Today’s digital workplace demands a modern boardroom as this space is a reflection of the company, its culture, values and its vision. It should be nothing short of a WOW! With our extensive experience in the industry, we take you through factors to consider to bring ideas for your boardroom to life!
The technology requirement for leading boardrooms where company executives meet may differ depending on each of their peculiar needs. For some, it may be a simple large screen display with wireless connectivity, while for others it may be a full-fledged system to include video conferencing, control systems and all there is to offer. Regardless of these requirement, these common and basic features should be considered even at the early design stage to have a successful future ready boardroom.
- INTERNET AND DATA: The need for a robust wired and wireless data network in the boardroom can never be overemphasized. Users of this space constantly interact with the World Wide Web and need to have access to this service as they use the boardroom. To this end, provision should be made to have data and voice sockets for each seated board member or at least a robust wireless network in the boardroom. However, in the case of a wireless network, there should be a secured network for both board members and guest of the company.
- MEDIA INTERFACES: There should be provision for many easy to use, readily accessible connections and built in captive cables. It will make it easier for the board members to use their laptop and get a presentation started quickly and easily. The quantity, number and location of laptop video connections can vary, but they depend on the budget and style of use for the room. The connections should be labelled accordingly and offer legacy VGA connector, small headphone style audio connection and an HDMI connection for the digital video which is the new trend. These connections can be custom built or they can ordered as an off the shelf item.
- HIGH QUALITY DISPLAY SYSTEMS: The main display is very important in any boardroom style meeting space. A simple way to determine the required width of the screen is to take the distance to the farthest viewer and divide it by four. This will assure that the entire viewers can see at least 12 points fonts or better, which can be found in excel spreadsheets, documents or powerpoint all the time. In many cases, boardrooms might also need more than one display if there is videoconferencing. In those instances, the main displays must be located and sized accordingly. There are many types of display systems including video walls, large LED displays, or front projection systems. The best choice usually depends on the architectural features of the room and the client’s budget.
- AUDIO CONFERENCING: The modern boardroom must have a clear, reliable and easy to use audio conferencing system. It must function for every seated board member equally. To pull this off, table microphones usually work perfectly with a device called an acoustic echo canceller. The echo canceller allows for the use of microphones in conjunction with ceiling loudspeakers thereby delivering the highest possible quality experience. These devices must be carefully tuned, but work reliably in rooms with seated users. The table microphones can be permanent or fixed and must be properly positioned such that they do not interfere with other objects in the boardroom. The mics visibility is also of importance to be able to know when it is ON and OFF to ensure speech confidentiality, which is very vital in a boardroom style meeting room.
- VIDEOCONFERENCING: A lot of executive personnel are very familiar with videoconferencing and depend on it. A boardroom meeting space should feature an High Definition videoconferencing system. In boardrooms, there is typically two or more displays, a front camera on center at slightly higher than eye-level. A videoconference system can also be used to archive any meetings or presentations. An off-the-shelf HD system from Polycom can also deliver a very high quality experience well suited to a boardroom. Audio for video conferencing should also be considered and planned like the audioconferencing system discussed above.
- LIGHTING AND SHADING: Lighting for the boardroom will have to be controlled to fit the different activities in the room. For example, during presentation using a projector, there is a need to reduce all ambient lights that can wash off the image on the screen, but also the users of the room should be able to have enough illumination to take notes and read documents. Lighting for a videoconferencing room type should have a separate circuit for any fixtures that may cast light on the wall featuring the room’s display. All light fixtures should be recessed and provide a uniform field of light such that the VTC camera’s iris does not make constant adjustments. Lighting should strike VTC participant faces at 45 degrees, which is typically referred to as Key Light. Automated lighting should be considered to make the control of light easier and more flexible. Light controls like Lutron Grafik Eye controls all the light in the boardroom based on scenes with engraved keypads which can be integrated with the boardroom controller. Ambient light can also be considered with the introduction of automated motorized window blinds systems. This adds convenience and ease of use for the system. The good news is that most lighting control systems also have automated window systems in their portfolio which allows for seamless integration.
- COLLABORATION AND BYOD SYSTEMS: Collaboration is very important in modern boardrooms. With multiple users with a plethora of devices, it is important that users are able to communicate easily and seamlessly with little or no delay. With improvement in wireless presentation technologies, simple collaboration systems such as Barco Clickshare, Extron Sharelink and Crestron Airmedia, allows for up to four people presentation at the same time and eliminates the need to plug and unplug cables for presentation. Also, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a popular terminology in modern boardrooms where users can easily bring in their own devices (IPads, Tablets, Mobile phones and other smart devices). It important that users can easily share their own screens with other users in the room.
- SOURCE AND PRESENTATION SWITCHING DEVICES: Boardroom-style meeting spaces typically have different source devices with most media being PC or laptop-based. Some rooms will have a decent multi-format Blue Ray DVD player and a built in, remotely located PC with a secure wireless RF keyboard and mouse, Cable TV, AppleTV , Wireless Presentation systems, document cameras etc. A video presentation switcher is required with multiple inputs (to include legacy inputs like VGA and even VCRs), and at least one upscaling HDMI video output. Together with a control system with an easy to use interface, users can easily switch between these different sources to choose the particular image they will like to view on the display.
- AUTOMATION: All of the aforementioned systems need to be controlled. In most instances, a touchpanel-based control system is used with a carefully designed and branded interface. The control system will dial for teleconferencing, control the videoconferencing system, select which laptop connection gets displayed, control volume, allow remote assistance and maintenance, and turn the system power on or off. Some people are adverse to touchpanel, and because of this a simple push button panel with basic functions is usually provided adjacent to the lighting switches of the room.
- AETHESTICS: In a boardroom, you want the best equipment available for efficient meetings and presentations. The equipment must be user-friendly and functional so that you can focus on the content of your meetings. Equally importantly, the chosen solutions have to do justice to the ambience in your boardroom. A boardroom must provide an environment in which the participants feel at ease and can move around comfortably. The meeting table, chairs, multimedia wall, other furniture and lighting are all indispensable elements of an optimally equipped boardroom.
WSE pioneered the audiovisual/systems integration industry in Nigeria. With our reputation in the industry and growing number of leading installations here in Nigeria and West Africa, we are well positioned to make your boardroom systems top notch. We will be happy to speak with you about your next boardroom installation or upgrade. Contact us on 08176240754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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