Three Step Action Plan for a Successful Video Room Tech Upgrade
It’s been a long two years away from the office. You’ve probably adjusted to work-from-home life, but as the latest wave of the pandemic begins to subside, you may be ready to return to the office – at least, for a few days a week.
Too bad your office didn’t adjust with you while you were gone. Your conference rooms were built for the way we met in 2019, not today. Perhaps you previously only used Cisco Webex, but your team now uses Webex, Microsoft Teams AND Zoom. Or your meeting rooms were built so that employees could plug in via their HDMI ports, something their computers no longer have.
If it’s time to re-evaluate and re-design your room for today’s workplace realities, begin by asking the question “What does the end user expect to happen?” The answer should drive the way you re-engineer your office, because your meeting rooms should be truly simple.
The most successful meeting room upgrades follow three steps – auditing your room’s current state, finding the right solution and validating each piece meets your needs, and ensuring the complete solution answers that question about what your end users expect to happen. Let’s dig deeper into each step:
A good technician knows that auditing a meeting room goes far beyond making sure cables are plugged in. You need to channel your inner Sherlock Holmes, examining every nook and cranny: software licensing, interoperability with meeting platforms, and every possible situation an end user may encounter.
For example, the RoomReady team recently conducted a room audit that found that end users joining a Webex meeting from a Webex-optimized room had no problems meeting and sharing their content. However, when using the system to join a meeting hosted on a different platform, the only one of the two displays would be used to display both camera video and content. For some customers, this isn’t an issue. For others, this inconsistent experience is a big deal. A simple wire check wouldn’t have uncovered this potential gap in expectations.
In a perfect world, a thorough audit would find no issues, and the room would perfectly meet expectations. But chances are this won’t be the case and being proactive in identifying any issues or gaps is far better than having an end user stumble upon them right before an important meeting.
Proof of Concept
You’ve defined the issues with your current meeting room, and you have ideas how you’ll try to update your solution. Now you just have to purchase and install that solution. Simple, right?
Slow down just a bit. Before you settle on a new solution, it’s best to pull together a proof of concept. Filling the room with HDMI to USB-C converters to support newer laptops might seem like the easiest fix for your specific problem. However, your meeting rooms are elaborate, with every device and cord serving a purpose. You need to be careful that your solution to one issue doesn’t snowball and create new issues, or make the meeting room more difficult to use.
Start by mapping out each device in the room and how it’s connected to other devices, and then determine where your solution might have issues. Test devices with the change you expect to roll out. You could set up your own testing space in your office, or utilize an unused meeting room to test your technology – at RoomReady, we developed a Tech Lab to test new solutions in an accurate environment without interrupting end users. Thoroughly test each device or configuration change you expect to make. Just because a Dell laptop works, doesn’t mean a Mac is guaranteed to work. Just because it works with Microsoft Teams doesn’t mean it will work with Zoom.
You’ve found your issue(s), identified a solution, and ensured the solution meets end user needs without impacting the room’s other functionalities. Now it’s time for your new technology to shine.
The pilot phase is a crucial step that validates the complete solution meets your end users’ needs and expectations before a widespread deployment. You can roll out a pilot in one room of each type (conference room, auditorium, etc.) or one room in each of your buildings. It may seem natural to move into full-scale installation following an approved proof of concept, but the pilot room catches any unresolved issues that would be a lot more difficult to resolve if every room is already built – saving you lots of time and money in the process.
During the pilot, good feedback is essential. Ask your end users to test out every possible need, across every platform they might use, with any piece of equipment they might use. This gives you a chance to fine tune the solution and validate that the technology is truly meeting each use case.
It’s all in the process
Audit, proof of concept, pilot – it’s a tried-and-true way to assess and upgrade meeting room technology. It helps you ensure stakeholder needs are addressed and your meeting room technology remains ready to use and meets your end users’ needs and expectations. It also provides peace of mind that you’re not installing thousands of dollars worth of equipment, just for it to be a bad fit.
At RoomReady, one of our core values is “hustle smart”. We will help you with the entire process by defining expectations, having a coordinated plan, and moving quickly to make it happen. If your rooms are in need an evaluation, we’re here to help. Simply contact us today to get started.