Technology for meeting rooms can help you boost the utilization and performance of these assets. Since we released a series of content pieces about meeting rooms in coworking spaces—from planning your meeting rooms to promoting them to boosting meeting room utilization—and saw huge interest in the topic, we decided to build on top of that content.
We’ve been having plenty of discussions with clients of ours and other coworking fellows, on what are the best practices when designing conference rooms and what are the most recommended technology items that will make a meeting room efficient, convenient and easy to use.
We sat down to talk on the topic in more details with Mike Everts, our US Regional Manager. Besides co-founding SharedSpace—a high-tech workspace in the Atlanta suburbs, Mike has also rich experience in the audio-visual industry with designing and building collaboration spaces for large corporations across the southern US.
We recommend watching our webinar How to Design Top-Performing Meeting Rooms for Coworking Spaces, where he shares lots of useful tips on several topics:
As a continuation of the webinar, below are Mike’s top recommendations for technology items and accessories that will help you outfit your conference rooms. But before we jump on them, here’s something important to consider:
You would want to design your rooms to be simple but impactful
Once you’ve designed your conference room, you have to make sure it’s easy to use. It doesn’t matter how cool your room is, if it’s not easy to use and understand, it won’t be used to its fullest potential.
At the same time, your staff will be responsible for taking care of these rooms, so the more complex you design your meeting rooms, the more time your staff will spend servicing them and not doing other things that will make your coworking space better.
It might be also difficult for your members which might make them feel frustrated or ruin an important meeting because of not knowing how to connect their laptop to the TV. So you’d want to design with simplicity and functionality in mind.
Even so, it’s always a good idea to put signage with instructions on how to use the equipment (e.g. connecting your laptop to the TV or the projector, adjusting the picture, etc)—this would be of help to your members if they get stuck with the setup.
Now, let’s jump to Mike’s top recommendations for the items and products that will help you set up your meeting rooms:
It might be pretty basic to some of you, but having dedicated wired connections is a must. Wireless is great, but nothing is better than a dedicated wired connection, as a wired connection is much more reliable. Here are 3 essential cables you need—an HDMI, Mini Displayport, and USB C. It’s important that you support a variety of thеse.
The HDMI connects to all of the TVs today, as well as to some Windows laptops. The Mini Displayport is widely used for Macs and with new Macs and even some cellphones, we’re starting to see more and more USB C cables.
There are plenty of brands and models out there, and in most cases, whatever you choose will fit your needs.
Wireless connection is convenient but you have to keep in mind it’s not as reliable as wired connections. Here are Mike’s recommendations:
It’s easy to use and it’s around 150 USD. You don’t really need the more expensive ones. You just need the ability for Macs and iPhones to be able to share their screen. Another plus is that most people are familiar with Apple TV.
Check it out on Amazon: Apple TV
It’s the wireless display technology that is used in Windows laptops and Android smartphones. It’s easy to use, but not so many people are familiar with it.
Check it out on Amazon: Microsoft Miracast Adapter
AirTame is great because it works well with both Apple and Microsoft. It has some pretty cool functions like letting you stream your video wirelessly over the internet.
Check it out on their website: AirTame
In the past, projectors used to be the preferred option when you’d like to see a picture in massive size but today TV screens become larger and larger and they continue to come down in price. So in most cases, a TV will be a more convenient and cheaper option for your coworking space.
Projectors would be the better option for huge board rooms or your event space. However, keep in mind that with projectors they’re lots of additional costs and things to consider: buying a projector screen, hanging the projector, replacing the bulbs every year, the necessary warm-up time when you turn the projector on…
Bonus tip: Here’s a cool calculator that will help you choose the best screen width, height, and throw distance for the projector screen.
And here are some recommended items:
There are some essential accessories that you should be using in your meeting rooms. Here are some ideas:
Whiteboards are super important for your meeting rooms. Glass boards, in particular, are pretty cool as they look very futuristic and they are relatively inexpensive. I highly recommend the glass boards as they’re easy for cleaning and any other maintenance.
You can check Quartet Glassboard.
There are different varieties of video rooms—from the full-scale Zoom Rooms to a more individual USB webcam. Make sure you can support all those kinds of different online meetings—whether it’s Google Meeting or WebEx, or whatever.
Here are 2 good options:
Many coworking spaces forget about this, but you really have to make sure that you have power or some kind of USB Strip in your meeting rooms—whether it’s built into the table, or into the wall. Nothing can ruin a meeting more than a laptop that runs out of battery and not having where to charge it.
Check a good example on Amazon: Belkin Power Hub
Dongles allow you to convert the HDMI signal that is coming out of your TV and connect it to your laptop. If you get dongles that support HDMI, Mini Displayport, and USB C, you’ll be able to connect all your clients’ laptops with those dongles.
Especially for dongles, it’s valid that you get what you pay for. Which means that with the cheaper dongles you’ll often face issues, so it’s worth it to invest in high-quality, and respectively more expensive, equipment.
There’s been a debate on whether people still use their cellphones for meetings, and the truth is that lots of people still do—I’ve seen lots of people in SharedSpace with their phones on loudspeaker on the table during meetings.
The Pioneer Ryaz Rally is a pretty cool tool for such situations—it’s a lightning power talk and charge speakerphone that you plug into your phone. It amplifies the volume and provides a good quality conference microphone. Unfortunately, it only works on iPhone 5 or above.
Check it out on Amazon: Rayz Rally Portable iPhone Speaker
Technology such as the OfficeRnD’ meeting rooms booking app allows your members and guests to book rooms easily and fast. Via the Desktop or Mobile app, they can book a room, pay for it and manage their meeting room reservations in your coworking space.
Also, with the OfficeRnD Tablet app, you can place tablets at the door of your meeting rooms that show the availability of the room. They also allow members to check in upon entry. A cool accessory that will be in use here is the Heckler Design Mounts. They are considered to be one of the best iPad mounts and can be very useful for setting tablets on the doors of your meeting rooms.
We’ve got a few more resources we think might be also useful to you. Here there are:
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