No More (Just) Conference Room Booking
Don’t let the title fool you, Roomzilla is not calling it a day, but to call our platform just a conference room booking system, would be mislabelling not just the company but the industry as a whole. It was one of the primary ways the company started off and not only are we still growing clients within this area, but of course we continue to develop it further. In fact we recently added a qr code check in option to expand our contact-less offering as one example. The demands, however, have been changing and while some trends – like hot desking – have been amplified by the current pandemic out there, we can say that such shifts in trends were already cropping up even before it occurred. In some cases, the pandemic just expedited the inevitable with one well known work culture shift being remote based work. When looking at that statement and the graph below, the point here is that – with or without the pandemic – this trend as well as many others were already in a state of growth:
Not to mention that even our clients have diversified. Sure, it was mainly offices & coworking spaces in the early days, and yes we certainly continue to work in these industries, but now we have a growing number of clients from areas such as education, laboratories, gyms, and event / conference management. As you can imagine, the need for meeting room booking doesn’t exist with all clients; however the common underlying need is about managing workplaces and its spaces along with other resources.
As we speak with our new prospects and current clients, in addition to unique feature requests we are also spotting trends with ones that span across industries and continue to incorporate them, you can keep checking in with us to see the latest.
All of the above is meant to serve as background to explore the possibilities of where we are heading as a business and an industry. Here are some possible scenarios to forecast the industry’s direction which are the opinion mainly of the author:
- Workspace Management & Optimization – again, not only about the meeting room as mentioned but about the workplace and how to properly manage it from the current need of social distancing to the usage of reporting & analytics to better manage resource costs on the scale of time spent vs user to utility consumption per resource per user to better plan and expand workplaces. This industry already exists but remains fragmented to some degree; however, please recall this is about the industry we’re in specifically with the addition that our software platform may just be part of the service, and integration with IoT based functions from meeting room door entry to coffee machine disbursement management will be the norm in addition to integration with calendars. Already we are seeing some development here within the industry but the point here is it will start becoming the norm soon.
- So point 1 is not exactly a new concept; however, with the need for specialism in more complex workplace management, the next area is that companies within the industry may start adding consulting & on site training services. Roomzilla does that to some degree already as can be seen with our recent training but this is more about a full “let us manage your workplace for you” service that will not only see companies like ours integrating its own tech but also setting up the workplace and even running it virtually for businesses for a reasonable fee. Such a full blown solution could be particularly useful for the SME sector. Makes sense? After all, we have gained the experience needed to not only make our product better and better, but also understand the wide variety of workplace challenges out there and how to resolve them.
- The hybrid work from office / work from home operation. This is a sector that is now ever more becoming the norm but it is also one that is still new for many companies and industries. The current trend is using dated tools like time tracking software which has numerous flaws and can actually cost you the employee, not to mention violate privacy especially if an employee uses their own device. The new way forward may consist of current platforms like Roomzilla to start making the workplace an extension of the home office and the home office an extension of the workplace. For example only: eventually remote work may not be as attractive a benefit to lure that candidate to you as it may become a norm; however, with a system in place, perhaps reimbursement of home office expenses such as utilities used during the designated time start to come up. That concept is not new but here we’re talking about integrating home utility tracking & reimbursement (as private and complaint as possible) into the platform and treating it like another room in the workplace, plus scaling it even further. Another example: geo-location “punch cards” whereby the employee predefines places of work (i.e. home, coffee shop etc.) as well as hours and an app ensures that they are in their place of work when expected. How is this different from time tracking? It’s less admin intense, less invasive, and it’s just about ensuring the employee has checked into their workplace rather than keep track of every granular detail.
- B2C Product & Other industries – The final area where there may be some development is that a platform like Roomzilla, is no longer just for businesses but also for consumers trying to manage their home office during the day like a business manages its workplace. Additionally, new industries may take up using a platform like ours to manage their quieter hours and unique situations like a coffee shop or restaurant running itself as a coworking space from Mon-Fri. While currently sitting in one is free, this is not just about a revenue model but also about finding where the nearest co-working / hot desking style place is along with what resources it offers, whether it be a coffee shop, restaurant, pub, or anywhere that could easily convert to a place of work during the day.
Many of the points above exist already or are in play to various degrees, but our industry is well primed to bring its tech and experience and combine the above with even more ideas under one intuitive platform. Where it goes this year or next is still up in the air; however, one thing is for sure: our industry is not what it used to be.