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Physical Spaces: Next Cisco vs. Microsoft Battlefront?

January 5, 2017 | Telepresence Options

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Story and images by No Jitter

Despite the hype around virtual working, people still do meet in physical spaces to get stuff done.

Everyone loves a good rivalry. Red Sox vs. Yankees, Kirk vs. Khan, Lauren Conrad vs. Heidi Pratt nee Montag (yes, I love The Hills), Trump vs. Clinton... and, in unified communications, Microsoft vs. Cisco. These two UC leaders have been battling it out for years, giving rise to raging debates over which has the better voice, desktop, cloud, and mobile strategy.

While I'm sure the fighting will soon enough center on team collaboration and virtual meeting spaces -- Cisco Spark vs. Microsoft Teams -- more immediately it'll be about the physical meeting space. Despite the hype around virtual working, the rise of millennials, and other similar trends, the fact remains that people still do meet in physical spaces to get stuff done. Also, businesses are building out a wider variety of places to meet. They've got their large boardroom-style rooms, as well as their huddle rooms, medium-sized conference rooms, open spaces, and almost any other kind of configuration imaginable. Truth be told, anywhere people meet is a meeting space.

Outfitting meeting rooms to create a "flawless" experience has always been and continues to be a significant challenge. Meeting spaces generally require some combination of whiteboard, audio bridge, video conferencing system, content- sharing capability, a display, and maybe some other kind of specialized tool. Typically, few or sometimes none of these tools are integrated -- which is why my research shows that about 15 minutes of every meeting are wasted on trying to connect and in asking remote participants to identify themselves... "Who just joined the bridge?" Participants often waste additional time in reviewing meeting notes, figuring out which version of the TPS Report is the most current, taking pictures of whiteboards, and aggregating notes. With all the "stuff" that needs to be done before, during, and after meetings, it's amazing there's any time left for the meeting itself.

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