Technology

Work Face-to-Face When You Can’t Be

Steelcase introduces Roam for the Surface Hub 2S family: large-scale, mobile collaboration tools to bring teams together.

Distributed collaboration is a key component to the reinvention of the workplace. As people return to the office in waves, adhere to new physical distancing standards and maintain some level of travel restrictions, organizations need the right kinds of devices and spaces for how we’re working today and in the future. Since 2017, Microsoft and Steelcase have teamed up to give people the tools they need to collaborate, create and innovate by bringing together people, technology and place.

Now, the two companies are introducing Steelcase Roam for Microsoft Surface Hub 2S 85″ and expanding the Steelcase Roam Collection to amplify large-scale collaboration in person and at a distance.

Steelcase Roam Collection

Mixed Presence Barriers

Just like students and teachers are embracing blended learning, companies and employees are figuring out how to make blended working successful. When some people are in the room and others join remotely, the remote participants tend to have to work a lot harder to see, be seen and be heard — a concept called presence disparity. This concept is defined by:

Difficulty seeing and engaging in content while also viewing remote participants’ faces.

Remote participants missing the conversations before and after meetings.

Remote participants struggling to enter the conversation because those in the room miss visual or verbal cues.

In addition to remote participants not feeling valued, large-scale technology has typically been more fixed than flexible. Today’s organizations need more adaptability. Enclosed and open spaces are adapting to new safety standards. What used to be a conference room, may now be a small group space. What used to be an unenclosed social space, may now be the perfect place for a larger group meeting. Tools and technology need to be flexible as well.

Improving Distance Collaboration

“Our work with Microsoft continues to build on our shared commitment to put people at the center of how place and technology come together to empower individuals and teams to do their best work. This next chapter could not come at a more important time to give people the freedom to collaborate anywhere and to bring teams together no matter where they are in the world,” says Roya Bruce, product manager for Steelcase Roam Collection.

Large-scale devices are designed to overcome challenges inherent to working with teammates at a distance. The scale of the new Microsoft Surface Hub 2S 85” brings remote participants to life. Whether you’re meeting with one other person or 20, everyone can be seen, heard and actively participate in meetings. Another benefit to a bigger screen is the ability to see both content and people. You can use part of the screen for an interactive whiteboard or document while reserving the other part for remote participants. By making it easy to immerse yourself in the topic at hand, the persistent, digital canvas lets you save time and pick up wherever you left off across devices and platforms.

“This next chapter gives people the freedom to collaborate anywhere and brings teams together no matter where they are in the world.”

Roya Bruce
Product Manager, Steelcase Roam Collection

Support Flexibility

“With the changes in our work landscape and more people working remotely, now more than ever businesses are looking for technology that helps recreate the energy and connection we feel when we’re in a room together. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Steelcase, enabling teams with tools to transform their meeting spaces to connect and collaborate in this new hybrid world of work,” says Robin Seiler, corporate vice president, Microsoft Devices.

“Now more than ever businesses are looking for technology that helps recreate the energy and connection we feel when we’re in a room together.”

Robin Seiler
Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Devices

Right now, organizations are adjusting their spaces to adhere to safety protocols and accommodate social distancing. With the Steelcase Roam collection, designed to support the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S family of devices, any space can become a collaborative space. The expanded system of mobile stands and easy-to-install wall and floor mounts can be integrated into any room or open collaborative space — enabling teamwork to happen wherever ideas do. The mobile stand allows participants in person to spread out safely, while still being seen on screen by remote participants.

Enable Active Collaboration

Collaborative work at its best is active. Research tells us our bodies energize our brains. While static sitting can sabotage our thinking, standing or movement boosts our ability to pay attention by pumping oxygen to our brains and engaging cognitive-processing areas. It’s why you get such good ideas on walks or while working out. The Surface Hub 2S 85” and the Steelcase Roam Collection encourage people to stand, move and interact in the creative process. Teams feel a sense of shared purpose and encouragement to explore and build on each other’s ideas.

As organizations create flexible and adaptable spaces that reinvent the office, they will be taking remote and in person teamwork to a whole new level. Steelcase Roam Collection and Microsoft Surface Hub 2S 85″ are available for pre-order now available in the US with additional markets to follow soon.

For more information, visit the Steelcase Roam Collection product page.

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