Conference Room Trends
Video conferencing technologies have made virtual meetings almost as good as face to face ones making expensive business trips redundant. All it takes is a video conferencing system and a few pieces of equipment to turn any room into a virtual meeting room. Rapid strides in technology now make interactive virtual meetings with high participation possible.
There’s so much on offer in the realm of virtual meeting technology that it can be difficult to find the right fit for your business needs. Whether you run a local business with global customers or a startup with team members located in different parts of the globe, video conferencing is a necessity for you but the technology and tools for each use case have subtle differences.
There are many things that go into making the best conference room for your business but getting the right equipment is the first step. Here’s what you need to consider before setting up your conference room…
1. Video Displays
The right display is critical for connecting people over the video and to screen share- be it spreadsheet with financial analysis or a flowchart of the product road-map. Video displays are always a contentious item when setting up conference rooms. Here are a few things that you need to consider:
Type of display - Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Light Emitting Diode (LED), or Projector
Let’s start with the size first. The general rule for screen sizes is, you should have a diagonal screen size that is about half the length of your room. For seating 8-10 people, you would need a room length of at least 16 feet, for which you would ideally need a screen size of 8 feet, i.e. 96 inches diagonal.
The next question that comes to mind is, what does that cost?
Even though the prices of video displays have dropped in recent years, the price of a 96-inch display may be prohibitive for many businesses. For small huddle rooms and conference rooms, a display size of up to 60 inches works well and is cost-effective. For display size larger than 60 inches, it is worth considering using projectors instead.
Projectors are useful as you can adjust the projection size. This means that even excel spreadsheets can be displayed quite clearly. However, projectors do have a problem area and that is the room lighting. For the projection to work well the room lights need to be turned off or dimmed. This may not be ideal for most meetings or conferences because people dozing off in a dimly lit room is very likely. But, you can remedy this by using smart lighting that controls ambient light and ensures your meeting room environment is always ideal. That may be a little more investment but is worth exploring irrespective of the display type you end up using.
You also need to consider the mounting height when deciding on your room setup. Mounting height is important because when done right, it gives the eye-contact feel. It will ensure that you are looking at your colleague while also looking at the display. You would want the display to be mounted around eye level but the placement of the camera is also important. On smaller screen sizes, placing the camera on top of the display works well but on larger displays having the camera below the screen may be a better option.
2. Video Conferencing Technology
Video conferencing technologies have received a lot of limelight recently. There’s a long list to choose from and the choice can be difficult. Your choice will largely depend on your business requirements but security and scalability are also important considerations. The first thing you need to consider when choosing a video conferencing technology is how you are going to use video conferencing:
Will be it used only for team meetings? Will these be small or large meetings?
Will you be hosting webinars or online classrooms?
Your use case will determine what kind of features your video conferencing software must offer. Features such as recording, level of interaction, and mobile experience are key for online classrooms. On the other hand, the ability to handle a large number of participants while retaining high video quality and screen sharing are important features required for webinars.
Ease of use is another critical feature. You don’t want your end-user to struggle with downloading the application and joining the online meeting. This is especially important for product demonstrations and webinars. You want the experience to be simple with as few clicks as possible. You also want it to be simple from the presenters’ point of view so that you avoid long delays and interruptions as the presenter struggles with the confusing user interface.
Last but not least, don’t overlook the customer support quality and availability. When things don’t work, which they do sometimes, you wouldn’t want your audience or clients to be left hanging. A customer support that responds quickly and efficiently ensures that your meetings, webinars, and online classrooms start and end on time. If you do have in-house IT support then much of this will be taken care of in-house and you may not need external tech support as much.
Some of the common video conferencing options are:
3. Audio - Speakers and microphones
Speakers and microphones are an important component of video conferencing and contribute significantly to the meeting experience. Mics and speakers can be on-table, sound-bar mounted below the video display, and if you want to get fancy, it can even be in-ceiling. Your choice depends on the size of your conference room and the number of participants. For smaller rooms, sound-bars are appropriate as they fit neatly below the display. Larger rooms require multiple microphones and speakers. These can be set on the table in a daisy chain or can be fixed in the ceiling.
When selecting speakers and microphones, remember to consider the connection- wired or wireless, as this can impact the aesthetics of your room. Whether you go for a ceiling-mounted sound system with 360° coverage or a simple soundbar, remember that it’s not always about volume but also the quality of the audio. The right audio set-up will reduce echoes, feedback, and other noises elevating the virtual meeting experience for the participants.
Your conference room camera can vary from a simple web camera for small huddle rooms to more sophisticated cameras for large conference rooms. In small huddle rooms with small video displays, the camera is usually placed above the display. As we discussed earlier, the camera can also be placed below the display, but this isn’t always the best option.
In small meeting rooms, the table and chairs are usually placed close to the video display and hence also to the camera. And most cameras have a narrow viewing angle because of this those sitting closest to the camera are left out of the field of view. To mitigate this, you can use a camera with a 180-degree viewing angle, like the Jabra PanaCast. Another option is to go for the Meeting Owl, which comes with a 360-degree angle camera, built-in speakers, and omni-directional microphones.
In addition to the camera, you also need to consider the room lighting. Poor lighting will make the video conferencing experience unpleasant even if you have high-quality cameras. Avoid having a single light source from one side of the room. This results in one side of the face getting shaded or blocked. Also, make sure that there is no backlight. For example, avoid sitting with your backs to the window, as this will make you into a silhouette. Instead, face the window or the light source so that it gives you a soft and pleasing light.
5. Control Panel
What’s the use of a control panel in a conference room, you may ask. This is often the question when companies purchase all of the individual hardware separately and assemble it into a conference room kit. While this does serve the purpose, it’s not the same as the full meeting kits such as Zoom Room or Google Hardware for Meets kit. The most important feature that the bundled video conferencing package brings is convenience. Control panels make virtual meetings a whole lot easier to organize and conduct; scheduling is a breeze with the Calendar and email integrations, you can join the meeting with a single click, and it offers quick and easy access to all of the meetings functionalities.
Zoom Rooms have to be associated with a control panel hosted on an iPad, Android tablet, etc. The control panel is recommended as it gives you full functionality and easy control over your virtual meetings. Similarly, when using Google’s Hardware for Meets, deep integrations with G Suite make the control panel incredibly handy as you can join meetings with a single click, instantly present, or share your screen wirelessly, and even register the meeting room with Google calendar.
6. Room Scheduler
Room scheduler is a piece of software that makes meeting management simple. It integrates with your calendar such as Outlook, Google Calendar, etc. and all you need to do is to invite the room to the meeting the same way you would invite your colleagues. This ensures that the meeting room is booked and double-booking is avoided. In addition, outside the meeting or conference room, the room scheduler display, LED or touch-panel, is set up.
The room scheduler helps to increase your team’s meeting efficiency. Team meetings are more likely to start and end on time. In addition, employees can quickly move impromptu meetings into a huddle room. The display panels outside the rooms show the day’s schedule, meeting titles, and the invited participants. Your teams can look at the display, ensure that it’s free, and easily add their meeting to the calendar with a few taps.
An added benefit of the room scheduler software is the room analytics that you get access to. It records key statistics such as hours each room is reserved, meeting frequency, times of the day, and the average length of meetings. This can open doors to a whole lot of insights for your teams. Robin, teem, and appspace are some of the commonly used meeting management tools.
The above six are the essential components of a conference room but there are many conference room technologies that help you take it up a notch or two. Here are a couple of nice-to-have additions for improving your conference room experience:
If brainstorming is a regular feature of your virtual meetings, then an interactive whiteboard can be an invaluable asset. These whiteboards allow you to directly annotate on the display and share it with the participants in real-time or after the meeting. This helps in creating more engaging presentations and engenders greater participation.
Here are some popular interactive whiteboard options:
Wireless Presentation System
A wireless presentation system is a technology that allows multiple devices such as PCs, tablets, or smartphones, to simultaneously stream content to a larger screen using screen mirroring technology. Since multiple users can simultaneously access the system and make presentations, this is useful in collaborative environments such as brainstorming sessions.
Here are some of the popular wireless presentation systems:
BenQ InstaShow, and
- (Video) Grand Stream VC Setup GVC3200 [IN Hindi] and Grandstream GAC2500 Configuration.
Building A Smarter And Easier To Use Conference Room
Whether you use video conferencing for peer to peer web meetings, webinars, sales demonstrations, or webcasts, you need to get the right equipment and the right tools to make it work well for you. While peer to peer web meetings are simple, when it comes to getting the most out of the video conferencing technologies, no matter how user-friendly these conference room equipment become, they simply aren’t “plug and play”.
There are many variables and subtle differences based on use cases that impact the functioning of your conference room. Getting the right room set up along with responsive and consistent tech support is critical for the smooth operation of your conference room.
Now you have all the insight you need to upgrade your conference room equipment. But before you go ahead and do that, do your research and if you are overwhelmed by the sea of information or are not sure what to do, it is always a good idea to consult an expert.
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About The Author
Hari SubediMarketing Manager at Jones IT
Hari is an online marketing professional with a focus on content marketing. He writes on topics related to IT, Security, Small Business, and Mindfulness. He is also the founder and managing director of Girivar Kft., a business services company located in Budapest, Hungary.
- Whiteboard with pens. ...
- The right chairs and table. ...
- The right projector and viewport.Is there anything more annoying then non-functioning technology? ...
- Cables and cords. ...
- Functioning A/V equipment. ...
- Audio or video conferencing equipment. ...
- A coffee maker and/or hot water boiler for tea.
Conference rooms are for conference calls, board meetings, management discussions, and other major decision-making situations. They are some of the most elaborate meeting rooms in an office, both in terms of AV gear and furniture.
It is a classic classroom style setup where tables and chairs are arranged in parallel rows facing the front of the room. It is common for lectures and primarily supports interaction between the speaker and the audience and less between participants.
Conference Room Layout Styles - YouTube
- Streamline the conference room scheduling system. ...
- Make video conferencing easier with better workplace technology. ...
- Facilitate a more collaborative workplace experience. ...
- Train employees on conference room best practices and etiquette. ...
- Create a better workplace experience.
- Tidy up. Start your bedroom organization project by doing an initial sweep. ...
- Take inventory of your belongings. ...
- Put items away. ...
- Clear your bedside table. ...
- Tidy up your dresser drawers. ...
- Decide on a closet organization system. ...
- Consider additional storage solutions. ...
- Deep clean.
|Conference||Annual Conference of the Society for French Studies Biennial Conference of the Society for Italian Studies|
|Symposium||Spanish and Portuguese Studies Postgraduate Symposium|
|Seminar||IGRS: From Textual to Visual Departmental Research Seminar (Italian, UCL)|
- Interactive activities.
- Suitable venue.
- No major technical issues.
- Good food.
- Send a meeting invite with an embedded video link.
- Click on the link when it's time for your virtual meeting.
- Join the conference call, share your screen and enjoy the benefit of face-to-face communication.
At a bare minimum, you'll need an internet connection and a device with video and audio capabilities, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. Consider your equipment. Sure, you can host virtual meetings on your phone, but this isn't ideal, especially if you want to project a professional look.
- Ensure proper lighting.
- Choose the right background.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Ensure high quality audio.
- Dress appropriately.
- Follow the ground rules for participant interaction.
- Choose an easy to use video conferencing platform.
- Don't forget to mute yourself if you are not speaking.
- Auditorium Style. Appropriate for a short lecture or larger groups that do not require extensive note-taking.
- Banquet Style. Used for meals and small group discussions. ...
- Hollow Square Style. ...
- Classroom. ...
- U-Shape Style.
What is a conference room layout? A conference room layout is the set up of chairs and tables in a conference space. The most effective conference room layout depends on the size and style of the meeting.
Conference or Boardroom Style
A single rectangular or oval table with chairs placed around the perimeter facing each other.
- Formulate your event strategy. ...
- Embrace conference technology. ...
- Delegate, dammit. ...
- Think through your budget and pricing model. ...
- (Carefully) choose your venue. ...
- Build a website that does your conference justice. ...
- Invite your speakers and authors. ...
- Get your reviewers onboard.
There are no concrete rules about what a meeting is and what a conference is but the main difference between the two will normally be the number of people attending. Conferences are also usually more formal while meetings can be informal.