That headline sounds a little menacing, but don’t worry. Meeting spaces aren’t becoming sentient forces and planning a Terminator-like takeover. Be that as it may, you’d be remiss not to pay attention to the ways meeting spaces are being reconfigured due to the disbursement of the workforce and the development of increasingly sophisticated mobile collaboration technology. In case you still need convincing, we’ve got some numbers to back it up.
Every year, the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) conducts a far-reaching survey of meeting venue operators and suppliers to get a feel for the state of collaboration and conferencing needs around the world. For their 2018 report, IACC reached out to 50 venues across four continents to ascertain how companies are responding to client and employee needs with the configuration of meeting spaces and implementation of collaboration technology.
The results will not surprise anyone who has noticed huddle rooms and other versatile spaces dominate floor plans as the mobile workforce grows. If anything, IACC’s “Meeting Room of the Future” report confirms what we have already learned: that the old ways of thinking about meeting rooms are no longer worth holding on to.
The IACC found that 60% of venue operators believe that flexible meeting spaces will become more important in the future, while suppliers cited flexible and “non-traditional” meeting room furniture as a key trend in meeting room development and design over the past few years.
“The momentum in venues creating more flexible meeting environments is the standout result this year,” said Mark Cooper, CEO of the International Association of Conference Centers. “This is in line with an appetite from meeting organizers to incorporate a changing layout for their meetings, often multiple times in the day and the furniture used in the meeting spaces is critical to this being possible.”
The number of venue operators with “flexible” furniture and equipment in all of their meeting rooms increased from 28% to 37%, which is a pretty big jump for a single year. Additionally, 100% of the suppliers that responded to IACC’s survey reported a greater demand for portable LCD flat panels and data projectors, with an attendant decline in demand for built-in version of this technology.
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