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Fine tuning your meeting spaces with AV & UC tech

(Image credit: Image Credit: Ganttic)

Meeting rooms are often the hub of office spaces and see users come together to collaborate, generate ideas, make decisions and even meet new business prospects. Implementing simple but effective Audio Visual (AV) technology can make all the difference for attendees, turning unengaging meetings into productive and creative experiences.

So, what exactly does an effective meeting room look like? Utilising both AV and communication technologies can increase productivity and improve communication across the board. Display technology and audio conferencing, combined with sharing content, are some of the first steps you can take to building an efficient infrastructure. No matter what size of the meeting room or available budget, it’s key to follow these suggestions to create your vision for each space and begin to drive value throughout the implementation stage.

Simple solutions with familiarity

Changes to workplace technologies can have a big impact on the productivity of employees. When implementing new meeting room technology, organisations should look for solutions that are easy to use and offer a consistent user experience. It’s important that the transition is seamless, allowing employees to focus on the tasks at hand rather than get distracted by technology challenges.                                            

With more companies using Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and/or Cisco Webex Teams, the need for consistency across the entire organisation has never been greater. From desktop applications to meeting room interfaces, each product set will have solutions designed for every size space. Organisations should look towards scalable solutions that can grow with their business needs and offer employees the familiarity they have come to expect. The benefit here for businesses is that once employees know how to use one, they know how to use them all.

Size matters, what space have you got to work with?

Meeting rooms are important workspaces, so the room’s acoustics need to be considered. Echoing and poor sound quality will leave users with frustrating experiences and unproductive meetings. Whether it’s installing acoustic panels or adaptive technologies, a productive space needs to deliver an audio experience that matches the visual.

The size of a meeting space is also a major factor. Larger spaces tend to be more presenter based meaning the audience’s attention is being drawn to the front of the room and the presenter. Enhanced display technology such as dual screens, LED walls and interactive screens are a powerful way to present to larger audiences. In some cases, video walls can be used in bigger meeting spaces. Generally, these displays offer better and more accessible connectivity and give presenters interactive and collaborative tools to drive engagement.

On the other hand, smaller spaces tend to be more interactive as well as informal – the technology usually reflects this. Touch screens are more prevalent and it’s worth considering implementing desk mounted microphones so that participants can ‘huddle’ around a presentation that’s central to the room.

Controlling systems at the push of a button

Traditionally, meeting spaces would house a user interface in the form of a tablet, enabling participants to control the room equipment. This interface would often be unique to the room and the look and feel could be dictated by the installer – making training essential and generally impacting on the whole meeting experience. Whilst these types of control units are still in use, meeting rooms are becoming more intelligent and automated than ever before.

The key to creating seamless experiences lies in intuitive user interfaces or control room peripherals. Manufacturers are integrating more and more ‘intelligence’ into meeting room equipment such as movement detection, auto power on/off or auto signal detection. This functionality can enhance the user experience and drive real value as well as helping organisations to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

Utilising VC & UC technology

Video conferencing and Unified Communication solutions can turn even small huddle rooms into collaborative workspaces. Ideally, the conferencing solution would be one that users are familiar with such as Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business. The ability to walk into a room and instantly start a session with an interface that users are familiar with not only reduces wasted time but also user frustrations.

Video conference technology such as telepresence not only elevates the user experience by helping people feel like they’re in the same board room but also allows participants to focus on what matters most, the meeting. Room based video conferencing systems can easily be installed into existing meeting spaces and integrated with control systems. Additionally, these can be partnered with smart technology enabling audio, video and lighting management at the touch of a button.

Nothing makes a meeting more frustrating for users than having to aimlessly unplug cables and have technical support on constant speed dial. That’s why it’s essential that the technology really shines through and is simple to use, with automatic features enabled. Mirroring these consistent and reliable solutions across all meeting spaces can really help to inspire productivity and collaboration between users. Not only does this help organisations to take back control of underused meeting rooms but also contributes towards creating a better experience for staff, clients and future business prospects.

Steve Franklin, Executive Director, Cinos