Why does every conference room meeting feel like it loses 10-15 minutes?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic, $37 billion dollars is lost annually to poorly structured meeting environments.
Often, you may not even realize you’ve run out of time until someone pops their head in the door. They’ve booked the room for the next block of time, and now you’re delaying the start of their meeting too.
According to OWL Labs, 27% of the time, a team’s #1 challenge with video conferencing is finding and booking conference rooms. In fact, there are several issues that a video conference room can pose.
[Image by OwlLabs/ State of Video Conferencing/ https://www.owllabs.com/state-of-video-conferencing]
These days, audiovisual (AV) has changed from a specialty to a business-critical application. Presentation and collaboration technology is increasingly part of how we communicate. AV equipment is as central to running your business as other communication technologies, like phone or email. There is a heavy demand for highly-reliable, sustainable, and repeatable AV solutions.
While well-meaning audiovisual items in the conference room have admittedly been a contributor to the inefficiency of meetings, we now have a solution to those problems with the modern meeting space.
Here’s how to improve your conference room experience:
1. Install Sensors for Space Utilization
Use sensors to maximize space utilization. The technology powers on when people enter the room. Various sensors provide automatic power control of the displays and lights. If people aren’t in the room, the room powers down.
2. Make Use of Displays for Your Calendar
Always display your organization's calendar on-screen to indicate to others whether they are in the right space, and remind them of their time constraints. Provide instruction on how to connect wirelessly to display laptops on the screen. There's no need to tape instructions on the wall or laminate how-to documentation on the table.
3. Utilize a Touch Panel for Easy Conference Room Scheduling
Impromptu meetings are a frequent occurrence. The touch panel integrates with your calendar, so you can see if a room is open before interrupting someone else's meeting. Need to jump into a room? Look at the touch panel to identify whether a room is available, and with one touch you can book the room. If someone has booked a room but doesn't show up, the system can release the room to be efficiently utilized by someone else.
4. Design Conference Rooms to be Platform Agnostic
Users want an easy way to plug in and expect to have the same experience whether they're using Zoom, Skype for Business, WebEx, Slack, Cisco Spark, Google Hangouts, or others. If your room is built for Skype Business only, then someone visiting from outside the organization will have a difficult time using your conference room.
5. Display Computers to Screens Wirelessly
Carrying around extra dongles for various connections is a thing of the past. Several good options exist for wirelessly displaying your computer on the screens in your meeting space from Crestron AirMedia to Barco ClickShare.
6. Install Dynamic Cameras
No more adjusting angles or missing who is speaking because they’re outside of frame. Use cameras that pan and zoom on their own to show whomever in the room is speaking.
7. Install Multi-image Displays with Auto-switching
In decision-making meetings, the ability to accurately compare data is extremely important. As you plug in a new input, the image automatically adjusts to add the new image to the screen. Unplug and it automatically reverts. With a 4K display, each window is still at full HD resolution, so you can quickly share and see multiple screens at the same time without having to crowd around someone’s desk or take the extra time needed to switch presenters back and forth.
8. Use Cutting-edge Microphones with Enhanced Quality
Nothing is worse than not being able to hear clearly when a person speaking. If you can’t hear, users are asked to repeat themselves or listeners simply don’t get the message. There are great options out there for improving the audio experience in a meeting space. One example is the Shure Microflex Advance line of microphones. The microphone can be ceiling mounted in a tile rather than dropping down into the room, and the lobes within the microphone are adjusted to the specific acoustics of the room and locations of the meeting participants to improve clarity.
9. Design with Huddle Rooms in Mind
When real estate is limited, this type of space accommodates more, smaller-sized meetings. It makes sense for 2 or 3 people who need to use the technology of a larger conference room on a smaller, more flexible scale. We are seeing more and more huddle rooms being added, whether it’s an inefficient space being transformed or a new space layout recognizing the need for smaller tech-ready rooms.
As AV equipment advances, many of these items can be consolidated down into a handful of products. The Crestron Mercury is an all-in-one solution for many features including a VoIP phone, BYOD web conferencing, wired & wireless presentation, integrated calendar, one-touch meetings, BLE beacon connectivity, and an occupancy sensor within a user friendly and consistent interface. From there, you can enhance your conference room quality with better speakers and microphones, 4K displays, and advanced cameras.
AV and IT products for conference rooms have evolved to eliminate poor meetings and wasted time. Creating a space with all these features a few years ago would have cost tens of thousands dollars more than they cost to implement today.
However, the money you save after eliminating that wasted 10 minutes at the beginning of every meeting equals an investment in AV that pays for itself over time.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted on 5/10/2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.