Start with how technology must benefit the room and its users before you look for features
Stand in line. We’re all lusting over them and trying to figure out how to justify the $5,000 asking price for a Google digital whiteboard to add to the conference room. When it comes to choosing conference room technology, there’s enough cool stuff out there to turn even the staunchest office luddite into total geek. Let the Googling begin!
Before you start putting the list of what you need, maybe you should spend some time looking at why you need it. Quit pouting. That wasn’t one of those tricks to make you think about being responsible with budgeting—although that’s exactly what will happen when you put the why before the what.
What do you need?
You know exactly who uses the conference room and what they use it for, right? You’ve spent enough time auditing their meetings and watching what they do to have a high level of confidence that the technology you plan to bring in actually helps these users become more productive.
Of course, you’ve done that. So, your selection criteria are based on providing this diverse group of people the technical flexibility and dependability they’ll need to power things up and get it to work as soon as they walk through the conference room door.
You can look at this as a way to reduce conference room equipment costs if you like, but you’ll be closer to an honest appraisal if you acknowledge that nobody wants to use other people’s stuff—especially company equipment—when they’ve got exactly what they need in their back pocket.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has gone from a grievous IT transgression to a company-wide expectation. If you’re wondering exactly when that happened, the deal was sealed when your CEO wandered into the CTO’s office and asked to have his iPhone set up to get his email messages from the Exchange server.
Walk into any gathering in a conference room today and you’ll see people with their mobile devices, tablets, and laptops. And, by “their,” we mean it’s personal property. Our mobile devices have become such powerful computing devices that we depend on them as our productivity tools. They’ve also become collaborative and presentation tools.
Your technology solution for the conference room needs to take the BYOD scenario—which is only going to continue to grow—into consideration. This can be a technology sword that cuts both ways. You might slice out the conference room computer system. But you also might need to beef up the routers and Wi-Fi to accommodate the increasing number of devices that’ll hook up to this service when the conference room is in use.
Beyond sight and sound
There’s something highly influential in your VoIP conferencing solution choice, and it has nothing to do with performance or price. Actually, it has everything to do with performance and price, but not the way you might think.
The most awesome telepresence setup you can find will be rendered practically inoperable if you don’t have appropriate ways to control the lighting, shading, and acoustics of the conference room. Windows—or the lack of them—will determine what kind of screen or projector you should use. The actual shape of the room, as well as the furniture, will influence acoustics. It’s unwise to commit to a solution until you’ve taken it for a test run in your conference room. A hefty investment into a videoconferencing solution nobody uses because nobody can see what’s on the screen or hear what’s being said is not a career-enhancing move for you.
The opposite of technology – sort of…
It used to be that we were introduced to new technology at the office and held responsible for using it—or else. But that philosophy about forced use of technology as a productivity tool faded away around the same time as the fax machine.
Cloud-based solutions have accelerated our expectations. The phone on our desk or the mobile device in our hand isn’t doing the hard work. That’s happening up in the cloud. The technology we bring into collaborative areas like our conference room deserves to be treated the same way.
Start with why it’s important. Figure out the benefits the technology in your conference room must deliver. That’ll determine the features you need.
One item that’s probably not negotiable is your communications apparatus for essential calls and video conferences. We can help with that. Check out our list of services and fill out our convenient form to see exactly how much you can save.