The workspace has changed a lot over the past year since the onset of the pandemic. Most companies have made the transition from crowded board rooms to open work spaces, where meetings can occur more freely and spaciously. Furthermore, the nature of meetings have changed, now involving both in-office and out-of-the-office participants.
These changes have led to a new approach to hardware – in terms of the type of equipment being used, but no less importantly, in terms of the way it is being used. Companies not only need high-quality, easy-to-deploy video conferencing hardware; they also need to be able to move it around the open workspace in an easy, hassle-free manner.
I sat down with Louise McHugh, Google Account Executive at Pioneer Group, to chat about the needs of companies transitioning to open spaces and solutions that can cater to those needs.
Meet Anytime, Anywhere
There are two main changes factoring into the new situation: the transition to open workspaces and the hybrid nature of the new work environment.
“In terms of the hybrid work environment, we see many hardware manufacturers releasing bundles that are cut out precisely for this type of situation,” notes McHugh. “A great example for this would be the Google Meet Series One Room Kits by Lenovo that we resell.”
The Lenovo kit, allowing a choice between small, medium and large – depending on room size – is a comprehensive, out-of-the-box hardware bundle for Google Meet users. Each kit contains a Meet compute system; as well as a combination of up to six hardware components, including a 4K, AI-based smart camera, a touch controller, a smart audio bar, and up to two mic pods.
“These kits were really made for those types of hybrid work scenarios, and are extremely easy to install and manage in order to have an optimal user experience with Meet”
Mobilise Your Google Meet Hardware
Having the right hardware for your business meetings is all well and good – but what do you do when you need to move around the open space and carry all this equipment with you?
“Another product that we resell, the Heckler AV Cart, has been created to solve this exact issue. In fact, it’s a mount with a trolley has been made so you can have all your Meet hardware on it, allowing you to just move it around the office freely,” shares McHugh.
“Before the Heckler mount was made, users had to order a trolley and construct the correct size shelves underneath, which is a lot more work; and obviously, the cables weren’t as tidy as they are with this solution.”
The creation of the Heckler AV Cart, tailored to fit Lenovo’s Google Meet kits, was actually influenced by COVID. Heckler recognised the fact that most video meeting hardware is designed to be used within traditional meeting rooms; while the pandemic has given rise to a need for more flexible hardware that could be used anywhere within the workplace. Working with the Google Meet Hardware team, Heckler worked quickly to help adapt the Lenovo kits for mobility.
But what if you happen to use a different kit?
Luckily, the Heckler AV Cart is compatible with most other hardware for Google Meet as well. The Cart’s Device Panel mounts and stores small Chromebox devices, as well as appliance-style cameras and PTZ-type cameras. It also has a Control Shelf that should fit any touch controller. In addition, the cart’s Soundbar Mount fits most soundbar form-factor devices.
“This solution is perfect for companies aiming to make the best out their Google Meet deployments,” McHugh concludes.
“I believe open workspaces will incorporate more and more solutions of this type moving forward.”