Conference Room Technology: Device & System Basics
Video conferencing technology has made virtual meetings almost as good as face-to-face meetings, obviating the need for costly business trips. Any space can be transformed into a virtual conference room with the help of a video conferencing device and a few pieces of equipment. Rapid technological advancements now allow for immersive virtual meetings with high participation.
It can be difficult to find the best fit for your business needs in the world of virtual meeting technology because there is so much to choose from. If you run a small company with international clients or a startup with team members all over the world, video conferencing is a must-have, but the technology and software for each use case vary slightly.
There are several factors that go into creating the best conference room for your business, but the first step is to get the right equipment. The experts at MIProTechs are here to help you explore some of the most essential components of a robust conference room technology solution.
Choose the right video displays.
Be it a quarterly financial report or a project roadmap, the right display is important for connecting people over video and screen sharing. When it comes to setting up meeting spaces, video screens often a point of contention. Here are a few things to think about…
Whether it’s a TV or projection screen, every type of display is measured diagonally. That being said, we recommend a diagonal screen size that is about half the length of your conference room for optimal clarity and viewing. For example, the ideal screen size for a room that is 16 feet in length and seats 8-10 people would be about 8 feet, which works about to be 96 inches diagonally.
Display Type - TV vs. Projector
Projection screens tend to have a longer lifespan than TVs, with the former lasting about 20-30 years and the latter lasting about 4-6 years on average. You also have the freedom to upgrade to the next generation projector without having to replace the entire screen itself, making this a relatively futureproof solution. Projection screens are also easier to store, can display more information with higher aspect ratios, and feature the ability to adjust the size of the content being displayed over TVs.
On the other hand, unlike projection screens which require total darkness, TVs perform well at all room lighting levels, which can be better for notetaking and following along with hardcopy meeting materials. TVs are also much easier to set up than projections screens, are generally more cost-effective, and more ideal for smaller teams that might not have a ton of people attending their meetings.
The height at which you mount your conference room displays on the wall is crucial to viewing comfort for all in attendance. When done correctly, it can reduce fatigue and pain associated with having to sit with one’s head in an awkward position to see the screen, as well as allow those attending the meeting virtually to make level eye contact with those in the office, which reduces the discomfort of “looking down upon” or “being looked down upon”. We generally recommend that conference room displays be mounted about 1-2 feet above the ground for best results.
Virtual Conference Capability
Virtual meetings were gaining popularity long before the pandemic forced many of us to use them as they cut down on travel costs, present the opportunity for long-distance client/talent acquisition, and add more flexibility to meeting times. There’s a long list of video conferencing clients to choose from and making a decision can be challenging. Your decision will be primarily influenced by your business needs, but security and scalability are also essential factors to consider. When selecting a video conferencing technology, the first thing to remember is how you intend to use it. Think about the following:
- Will you be using it for team meetings? Client meetings? Both?
- Will your meeting attendance be large or small?
- Will you need the option for screen sharing? Recording?
- Will you host webinars or online training?
- Will you need the option for mobile attendance in addition to desktop?
- Will you need a direct chat feature?
Another important aspect is ease of use. You don't want your end-user to have a difficult time installing the app and attending virtual meetings. You want the process to be as straightforward as possible, with as few clicks as possible, for the presenters as well as attendants. This will help to prevent long delays and interruptions that can cut into time that could be used more productively.
Speakers and microphones can greatly enhance the meeting experience, allowing all in attendance to be heard clearly and ensure that nothing is lost in translation. They can be placed on the table, below the video monitor with a sound bar, or even in the ceiling if you want to get fancy. The size of your conference room and the number of attendees will influence your decision. Sound-bars are ideal for smaller rooms since they sit neatly under the display. Multiple microphones and speakers are needed in larger rooms. These can be arranged in a daisy chain on the table or hung from the ceiling.
Also make sure you consider whether you need your speakers and microphones to be wired or wireless, as this can impact the aesthetic appeal of the space. For wired options, we at MIProTechs can either hide wires in the walls or neatly organize them into a structured wiring panel that seamlessly blends with the room décor, so either way, you don’t send the wrong impression of “messiness” to clients.
Smaller conference rooms fair well with a simple HD web cam placed on top of the display or mounted at the head of the table, whichever is more practical. In large conferences rooms, you might be better off with a more sophisticated camera system with wider viewing angles and the ability to switch between speakers to give them the full floor.
Even if you have high-quality cameras, poor lighting will make the whole experience unpleasant for everyone. Your conference room should be lit evenly with no harsh backlighting or a single source of light on one side of the room. This will ensure that in-person attendants can see each other clearly, and virtual attendants don’t think you’re coming to them live from a horror movie basement. In a large meeting space with many people in attendance, we can pair smart lighting with your camera system’s ability to switch between speakers, literally putting them in the spotlight.
If your conference room has a lot of windows, we can also install smart shades that can be controlled directly from a table-mounted command center, smartphone, or tablet when a low-light or purely artificial lighting environment is needed.
A control panel is the heart of your conference room technology. Each device including the display, audio, lighting, window treatments, door locks, and more can be integrated and controlled on the fly with the simple push of a button. Your control panel can come in the form of a command center installed directly in the conference room table, an app on a smartphone or tablet, or both.
Now that you have some insight into the basics of a solid conference room technology setup, it’s time to start the planning process in earnest. If you’re overwhelmed by the many possibilities that are available to you - don’t worry! The experts at MIProTechs are always here to answer any questions you have, and provide the professional guidance you need in your quest to build a meeting space engineered for collaboration and productivity.
Give us a call at (248) 987-6171 or schedule and appointment online!