Kitting out a meeting room can be a tricky task. Get it wrong and you’ll a) never hear the end of it from your angry and vocal co-workers and b) waste a lot of time and money (and never hear the end of it from the MD!) It’s a high profile decision that will impact on your company for years to come.
Even if you’ve done it before, technology moves on at such a pace that a little research can go a long way. So where do you start? What are the meeting room technology essentials? Read on to find out.
You’re buying technology, but your decisions are all about people. Start by thinking about how the room will be used and who will be using the room. Are you arranging a meeting space that’s client-facing? Or will it just be employees and suppliers? What about board members and investors?
Each group of people will have different requirements and your budget will need to be allocated accordingly for their different priorities.
The big picture
Armed with your team’s feedback it’s time to start making decisions. Start with the focal point of the room: the display screen.
First up, think about screen size. We recommend using the 4/6/8 rule as a good general guide for choosing the size of your screen.
- For finer details and more analytical work, viewers should be no further away than the four times the image height.
- For larger text, viewers should be no further away than six times the height of the screen.
- For more passive viewing – such as films or large images – the viewer should be no further away than eight times the image height.
You’ll pay more for a bigger screen, but if you need to go big then bite the bullet and go big because failure to do so will cost you a lot more in the long run if your team are struggling to view the content they’re working on.
So what are your options?
You can still get some excellent screens (and big ones too!) even with a small budget. Here are our top picks:
- Coming in at 65 inches, we recommend the LG 65LX341C
- Need something a little bigger? Take a look at the stunning 70 inch Sharp PNQ701K
- Or go big or go home with the NEC Multisync E905 at 90 inches.
Middle of the range
Stepping it up a level, these three screens will push the budget that bit further, but you’ll see the results in connectivity, performance and the all-important image quality.
- For a smaller room a 55-inch screen will do the job nicely. We recommend the BenQ ST550K.
- Stepping up a bit in size, we have the LG 75UW341C at 75 inches.
- Finally, rocking in at an impressive 90 inches is the Sharp PNR903.
Out to impress
Finally if your goal is less about budget and more about finding the best possible display screen on the market, it’s all about Sony at this level:
- First up, the 65-inch Sony FW-65XE8501.
- If you want the best 75-inch meeting room display screen, check out Sony’s FW-75XE9001.
- Take things to the max with the 100-inch, 4K UHD Sony FWD-100ZD9501.
Collaboration to suit your style
With the right screen in place, it’s time to think about how your team will be working with the content onscreen to get the most out of their meetings together. At this point it’s back to our first point: people first.
How do your team intend to use the room? Whether you’re working with remote colleagues, or together in a meeting room, presenting, or discussing … there’s an option available to suit your meeting style.
Touchscreens are a brilliant choice if you’re presenting and want to bring your content to life. They do a fantastic job of making the presentation more interactive and less of a lecture.
Touchscreens also depend on the size of the room and the distance your audience will be from the screen. And you’ll still need to consider all the other things you’ve thought about with a standard display screen too, like resolution and the 4/6/8 rule to determine the best size.
If you’re kitting out a mid-sized meeting room, we’d advise looking at a 65-inch screen. Here are a few of our favourites:
- If you’re watching the pennies, the BenQ RP653 offers excellent value for money
- You can take thigs up a notch with the intuitive software and improved functionality of the 65-inch Pro Series from Clevertouch.
- But if you’re going all out, it has to be the NEC Infinity Board with 4K resolution and state of the art collaboration functionality.
If multiple people will be collaborating on a project, then a wireless collaboration solution connected to your central display might be a more effective solution than a touchscreen.
There’s no system we can recommend as highly as Barco ClickShare range in this instance. It allows you to wirelessly connect to a central screen from a laptop, tablet or smartphone. Multiple users can share content simultaneously with some models and whoever’s turn it is to present just needs to click their ClickShare button and display their content on the shared screen.
But there are other options out there which will lower the price a bit for those just starting to consider collaborative technology. Check out the Vivitek NovoPro for example.
The last big ticket item on your list of meeting room essentials is a sound solution. Sound is so important in terms of making or breaking a meeting or presentation, especially in modern businesses where audio can play such an essential role in so much of the media-rich content your teams may be working with.
There are two things to consider here. Firstly, you need to trust that you’ll be able to hear the sound from video and other display content your team are working on. For this, you need a sound bar or a speaker system in place.
Here are our three suggestions for a sound system, all of which will offer a great sound, it’s just about picking what works for your budget and also for the room setup in terms of how much installation and wiring you’re able to run:
- First up, the Conxeasy SB603 is a superb sound bar which offers great value for money and minimal hassle on the install side of things.
- If you have more cash to splash and you’re in a position to get serious with a drill, then take a look at Sonance in-ceiling speakers. Combine these with a Yamaha AV receiver and you’ve got yourself a dream sound setup for a meeting room.
The second challenge, is ensuring your team can hear each other and of course be heard themselves when contributing. With the rise and rise of remote working and teams scattered across the globe, a high quality video conferencing kit is fast becoming an essential.
Here are our favourites:
- The Logitech ConferenceCam BCC950 is a great piece of kit at a very reasonable price, but it’s only really going to do its job in smaller meeting rooms.
- If you’re working in a larger space then jump straight up to the Logitech Group Kit for excellent video and sound quality.
- Finally, at the top of the range you have Vidyo, a complete conferencing system designed to deliver on an enterprise level.
Getting your audio solutions right can make a huge difference to your team’s meetings. Gone are the days of fuzzy phone lines, crowding round a mobile phone of speaker phone or passing a single microphone around the room.
The best conferencing solutions ensure everyone can hear what’s going on, keeping teams positive and productive.
Bringing it all together
With the big purchases carefully chosen to suit the needs of your team and your space, it’s time to bring it all together. Take the time to consider these final touches and make sure you don’t fall down on the detail.
Your audio-visual control system, the room booking system and a couple of other little peripherals are just as important as the display screen and audio in making sure that your team have an excellent meeting experience.
First, you need something to get your screen up and visible. Wall mounts or trolley stands are the answer here.
- BTech BT8422 might do the job for screens up to 55 inches but above that and you’ll need to step up a notch.
- The Peerless AV SF670p offers a cost-effective wall mount for larger screens
- But if you need the flexibility of moving rooms, take a look at the Peerless AV SR598 Universal Trolley Stand to keep your options open for using the screen in multiple rooms.
Room booking systems are still something of a luxury, but if you have the budget, they’re worth looking into to streamline things for larger teams or across larger facilities estates. Room clashes can be just as stressful as poor meeting room equipment so give some thought to spending that bit extra so everyone knows what’s what.
- At the lower end of the pricing scale we’d recommend the Vision Freespace TC3 CTL.
- The Reserva system offers a small step up with an all in one system that’s well worth a look.
And don’t forget your cabling. Most teams will be fine with the TechConnect TC3 Module and Cable Package. Just measure the distance you need between the screen/s and the faceplate or presenters and choose the right length of cable… you should have everything you need to get up and running.
However, if you’ve invested in a particularly large screen or you need bespoke connectivity options, then you really need to be thinking about a custom cabling setup to do justice to your other technology investments.
Finally, it often pays to employ an expert who will install everything with care and attention so give some serious consideration to budgeting for professional help on this. We’d set aside around £500 for a simple screen, audio and cabling install in a meeting room; this should ensure you get everything setup in good working order.
We hope this has been a good starting point to help you come to grips with the essentials for your meeting room technology. Our team would love to discuss solutions and packages with you to make sure you get the right meeting room technology fully installed.
We can find you something to suit just about every budget, so get in touch to get the best deals on meeting room tech in the UK.