The Top 5 Meeting Room Trends To Watch in 2020

By: Elizabeth Mixson
12/05/2019

Remember what office conference rooms used to be like? Dark, stuffy and equipped with outdated equipment that just never seemed to work?  Well those days are over! Companies have finally caught on to the importance of designing meeting rooms that are not only comfortable and aesthetically pleasing but also enable collaboration, innovation & rapid connectivity. Furthermore, companies are increasingly investing in the key, behind-the scenes infrastructure such as high speed Wi-Fi necessary and even training to ensure conference rooms operate at the optimum level and are properly utilized.

Though we’ll explore the latest, cutting-edge approaches to conference room design in-depth at the upcoming 2020 Future Offices Week, we wanted to provide you with sneak peek of what we’ll be talking about onsite with this list of the top 5 meeting room technology trends heading into 2020. 


Rooms-As-A-Service 

Instead of purchasing conference room AV and supporting technology piece by piece, many companies are opting to invest in rooms-as-a-service solutions instead. Using a subscription-based model, rooms-as-a-service providers essentially rent out full, interoperable end-to-end conference room systems that include video/audio conference hardware, cameras, collaboration software and other meeting room devices. As an added bonus, the monthly fee also includes maintenance.  


Scheduling Software 

We’ve all been there. You head to your favorite meeting room for a big, important but perhaps impromptu meeting and the room is taken. Scheduling solutions can help you avoid this scenario. Most modern conference room scheduling tools allow the user to book the room in multiple ways: through mobile app, email systems/calendaring platforms and via a digital meeting room display outside the room. If a room is booked but no one shows up for the meeting, after a pre-set amount of time, the booking will be reversed and the room listed as open thereby eliminating “zombie” meetings and encouraging punctuality. After all, you lose the room if you’re late. Many of these solutions also provide users with the ability to submit work request so, if there’s something wrong with the room, the relevant party (i.e. IT, facilities, etc.) will be notified. 


Interactive Whiteboards 

Interactive allow you to capture, save and share meeting notes and brainstorm ideas with team members both inside as well as outside the office. By integrating your smart whiteboard with video conferencing solutions, remote meeting participants will be able to view your drawings and notes in real time. Electronic whiteboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes from small, freestanding screens to full, floor-to-ceiling installations.

Though interactive, connected whiteboards are undoubtedly powerful collaboration tools, they are not without their risks. Over the past year, numerous incidents of whiteboard hacks whereby outside parties have successfully stolen presentations have been reported. Whether you already have one of digital whiteboard installed or are planning to do so, please be sure to work with your cyber security team to make sure your intellectual property stays secure. 


Upgraded Sound Systems

When designing your perfect conference room, don’t forget the importance of sound. Not only do you want to make sure that participants within the meeting can hear presentations & other assets such as video clearly, but, should you be conducting a meeting with remote participants or live-streaming a presentation, the audio portion is properly captured and audible for listeners. Remember, people can endure a choppy video, but they will usually not tolerate choppy or inaudible sound. However, ensuring proper sound is not as easy as it looks. For those looking to build a state-of-the-art conference room, working with a sound engineer to ensure the proper mix and placement of speakers and microphones is a must. If that isn’t an option, consider installing curtains, carpets and other acoustics friendly materials to help optimize sound. For small rooms, consider investing in an omni-directional microphone. For larger rooms, it may be worth looking into installing noise canceling solutions and embedding strategically placed microphones and speakers throughout the room especially if you plan on live-streaming meetings on a regular basis. 


Automated Room Controls 

Automated Room Controls allow room occupants to control every aspect of a conference room (or office for that matter) from the temperature, to lighting, to AV equipment from one single platform. Using one single mobile app or display, employees can book a room, activate video conferencing equipment and, afterwards, share a recording of the presentation/meeting with the world if they so desired. Not only do automated room controls make life easier for employees by making managing conference rooms much easier than ever before, they also enable workplace designers to collect and analyze a wide swath of usage data in one convenient place. For the first time ever, office experience leaders can find out when, how and why people use conference rooms and use these insights to make better design decisions going forward.