Purpose-Driven Design Makes Meeting Collaboration Easier

MGM Resorts recognizes and answers the ever-growing need for innovative and cohesive technology configurations in meeting and convention spaces.

Corporate meetings are no longer about sitting in a giant ballroom anonymously listening to speaker after speaker. Meetings increasingly have a collaboration component that often includes staff members and clients who are participating remotely.

To achieve this, meeting planners often look for the latest technology to foster collaboration and connection with meeting delegates, according to a 2019 trends report by IACC, a global community of meeting planners. Further, the report finds that 85 percent of meeting planners are looking for ways to seamlessly integrate new technology into their meetings.

Incorporating technology into meetings isn’t always easy. Finding the right cable or remote to connect multiple devices that operate on different platforms can quickly stall a meeting and create frustration. Ensuring that the network is secure and that people can participate remotely is often challenging as well.

Shelly Cruz, vice president of sales for Park MGM in Las Vegas, often hears meeting planners share these concerns during site inspections. Those conversations helped MGM Resorts to realize that “it’s all about the technology” and became the impetus for MGM Resorts and Cisco to partner on Park MGM’s 7,000-square-foot Ideation Studio, Cruz says. The first-of-its-kind space offers teams a combined real and virtual meeting space for collaboration, video calling and sharing notes, files and presentations through a white board. “We noticed a number of companies use smart boards so we thought, why not have them in our meeting spaces,” Cruz says.

Rather than fumbling with cables and passwords, the Ideation Studio’s “smart” conference space recognizes each person’s device as they enter, regardless of the type of device, make or model. As long as the device’s sound is turned on and a collaboration app is downloaded to the device, the whiteboards will automatically recognize the device and connect, Cruz says. Further, the space is encrypted end-to- end so that MGM Resorts and Cisco can’t see what data or information is being shared on the whiteboards, Cruz says.

However, remote participants can see everything as if they were sitting in the meeting room, Cruz says. “They can even write on the whiteboard using their smartphone or tablet,” she says.

Technology isn’t the only innovation at the Ideation Studio. The space also uses behavioral science research from Steelcase furniture and IACC to create room configurations that enhance engagement and the flow of ideas. For instance, all the chairs are high boys to allow participants to be eye level with the speaker, keeping participants engaged and free from distractions, Cruz says.

In addition to the Ideation Studio, Park MGM offers the Madison Meeting Center, a 10,000-square-foot space for simplified turn-key meetings. The Madison Meeting Center incorporates the Staywell features offered at several MGM Resorts, including circadian lighting, air purification, aromatherapy, custom menus approved by the Cleveland Clinic and guided meditation narrated by Dr. Deepak Chopra, to improve alertness and engagement.

Both the Ideation Studio and Madison Meeting Center were recently added to IACC’s elite group of 300 conferencing venues in 26 countries. IACC venues rank in the top 1 percent of small and medium-sized meeting venues in the world for creating unique events, meetings and conferences. “The designs of Park MGM’s Ideation Studio have taken into consideration many of the trends and preferences from meeting planners that IACC has identified through its research,” says IACC CEO Mark Cooper.

(Handout photo)