When technology was newer, it was easier to decide which equipment to install because there were so few options. Now, with an abundance of technology to choose from, these decisions are harder but still need to be made to enhance workplace efficiency. In order to have a truly efficient workplace, your meeting rooms must be optimized with the right audiovisual equipment. But if you aren’t tech savvy, how do you know what equipment your meeting rooms need? And if you’re on a budget, how can you distinguish between the necessary equipment and the supplementary equipment? This guide will go over the main pieces of equipment that are absolutely necessary in any meeting room for an advanced and efficient space.
The most overlooked part of any meeting room is the control panel. Like the name implies, control panels control the rest of the audiovisual equipment in your meeting room. Without one, you’d be left to turn everything on by hand, which isn’t too much of a hassle, but it does eat away at efficiency, especially if you have to go through these steps every time you have a meeting. On the other hand, control panel allow your meetings to begin almost as soon as you step into the room.
Control panels are programmed with different settings that allow you to use your meeting room in different ways depending on your needs. For example, hosting a videoconference would require different equipment than a presentation, and both of these would require different equipment than a brainstorming session. With a control panel, each of these uses is programmed with its own button that powers on everything you need for that specific meeting type. To start your meeting, all you need to do is press the button that corresponds to your desired meeting type and let the control panel do the rest.
A meeting room without a display is like a gaming console without games: useless. The whole point of a meeting room—on top of holding meetings—is to be able to host presentations and videoconferences. Without a display, these options aren’t possible. You’d have to resort to using a laptop, which means people around the room won’t be able to clearly see your presentation or the people on the other side of the videoconference. This ultimately destroys the purpose of your meeting room.
When choosing a display, the most important factor is size. Most displays nowadays have acceptable image quality, but image quality is useless if the display isn’t big enough to be seen from the back of the room. For a fully optimized meeting room, you need at least one display that’s large enough so it can be clearly seen from every vantage point in the room. This way, your presentations and videoconferences are fully accessible to every employee in the meeting room, and thus, these meetings are as efficient as possible since everyone receives the information at the same time without restrictions. If you have a larger conference room, you may need more than one display placed around the room to ensure everyone can accurately see the content being displayed.
Cameras, Microphones, and Speakers
While displays facilitate videoconferences in meeting rooms, cameras, microphones, and speakers make them possible. As you may have guessed, videoconferences are unattainable without an additional camera in the room. Once again, you could use the camera from your laptop, but you are almost guaranteed to leave some employees out of the frame, which will decrease participation from those employees.
On top of this, camera quality should be taken into consideration. The fact is cameras made specifically for videoconferencing will always trump built-in laptop cameras in terms of image quality. This is because external cameras offer more space for extra lenses and other electronics that provide an overall better resolution. Furthermore, some external cameras offer tilting and zooming, meaning they can find and zoom in on the speaker to ensure the other end doesn’t miss any visual cues. Whichever camera you choose, make sure to place it in a spot where everyone in the room can be seen to encourage participation and collaboration among employees.
Like cameras, external microphones are necessary for meeting room videoconferences. Laptop microphones are unreliable, especially for larger groups. They will surely cut off those farthest away. And even if they don’t, the quality will be shaky at best. External microphones will deliver crisp audio no matter the location of the speaker. When it comes to microphones, there are tons of options to choose from. Depending on your room size and needs, you may prefer table-top, ceiling-mounted, or even pendant microphones. Also, keep in mind that you might need more than one microphone for optimal audio input in larger rooms depending on your microphone’s power. No matter the installation, it’s best to consult with your audiovisual equipment dealer to decide how many microphones are needed to adequately cover a certain area. For maximum efficiency in all meetings, make sure all areas of the room can be picked up by the microphone you choose.
To provide clear, crisp audio for everyone in the room, external speakers are vital. With external speakers, you won’t have to worry about any audio distortion frequently found in laptop speakers. Moreover, the ability to post multiple speakers around the room ensures an evenly distributed audio output, and thus, encourages full participation from every team member in every videoconference. Once again, there are tons of options to choose from when it comes to speakers. When choosing and installing speakers, test them out by moving around the room to make sure the sound is spread as equally as possible.
Although not technically a piece of equipment, videoconferencing platforms are just as important as any other piece of equipment when it comes to optimizing meeting rooms. Videoconferencing platforms, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc., enable face-to-face communication regardless of physical distance, which saves the money and time of travelling. Although phone conversations are always an option, they aren’t as productive as videoconferences. Through the phone, there’s always a chance of missing important visual cues, and sometimes with multiple people, it can get confusing as to who is talking. Therefore, no matter your area of business, having at least one videoconferencing platform is a necessity for effective communication throughout the company as well as with partner companies and potential clients.
For an example of a recent Matrix installation that incorporated all of these features, please see our Connect First Credit Union project page. Contact us today to learn how we can optimize your meeting rooms!