Connectivity is essential to the modern work experience. As the work we do becomes more complex and dynamic, the space we get our work done in has to follow suit.
Enter the age of the digital conference room sign. Gone are the days of simply picking a snappy naming convention for your meeting space and leaving it at that. To really power an effective workplace, your meeting room signage should help employees pick the best room for their meetings and improve utilization across the entire office. (Don’t worry though. We're still in full support of clever room names).
Today, we’ll cover how digital meeting room signs can make your office more effective, as well as some of the specific considerations you’ll want to address when choosing, installing, and integrating a room booking system.
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How digital meeting room signage works
Digital signage software takes the power of the touchscreen, marries it with a robust room scheduling and information platform, and positions it in areas of your office where it can be most useful. Your first stop in the office, the reception area, can make use of digital signs in several ways:
- Welcoming incoming visitors to the office
- Announcing upcoming events and company-wide meetings
- Providing information on in-office events and attendance for the day (status boards)
- Aiding in easy wayfinding with interactive maps
This welcome feature can allow your visitors and employees alike to quickly orient themselves within the space, get information about the next steps for their visit, or help them navigate through the office with ease. Besides their utility, digital signage can cut an impressive figure in a reception area, lending a high-tech touch to one of the most important and visible areas in the office.
Digital sign solutions are also a useful addition to the outside of meeting rooms and focus spaces, allowing employees to get at-a-glance information about a room’s availability, capacity, amenities, cleaning, and maintenance schedules. With the use of a digital room sign, everyone can get the room they need easily, without the cumbersome and inefficient tradition of searching for the “Conference Room Binder.”
Finally, a welcome kiosk can help employees sign into flexible personal space for the day. For those offices using a hot-desking seating strategy, a status board can also serve as a check-in point, where an employee can look through the office floor plan and pick a seat before they even put their bag down. (Even better, the awkward exchange of accidentally stealing someone’s spot isn't an issue.) It makes it easy to get settled in, even on days where there may be limited space.
Benefits of digital signage for meeting rooms
The benefits of having digital signage and a booking platform extend beyond ease of use; it can also make the office run more efficiently and save workplace teams from manual, time-consuming tasks.
Unlike manually updated check-in and conference room booking solutions, with a digital signage solution, changes to the plan are instantly and automatically updated in the room booking system. When someone no longer needs a workspace or a hot desk, the changes are readily apparent in the system, making for better space utilization. And if someone breaks the unofficial conference room rules (namely, abandoning the meeting without updating the app) the room is automatically made available through abandoned meeting protection.
Room scheduling and booking
With the integration of calendar systems and booking, the multi-step process of getting a conference room and calling a meeting can be streamlined into one easy action. The meeting room is reserved at the time of selection, and participants can get a notification of the time and place all in one workflow.
COVID-19 has had some widespread effects on the way we use the office. For instance, the time-honored tradition of wandering the office floor in search of a spot with the right meeting room setup is now strongly frowned upon. With an integrated digital sign and booking system, you can get a full report of what’s available (and what room best suits your needs) simply by checking your mobile app, Slack channel, or any office screen. Robin’s color-coded room booking system makes this process even quicker — a green/yellow/red system can show you a room’s status from across the floor.
Once you’ve scoped out the perfect spot for your focus group or department all-hands, a digital signage system can help you book without leaving your desk. While the information is available on any screen, you can book and schedule your meeting right from the mobile app, reducing the need to move through the office. This eliminates unnecessary foot-traffic through the office, and can help mitigate the spread of germs.
Quick issue resolution
If you’ve ever been in a conference room with a broken projector or speakerphone issue, you know it can put a serious dent in productivity. Fortunately, with digital meeting room signs, you can report an issue quickly and easily, without needing to hunt down a facilities manager or send an email. The reporting features available in your booking system also make it easy to alert the conference room manager to any problems so they can be resolved efficiently.
Using a digital signage solution can give you more granular data about the manner in which your conference spaces are used. Which is the most popular? Which isn’t getting booked at all? How many meeting rooms are being overbooked or abandoned? How many conference room issues are reported during a specific interval? Questions about your meeting room utilization are easy to answer when your team has access to digital signage and booking solutions.
Tips for installing digital meeting room signage
Making your office space more connected and efficient doesn’t have to mean a large-scale, invasive project. With the right blend of technology, hardware, and knowledge, creating a better and more well-oiled process can be relatively painless. The best room booking solutions are designed to be hardware-agnostic, meaning your office can use resources it already has, and integrate new tools without frustration. For a full roster of recommendations for the below, see our Recommended Equipment page.
Consider what type of screens you currently use within your organization. You may find that installing similar models for your new digital signage system will give your staff a level of familiarity with the devices from the start. Robin’s booking platform works with multiple versions of Apple, Android, and Samsung tablets.
Mounting and stands
When purchasing housings for your chosen screen type, consider where the installation will be happening. For instance, a typical wall-mounted room display may work well in drywall; however, for rooms that feature glass around the entryway, a flush mounting unit may not be an option. There are a variety of mounted and freestanding options available to choose from.
Naturally, digital screens must work with a power source. However, hardwiring may not be necessary for your installation. For familiar options like the iPad or Kindle devices, rechargeable battery packs can give your screens the power they need without getting into complex electrical installations. Even better, with auto-dimming and timer options native to the Robin booking platform, the units can make the best use of extended battery life. You’ll never have wonder, “Did I remember to turn off the screens before I left?”
When installing your digital signage, it’s important to remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives specific guidelines for the placement of digital assets within the office. These guidelines not only make using the booking system comfortable and easy for your users, but they also ensure that your office complies with the federally-mandated requirements of this important law. Be sure to refer to the guidelines to ensure your screens have the correct height, housing depth, and placement to ensure ease of use and avoid obstruction.
Connect digital meeting room signs to your scheduling software
While booking a room or a desk can happen without the need for a digital signage solution, you can unlock the full functionality of your booking software by closing the loop and integrating your digital signage with your other productivity and room scheduling tools. Using these powerful integrations, your room booking system can help information flow effortlessly, and ensure the workday moves smoothly for all. Below is a list of the most popular integrations for use with your booking software.
Robin integrates easily with many of the most popular calendar management systems, making it easy to keep all your participants synced and up to date. Robin offers integrations for G Suite’s Google Calendar, Office 365, and Microsoft Exchange.
For teams using Slack or Microsoft Teams for corporate communications, Robin makes it easy to browse, book, and update room scheduling directly in the messaging app, making it easier to communicate meeting plans within team or department channels.
For invitations to hybrid events, integrating a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or BlueJeans makes it easier to get a room booked, get the date and time on everyone’s calendar, and provide easy access to a meeting link for anyone unable to attend the meeting in person.