Conference rooms add value to organizations through improved communication, virtual communication with remote offices, and by allowing organizations to stage high value calls directly from their own offices. While quality conference rooms are an investment, they are often easy to set up and maintain, especially if you invest in quality technology.
While the exact requirements for your conference room will depend on the size and shape of the room, the type of conferences you hold, and budget, most ideal conference rooms need a specific set of technology to be well-equipped. You should consider the following tech components for your ideal conference room setup.
LED screens are quickly replacing projectors as they become sharper, brighter, and cheaper. Unlike projectors, screens can be used in a range of medium-to-bright-light environments, offer more responsiveness, and better quality.
Modern LED screens are capable of connecting to Internet, sharing voice and video calls, sharing presentations, and connecting directly to computers over networks for seamless presentations.
Digital displays are highly advantageous for large meeting rooms because they allow you to organize displays around the room, creating more options for room layout and allowing you to fit more people into a single conference.
Choosing LED screens often means considering the room and organization needs.
- How many people will use the room?
- How large is the space?
- What will the room be used for? In-person meetings? Video conferencing?
- What is the table layout?
Answering these questions can help you to make key decisions regarding devices and setup. If you’re frequently hosting 20-30 people, you likely want a U-shape conference table with either multiple displays along it or a single larger video wall. If your room is smaller, like for 15 people or less, you could get away with a single, large display on one end of a table.
Note that LED may not be the best choice. OLED displays are becoming more affordable and are more suitable for smaller rooms. LCD displays are even cheaper, perform very well in even bright rooms, and typically offer significantly higher quality in small spaces than LED. However, each display type has its own pros and cons so you should discuss your needs with your installer before making a decision.
Projectors are often being replaced by digital displays, but they can be very valuable. While you may not want both a digital display and a projector, it could provide useful. Projectors are limited in that they require all seating to face a single direction, which has to be a large and plain white wall. However, they also allow you to quickly share visual data without investing in displays or on a larger scale than displays.
Modern projectors can achieve nearly anything, with models capable of projecting images in even medium light conditions. Most prefer low light. However, you can project HD images with multiple projectors, edge-blending, and other techniques, to rival the quality of many digital displays.
Fixed projectors typically install onto ceilings and must be chosen to meet architectural capabilities, display brightness needs, and desired display size.
A quality speaker setup is a crucial element of your conference room. Any audio shared over presentations, by speakers, or in calls must be audible from every seat in the room. This typically involves setting up a speaker system based on table-chair layout.
Here, it’s important to keep in mind that tables and chairs are often moved. If you expect your conference room will be reorganized, a surround-sound system is often a better choice because it ensures the whole room can hear everything, even when tables are moved.
Microphones and Headsets
Microphones and headsets are crucial wherever you plan to incorporate at least some virtual conferences or video conferences. This might include:
- Virtual conferences
- Remote team meetings
- Team video calls
- Incorporating remote callers into conferences
Most conferences should also include a microphone for speakers whenever you have more than about 15-20 people present, otherwise people in the back may not hear speakers. This is also relevant if table layout is large enough that most speakers cannot easily be heard from their seats.
In most cases, you likely want either fixed microphones at seats (simple to setup and turn on), clip-on microphones (easier to use, especially when standing up and moving around but more difficult to set up), or headsets (also easier to use but more difficult to set up).
No matter what you choose, you should ensure that anyone using the conference room receives training on how to use those microphones.
Cameras are essential in any use case where video conferencing is a room function, so consider how and when people are calling.
Group calling can typically be handled by a single front-facing camera incorporating a larger space.
Most callers will also want the ability to handle on-on-one calls, which may necessitate installing cameras at seating spaces as well.
Cables and Connectors
Cables and connectors are an oft-forgotten element of conference rooms, but they make a huge difference. While wireless and Wi-Fi are often extremely convenient, they don’t offer the quality and predictability of cabled connections. Here, you should either choose to ensure that every conference room is equipped with very strong WIFI or that every conference outlet is cabled.
- Video conferencing tools should always have an Ethernet connection
- Installing Ethernet ports, headphone jacks, power ports, and USB ports in tables can greatly decrease setup time for conferences
- Cabling should be installed under tables and along walls to prevent issues and to keep it out of sight
It may also be important to include adapters, charging ports, or online login portals if individuals are using their own devices. This will greatly speed up conference setup and quality, because it prevents long issues with connecting a devices and software incompatibility issues.
Choosing the right hardware for your conference room is crucial to providing a quality experience. Importantly, doing so will also save your organization time and money.
Research shows that the average conference includes over 30 minutes of time wasted setting up displays, projectors, and headsets. You can alleviate this issue by choosing quality solutions, standardizing hardware across every conference room in your organization, and ensuring that connections are high quality.
While exact solutions will depend on room size, the number of people in rooms, and what types of conferences you have, ensuring quality and easy-to-use solutions is crucial no matter what.