In the ongoing search for the best solutions and setups for the hybrid workplace, meeting areas and conference rooms present some of the biggest struggles when it comes to collaboration, communication, and the resources they require. The flexibility and "do everything" demands of those spaces in the age of online meetings require deciding how to conduct those sessions and how centralized and regulated meeting capabilities need to be.
The central question is whether your conference room setup should encourage a "Bring Your Own Meeting" (BYOM) structure that allows attendees to run meetings with their own equipment and meeting platform — or if a dedicated PC preconfigured for the room works better.
The unified communications (UC) needs of a modern conference room call for a fairly standard set of functions: giving presentations and sharing documents, using an online service or website, conferencing with remote colleagues, sharing photos and images, and simultaneous collaboration from multiple devices. With those needs understood, we'll look at the differences between the BYOM style and the hosted PC approach to help determine the right fit for your organization.
In this situation, the knowledge workers are driving the meetings and collaboration sessions, with the ability to use their own laptop, tablet, or another device to connect to preexisting hardware, such as the display screens and audio/video hybrid components like the Bose Professional Videobar VB1.
This setup allows anyone in the room to bring their preferred UC conferencing service into play, giving them the flexibility to choose between Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, or other platforms with the features and interface they prefer. The opportunity to switch between devices easily — especially for collaboration sessions with creative-minded work groups — is a significant benefit of "bring your own" environments, which can help build community and camaraderie in a time when work relationship bonds are difficult to establish.
BYOM rooms must include equipment and networking capabilities that are wide open and agnostic when it comes to conferencing and collaboration technologies such as VB1 paired with Mersive Solstice Conference, or Barco ClickShare CX-30 or CX-50. That requires frequent and well-planned firmware updates to all relevant equipment so users can easily connect and present. It also means ensuring sufficient bandwidth to support a variety of presentation and productivity tools that are being used almost simultaneously.
In a conference room with a dedicated PC and services for conferencing and collaboration, all of the work will be done beforehand so participants can take part without the responsibility of preparing their equipment for the spotlight.
Much thought and consideration goes into the exact needs of the room from a top-down organization level, meaning there is typically a single platform or suite selected by all workers and participants. Once those choices are made, IT departments can move forward with hardware and related capabilities to ensure the machines have the software needed in standard meeting and conferencing situations.
All of the complementary equipment, such as videobar, microphones, and speakers, will have already been connected and configured for the host PC setup, which removes a few more steps of guesswork and unfamiliarity for attendees and presenters. Bose Professional's Ceiling Audio Solution, for example, paired with one of their Technology Alliance Partners, combines Bose Professional loudspeakers, the Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling 2 microphone, a Bose Professional amplifier, and digital signal processor (DSP) along with a hosted device like the Lenovo ThinkSmart Core + Controller to deliver the ultimate meeting experience for fully integrated meeting rooms.
Hosted PC rooms typically best serve gatherings that are highly structured and planned to utilize pre-selected software, used by participants familiar with the tools on the dedicated machine. They also require selecting a UC room type such as Zoom Room, Microsoft Teams Room, and Google Meet Room, along with a subscription.The flipside of this rigid structure is that it can present challenges for participants who are unfamiliar with the interface of the room's equipment or software because there are few — if any — secondary options for how the room can be used.
Deciding how to configure your conference and meeting rooms in the age of hybrid work is a demanding responsibility. When choosing between BYOM or a host PC setup, survey leadership and workers about their everyday and highest-use needs to find the balance between flexibility and done-for-you stability and security.