Prior to the BYOD era, it was possible to have cables in the conference room without driving everyone within a 5 mile radius to the brink of insanity. In those days, most conference rooms had a shared PC connected to the TV or projector, so as long as each presenter submitted their PowerPoint file a few hours in advance, meetings could run relatively smoothly. Since the shared PC only required a VGA cord, conference room cable management was rarely an issue.
Now that everyone brings their own laptop or tablet to work, this is no longer the case. There are so many laptops currently in circulation with so many different video outputs (HDMI, VGA, DVI, HDMI to VGA, Thunderbolt, etc) that it’s impossible to predict which cables will be required during the meeting. This is why, in order to be adequately prepared for every possible contingency, it’s generally recommended that IT have at least 9 different cables or adapters on hand at all times.
But if you’re thinking of buying a small arsenal of cables for your conference room, your spending isn’t going to stop there: Conference room cable management is an expensive art to master. Here are 9 additional items you’ll need to purchase in order to make all those cables presentable.
1. Cable Management Boxes
When you have nine or more cables running to each seat at the conference room table, the end result is going to look a bit like a mad scientist’s lair. One way to minimize the clutter is to buy a ton of cable management boxes and install them at each corner of the table.
Of course, having so many boxes in one room may create the impression that your company is in the process of moving. But hey, at least no one will think that you’re renting out your conference room to Doc Holliday from Back to the Future during your off hours.
2. Connectivity Boxes
Unfortunately, cable management boxes only help cover up the middle portion of the cables and do absolutely nothing to make their tail ends look presentable. For that, you’ll need to put a connectivity box at every seat as well.
3. Floor Cord Protectors
One of the best ways to hide cables is to put them under the carpet. If your conference room happens to be uncarpeted, you face two issues: 1) people will roll their chairs over the cables, which will chew off the plastic, and 2) people will trip over the cables, sustain a serious injury, and sue the company out of existence.
Investing in a few floor cord protectors will help make sure that the plastic coating stays intact and that your company doesn’t spend all its revenue on legal fees and out of court settlements.
4. Accident Insurance
Companies that don’t invest in floor cord protectors are strongly advised to purchase accident insurance. Putting a dozen people in a room full of tripping hazards and sharp objects is unlikely to end well, and you’ll want to be prepared for the worst possible outcome.
5. Storage Cabinet With Lock
Good conference room cable management is impossible without strong security protocols in place. Cables are the conference room equivalent of hotel towels: Everyone has stolen one at least once in their lifetime, and few have qualms about stealing them again. Keeping some of your cables under lock and key is a good way to slow down the frequency of thefts.
6. Back-up Cables
No matter how closely guarded you keep your cable stash, at least a few will continue to mysteriously disappear. Having a few back-ups on hand can spare you a last minute trip to Best Buy.
7. Staple Gun
Once you’ve figured out how to cover up all the cables that run across the floor, you face a second, more difficult problem: Covering the cables that run against the wall.
If you don’t have the money to put your cables behind the baseboards, you can always put them in front of the baseboards. By firing a staple gun at the cables every two feet, there’s a small chance you’ll end up with a room that looks semi-professional.
Unfortunately, you may have a hard time finding staples that are wide enough to wrap around nine cables. In which case, wrapping an elastic band around the cables may be your only option.
Your office already has a hand sanitizer dispenser. Why not add a Tylenol dispenser as well? With all those cables, headaches will replace the flu as your company’s number #1 health concern.
If you find this extremely long list of conference room cable management paraphernalia intimidating, you may want to consider a wireless presentation system (like, say, Ubiq). It allows anyone to walk into a conference room and connect their laptop to a screen in 1 second. No cables, no hassles, no headaches.