Denmark’s leading insurance company Topdanmark is using the ThinkSmart Hub 500, an all-in-one smart office device for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams Room System from Lenovo, to enable simplified and more efficient meetings in an agile workplace.
In today's work culture of deeper collaboration between teams across offices, the role of the humble meeting room cannot be overstated. A group of people no longer need to be in the same room to meet and collaborate. The new meeting room is a space of productivity where teams come together to connect with colleagues, partners, and customers located in different offices, cities, and even time zones. To play this role more efficiently, meeting rooms need to be equipped with the right technology solutions. Topdanmark recently switched to Lenovo's ThinkSmart Hub 500 meeting room solution as part of a larger drive towards workplace agility, and it is already making a significant impact on employee productivity in their offices.
A planned shift to a more agile workplace
It all started when the HR team at Topdanmark conducted an internal study to evaluate productivity bottlenecks in the company’s development teams and find out ways to work faster. One of the key findings from this study was around inefficiencies in conducting online meetings. Meeting rooms were equipped with a desktop, and users could log in using their credentials and use Skype for Business for web conferencing. While functional, this system was time-consuming and not seamless to use.
Around 10-15 minutes of valuable time got wasted before employees could get meeting up and running and get to the productive part. There was a need to set up a more efficient system. In fact, the biggest push to optimize meeting rooms with a smart solution came from the IT Development team.
The company had spent most of last year switching from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business Online. With the employees now using Microsoft-based programs, the time was right to implement a better solution for their meeting rooms too. This was when the company learned about a new meeting room solution from Lenovo.
Smarter meeting rooms
Topdanmark has a long-standing relationship with Lenovo, going back almost 15 years. Most of the employees in the company use Lenovo laptops. Employees involved with sales, who are often on the road or working from remote locations, rely on the ThinkPad T580, while other employees use the ThinkPad T470. There are also many ThinkCentre M910q desktops in use, in meeting rooms as well as outside it.
It was during one of the meetings with Lenovo related to a PC upgrade that Topdanmark was introduced to the ThinkSmart Hub 500. "It did not take us long to realize that the ThinkSmart Hub 500 was the device that could take us close to where we wanted to be with our meeting rooms," says Morten Hatting, IT-PC Developer in the IT Architecture & Operations team. The device was an excellent fit for all the requirements and expectations the company had from a smart meeting room solution, and at a price point that fit their budget.
It did not take us long to realize that the ThinkSmart Hub 500 was the device that could take us close to where we wanted to be with our meeting rooms.Morten Hatting
IT-PC Developer, IT Architecture & Operations Team
Better collaboration, enhanced efficiencies
The company has set up ThinkSmart Hub 500 in 20 meeting rooms so far, but this number could grow up to 50 meeting rooms as early as Christmas this year. They started with five devices for a project that urgently needed Skype facilities. Usually, when a deployment happens, an image of the device is created to enable remote manageability, but in this case that step was bypassed. The five devices were used right out of the box.
A large number of employees at Topdanmark used a virtual machine, so the company wanted to have the meeting room set up in such a way that employees could not only connect using a laptop but also gain access via a virtual environment. This was done by running the HDMI cable through a switch box that now presented employees the option to choose between these two environments.
"Since the ThinkSmart Hub 500 solution was so simple to deploy and easy to use, we just went ahead with it and waited to see how users would react. We received positive feedback from the get-go," explains Morten.
The IT team at Topdanmark did reach out to Lenovo initially, but since the solution was designed to be intuitive, there was minimal need for support. Employees did not require any specialized training either. They receive a usage guide every time they book a room, and that seems to suffice. In fact, all the employees at Topdanmark, from millennial workers to experienced personnel, found it easy and seamless to adapt to the new system.
Topdanmark is currently using Skype for Business Online but moving to Microsoft Teams Rooms. ThinkSmart Hub 500 works seamlessly with both platforms. While it is still early to get hard figures around the efficiency gains from switching to ThinkSmart Hub 500, an indicator of its success is the fact that all meeting rooms with this device are almost always fully booked during the company’s business hours when collaborating with the Manila office. Employees using rooms without the ThinkSmart Hub 500 solution are placing requests to deploy it in these rooms too.
The IT team has benefited too. "With fewer meeting room IT incidents, the IT team doesn’t need to spend time on problem-solving and can focus on more strategic tasks," says Morten.
The way forward
Morten is happy with the results so far. The quality of meetings has improved – meetings start on time now, and the voice quality, both incoming and outgoing, is noticeably better even in large meeting rooms.
The team is looking forward to deploying the ThinkSmart Hub 500 device in more meeting rooms. More employees using this smarter technology for meetings can only lead to better collaboration, stronger teamwork, and more positive outcomes for Topdanmark in the time ahead.