and co-creating.
Have you ever crowded around a laptop while there is an idle screen in the background? We’ve solved that. The Cisco Webex Share turns any screen into a wireless content sharing device. The Share device plugs into a monitor, then pairs to your laptop with Webex Teams. Simply click to share a presentation, worksheet, or any content. You can also see when the room is in use and the upcoming bookings. Share is meetings-enabled; remote participants can also share content, joining in the meeting via Webex Meetings and Teams.
“With Cisco Webex Share, we will be able to extend and formalize the Cisco Webex experience beyond traditional and dedicated collaboration rooms into our huddle spaces. The Webex Share is an affordable device for sharing content wirelessly, eliminating the need for training and device augmentation globally. Our staff is very familiar with the Webex platform, so enabling seamless wireless sharing in our huddle rooms increases number of collaborations workspaces in addition to delivering a consistent and enriched user experience. This will be a win-win for us.” Kevin Rice, Sr. Network Architect, at A.T. Kearney.
The Cisco Webex Room Kit Mini is the newest member of the Cisco Webex Room Series family for video collaboration. Unlike competitors, all that is needed is a monitor for the Mini to provide premium audio and video communication. This single vendor approach to collaboration technology improves the user experience and makes it easy to set up.
The Mini offers the same delightful user experience as the Room Kits for larger rooms. It’s also powered by the same Nvidia processor as the Room Kits, which means it has the same intelligence that enables Webex Assistant, face recognition, noise suppression, and best view to frame the meeting participants. But it’s designed for huddle spaces with a 120-degree field of view and a beam-forming microphone array that picks up sounds from just the zone in front, which is ideal for open spaces.
The Mini is available for on-premise or cloud environments. When used with the Cisco Webex Teams app, the Mini provides the full host of premium experiences, intelligence capabilities and detailed analytics for the huddle experience.
The Mini doesn’t just work for Cisco apps. This powerful device includes a USB interface that enables it to improve any video collaboration app that a meeting participant may want to use from their laptop, such as Skype for Business. In this case the Mini provides a subset of its advanced capabilities to make the experience better, like premium audio, beam-forming microphones, people count and best view.
“My biggest excitement is the fact that the Room Kit Mini and Webex Share solutions help drive the pervasiveness and consistency of the Webex Teams / mobile experience into the most critical collaboration spaces of our customers’ environments. This reinforces the power of Webex and extends the award-winning user experience at attractive price points for improved productivity in the spaces that normally aren’t video and sharing enabled.” Chad Elford, Global Director Product Management, UCaaS Collaboration Solutions, Tata Communications.
Finally, the Cisco Webex Board 55 is a whiteboard, presentation device and video system all-in-one sized for the huddle space.` Sketch your ideas or edit drawings on the touchscreen, with a local or remote team. You can store your creations and share with participants in a Cisco Webex Teams space, ensuring the information is available and easily shareable. These features make the Board 55 ideal for small team meetings where co-creation is the primary focus.
Collaboration tools for any space, large or small, need to be easy, intuitive, and accessible or they won’t be adopted. Our huddle solutions are easy to use, with a green button for one-button-to-push rapid starts to meetings. This experience is consistent across the portfolio of solutions for small, medium and large rooms, and across Cisco Webex apps, so that team members know just how to start a meeting in any physical or virtual space.
At the same time, the portfolio has the security, easy management and advanced analytics for large deployments. The native analytics delivered across, the portfolio help an organization’s real estate teams to answer space optimization questions like: Do I need more spaces on the 3rd floor? Are the spaces the right size? How are teams using the technology in these spaces?
The advantages of being part of a broader Cisco portfolio don’t stop there. The huddle devices work within Cisco’s powerful collaboration platform that includes calling, meetings, and team tools, with apps and devices. This platform also interoperates with third-party tools, like productivity suites from Google and Microsoft, to make team workstreams effortless and to protect your existing investments.
With the addition of a range of huddle solutions to the broad Cisco Webex portfolio, you can now digitize your entire organization with a solution for every budget, use and space, from pocket to boardroom. This is the new way of working for agile teams to perform at their best.