Optimize workspaces with the best video conferencing equipment for 2022 (Sponsored)

A few short years ago video conferencing was only available in select meeting rooms, it was a high-level tech innovation that was limited and seen as a bonus, not an essential. Offices were filled with spaces for conference calls and local collaboration – a phone in the middle of the table, and microphones strewn about. Meeting rooms were frequently overbooked and frustrating to use and there was always that confusion of getting the wires right, problems with screen sharing and the classic ‘can you hear me?”. 

Today, things are different. As hybrid work becomes the norm, every space has the potential to become a meeting room. That includes your kitchen table, your desk at home, a meeting room in the office, or anywhere you are on the go. The need for video conferencing equipment is vast with 98% of knowledge workers saying remote participants will be part of their meetings going forward.

Amidst this era of  digital transformation, connecting team members with high-quality video conferencing is more important than ever and so is your choice of video conferencing equipment.

Here, in collaboration with Webex, we take a look at the best connectivity tools to boost your video conferencing experiences. 

Empowering Remote Working

Home offices aren’t the only variable to consider when outfitting your remote workers. The ways in which individuals work and collaborate differ too. Some prefer to co-create; others work almost entirely through constant communication; and still, others like to plug-in, concentrate, and dive into focus work.

Different work styles require different types of collaboration capabilities. By first identifying the capabilities that different teams need, it’s easier to determine the right devices for efficient and effective team collaboration across your organization. For example, collaborators need to have all-in-one collaboration devices so they can switch between video-conferencing, co-creation and focus work.  Those in communication-based teams need to have tools like phones and headsets prioritized.

The best all-in-one video conferencing equipment for remote collaborators should allow workers to:

  • Meet face-to-face with high-quality audio and video
  • Limit meeting distractions with advanced noise removal and virtual background capabilities
  • Seamlessly co-create and collaborate with coworkers
  • Easily switch between messaging, calling, and meetings
  • Access and edit whiteboards before, during, and after a meeting
  • Join any meeting service including Webex, Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams

Because every home office is unique, you’ll want to avoid devices that may take up too much space. Options like the Webex Desk Mini are perfect in this case – giving a top combination of compact size and impressive power. 

Video conferencing at the desk

The desk is where employees spend most of their time in the office. . Too often, though, they are switching between an array of devices and applications to collaborate and get work done. This is where seamless integration capabilities earn their weight in gold. For effective workplaces, employees need collaboration tools that seamlessly integrate into their workflow, offering the same experience no matter where and how they collaborate. This helps remove points of friction that can slow productivity throughout the workday.

When considering video conferencing equipment for the desk, the following capabilities are most useful: 

  • Meet with distributed colleagues using high-quality video and audio hardware
  • Replace desk clutter, such as phones, webcams, speakers, and monitors with a single device
  • Join any meeting service such as Microsoft Teams, Webex, Zoom, and Google Meet
  • Quickly and easily access calling and video conferencing features
  • Seamlessly integrate with the productivity tools your team uses every day
  • Ideate and co-create with digital whiteboarding and content annotation
  • Remove background noise for a crisp and clear audio experience

This way, your desk can go from a mess to a masterpiece in one swift action.  The Webex Desk is an all-in-one video conferencing solution that declutters the desk and takes your collaboration experience to the next level.

The Best Device for Hot Desking

Most businesses now operate on a hybrid level, with employees taking some days to work from home and others to pop to the office. As a result, hot desking is a popular alternative to personal desks as many workers will not need a dedicated space in the office. These spaces should provide everything an employee needs to be just as productive as they would be at their personal desk. The experience must be seamless and intelligent.

Hot desking devices allow anyone to turn an open desk into their personal workspace just by touching or docking their phone to the device. Today’s mobile, collaborative workers crave this type of agility.

The ideal solution for hot-desking should include the ability to:

  • Gain instant visibility into all available and booked desks
  • Reserve an open desk by using your laptop or phone to authenticate your identity with a secure and touch-free login experience
  • Join meetings at the touch of a button
  • View your schedule and join upcoming meetings with touchless voice commands
  • Make and receive phone calls
  • Join meetings from any collaboration platform
  • Log out automatically or easily release your booking at the end of your working session
  • Optimize office real estate by gathering real-time environmental, occupancy, and desk usage data

If you’re looking for the best video conferencing solution for hot desking, we recommend the Webex Desk Hub.

Equipping Jump Spaces and Focus Rooms

Jump spaces and focus rooms provide a quick, ad-hoc space where people can step into a quiet environment for important meetings or to concentrate on their work.

Traditionally, these spaces lack advanced communication and collaboration tools, but employee expectations are changing. With offices evolving to meet the requirements of hybrid workers, well-equipped jump spaces will become increasingly important as employees will need more spaces to meet and connect with remote colleagues.

The best video conferencing solution for focus rooms and jump spaces should be able to:

  • Function as a shared device that any employee can use
  • Provide an all-in-one experience through a small form factor that includes a screen, camera, microphones, and speakers
  • Extend the laptop display so that the device can be used as a primary monitor
  • Provide a touchless experience to reduce the spread of germs
  • Charge laptops and mobile devices while individuals work and collaborate
  • Provide co-creation features like digital whiteboarding and content annotation
  • Allow users to quickly and easily access calling and video conferencing software
  • Provide a digital assistant or calendaring system to determine availability and book the space

To get the best video conferencing solution for jump spaces and focus rooms, explore the Webex Desk Pro.

Optimize your Huddle Space

A huddle space is a small room or open space that accommodates meetings for just a few people. Huddle spaces are becoming increasingly popular as teams need informal spaces to connect and drive work forward. Every organization, large and small, should dedicate a portion of their workplace toward small group collaboration – and they need to be equipped with the tech that will optimize teams to share ideas and collaborate. 

Depending on the activity, organizations can use a variety of collaboration devices. When planning a huddle space, consider the following:

  • Will the teams in this space need to collaborate with remote colleagues, partners, or agencies?
  • Does the space need only video conferencing capabilities or will it be used for co-creation and digital whiteboarding?
  • Do you have enough huddle spaces to support the number of ad-hoc meetings that teams need?
  • Can teams quickly get started?
  • Does the device come equipped with noise removal if it’s located in an open space?

The best video conferencing equipment for huddle spaces should include:

  • High-quality video conferencing capabilities
  • The ability to share content on the screen locally or within a virtual meeting
  • Co-creation capabilities if the space is being designed with ideation in mind
  • Intelligent alerts and social distancing reminders if the huddle space becomes overcrowded
  • Analytics for optimization and insights into utilization
  • The ability to join any meeting service 

If you’re looking for the best video conferencing equipment for huddle spaces, we recommend the Webex Room Kit Mini if the space will primarily be used for local and virtual meetings. On the other hand, if the space is intended for local and virtual collaboration and co-creation, be sure to consider an all-in-one video conferencing and whiteboarding devices like the Webex Board Pro 55.

Cultivating Creative Collaboration

Ideation rooms are small to medium-sized rooms that allow teams to gather, share ideas, and make progress towards their goals. Traditionally, these rooms are typically equipped with a whiteboard, dry erase markers and sticky notes. In 2022, though, these tools are fairly outdated, limited, and can make it difficult to engage remote participants in the collaborative process. 

The best video conferencing equipment for ideation rooms should include:

  • High-quality video conferencing capabilities with optimized views and spatial audio, enabling an immersive experience
  • Easy wireless pairing with laptops and mobile devices to connect and share content
  • Powerful whiteboarding capabilities with digital sticky notes and shape recognition
  • The ability for multiple devices to connect so everyone can participate
  • Integration with third-party applications such as Office 365, Trello, and Salesforce.com
  • Ability to access whiteboards anywhere and pick up right where you left off
  • Analytics for optimization and insights into utilization

We recommend the Webex Board Series to anyone that’s looking for the best video conferencing solution for ideation and visual collaboration.

Equipping the meeting room

The meeting room is one of the most complicated areas. Typically equipped with a conferencing phone, projector, whiteboard, and outdated video conferencing equipment, these rooms are burdened with multiple points of failure.

Modern collaboration devices have the power to replace much of the technology in these spaces with a single device. And you get a single-pane-of-glass view to manage and triage issues instead of having to monitor multiple systems. A modern meeting room can provide an unexpectedly pleasant experience, happily stripping the meeting room of the dubious honour of being the most frustrating room in the office.

The best video collaboration solution for meeting rooms should include:

  • High-quality video conferencing capabilities
  • Quick and easy access to calling and video conferencing software
  • The ability to share content on the screen locally or within a virtual meeting
  • Social distancing reminders and intelligent alerts if too many people are occupying a room
  • Noise removal to keep the audio crisp and clear
  • Zero-touch experiences to reduce contact with shared surfaces
  • A digital assistant to book your rooms and manage meeting tasks
  • Alerting and digital signage that directs employees to the nearest exit if an emergency occurs

Building the Board Room

. The C-Suite requires an experience that brings executives and partners together as if they were sitting face-to-face—even if distance is a barrier. The collaboration devices in the boardroom need to combine high-end, customizable designs with intuitive, powerful functionality.

To outfit your boardroom with the best video conferencing equipment, you’ll need:

  • Premium audio and video for a true-to-life, immersive experience
  • Directional sound to emulate the in-person experience
  • Content sharing without sacrificing the video-first experience
  • A digital assistant to help with starting the meeting, taking notes, real-time translation, and transcription
  • High-definition displays
  • Customizable high-end finishing and furniture

If you’re looking for the best video conferencing solution for the boardroom, we recommend the Webex Room Panorama.

Devices to solve problems

Across all the different spaces where employees can find themselves on a video conference, there are some commonly occurring conference room woes. When it comes to equipping your team with the best tech for conferences, it’s good to have them in mind. 

  1. Is this room free?
    • Last-minute meeting? In a hurry? Finding an available room in an office can be a bit of a headache. Businesses are dynamic places after all, and there’s always a lot going on. Video conferencing equipment like the Webex Room Navigator helps erase the pressure of finding a meeting room with LED indicators outside of the room to show which rooms are available and which are occupied. You can also see the upcoming schedule and if there’s a meeting going on in that room, it can direct you to the nearest available room. No more running around the office, no more sweaty meeting introductions. Give handshakes with confidence. 
  2. I’m Lost! Where’s the meeting? 
    • We’ve all had that moment of trying to find the meeting room on an unfamiliar floor of the office. After you’ve circled the building and realized you’re back where you started, you may even pop your head into a coworker’s cube to ask where the room is. With wayfinding capabilities, you’ll never have to worry about locating the meeting. Paired with a mobile device, you’ll get a familiar navigation system that guides you to where you need to be.
  3. What’s the conference code again?
    • Keeping track of conference codes can be an organizational task in and of itself and can often prevent meetings from starting on time, putting conferences off to a bad start. With wireless pairing to your laptop or mobile device, modern collaboration devices can authenticate you as soon as you walk in the room and let you join your meeting with the push of a button. Better yet, take advantage of a digital assistant for a zero-touch join experience.
  4. The cable entanglement. 
    • Cables, cables everywhere, plugs, plugs nowhere. Finding the right connection that works with your laptop can be frustrating and time-consuming. Not to mention that cables strewn about make for a messy meeting room. Modern meeting rooms equipped with the latest video conferencing equipment will allow you to pair wirelessly and share your content from your laptop or mobile device. No more searching for cables, no more messy conference rooms.
  5. What’s their name again? 
    • With the rise of remote and hybrid working, it’s also pretty likely you will have video conferences with people you’ve never met in person before – which can make it all the more challenging to remember people’s names. Leading video conferencing vendors have introduced advanced AI capabilities that can identify who the speaker is, providing name labels and titles beneath every speaker. So you’ll never have to ask, “who is that person?” again.

Creating a video conference space, regardless of whether located in the office or at home, requires careful planning and consideration, and it requires thinking of the future. Doing so, can create sleek, clean and organized workspaces, ultimately leading to better outcomes and more successful collaboration. 

To find out how other startups are navigating through digital transformation, click here

This content was originally published on the Webex blog site, available here.