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Q: What’s the difference between a pizza delivery guy and a system admin?
A: Pizza delivery guys deliver pizza to houses, system admins deliver VGA adapters to conference rooms.
This classic IT joke, second only to the one about how CIO really stands for Career Is Over in the repertoire of IT humor, may at first glance seem like a bit of an exaggeration. Surely system admins spend more time on things that are part of their actual job description (like, say, system administration) than on delivering cables and adapters to end users who are having a hard time connecting to the conference room TV or projector?
A few years ago, this may have been the case. But now that everyone brings their own laptops to business meetings, connecting to the TV via cables and adapters isn’t so easy. Laptops come with a wide range of video outputs, smart TVs come with many different video inputs, but sometimes the inputs and outputs don’t match up. This presents a source of confusion for even the most tech-savvy end user. And whenever an end user gets confused by something tech-related, their first instinct is always to call IT.
It’s no wonder then that every system admin, at some point in their career, has toyed with the idea of setting up a tent in the conference room and just doing their work from there.
Here’s a quick overview of the cables and adapters that are responsible for wreaking the most havoc in the conference room, leaving IT departments with no choice but to use their system admin as cable connectivity troubleshooters.

1. HDMI to HDMI Cables

Kevin from Home Alone is horrified by the prospect of using HDMI cables in his conference room.
If your goal is to connect a computer to a TV screen or projector through a cable, HDMI cables can be pretty handy. All HDTV’s come with an HDMI input, as do virtually all projectors that were manufactured during the last five years. HDMI outputs are also fairly commonplace on higher-end laptops (although Apple seems to be phasing them out). So if you’re dealing with equipment younger than your average kindergarten student, an HDMI cable should do the trick.
A few things to consider though: Do you buy just one HDMI cable and have your end users share it from a connectivity box in the center of the table, or do you buy multiple HDMI cables and install a connectivity box at each seat? No matter which option you go with, things are bound to get messy, so you may want to look into getting a cable management box to handle the extra slack. And since HDMI cables have a well-known propensity to go missing, you may want to buy a few back-ups.
Is your cable collection starting to get a bit unwieldy? Better brace yourself: It’s about to get a whole lot unwieldier.

2. VGA to VGA Cables

VGA cables make Matthew McConaughey weep.
Although HDMI cables have been the standard for the last several years, not all projectors come equipped with an HDMI input. A surprising number of old war horses from the pre-HDMI era still work perfectly fine and are still in widespread use. Likewise, not all laptops come with HDMI outputs. There are still thousands of 2011/12 MacBooks kicking around that may not be able to handle El Capitan, but still run Leopard perfectly fine. Better get some VGA cables to send through that connectivity box (or boxes).

3. VGA to HDMI

From this day forth, Scarlett O'Hara swears she will never use VGA to HDMI cables again.
What if the projector you’re using only has an HDMI input but the laptop only has a VGA output (or vice versa)? Don’t worry: Buying a handful of VGA to HDMI cables should solve this problem.
You may want to buy a label maker too: VGA cables look almost identical to DVI cables (the next item on this list), which can cause endless confusion.

4. DVI to HDMI (plus 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable just to be safe)

Although DVI to HDMI cables were not around in Joan of Arc's day, experts speculate that she would've disliked them.
A world in which every single connectivity problem involving laptops, projectors, and TVs could be solved with just three cables would be an annoying one, but at least it would be tolerable. Unfortunately, that’s not the world in which we live. DVI cables also exist, and they can only handle resolutions of 1,920 x 1,200 with no audio, so if your presentation involves sound, a separate audio cable is required. Have fun with that.

5. Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt/HDMI or Mini DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort/HDMI

Thunderbolt cables are amazing for transferring huge files quickly, but do they belong in the conference room? Laura Dern fromEnlightened seems to think not.
Thunderbolt 3 cables have a bandwidth of 5 GB/s and can drive two external 4K displays at 60 Hz. For this reason, they’re pretty much indispensable for people who work with video shot at extremely high resolutions. Will they be useful in the context of a business meeting? Having a couple on standby couldn’t hurt.
And don’t forget to invest in a few Thunderbolt to HDMI/VGA adapters while you’re at it. You never know when those will come in handy.

6. Lightning to HDMI and Lightning to VGA

"What's in the box?" Hopefully not cables, thinks Brad Pitt from Seven.
What if someone forgot their laptop at home and wants to give their presentation through their iPhone? Better stock up on some lightning cables in order to prepare for that contingency. (You may want to buy a few bottles of Tylenol also).
By now, the collection of cables you have in front of you is so big that you may require multiple wheelbarrows to carry them around. Is it any surprise that end users don’t find this web of cables intuitive and need to bring in a system admin to bail them out?
(Editor’s note: To avoid the cable pile-up described in this article, we recommend investing in a wireless presentation system which allows end users to connect their laptops to the conference room screen in 1 second without any hassle. As chance would have it, we offer a free 14 day trial of a wireless presentation system on this very website. Click here for more info).
 
ADDITIONAL READING
Top 10 Conference Room Cable Management Fails of 2017
Wireless Conference Rooms vs. Cabled Conference Rooms: Which Has the Better ROI?
Conference Room Cable Management Checklist
 

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Just as the invention of the printing press eliminated the need to copy out entire books by hand, just as the invention of the airplane shortened the trip from New York to LA by 35 hours, and just as the invention of e-mail made it unnecessary to send pieces of paper across the Atlantic and then wait two months for a response, so too can conference room technology help your company reduce the preposterous amount of time you waste in unproductive meetings each year (about 372 hours, according to one study) .
Here are 5 conference room technology investments you should make in order to enhance the business meeting experience:

Wireless Presentation Solution

It used to be the case that if you wanted to accompany your business presentation with a visual aid, you’d have to print it off on a sheet of paper, get the paper made into a transparency, and then book an overhead projector to show it.
Now all you have to do is connect your laptop to a screen or projector.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In conference rooms that rely on wires, finding the right cable or adapter can be just as time-consuming as making a transparency. Laptops come with so many different video outputs (HDMI, VGA, DVI, mini DisplayPort, etc) that accommodating them all is an exercise in futility.
This is why a wireless presentation solution can come in handy. By taking wires out of the equation, end users just have to press a button to connect their laptops. Needless to say, the amount of time it takes to press a button isn’t quite the same as the amount of time it takes to call up the IT department and ask them to rush over to the conference room with a VGA-to-HDMI adapter.

Visual Display and AV Equipment

Presentation software and hardware can only work to their full potential with the right visual equipment in place. Projectors, 4K TVs, electronic whiteboards, interactive displays, etc. can bring thoughts and ideas to life. For team activities, the display is the stage for real-time, in-depth discussion. People can connect, see each other, and heighten the meeting experience without time and location barriers.

Productivity Tools

One of the biggest culprits of meeting room time-wastage is the non-delivery of deliverables. If a team member hasn’t adequately prepared for the meeting, everyone loses. A great way to keep everyone on track is to invest in productivity tools such as Trello, Azendoo, or Redbooth.

Unified Communications

The number of communication tools — both hardware and software — currently available is staggering. By investing in a unified communications system, you can create a centralized location for tools on your network to be accessible from anywhere. This makes communication easier, both inside and outside the conference room.

Meeting Room Scheduling Software

It can be hard to have a productive meeting when all of the meetings rooms in your building are booked. By implementing meeting room scheduling software such as Teem, you can make sure that double bookings are a thing of the past.
Meeting room software can also help you optimize your meeting rooms. If a large room with a projector is constantly getting booked by a small group that never uses the projector or a small room with no projector is always being used by a large group that needs a projector, your company would greatly benefit from Teem.

Conclusion

Any investment you make in your company’s conference room technology comes down to the people who will be using it. It is important to consider them in your decision-making process. We all want to have the best technology available to our teams. Make the right decisions to make sure technology is working with—and not against—you and your colleagues.
ADDITIONAL READING
AV System Integrators: Are They Really Necessary?
Conference Room Design: A Guide For the Perplexed
7 Must-Have Video Inputs For Your Conference Table Connectivity Box
 

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If a business person from the 1950s were to set foot in one of today’s conference rooms, there’s a good chance they’d mistake the conference room equipment for the control panels of a spaceship.
Whereas the conference rooms of the 1950s mostly consisted of tables, chairs, and lamps, today’s conference rooms feature a cornucopia of advanced technology: digital projectors, HD TVs, videoconferencing systems, wireless speakers, microphones, and fancy LED lights.
For most of us, this technology lost its novelty a long time ago. Videoconferencing, once an idea as outlandish as teleportation, is now widely accepted as just another everyday fact of life. But for people of our grandparents’ generation, our conference rooms are something out of Star Trek.
All of this technology presents an enormous double edge sword for IT managers. On the one hand, it can be a powerful tool for collaborating with people on the other side of the planet; on the other hand, it can also be a powerful tool for creating spaghetti-like nests of cabling that trip people up and limit chair movement.
How can you simplify things? Here are 4 steps.

1. Assess Technology Needs

Much is demanded of today's conference room

Find out who uses your conference rooms the most and what they use them for. Are they mostly used for staff gatherings to hammer out project details, or do they use conference rooms to impress clients? Do conferences take place in person, or via video conferencing? How much square footage do you have? Are your presenters comfortable bringing their own technology to meetings?
Ultimately, you will need to ensure your conference room equipment provides technological flexibility and dependability, so no matter what a presenter needs, it can be arranged quickly.

2. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

One way to cut back on conference room equipment is to encourage users to bring their own. Not only does it eliminate the need for a shared conference room PC, it also saves end users the hassle of transferring their presentations from one computer to another and then verifying whether or not the presentation runs properly on the new computer.
However, in some industries and situations, security concerns make BYOD solutions impractical or impossible. Plus, you have to ensure your projection equipment is compatible with a variety of apps and devices. BYOD can work, but it may be trickier than you expect.

simplify your conference room equipment by enabling a BYOD policy

 

3. Banish Cables and Switch Boxes for Your Screen and Projector

In addition to throwing out your shared conference room PC, you may as well throw out all of your cables, connectivity boxes, and cable management boxes. By implementing a wireless presentation solution in your conference room (such as, say, Ubiq), your end users can send their laptop screen to the TV or projector with one click of a button.
While the majority of wireless presentation solutions don’t meet the security standards of most enterprises, we know of at least one wireless presentation solution (hint: it’s Ubiq) that does. Not only does Ubiq integrate multiple networks (so guest users can stream over the guest network and internal users can stream over the corporate network), it also comes with a centralized Dashboard that allows IT to implement other security measures (such as requiring end users to enter a four digit PIN in order to stream).
For most things in life, less is more and the same should apply to your conference room equipment.

4. Select Conference Room Furniture With Care

For IT managers who insist on having a cabled conference room, hiding cables is tricky but not impossible. Tables with hidden flip-tops, switches, and outlets to assist with cable management are readily available from most furniture retailers. For more information on how to hide cables, please consult our conference room cable management checklist.

Conclusion

Technology presents us with opportunities for collaboration and sharing that are unprecedented. With nothing more than the piece of plastic, glass, and wire that you carry around in your pocket every day, you can communicate and share information with people sitting next to you, people halfway around the world, or both simultaneously.
But your phone, tablet, or laptop will only take you so far. To share your screen with a room full of people, you either need cables and adapters or a wireless presentation device. Cables and adapters will ensure a solid connection (if you can figure out which output and adapter to use), but take up space and look ugly. It is therefore our conclusion that a simple, elegant conference is a wireless one.
Additional Reading
Meeting Room Equipment Checklist
5 Must-Have Items For Your Conference Room

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You should never judge a book by its cover, but you should always judge a company by its conference room. If the first thing you see when you arrive at a business meeting is a standard definition TV that’s been strapped to a wobbly cart with velcro in order to prevent it from toppling over and crushing the AV guy whenever he wheels it around, you’ve learned something very valuable about the company’s approach to innovation. Likewise, if you walk into a meeting room and see a 4K TV that’s been mounted so that the screen is perfectly flush with the wall, your reaction will be, “If this company knows how to do that, they can do anything.”

Here are 5 AV products you need to buy in order to create that sort of impression.

1. 4K Television

Samsung KS9500 series

There are a lot of things you can justify not buying—paintings, book shelves, certain pieces of furniture—on the grounds that you are “going for a minimalist aesthetic.” Unfortunately, a good TV is not one of them. In order for videoconferencing and business presentations to work, a large shared screen is absolutely essential. And although they’re expensive and still have some issues that haven’t been adequately addressed yet (good luck finding media that you can play at full resolution), 4K TVs are noticeably better than their 1K counterparts. Even if you don’t actually use the TV to play full 4K video, it’s always better to have 4K resolution and not need it than to need 4K resolution and not have it.

If you have the money to buy a 4K TV, you probably also have the money to hire a carpenter to mount the TV to the inside of the wall. By doing so, you’ll restrict easy access to the HDMI ports at the back, but if you use a wireless presentation solution (like, say, Ubiq) having easy access to the HDMI ports will not be necessary.

Our recommendations:

Samsung KS9500 series
LG OLEDE6 series
Sony XBR-75X940D

2. Telephone

Polycom SoundStation 2

For decades, experts have been predicting that videoconferencing would render Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 invention obsolete. And yet for some reason the telephone refuses to go away. Perhaps it’s because people are too self-conscious about their appearance, perhaps it’s because no one likes the idea of sending large amounts of data through their 4G network. Whatever the reason, the telephone is here to stay, and you’ll definitely be needing one for your conference room. More specifically, you’ll need one that can provide clear audio, connect multiple lines at once, and hands-free capabilities (speakerphone and microphone included).

Our recommendations:

Polycom SoundStation 2
Avaya B179 Conference VoIP phone

3. Projector

Sony VPL-VW365ES

If your meetings are usually attended by more than 20 people, a 4K TV—as glorious as it is—might not be enough. You may want to consider buying a projector and converting an entire wall into a movie screen. In addition to offering a bigger image, today’s conference room projectors provide greater brightness (lumens), operate clearly in both dark and lit rooms, and are small enough to be portable. High-end 4K projectors can cost as much as $10,000 or even $20,000, so unless your name is Tim Cook, be sure to seriously weigh the pros and cons before buying. (Or just buy a low-end version; few people have actually seen high-end 4K projectors in action, so they’ll be unlikely to notice that you’ve cheaped out).

Our recommendations:

Sony VPL-VW365ES
JVC – DLAX500R

4. Sound

JBL Basic Double-Zone, 70V Wall Mount Sound System

Investing in a 4K TV or projector can be counterproductive if you don’t also invest in a decent sound system. That stunning 4K resolution will be a lot less impressive if all you can hear coming out of people’s mouths is a muffled garble.

It’s also important to make sure that the people you’re videoconferencing with are able to hear you, so in addition to buying speakers, you may want to buy a few microphones and install them at various points along the conference room table.

Our recommendations:

JBL Basic Double-Zone, 70V Wall Mount Sound System
Atlas Sound 70V Ceiling Mounted Sound System for A/V and Conference Rooms (2 Speakers)

5. Wireless Presentation Solution 

Introducing the Ubiq Hive.

In today’s BYOD environment, a conference room that relies on cables and wires to connect laptops to the TV or projector is simply not feasible. In order to accommodate every laptop that enters the room, you would need to have an expensive and elaborate collection of cables and converters with various outputs on standby (HDMI, VGA, HDMI to VGA, Thunderbolt, Lightning, etc). If you were to attempt to use all of these wires and converters simultaneously, your conference room would resemble a mad scientist’s lair. Better to go wireless.

Our recommendation:

Ubiq Hive

We may not be the most objective people to ask, but we think the Ubiq Hive is pretty sweet. It allows you to present wirelessly from laptops and surface tablets regardless of their video outputs in less than 10 seconds. (For more information on the Ubiq Hive, click here or go to literally anywhere else on this site).

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Ah, business meetings: The only phenomena in the known universe that make line-ups at the DMV look like models of efficiency in comparison. According to one estimate, the average professional loses 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings. To put things in perspective, the uncut Lord of the Rings trilogy is only 12 hours long. Think about that for a second: In the time it takes you and your colleagues to set up the projector and argue over who will record the minutes, Frodo can walk to Mount Doom and back two and a half times.

How do you remedy this? Like reaching absolute zero on the thermometer, there’s no known way to achieve a 100% efficient meeting. There are, however, certain steps you can take to make sure you don’t get horribly outpaced by Frodo productivity-wise.

1. Send Out the Agenda With the Same Frequency That Old Navy Sends Out Junk Mail

You can never send out the agenda too many times.

“Is there an agenda for today?” is the question that inevitably kicks off every business meeting. This is why it’s important to send out the agenda a week in advance, and then again four days later. Then, just for good measure, send the agenda out once again the day before the meeting.

This way, if anyone asks if there’s an agenda for the meeting, you can respond, “Yes, is your computer not capable of receiving e-mails?”

When compiling the agenda, always make sure that all deliverables are clearly marked and highlighted in bold. You may also want to consider using larger than normal font sizes. Don’t be afraid to go as high as 22pts.

2. Start On Time No Matter Who Shows Up Late (Unless It’s the President of the Organization or the President of the United States)

Waiting for latecomers is an exercise in futility. Always start on time.

The most common way business meetings chew up time is when someone shows up five minutes late and says, “Oh hey, sorry I’m late. What did I miss?” The next five minutes are then typically spent getting that person all caught up. Just when it looks like the meeting is finally set to move forward, another straggler inevitably wanders in, and the process repeats itself ad nauseam.

The best way to avoid this: Start on time no matter what and refuse to update any latecomers on what they missed. When someone shows up late for a movie, the projectionist doesn’t stop the show to give the late-comer a verbal synopsis. The same thing should apply to meetings.

3. Go Wireless

Although this photo was taken at dusk, the Ubiq Hive represents the dawn of the wireless era.

In today’s BYOD environment, non-wireless presentations can be tricky. In order to accommodate every laptop, the IT technician will have to bring a huge collection of wires and adapters to the conference room (HDMI, VGA, HDMI to VGA, DVI to HDMI, Thunderbolt to HDMI, Lightning to HDMI).

Figuring out which laptop requires which adapter can take longer than the meeting itself. Better to go wireless.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Play Referee

Soccer games would be absolute chaos without referees, and the same thing applies to business meetings. The second someone goes off topic and mentions how crazy last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was, blow a whistle at them and give them a yellow card.

5. Keep Meetings Under 45 Minutes

A business meeting that goes over 45 minutes will test the limits of human endurance.

“The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder,” Alfred Hitchcock famously stated. For business meetings, a slightly different rule applies: Their length should be directly related to the endurance of the bladder of a hamster or hyperactive rodent. Studies show that people begin to check out mentally after 30 minutes. If you go past 45 minutes, whoever is presenting may as well be talking to an empty room.

By implementing some of these steps, we are confident that you can reduce wasted meeting room time from 31 hours per month to 10 hours per month, which should leave you with just enough free time to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy twice or endure a line-up at the DMV.

Additional Reading

Top Tips On Organising Great Meetings at Work
Raise Productivity by Enabling Your Most Important Asset: Your Employees
This Conference Room Equipment Checklist Will Keep Your Meetings On Track
Increasing Efficiency In the Conference Room

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Ah, the conference room. What should be one of the most productive areas of your office often turns into an epicenter of boredom, frustration, and dread. “Ugh, another meeting? How long is this one gonna take?” Easy fix, all we have to do is throw a lot of high tech TVs and gadgets in there, right?
Wrong.
What a lot of companies tend to overlook is in fact the most important factor to consider when elevating your conference room to the next level: the people inside it. Although you may just see your conference room as a place where meetings occur, they can serve as the catalysts for office bonding or for the next big idea. If you’re looking to break the monotony of your business, check out these five tips on what it takes to make your conference room the productivity hub of the whole floor.
1. Your Colleagues
o-OFFICE-CUBICLES-facebook

via Huffington Post

Sometimes it’s easy to get the above image in your head when you picture your colleagues, but it’s important to realize that they’re not just workers jammed into cubicles. Each person has their own way of completing projects, writing reports, and communicating around the office, which is why it’s in your best interest to find out what makes them hum. If you find that they’re loving the free coffee, but hating the way memos are sent out, start making some changes. You’ll see it reflected in the conference room in no time.
power rangers

via Foe

2. Bring Your Own Device
Company-wide computer setups can certainly be useful, but their success doesn’t always transfer over to the conference room. Supporting a Bring Your Own Device program in the workplace establishes a sense of comfort and familiarity that many of the not-so-tech-savvy will embrace with open arms. Plus, the new association between their favourite device and work might just encourage productivity out of the office as well. Everybody wins!
rs_500x235-140102133540-tumblr_inline_mxdzh0ekMK1rg0g8s

via EOnline

3. Help Desk Support
Now that you’ve got your coworkers embracing technology a little bit more, here comes the inevitable onset of crashed computers. Fear not! Taking the time to optimize your IT department will go a long way towards increasing productivity, starting with an IT ticketing system. By prioritizing high risk situations and opening communication between employees, you can expect to see a higher level of transparency in the workplace through efficient problem solving.
giphy

via Giphy.com

4. Functional Space
635934313858707314239385828_the-office2

via Bustle

I’m not talking about the “feng shui” of your conference room here, but rather how the employees of your company need the space to behave. Are people getting frustrated with a constant loss of Wi-Fi when they’re in there? Look into updating your network. Do meetings routinely start ten minutes late because of tangled wires? Try embracing wireless presentation technologies. No matter what changes you make, allow your employees to have a say, and watch the productivity soar.
 
5. Training
Fitness-Computer-Workout

via Magnifazine

This isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but investing your team in training will serve multiple goals. Now that you’ve discovered what technologies need to be implemented into the conference room, it’s up to you to provide clear and effective documentation so you can be as productive as possible. Additionally, your IT team will be needing to know what they’ll be dealing with, and training them prior to introducing the new tech will only optimize your conference room environment.
The final verdict? While you may find that investing in new and different technologies may ultimately benefit the workplace, improvement needs to begin with the people who will be using them. Keep an ear to the ground to discover what works and what doesn’t for your office, and look for ways to make the conference room a stimulating environment for everyone on your team. Be careful though; after following these tips, they may never want to leave!

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You should never judge a book by its cover, but you should always judge a company by its conference room. If the first thing you see when you arrive at a business meeting is a standard definition TV that’s been strapped to a wobbly cart with velcro, you’ve learned something very valuable about the company’s approach to innovation. Likewise, if you walk into a meeting room and see a 4K TV that’s been mounted perfectly flush with the wall, your reaction will be, “If this company knows how to do that, they can do anything.”

Here are 5 conference room AV products you need to buy in order to create that sort of impression.

1. 4K Television

A must-have AV product: Samsung KS9500 series.

There are a lot of things you can justify not buying—paintings, bookshelves, certain pieces of furniture—on the grounds that you are “going for a minimalist aesthetic.” Unfortunately, a good TV is not one of them. In order for video conferencing and business presentations to work, a large shared screen is absolutely essential. And although they’re expensive and still have some issues that haven’t been adequately addressed yet (good luck finding media that you can play at full resolution), 4K TVs are noticeably better than their 1K counterparts. Even if you don’t actually use the TV to play full 4K video, it’s always better to have 4K resolution and not need it than to need 4K resolution and not have it.

If you have the money to buy a 4K TV, you probably also have the money to hire a carpenter to mount the TV to the inside of the wall. By doing so, you’ll restrict easy access to the HDMI ports at the back, but if you use a wireless presentation solution (like, say, Ubiq) having easy access to the HDMI ports will not be necessary.

Our recommendations:
Samsung QM65F
LG 65UX340C
NEC 65″ X651UHD-2ED

2. Telephone

Polycom SoundStation 2

For decades, experts have been predicting that video conferencing would render Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 invention obsolete. And yet for some reason, the telephone refuses to go away. Perhaps it’s because people are too self-conscious about their appearance, perhaps it’s because no one likes the idea of sending large amounts of data through their 4G network. Whatever the reason, the telephone is here to stay, and you’ll definitely be needing one for your conference room. More specifically, you’ll need one that can provide clear audio, connect multiple lines at once, and hands-free capabilities (speakerphone and microphone included).

Our recommendations:
Polycom SoundStation 2
Avaya B179 Conference VoIP phone

3. Projector

Sony VPL-VW365ES

If your meetings are usually attended by more than 20 people, a 4K TV—as glorious as it is—might not be enough. You may want to consider buying a projector and converting an entire wall into a movie screen. In addition to offering a bigger image, today’s conference room projectors provide greater brightness (lumens), operate clearly in both dark and lit rooms, and are small enough to be portable. High-end 4K projectors can cost as much as $10,000 or even $20,000, so unless your name is Tim Cook, be sure to seriously weigh the pros and cons before buying. (Or just buy a low-end version; few people have actually seen high-end 4K projectors in action, so they’ll be unlikely to notice that you’ve cheaped out).

Our recommendations:
BenQ SU931
Optoma EH500
NEC NP-P501X
Sony VPL-VW1100ES Native 4K 3D SXRD

4. Sound

JBL Basic Double-Zone, 70V Wall Mount Sound System

Investing in a 4K TV or projector can be counterproductive if you don’t also invest in a decent sound system. That stunning 4K resolution will be a lot less impressive if all you can hear coming out of people’s mouths is a muffled garble.

It’s also important to make sure that the people you’re video conferencing with are able to hear you, so in addition to buying speakers, you may want to buy a few microphones and install them at various points along the conference room table.

Our recommendations:
JBL Basic Double-Zone, 70V Wall Mount Sound System
Atlas Sound 70V Ceiling Mounted Sound System for A/V and Conference Rooms (2 Speakers)

5. Wireless Presentation Solution

No list of conference room AV products is complete without a wireless presentation solution.

In today’s BYOD environment, a conference room that relies on cables and wires to connect laptops to the TV or projector is simply not feasible. In order to accommodate every laptop that enters the room, you would need to have an expensive and elaborate collection of cables and converters with various outputs on standby (HDMI, VGA, HDMI to VGA, Thunderbolt, Lightning, etc). If you were to attempt to use all of these wires and converters simultaneously, your conference room would resemble a mad scientist’s lair. Better to go wireless.

Our recommendation:
Ubiq Hive

We may not be the most objective people to ask, but we think the Ubiq Hive is pretty sweet. It allows you to present wirelessly from laptops and Surface tablets regardless of their video outputs in less than 10 seconds. (For more information on the Ubiq Hive, click here or go to literally anywhere else on this site).

Additional Reading
Conference Room Technology: 5 Investments You Should Make
AV System Integrators: Are They Really Necessary?
Conference Room Design: 10 Examples Worth Studying

Want to set up a wireless Conference Room?Try Now

There are two characteristics of meetings that have remained static for years and years: the goal, and the fact that they are universally despised. The ultimate goal of meetings is to exchange information and make decisions. Despite technology driving change in our meetings, they remain universally despised. But, let’s take a step back and evaluate the changes that have occurred over the last 20 years; then we might truly appreciate the meetings we have today.
 
Prep Time
We tend to forget how much time technology saves us. In the case of meetings, it enables us to accomplish far more prep work in far less time. Coordinating meetings around peoples’ schedules was difficult on its own. Now all of our calendars are synced, so we can easily identify a time and location to meet.
But where the greatest savior of time lies, is within the prep work for meetings (from presentations, to research to reports). Today, we have so many resources at the tips of our fingers to conduct solid research (rather than pulling old files in the back room, checking out books, or the absolute worst – waiting for the slow internet connection to produce a result).
We now have access to mountains of data, and the tools necessary to help us interpret that data. 20 years ago, gathering the data was difficult enough, but once you had it became the real challenge. Dozens of reporters would have to work for days, and even months to produce a report. Now, this is reduced to hours or even minutes.
Be grateful that today you can pull up your reports, with charts and graphs, and easily insert them into your slideshow or presentation.
Paper to Paperless
Due to technology, the materials present in meetings have also changed. We are now in the age of the “paperless desk,” and therefore “paperless meetings.” Reports, findings and slides are no longer printed (those companies that still do, need to assess their sustainability initiatives). There’s simply no need to print them; if someone wants the presentation in front of his or her face, then he or she can easily pull it up on a personal device, whether it be a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
Postponed to Productive
It is a common belief that meetings have always dragged on and on, while nothing gets accomplished. But to be fair, we have come a long, long way. All of these wonderful presentations and reports with visuals are easier for people to understand and get more information across in very little time. This also means that less explaining is necessary, resulting in less repetition and fewer redundancies.
One of the biggest challenges for accomplishing the goals of meetings (to exchange information and make decisions) is insufficient information. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are missing something until they are in a room, hearing from people with different perspectives. Sometimes, it is simply impossible to obtain all of the necessary and relevant information. In these cases, meetings must be postponed. This is one of the 7 deadly sins of meetings.
Today, postponed meetings are far less likely to occur. Technology enables us to gather and understand data better than ever. Resources for presenting these insights are also better than ever, and allow us to seamlessly exchange knowledge, information and insight between many different individuals and silo. Once everyone is on the same page, decisions can be reached much more quickly, which is imperative to success in today’s faster, leaner and tougher world of business.
Engaging
Attending a meeting for our parents meant walking in and picking a seat where they would be comfortable for a couple hours. They would typically have to wait while the presenter fumbled with cables, and tried pulling up the presentation, which was typically followed by the question, “Is anyone good with technology?” I supposed this is one of the reasons, the presentations were always printed out. Then they spent the rest of this time, listening to boring people talk about boring things and argue about boring decisions. Luckily, they had a printout of the presentation to doodle on.
Today, not only do we have the amazing ability to not have to fumble with cords and cables, but we have so many resources to engage all attendees. Presentations can include more than just text and photos: they can implement audio, video, moving charts and 3D images to more effectively relay information, and in a more entertaining way. We can even incorporate quizzes and questions into presentations that people can access with a URL to keep them engaged and interested.
The Future Challenges
As a result of all this technology use, we have become very stimulated beings. Our world around us is constantly stimulating: emails binging, phones buzzing, television turned on etc. Because of this, we start to “tune” some things out, and don’t pay attention to them. Therefore, it is becoming more and more difficult to hold our attention.
So, for the future success of meetings, we will have to figure out a way to keep people engaged and attentive. We are likely to see a meeting room filled with more than just tables and chairs – we will have to use interactive content to engage all of our senses. Here is a great article that predicts what future meetings will look like.

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Meetings are an important part of running businesses, and they come in all shapes and sizes. From unplanned chats in the office corridor to monthly sales reviews and annual conferences, meetings can take many forms.
A face-to-face discussion of organizational issues can be conducted in various ways. In this digital age, people can conveniently communicate through emails and video conference, however, this limits the ability of individuals to express their ideas only through the power of words. Alternatively, traditional, face-to-face meetings allow people to facilitate interaction and discussion in a more effective manner, and allows participants to express their views freely using both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Here are some ways in which meetings benefit individuals and businesses
A Potent Business Weapon
Considering the fact that we live in a world where competition is cut throat, business people need more personal interaction than ever before. While online communication and telephone offer a convenient and quick way to communicate, conducting a face-to-face meeting with clients creates an altogether different effect. Business meetings provide the best avenue to carry out negotiations.
Keep organizations on track
Regular meetings strengthen work relationships and bonds among employees, and keeps them on track regarding work matters. Let us take an example. Whenever a team is required to work on a new, large project, it is best to have a kick-off meetings to delegate responsibilities and tasks. Regular meetings can then be conducted to keep track of work progress. This way, whole team can stay abreast with the way project is progressing. Meetings also offer a great opportunity for the management to acknowledge and appreciate the achievements of the team through public recognition.
Relationship building through “human connection” 
Human connection via face-to-face meetings is probably the best way to become closer as a team and people, and it makes collaboration much easier. As you spend more time together, you are able to make a complete personal assessment that can help you learn more about your own personality and behavior and that of others. Discussing and sharing this assessment with the team members allows you to understand how you can better adapt your style to communicate and collaborate more effectively with others. Human connection and face-to-face interaction also minimizes team conflict.
Build Good Working Relationship
When people with diverse opinions, personalities and interests come together in a meeting, they somehow end up creating a cordial affiliation with their colleagues and the bond strengthens over time. This may be because people, despite their busy schedule at work find time to meet others and bond with them. This kind of relationship building is not possible with phone calls, emails or even virtual meetings. Facial expressions, handshakes and a positive body language can go a long way in building strong human bonds.
Boost Individual Morale
Meetings provide the perfect platform for good and open communication. A good meeting facilitator can help even the most timid team member to open up and share his thoughts, and contribute to the discussion. This boosts individual morale and helps bring some brilliant ideas to the table.
Brainstorming
Most organizations survive on ideas and creativity. When it comes to brainstorming, meetings are the perfect platform. Many minds put together can bring out better ideas and solutions and that too much faster. Mere presence of other people can make things work. It could be the visual aids from markers and flipcharts, their body language or sharing their experience, but face-to-face communication does make a brainstorming session more engaging and fruitful.
Broader buy-in and consensus
Whenever an organization or team has to make a major decision, it becomes extremely important for people to buy-in to the decision, and meetings are the perfect way to achieve it. Consensus can be best achieved face-to-face, not on a phone call or email. Decision making and consensus achieved through effective meetings has immense business value.
It is important for individuals to understand that meetings are essential to the success of the organization. While some people may find it plain and boring, but in the long run, meetings go beyond achieving goals; they help foster and strengthen good working relationships.