In part 1 of this blog series, we looked at several factors including meeting platform support and integration capabilities, audio quality and ease of support when shopping around for the right huddle room solution. We will now wrap things up by considering the solution’s ease of use and its overall cost as important factors to consider when searching for the best solution to meet your needs.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is imperative to the successful consumption of huddle space collaboration technologies. It cannot be overlooked when determining your huddle room solution. Generally, any technology that is difficult to use will invariably not get adopted by the end-user community no matter the amount of training and communication.
Without a successful user adoption strategy your huddle room investment could be wasted. Technology features such as one-touch join for scheduled meetings, wireless sharing and auto-tracking/auto-framing make the meeting experience easier for end users to get the most value out of their meetings, which encourages them to use and adopt the devices. Simplicity really is key. If there are special applications that need to be installed for certain features to work (and are not pushed by IT), such as multiple cables to plug in, manual calendar lookups, long complex strings to dial via touchpad or remote, chances are good that you are going to run into end-user challenges and will increase the risk of poor adoption.
Cisco and Poly both boast a rich set of tools to enable various meeting platforms to be seamless. While this is not solely a feature of the individual huddle room devices, the devices must be supported by your chosen meeting vendor’s platform to enable these features.
Large conference room solutions can easily cost well over $50,000. With huddle room platforms storming the marketplace, manufacturers realize they need to develop solutions that can be deployed at scale and still be affordable for most companies. Many of the huddle room solutions that we recommend and have tested at CDW cost less than $5,000 and some are even below the $1,000 price point.
This cost can fluctuate depending on device capabilities, such as “stand-alone” or “all-in-one” devices, which are a single physical appliance, as well as the physical hardware quality, which can impact some of the other considerations, such as audio and video quality. With some of the great leaps that video endpoint technology has taken in the past several years, we are consistently finding that even some of the lower cost solutions provide a premium huddle room experience. Cost is obviously a factor in your decision-making progress, and the assumption that expensive is better or that a less expensive option does not provide a premium experience is a thing of the past.
Some Other Thoughts
While these five recommendations are the most critical, they are not the only factors you should consider. Characteristics such as video quality, aesthetic and ease of setup should also be considered. Make sure your camera has a large enough field of view to cover all your participants and can compensate for bright lighting conditions when you use a windowed room; devices such as the Huddly IQ camera performed noticeably better in handling advanced lighting conditions than other options.
The look and feel should be of a quality product that blends in or enhances the atmosphere of the room and doesn’t consume a significant amount of table space. Ease of setup should also be considered if you have many rooms to deploy into; many solutions have multiple components that need to be interconnected, while some do not include mounting hardware in the base package.
Huddle Room Recap
Hopefully these suggestions have been valuable and have given you some additional things to think about as you choose your new huddle room solution. If you have further questions or need any help, our team has deployed and documented various experiences with many of the most popular huddle room solutions on the market today. Our CDW solution architects can help your organization design a solution that meets your needs. Additionally, CDW’s professional services can help you with any implementation and adoption challenges.