Mobility and remote hiring practices are transforming how people use conference rooms and huddle spaces. Conferencing technology plays a mission-critical role in uniting distributed teams and enabling collaborative workspaces. As organizations rethink how they equip their meeting rooms to accommodate this trend, it’s vital that they choose technology that’s easy to use and defies distance so that participants can focus on what matters.

According to Microsoft, “Over 97% of meeting rooms are currently equipped with traditional projectors or displays and only a telephone for including remote participants. But for meetings to be as effective and engaging as possible requires web and video conferencing with features like screen sharing, IM, and whiteboard. Without these capabilities, people lose the benefits of rich interaction, remote participants have a sub-optimal experience and the whole team is less productive due to longer meeting startup times.”

Polycom’s Peter Huboi, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft Voice Solutions, quantifies the productivity loss in the webcast Ready Your Huddle Spaces for Office 365 Online Meetings. Huboi says each person in a company attends an average of 62 meetings per month. On average, 10 minutes of every meeting are wasted while participants try to figure out how to join, use the remote, share information, etc. This adds up to 31 hours of unproductive meeting time per person, per month.

Thirty-one hours per person, per month. No wonder ease-of-use is the number one group collaboration challenge for both end users and IT staff. End users, Huboi says, don’t want to undergo extensive training to learn how to use a conferencing system. They want video and voice to work together – and they want it to be intuitive. Users want to dial into conferences from their smartphones. They want to be able to hear each other as if everyone is in the same room. In other words, they want technology that “just works.”

Thankfully, conferencing technologies have evolved along with the workplace. Modern video collaboration and content sharing solutions are easy to use, and they enable participants to see, hear, and share with each other as if they are in the same room.

As organizations begin equipping their meeting rooms with video and audio solutions, they should look for a solution that includes:

  • Three microphones for 360-degree coverage and a 20-foot pickup range
  • Noise-blocking technology
  • An intuitive color touchscreen that uses recognizable icons for simple navigation
  • Multiple, easy-to-reach mute indicators
  • Multiple ways to connect: Ethernet connectivity, USB, Bluetooth®, NFC
  • The ability to use a contact list on a mobile phone to initiate a call

All of these capabilities are provided by Polycom® RealPresence® Trio™. As a conference phone, Trio delivers unmatched audio quality. The addition of the RealPresence Trio Visual+ accessory enables content sharing, while an optional 1080p30 USB camera delivers high-definition video for affordable business-grade video collaboration.

What’s more, organizations that currently use Polycom video solutions will be able to leverage their existing investments as they move to Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business environments. Polycom’s RealPresence Group Series will be qualified on Skype for Business Server and supported on Office 365. A familiar Skype for Business-like user interface on the Polycom RealPresence Touch device will make it easier for Skype for Business users to integrate video conferencing into current workflows.

Also, as part of Microsoft’s newly announced “Project Rigel,” Polycom will deliver a new line of solutions purpose-built for Skype for Business. These solutions will offer plug-and-play simplicity in a variety of configurations to meet the needs of any sized business and any sized room.

When it comes to video conferencing solutions, simplicity is key to enabling adoption and productivity. Video helps defy distance and reduce presence disparity. Most importantly, easy-to-use solutions significantly reduce the nearly two months people spend each year messing with technology so that participants can focus on what counts: the business.