17 Jul 2018

The meeting room of the future

Flying cars, cloud cities, holograms, and… Joan – the future. Accept for living in the sky, the future is, as they say, now. We’ve already touched upon the evolution of the meeting room, but it wouldn’t hurt to take a closer peek at what’s to come.

Flexing the flexibility muscle

Like most things in society, the business world is in ever-changing motion. Most analysts in the field agree that future meeting attendees will expect more personal experiences, networking, and creativity from their meeting environment. And all these factors can only truly come into play when there’s a sufficient amount of flexibility going around.

An increase in digital sharing won’t only make meetings more experiential, it will turn them into shorter, more focused gatherings of wit. The added emphasis on networking will also affect other aspects of work. Lunchbreaks, for instance, are bound to become more flexible, orientated towards interactive stations rather than seated banquets. Breaks will be longer, with watercooler-type presentations that give rise to opportunities for more networking and connecting.

Flashy tech galore

Besides paper thin, ecologically superior and ridiculously useful meeting room booking devices like Joan, other IT gadgets are predicted to take centre stage in the upcoming years. Virtual meetings will grow. Instant web access will, of course, remain essential, as workers tend to connect from the field, at home or other off-site locations. From projects, major decisions, to quick briefings, all depend on in-the-moment reactions and on-the-go access. Immediate feedback is vital, and with top notch tech, meeting attendees will be able to share feedback instantaneously and simultaneously. Conference technology can already easily integrate documents and will continue to do so in the future. By applying productivity tools, including documents and calendars, into a single presentation platform, everyone will leave the meeting with a greater sense of purpose and higher morale.

Science, not fiction

Giant transparent screens, the kind Tom Cruise used to slide his hand around in the movie Minority Report, already exist and will quite possibly become a standard in meeting room design. No more whiteboards with messy markers. 77 percent of industry leaders at the IACC conference on the “Meeting Room of the Future” stated that access to interactive technology will be the most important trend as far as IT solutions are concerned. An endless variety of digital images saved to a hard drive or cloud, thoughts shared online, and everything erased with a swish of the hand. Mobile technology, which ensures better collaboration and interaction, is on the rise.

Hybrid’s the word

The downside to this type of environment is that experiential designs of meeting rooms could easily fall short of supplying quality meetings. In other words, although fancy equipment is nice, it may just as well turn out to cause distractions. Too much comfort can, after all, send you to sleep. To ensure attendees are at ease, can be creative and autonomous, while still remain focused on meeting goals, hybrid spaces that combine physical and digital meeting rooms will be a must. A middle way, if you will. Spaces that will make you feel at home and help foster a good old fashioned business mentality at the same time.

The future, therefore, looks bright for meeting rooms: cosy, creative, spontaneous, and with an incredibly fast Internet connection. But whatever changes are made, it seems the key will be in the way we juggle with and slalom through hi-tech solutions while keeping the focus on how we, the attendees, use them.

(Image source)