In February of this year, Crestron announced that wireless conferencing features had been added to its line of AirMedia® products. Since then, there’s been a succession of updates to the technology, making these solutions even more robust. (Find info about the latest upgrade here.)
As these solutions evolve — quickly — perhaps a reset is in order: Just what does the technology do, and what are its benefits?
First, the basics from Crestron’s Lauren Simmen. “Wireless conferencing is the ability to conference without needing a dedicated device in the room,” she says. It’s perfect for the areas of an in-person office that don’t have a full Microsoft Teams® or Zoom Rooms™ software setup. “We’re talking about those smaller budget spaces, the smaller rooms, where all you really need is a sound bar and a display,” says Simmen. “It allows you to bring conferencing to those without running a whole host of new wires.”
As the demand for connectivity in every space continues to be driven by hybrid work and learning environments, the need for cost-effective solutions in smaller areas becomes apparent. “You don't want to add the expense of putting $10,000 worth of gear into a huddle space,” notes Simmen. “That's not going to be cost-effective for organizations who need to add wireless conferencing to every part of their office or campus.” That includes “lounge spaces,” too, says Simmen: “We've seen the data — there are more and more collaboration spaces that aren't contained by four walls.” That includes break areas, lunch rooms, and other small spaces that have seen other uses. “If you have one or two chairs and a display — even one being used for digital signage — you have the potential for a collaboration space with your remote colleagues,” she notes.
Besides cost savings, there’s the benefit of future flexibility, too. “If you’re planning a new physical location for your enterprise and you're not quite sure what you're going to do with every part of that square footage — if you think that you might be changing it, making it a divisible space, or upgrading it at some point in the future — wireless conferencing is a great way to provide that connectivity without the time and expense of a ‘rip-and-replace’ strategy,” says Simmen.
Of course, another benefit of wireless conferencing is enabling “bring-your-own-device” adaptability for guest presenters or lecturers. (The latter is especially important for a variety of university campus settings.) “We’re very focused on the interoperability of these solutions,” says Simmen. Additionally, “With the blend of remote and in-person work that most people are adopting, there’s also a growing BYOD demand from employees, too,” she says.
Simmen also emphasizes that Crestron is committed to ensuring security when outside devices are added to the mix. “This is on its own network; you can set up a guest network, so it runs as its own independent device,” says Simmen, “and it's AES encrypted.”