Conference rooms are at the center of most organizations. It’s where the strategy, collaboration and alignment come together. Your choice in a conference room AV system should support these activities and allow your team to focus on their jobs, not the technology.
Conference room technology is more than mounting a display on the wall. Leading businesses understand the value of AV technologies that work together seamlessly. They are prioritizing easy-to-use, reliable systems. These companies leverage video conferencing, screen sharing, interactive whiteboards and more to build better communication among remote locations.
AV is complicated, but that doesn’t mean it should be hard to use. A fully integrated conference room is like a well-practiced orchestra. The control panel instructs each piece of the system on how and when to work together.
But how do you choose the right AV system? First, you start with the right questions.
1.GET CLEAR ON THE PURPOSE
The purpose of a conference room is to hold conferences, right? Yes and no. To find the right AV system you’ll need to pull a few more layers back and understand the expectations of the users.
Learning how people intend to use the room is the first step. Will it hold meetings and act as a training room? If so, the technology set up may be different than a space dedicated to executive board meetings.
The next step is learning what tools will support the use of the space. If it’s a boardroom, will you need presentation capabilities? Likely. What about video conferencing? Probably. If strategy meetings are held in the room, you may want an interactive display. You can use it as a flip chart, save the notes to PDF and email them to the meeting group.
There are many AV technologies that could fit into this step, and it can be overwhelming. You may want to divide your list into “must-have” and “added extra” capabilities. The “must-have” tools are required for your room to operate. The “added extra” capabilities are a neat solution that would add value but aren’t as important as the other platforms. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, bring in an audio visual partner. They’ll be able to help you understand what options are out there.
2. REVIEW YOUR EXISTING SYSTEM
Think of the context around your current system. It may be a legacy system that has been there for years, but it’s clunky and unreliable.
Reflect on the most common complaints you hear. It may be that calls get dropped all the time, or can’t connect to Zoom. Whatever those are, it’s important to take note and consider solutions that would address them.
Find out what is mission critical. Maybe screen sharing is important, but if video conferencing went down your business operations would come to a halt. If you’re in the stocks business, display failure could put a stop to business. Uncover the mission-critical pieces and share the information with your AV integration team. It will help them help you.
3. IDENTIFY YOUR PRIORITIES
Pricing is a factor for almost any organization. But, there are a few things that may get prioritized above pricing. Look beyond pricing to understand if there’s something even more important in the final conference room solution.
For a lot of businesses, the priority is uptime and reliability. How do you get a reliable system? When you look for AV companies, ask the right questions. Ask about their experience with similar projects and how they support projects post-install.
Their process, design and programming team’s expertise is critical. A significant part of long-term reliability rests on the shoulders of the AV integrator’s technical team. Whether you talk to past customers or look into certifications like CTS or DMC, be sure you find a reputable AV company.
Longevity is another high priority for a lot of businesses. How long does your organization intend to keep this solution? While you may not be able to see the future, you can develop an understanding of the lifecycle expectations of the room.
If you want something simple and user-friendly, it may have a different lifecycle than the most trendy, over-the-top display. There’s no right or wrong answer, but it’s something to consider as you choose an AV system for your conference room.
And yes… Pricing. Even if you don’t have a tight budget, pricing is relevant. You want to be sure that you’re getting value for the investment.
AV system pricing can vary a lot from company to company.You may see a difference in pricing depending on the platforms used in the conference room, integration team, and the partner’s overall philosophy on AV and business.
4. FIND THE RIGHT HELP
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with what started as a simple conference room, don’t worry. Although it’s #4 on the list, finding the right help fits wherever you need it to.
If you have experience in audiovisual, you may go through more steps before calling an AV partner. However, if technology isn’t your area of expertise, then finding the right help early in the process will save you a lot of frustration.
Leverage your IT team by giving them ownership of AV and some support! Find a partner that your team can work with in close collaboration. Most importantly, find a company they can trust.
Ask your potential partner about their track record, experience with similar projects and referrals. A good AV partner will help take complicated platforms and turn it into an easy-to-use conference room AV system.