Posted: 17th January 2022
Meeting rooms matter more than ever right now. A slick conferencing system is key to collaboration, efficiency and productivity in the world of hybrid working. Luke Weight, one of Blacktip’s design consultants, discusses what to look for when investing in AV and shares three features that belong in every meeting room.
If I had to make one prediction for the year ahead it’s this: remote working is here to stay. I’m not the first to say it but nevertheless, it’s the horse I’d back for 2022.
Our clients seem to agree. They’re placing greater emphasis on the quality of their conferencing systems because they know how vital they are to hybrid working. They will always have some staff working from home and some in the office, and they need to be able to bring everyone together quickly and easily.
Customers and clients expect a seamless virtual experience nowadays, too. The culture has shifted, and a tinny microphone or jittery webcam is unacceptable in today’s remote economy.
Large organisations have always understood the value of a well-equipped meeting room. However, the pandemic flung many businesses online who haven’t experienced online conferencing before. That includes industries that would never normally need it, such as medical practices, online auctioning and construction project meetings.
If you’re considering investing in a conferencing system, or upgrading your current meeting room, you might be wondering whether now is the right time. Technology progresses so fast it’s always tempting to hold off until the next innovation comes along. However, the equipment is so good right now that you’re assured of a great experience. There’s no better time to invest.
But where do you begin? What does quality look like? And what sort of budget should you set aside?
Everyone is different, of course. Some businesses make a point of buying the most expensive AV there is. Others are more cost-conscious. They seek an optimal solution for their needs.
Generally, the more you invest the better the equipment. But don’t let that put you off. There are plenty of cost-effective solutions that most companies will find more than adequate.
Above all, make sure your conferencing AV is user-friendly and fit for purpose. At Blacktip, we help you navigate the dozens of AV solutions on the market to find the ones that best deliver the exact functionality you require. We know which brands are reliable, cost-effective and does what it says on the tin.
Three conferencing essentials
We conduct a thorough consultation with our clients before we design a meeting room or recommend equipment. We have to understand how you intend to use the room and what you want to achieve in the space.
That being said, there are certain features on the market right now that are so good we recommend them to everyone. Here are three AV essentials that belong in every meeting room.
When it comes to conferencing, an average mic won’t cut it. A poor quality microphone reflects badly on your company and anyone who isn’t directly in front of it will struggle to make themself heard.
A beamforming mic tracks different zones of the room to understand where people are. The mic will track you as you talk and move, retaining perfect quality wherever you are in the room. And, coupled with its controller, the microphone removes unwanted background noise, such as a rustling crisp packet, footsteps or a distant car alarm.
4k UHD PTZ Webcam
A 4k Ultra High Definition Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera delivers a superb visual experience.
The webcam automatically adjusts for the number of people in the room. So, if you have a large table but only a few people are sitting on one side, the camera will zoom in to find the perfect shot. And, using its own in-built tracking feature, the PTZ camera notices if one person is monologuing and focuses in on them until someone else speaks.
Invest in a PTZ camera and transform the flat visuals of business meetings into something bordering on cinematic.
Good speakers are a must. Whether you install them in the ceiling for a surround sound experience or position them end-on, quality is crucial. You don’t want anyone struggling to hear.
For conferencing, it’s especially important to find speakers with well-balanced highs and lows which deliver a full sound and ensure everyone’s pitch is heard clearly.
Aesthetic choices also determine the type of speaker we recommend to our clients. A favourite with our architects, narrow bezels, or edgeless, speakers blend into the overall composition of a room beautifully.
When it comes to meeting rooms, size matters. The equipment you choose depends on the size of the room.
If your meeting room holds six people or less it is counter-productive to install each element separately. Your best option for a smaller room is an integrated soundbar.
An integrated soundbar is a speaker, microphone and webcam all rolled into one neat package that sits elegantly under your screen. And you don’t have to sacrifice quality either. With the right budget, you can find soundbars that include the same features that we covered above.
Integrated soundbars are a compact solution for contained spaces. They’re also a handy solution if you’re working with an awkward space or one that makes installation difficult.
Written by Luke Weight / Consultant
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