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Thought Leadership

Why Digital Displays are Essential for Huddle Space Collaboration

The demand for productivity has made many changes to the office environment.

Portable devices, including laptop computers, tablets and smart phones, helped us break the shackles that bound us to desktop computers. In addition, the cubicle farm has shifted to an open floor design so co-workers don’t need to “prairie-dog” over partitions to communicate anymore.

Although the open floor plan was designed to increase productivity, this layout has its own challenge: People can be easily distracted by informal conversations and brainstorming sessions by co-workers gathering around their desks.

Enter the huddle space revolution

To better prepare for these impromptu meetings, huddle spaces, a.k.a. “huddle rooms” or “breakout rooms,” have become ubiquitous in modern offices. They combine traditional face-to-face conversation with the high-tech world of file sharing via portable devices. The result is the ultimate space for collaboration.

However, no huddle space is complete without a digital display board as the centerpiece. It is the tool that allows the meeting leader to effectively and visually communicate his or her ideas. Attendees can use designated software in their portable devices to share their thoughts on the board as well.

Selecting the right size display for your huddle space

As these areas are typically on the smaller side, usually to accommodate two to four people, a large display board is not necessary. I recommend a display of up to 50 inches in diagonal measurement for huddle spaces. Not only does it fit the room physically, it also causes less strain a company’s budget, especially for those who have numerous huddle spaces to equip.

Sharp offers a wide variety in its AQUOS BOARD®interactive display systems lineup, as well as its non-interactive display models. AQUOS BOARD interactive displays range from 40" Class (39.5" diagonal) to 80" Class (80" diagonal) sizes for meeting rooms of all sizes. Two wireless interactive displays are available as well. Non-interactive displays from Sharp run from 32" Class (31.6" diagonal) to 90" Class (90 1/64" diagonal) sizes.

Choosing between interactivity and non-interactivity

Interactive and non-interactive displays play an important communications role in huddle spaces, depending on what you need them for. Both types can be either wall-mounted or affixed to a rolling cart to be wheeled around to different rooms.

Interactive displays offer certain advantages. For example, participants can approach the display and mark up presentations with hand-drawn shapes, text and other notations. The marked-up presentation can then be saved as a PDF file and sent to meeting participants.

Non-interactive displays serve a multifunction purpose as they can be double as digital signage. Sharp has recently launched two 40" Class (39.5" diagonal) and two 50" Class (49.5" diagonal) non-interactive displays with a built-in SoC (System on a Chip) controller. SoC allows the displays to deliver out-of-the-box digital signage solutions, even without external devices such as PCs. In addition, they are equipped with an Intel®Mini OPS-compatible expansion slot that provides for an optional HDBaseT™ receiver board, wireless board, or computing board. An optional wireless adaptor is also available for these displays.

Preparing for today’s young workers and future generations

Huddle spaces are not just a great idea, they are a necessity in today’s office landscape. Generally speaking, Millennials thrive on technology. They naturally embrace the concept of working remotely through portable devices. According to Forbes, Millennials are expected to make up about half of the U.S. workforce by 2020 and 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, so we need to prepare for the influx.

In addition, employees in today's digital workplace use an average of three different devices in their daily routine, according to Gartner. This will increase to five or six devices as technologies such as wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) become mainstream.

As portable devices increase and to accommodate for remote workers’ schedules, a huddle space should also include a camera for videoconferencing. This would allow meeting participants who are not in the office at the time to be part of the action as well.

Aside from the display board and camera, the huddle space can be a minimalistic-designed, low maintenance room. Add a table and chairs, or just throw in a few beanbag chairs, whatever makes you feel comfortable. It is well worth the small investment considering the amazing ideas to come out of collaborative meetings.

Learn more about Sharp interactive and non-interactive displays >>