This blog post is written by our guest, Aaron McArdle. Aaron is a mid-western entrepreneur and innovator based in Normal, Illinois. His common-sense approach to solving complex problems allows him to succeed where others fail. His passion for solving these problems from the human perspective of feeling the pain these problems create, truly sets him apart.
This unique perspective as the CEO of RoomReady allows him to lead an agile team of problem solvers. When he is not on video calls or at customer meetings, you can typically find him on his boat with his wife and 3 children.
I travel a lot to meet potential customers, tell the RoomReady story, and share our vision for the future of work and meetings. Thankfully, I have an amazing team, wonderful family, and an awesome wife that take care of everything while I’m on the road and allow me to do what I love.
One evening a couple years ago, as I was riding in an Uber from the airport to the hotel, I called my wife to check in and say hi.
My wife was driving with my son who was sitting in the back seat watching a video on the car’s entertainment system. My wife said, “Mr. B, (my son Brent’s nickname) do you want to talk to dad?”
Mr. B responded, “Sure, throw him up on video,” as he adjusted the screen in the back for better viewing.
She said, “Honey, we can’t do that now. We’re in the car and Dad is on the phone.”
To which he replied, “Oh, never mind then,” and went back to watching his movie.
I think about this story all the time: If he couldn’t see me, it wasn’t worth his time. Video is a prerequisite for my son and his generation. In business, video is becoming a game changer. Having worked with Cisco video equipment for many years, we’ve known this for quite some time. But people still assume you have to have big, expensive systems to get the kind of quality that’s suitable for business. That’s been untrue for a while, but it’s now especially untrue with Cisco’s latest video solution for huddle spaces – the Cisco Webex Room Kit Mini.
Mini but mighty
For the past couple of years, RoomReady has been deploying Cisco Webex Room Kit Series devices, which are awesome tools for delivering high quality audio and video in meeting spaces. But the new Room Kit Mini gives us the opportunity to cost-effectively and easily add video to smaller spaces in high volume. Our customers love video and want to deploy more but needed a more budget friendly solution without sacrificing quality or experience. The Room Kit Mini is that solution. It allows us to add an enterprise quality video device to hundreds of smaller meeting spaces without sacrificing user experience, audio and video quality, or global manageability.
Cisco’s engineers have stuffed unbelievable technology into the Room Kit Series, and the Room Kit Mini is no exception. Before the Mini, customers had to choose between paying for a great experience or staying in budget and settling for a mediocre solution. Awesome AI technologies, an HD camera, beam forming mics, and amazing speakers in the Mini will reset the customers’ expectations for a great experience in a small meeting room.
Since the Mini is a part of the Room Kit series product line, it registers to, and is managed by the customers’ existing Cisco infrastructure. It can be covered by the same operational support processes and systems that are already in place, and the customer can manage and monitor all the small conference rooms and huddle rooms the same way they manage the larger meeting spaces. This increases supportability while driving down total cost of ownership.
Value at purchase and over time
Striking a balance between the cost of a small huddle room and the global supportability has been a challenge that has stifled growth by preventing small meeting space and huddle room deployment in many enterprise organizations. In a traditional “AV” huddle space, the total cost of ownership is disproportionate to the cost of the equipment. It could be as much as 1:1 on an annual basis – in other words, costing as much to manage as it did to purchase the equipment. As customers attempted to assemble inexpensive spaces designed to fit their needs, they created systems with long lists of disparate components impossible to monitor and manage as you can see in this unboxing video of the Room Kit Mini. Once installed, support organizations found themselves struggling to monitor the spaces, provide end-user training, and maintain a service level consistent with the larger spaces.
With the Room Kit Mini, the engineers at Cisco have created a solution that delivers a superior meeting experience while significantly reducing the start-up cost AND the total cost of ownership for deploying video into the smallest conference and huddle spaces. Our own calculations show the Room Kit Mini can reduce the TCO cost over multi-component vendors by as much as 75% percent. The Room Kit Mini, display, mount, and a couple cables are all that’s required to deliver this world class solution. The Mini can also be managed and monitored through the normal operational support systems already in place in most enterprise organizations. Businesses can tuck Room Kit Minis into their existing support programs and can manage the spaces efficiently and effectively without adding any additional systems or personnel.
At RoomReady, we work with customers to understand their business and how they choose to work. Then we work with them to build a menu of room solutions that fit their needs, develop a strategy to deliver the solution, and execute on that strategy to install the systems quickly and efficiently. The Room Kit Mini gives us a great tool for smaller conference rooms and huddle spaces without compromise on quality. We couldn’t be more excited about the future of meetings.