Where next for huddle spaces?

The rise of huddle rooms as an alternative to traditional meeting spaces has slowly begun to change the way companies work. These compact, dedicated spaces for groups of 3-4 people have proven very effective in improving productivity and have subsequently soared in popularity – but what challenges do they present to the AV industry?

The intention of the huddle room is to provide a small meeting space allowing a workgroup to focus on a particular task. This makes them an ideal environment for teleconferencing and presentation – the compact space allows for superb video and audio coverage, with a single locked-off camera and one large monitor typically proving ideal for the task.

Teleconferencing between two huddle spaces has also proven effective in terms of manageability – the maximum occupancy of eight paricipants works to the space’s advantage and ensures everyone can be heard. While an efficient huddle space may theoretically be fairly simple to envision, the key to ensuring its continued effectiveness is its ease of use. Companies using huddle spaces routinely find their workforce occupying them for around 40% of their work day, and with multiple meetings taking place every day, setup times must be kept to a minimum. Whereas a five-minute setup time would be acceptable in a traditional meeting space, an expectation exists for huddle spaces to be ready to go in moments.

The agile nature and intent of the huddle space lends itself innately to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Most companies – particularly creative departments - encourage the use of mobile devices, and the huddle environment is very well-suited to their use, meaning a versatile solution is imperative to allow users to get the best use out of the space. This presents its own challenges associated with implementing a broadly compatible solution to allow for a range of devices, while also factoring in company restrictions and compliance.

The need to provide a positive experience for corporate businesses is particularly salient when catering to customers with varying budgets: huddle rooms are typically installed in clusters, so companies may be reluctant to spend too much on individual rooms, which may affect ease of use. However impressive the in-situ equipment may be, if it lacks agility and ease of use, users will lose interest and find their own use for the space - which may invalidate investment.

With so many variables in play, one of the biggest challenges currently faced by manufacturers is the need for a standardised huddle space setup. As no generic model currently exists, ease of use is expected to be the key driver for manufacturers in the search for a catch-all solution, but it may be some time before this comes to fruition – the huddle space is, after all, still a relatively new phenomenon. We at Pacific, look forward to driving innovation throug

Tom Sinclair