As more and more businesses utilize the video conference call in order to connect team members from around the globe faster and easier than ever, the ways in which you can call have also changed. Most smartphones, which many industry professionals carry with them at all times, come with all the tools needed to call on the go, and the popularity and efficiency of large scale video conference rooms continues to increase as well. But for when you need a comfortable medium between a literally out of pocket impromptu conference call and a full scale all hands meeting, the huddle room is an excellent choice.
Huddle Rooms: The Basics
If you’re new to the term and want to understand a bit more in order to know what benefits a huddle room can give you, read on. A huddle room is a small meeting area usually designed for somewhere around three to five people to gather. Most are equipped with a small, central table, several chairs, a large monitor, and other broadcasting equipment like microphones and a webcam or two. Huddle rooms are an excellent solutions for short, small, impromptu meetings. They’re an excellent choice for brainstorming sessions, long distance problem solving, and other types of firefighting video conferencing. Their biggest advantage is that, unlike large conference rooms that may need to be booked well in advance and can get to be very expensive to outfit, one business could have multiple huddle rooms for a much lower equipment cost. Additionally, these relatively compact spaces can offer the sound and audio quality that a handheld smartphone can’t match, with steady mounted cameras, moderate lighting to avoid deep shadows and or blinding glares, and usually offer proper soundproofing and good location to minimize noise pollution and echoes.
Design and Capabilities
When it comes to upgrading or designing a huddle room from scratch, or even just utilizing it properly, you need to understand and focus on the convenience of the small group factor. One webcam, assuming it is a high enough resolution, should be enough for one space. Because the central webcam in the designated meeting room will be further away from each individual face as opposed to one in a smartphone or laptop would be, high resolution is key. Lifewire offers a buyer’s guide if you need a little more information on the details of the tech itself. The preference between microphones and headsets really depends on your desires, but since some webcams even come with microphones built it and headsets can be considered distracting, one or two good table mounted or ceiling suspended microphones in a sound friendly room should do the trick. As far as software goes, however, you shouldn’t feel the need to hold back. Assuming your computer has the right horsepower, a good multi-call conferencing software such as BlueJeans can connect your huddle meeting to hundreds of other devices.
Now, assuming that your room is properly equipped with all the necessary tech, it’s time to get a little creative with taking advantage of the capabilities of a huddle room. Assuming you’re utilizing the central camera, it’s a great idea to take advantage of the wide camera angle and consider finding ways to use the rest of the space. Whiteboards or large paper sheets can be an excellent way to go a little old school when it comes to fleshing out your designs, so having one on hand and out of the way is a pretty solid idea. Not only can this help the other people on the end of the line better visualize your concepts, but having this artistic element is a great way to really utilize the audio-video combination that this kind of conferencing offers. Additionally, consider bringing in 3D models or mockups of products into the huddle room. Having much more space as well as the free hands to work can allow you to demonstrate how something would work or look on camera, another plus. On a related note, the room can be converted quickly into the ideal troubleshooting area for IT or technically issues. Bringing in a copy of a customer’s product and showing them exactly where to look and what to do in order to fix issues can be a life saver, combining both visual and audio in order to make an excellent point and aid in problem solving.
As you continue to experiment with your video conferencing practices and try to find the best set up for your situations, hopefully this guide has offered you a new perspective on some of the more inventive ways that these smaller, specialized spaces can add another whole dimension to your tele-communicative practices. While large scale conference rooms will still very much have their place and usage, and while mobile video chat and conference calls will still be invaluable for on the road, off the cuff calls, a huddle room can bring its own particular advantages to the table.