Conference Room AV Considerations for the Modern Day
With the increase in employees who work remotely or while traveling, conference room AV has become more and more popular in the office. Conference rooms are now designed not only for face-to-face meetings, but to maximize this technology. This allows employees outside the office to remain involved in every aspect of the business.
When you design a conference room for today’s business, there are some considerations you should keep in mind when looking at visual and audio equipment.
Conference Room Video Displays
The first consideration for your conference room AV is your video display. The two basic types of displays available for video conferencing are either projectors or flat screens. They each have their merits, so you need to decide which works best in the conference room space and how the video display will be used.
Projectors cover a larger view and are more cost effective than a flat screen. However, depending on the price point of the projector, the amount of ambient light in the room can be an issue. Flat screens, which are typically LED or LCD these days, are often much brighter than projectors, and are less affected by light in the room. Flat screens are also usually much smaller and don't work well when you a room with 10 or more people.
The size of your video displays should be at least 52”, for a small 2-5 person room. This minimum size is completely dependent on the size and shape of the room. A very large conference room will need a larger display so everyone can see clearly. Especially when looking at numbers on an Excel spreadsheet as opposed to a PowerPoint presentation a bigger screen is necessary. A general rule (see#5) is that the audience should be 1.5 times the width of the screen away. A larger number of audiences require a screen width should be the total distance divided by five
Whatever you decide to use in your conference room, you should consider your video displays as an investment. By choosing a high quality screen now, you will be better prepared for advancements in the future, and your video displays can be more easily adapted to upgrades. Ultimately, this will save you money since you won’t have to replace them as frequently.
You may also want to consider multiple screens in your conference room. This allows the presenter to use video equipment for the presentation, as well as dedicating a screen to the video conference.We typicall recommend 2 flat screen for a video conference. One screen is for either the "near" room (the room you are in) or the shared data presentation, and the other screen is for the "far" side conference room (the people you are talking to).
Conference Room Audio Equipment
The audio equipment in your conference room AV setup should consist of more than simple speakers and the microphone you use with your computer. Space and ambient noise greatly impact sound quality in video conferencing. Poor audio equipment, especially in a room not designed well for video conferencing, can mean the difference between getting things done in the office and straining to pick up the conversation. You don’t want to spend half the meeting repeating what’s been said because of a poor microphone or bad speakers.
It’s best to use microphones designed specifically for video conferencing. They’re more sensitive and as long as they are centrally located in the room, they will be able to capture sound within eight feet. With these microphones, everyone can be heard without having to pass a microphone from person to person.
However, if your conference room is larger, you may need several inputs to cover the entire space. Ceiling or wall-mounted microphones can be useful to ensure everyone can be heard no matter where they are in the room. This can also prevent people from moving microphones during the meeting, which can cause reverberation or squawking. Microphones should not be placed near speakers since this can also cause the dissonance of unwanted feedback. Some of the solutions we use can be found from ClearOne and Polycom as well as some others.
The design of the conference room AV can help improve the sound quality. Recording studios install sound-absorbing materials to reduce echoes and reverberations. You may not want to layer foam on the walls of your conference room, but you can install quality carpeting, heavy drapes on the windows, and fabric wall coverings. These will help absorb the sound rather than bounce it back. We have had fantastic results using the panels we sell from Next Industries. A well tamed room can actually save you thousands in equipment and make any experience sound better.
Having a conference room well-equipped for video conferencing means you are prepared to keep remote employees involved in the day-to-day of the business.