Wireless Conference Rooms vs. Cabled Conference Rooms: Which Has the Better ROI?

The average cost of an HDMI cable is $10 – $15.

At first glance, this may seem like a pretty sweet bargain. For the price of a movie ticket or a foot-long submarine sandwich, you can buy a piece of equipment that easily attaches to the back of your conference room TV and instantly solves all of your connectivity issues forever.

What’s not to like?

Well, consider the following statistics:

  • Despite the prevalence of HDMI cables in enterprise conference rooms, 87% of IT managers report that problems connecting laptops to the TV is one of the top 3 issues that they are called on to deal with.
  • 88% of end users complain about meeting room equipment.
  • The average IT manager is called upon to resolve 8.6 meeting room technology problems per week. That’s 447.2 incidents per year.
  • The average meeting room technology problem takes 23.1 minutes for an IT manager to resolve. That’s 3.31 hours per week or 22.95 days per year.

Why so many problems with cables?

In today’s BYOD environment, end users give presentations from their laptops, and not all laptops have HDMI outputs. Some have VGA, DVI, Thunderbolt, etc. This means that in addition to HDMI cables, IT managers also need to have a small arsenal of alternative video cables and adapters on hand at all times. All of those $15 cables and adapters can add up fast, and good luck making them look presentable: The art of conference room cable management is an extraordinarily difficult thing to master. (So much so that many IT teams end up hiring AV installation companies to do the job for them).

Consider some more statistics:

  • In addition to the 23 days per year that IT managers waste solving cabling issues, employees waste 15.5 days a year in unproductive meetings.
  • 90% of presenters prepare for technology failure (such as printing off handouts in case screen sharing doesn’t work), and 44% do a tech rehearsal beforehand
  • Atlassian estimates that the salary cost of unproductive meetings for U.S. business is $37 billion.

So while the cable itself may only cost as much as a movie ticket, the true cost of cables—once salaries, wasted time, and AV installation costs are factored in—is much closer to a full-on movie production.

What about wireless conference rooms?

Unlike their cabled counterparts, wireless conference rooms don’t require constant troubleshooting, and therefore enterprises don’t hemorrhage money by deploying them. Although the initial cost of a wireless presentation system may be a bit steep compared to the $15 you’d spend on an HDMI cable, the amount saved in the long run is gargantuan. As far as ROI is concerned, wireless conference rooms are to cabled conference rooms what law degrees are to lottery tickets.

But there is a bright side to using cables: IT managers report that they walk a distance of 92.5 meters from their desk to the meeting rooms and back each time they have to go to help with a meeting room technology incident. This means they walk at least 3.2 km per week or 41.366 km per year.

With all that exercise, who needs a gym membership?

ADDITIONAL READING
Conference Room Cable Management Checklist
Top 5 Conference Room TVs of 2017
Death of the Shared Conference Room PC

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