Huddle rooms are a relatively new phenomenon in the modern workplace. Created in response to the need for private meeting spaces in high-density open office environments, huddle rooms offer a refuge from noisy copy machines and noisier colleagues. Huddle rooms differ from traditional conference rooms in that they are designed to support collaboration, rather than being optimized for one person making a presentation while other meeting attendees look on. Most huddle rooms can accommodate three to six people, and include some sort of work surface. Beyond a small table and seating options, huddle room design can vary wildly from organization to organization.

Because huddle rooms are designed for collaboration and sharing ideas, most include one or two displays mounted on the wall. These displays allow a person to share information, or to make changes to a shared document in real-time, rather than peering over one person’s laptop. In addition to collaborating with colleagues in the same office, many huddle room meetings include contributors who are working remotely, whether it’s across town or across the globe. Multiple displays come in handy when using video conferencing services – one screen can be shared to the web conference with the other screen showing the conference UI for the people in the room, while the local laptop display can be used for capturing notes or monitoring email. Organizations must determine how to bring remote participants into the conversation seamlessly.

With such strong emphasis on collaboration, quality AV gear is a vital consideration for huddle room design. If you’ll be using video conferencing, you’ll need to select a camera and location that adequately captures the conversation that occurs in the room. In all cases, audio is critical for enabling effective conversations and collaboration. The people in the room need to be able to hear remote participants, and the remote participants must be able to effectively engage in the conversation as it occurs.

That’s where Biamp products like Devio and TesiraFORTÉ come into play. Although TesiraFORTÉ is designed for larger, more traditional conference rooms, it can also support huddle rooms as part of a larger networked media system. These products deliver world-renowned Biamp audio for conferencing, with acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, automatic gain control, and more technologies that make sure both ends of a conference can understand and interact with each other. With Devio, Biamp has added support for connecting to one or two in-room monitors and an integrated USB hub for connecting devices like web cameras. Additionally, Devio includes an 8-element beamforming microphone that is able to track and mix multiple voices – enabling web conferencing participants to naturally participate in the conversation as it occurs.

Ultimately, ideal huddle room setup varies from organization to organization, and even from office to office within those organizations. That’s why Biamp has a range of powerful and flexible options for supporting effective collaboration, whether you’re communicating across the room or across the globe.