Five Questions to Answer Before You Act
It's not the answers that enlighten but the questions. You've heard some version of that quote before and it's no different here. Knowing the questions to ask before overhauling the AV technology in your meeting space will set you up for success.
1. Where is my team?
For most businesses, the staff is located in three areas:
- Office – staff working in a single location or in a series of offices
- Remote – employees who work from home
- Field – employees such as technicians or engineers working on projects at client sites
2. How does my team collaborate?
After answering where your team works you'll now want to know how they work. A small team may gather in a single room and project content from a laptop onto a single screen. Teams with remote and field employees often require audio and/or video conferencing capabilities. Here a few more questions that will help you understand how your team works:
What type of content do you present? Graphics, spreadsheets, simple documents, 3D modeling, brainstorming notes?
Do they cover the walls with sticky notes? Do you use paper flip boards? Whiteboards? How do they keep track of all this content?
Do meetings generally require more than one person to present content? Do you need multiple sources of content to be viewed simultaneously?
How often do you present to clients in person? Via audio and video conferencing? Are these meetings point to point, or do they bring in several parties and locations at once?
3. What kind of meeting space(s) do I have?
Take a look around. Where are your employees meeting right now? Here are a few of the most common:
- Open meeting space (such as a lobby, lounge or cubicles)
- Huddle Room
- Small Conference Room
- Medium Conference Room
- Large Conference Room
- Large Training Space
4. What AV equipment will I need?
There are four basic AV technology needs you'll want to consider for your space.
Most meetings spaces require a monitor or screen for presentation although in some cases, a phone may be the only necessary equipment in a room. You'll want to think about how each category listed above will be used in your space and decided on the equipment and functionality needed.
Audio and Video Communication
- Does the space need a phone?
- Is an office phone adequate?
- Do I need a conference speaker phone?
- What software should I use?
- Do I need a dedicated conferencing solution?
- What quality of cameras should I use?
- What amount of internet bandwidth will this require?
Wireless vs. Wired Presentation
- Do I want to present wirelessly?
- How many people present in a single meeting?
- Do they need to be able to present simultaneously?
- Do I want to annotate on presentations?
- Do I want remote participants to be able to see my annotations live?
- How can I save my annotations?
- What are my options?
5. Do I need an AV integrator?
This question is tricky because only you know your staff and their technical expertise. Simple rooms with tethered connections may fall within your team's capabilities. Smarter Systems recommend employing a commercial integrator because of their expertise. You'll receive assistance with design, infrastructure, and installation. They can recommend commercial devices and integrate them in an aesthetically pleasing and timely manner. Perhaps the biggest benefit is support. If you install on your own, you'll have to troubleshoot it alone which takes away time from your primary business. Commercial integrators guarantee their installations and will troubleshoot and resolve problems at no additional cost to you. So yes, you may be able to handle your AV install, but the best course of action is hiring professionals.