MVS Insights – 5 Top Technologies for Meeting Spaces
We have compiled a list of our favourite technologies for meeting spaces that we think everyone should have to aid ease of use, improve collaboration and increase productivity. This is not a list in priority order, rather all 5 are just as important as each other!
Is that an 8 or B?
Have you ever been in a meeting room with a very cheap projector and struggled to see what was being displayed on the screens, even when the lights are switched off? I have.
There is no need for that anymore, you can keep the lights on and still see everything that is being displayed. LCD screens are my preference but if you want a very large image, a projector will always be the more cost effective choice. If projectors are your choice, then Optoma is a top brand to look at. They have a great range of projectors within all price ranges and functionality.
But as I said, my preference of technologies for meeting spaces would be large format screens; they produce a much more vivid image, the installation is simple and you don’t need to change the lamps like you do in most projectors (excluding Laser/lamp-less projectors). If you have an exceptionally bright meeting room there are high-bright LCD panels available on the market to compensate for this, but it is very rare for this to be required. These LCD panels are typically used in retail digital signage projects where the screens are either outside or facing outside through a window.
As with most technologies for meeting spaces and all technologies in general, there are so many manufacturers in the market and large format displays is no exception. I tend to stick with the big three Samsung, NEC and LG, but there are screens to suit all budgets and requirements on the market.
“Do you need 4K? Probably not, but that’s a topic of conversation for another day!”
Let your AV integrator design the best solution for the job at hand.
Get rid of those cables!
Wireless Presentation technologies for meeting spaces
Wireless Connectivity is the way forward. Believe it or not people still use VGA?? And some people do not know the difference between HDMI & VGA. Once they have figured out the right cable to use, it doesn’t work because the cable has been damaged or has gone missing. These are all common problems when people want to use the AV systems in a meeting room for their presentations and is why wireless presentation systems are a must for your meeting room.
There are two types of wireless presentation technologies for meeting spaces. The first requires a network connection and creates a network of its own between device and screen using a URL address and passcode such as the Kramer VIA, WePresent or Crestron AirMedia. The second option creates its own network (similar to Bluetooth) and the link is made via a USB dongle or similar such as the Barco Clickshare range of products.
All of these solutions make it easier for the participants to display their content on the screens at the click of a button. It also means there are no unsightly cables strewn across the desk and you’ll have no problems with cables being damaged or going missing.
From an installation point of view, they are also very easy to retro-fit into an existing room as the cabling requirements are much simpler and typically a shorter distance is required.
There are people in the meeting room I booked, wait…did I even book it?
Another age old problem is trying to book a meeting room. Some people disregard the process and “grab” a meeting room causing arguments and upheaval when the original participants turn up to an occupied meeting room. Or not knowing how to book a meeting room etc.
Room booking systems such as the Evoko Liso is the perfect way to implement a proficient system into a workplace with full integration into Microsoft Exchange, Office, Google Apps, Lotus and more, making set up into employee’s everyday email and calendar functions effortlessly seamless.
The system is easy to understand and has a very sleek appearance, positioned outside of meeting rooms, with glass mounting and wifi connectivity for ease of implementation. The traffic light system of red for occupied and green for available is self-explanatory. The touchscreen allows for on the spot ad-hoc meetings without notice and will not allow you to book over other meetings already booked in.
However, if you do not turn up for your meeting the room will become available at a preset period of time. You can also integrate into other systems such as the air-conditioning and have the room prepared to a comfortable temperature and lighting set up.
A bit of a luxury item but definitely a very useful addition to large office spaces with multiple meeting rooms. Another bonus of these systems is that some are able to manage ‘hot-desking’ desk space for those workers who are not in the office full time and need to have some desk space when they are in the office, the part-timers!
Where is the remote? How do you turn on the screen?
Integrated Control Systems
Another bug bear in a lot of meeting rooms is the remote controls and operation of the equipment. Are you seeing the common theme within my recommendations?
The best way to avoid this problem is to integrate a control system, there are high-end solutions such as Crestron. These systems extensive processing power and the ability to fully control all aspects of your meeting room AV equipment, as well as managing the air-conditioning, lighting, blinds and more. Alternatively, if your room has a simple equipment list, you could consider a simple control panel such as something from SY Electronics.
Do not forget to have an expert programmer carry out the coding/programming of this equipment as that is a fatal error of some AV integrators. If the coding is wrong, the control system will never work. Get it right and it will never fail!
Did you really drive all the way from…?
Video Conferencing capabilities
I know I have been in situations where I have travelled half of the country for an hour-long meeting, sometimes even less and thought to myself “why didn’t we just do this on a video call?” And I know I am not the only one. With overseas travel becoming cheaper there are people still travelling by air to meetings that can be done with the advancement of video conferencing technology at a fraction of the cost (if any).
Video conferencing is now really affordable as technologies for meeting spaces. Manufacturers have realised that not all video conferencing takes place in a Boardroom where expensive codecs, cameras and microphones are required. A prime example of this would be Polycom’s Realpresence Trio 8800 Collaboration system…
Systems can be even simpler with the advances of cloud-based conferencing solutions such as BlueJeans, Google Hangouts and SKYPE for Business. When using these platforms, a PC, webcam with microphone built in, and a display screen is all you need for smaller meeting spaces such as Huddle Rooms. These systems even work on mobile phones, enabling participants to be in a car or anywhere other than the office. This is particularly powerful if you need to see a problem on a building site or a production line, the employee can then walk around and show the problem to all participants in a call.
Obviously, not all meetings can be carried out via a video call but I bet more often than not it can be.
For further information about meeting room AV solutions or to arrange an initial consultation about your requirements, contact MVS today on 01202 861696.