Designing a Video Conferencing Room

There are many aspects to designing a well-functioning video conference room. First, there is the hardware required for the video conferencing system, such as a projector and screen, or a display of some sort, the camera or cameras, microphones, interfaces for controlling the system and the hardware that stores the video conferencing software. Then there’s the furniture, maybe a large conference table (but can you be sure everyone can be seen?) or rows of desks, a cabinet to hide the clunky hardware, chairs, perhaps a table to set the projector on.  You also can’t forget the decor–color palet, carpeting, wall hangings, plants and other decorations. And what about those windows? What kind of treatments should you put up? And as for artificial lights, there are a variety of light fixtures available.

The Hardware

Microphones. Most microphones designed for video conferencing are designed to pick you sound within eight feet. This means, with proper placement, most rooms won’t require multiple separate units to ensure good sound quality. This is especially true with the Polycom HDX ceiling microphone, which doesn’t even take up table space.

Camera

Cameras. My favorite is the Polycom EagleEye Director, which features fully automated camera pan, tilt and zoom motions. The EagleEye Director zooms in on active speakers, which shows facial expressions. Being able to see facial expressions is the whole point of video conferencing.

Interface. Although not always necessary, it can be nice to have a dedicated interface for your video conferencing system so you don’t have to rely on a laptop or dedicated desktop for adding call participants, controlling camera angles and switching to different input types.

Speakers. Good speakers are essential to ensure quality sound quality and an overall good communication experience. Polycom offers a good 20 Watt speaker solution, but it may not be compatible with all systems.

The Software

Software is available in many forms, and may be integrated within a hardware appliance or purchased in individual licenses, or may even be hosted in the cloud. TriTech partners with a variety of video conferencing system providers, including LifeSize, Polycom, and Cisco.

Furniture

TriTech has a variety of Avteq carts, credenzas, mounting hardware and even specialty medical carts that have specific purposes for video communications.

Carts can be used for rooms where you may not want a permanent video installation, or may need to reconfigure the room as needs dictate. Carts designed for video conferencing generally mounting hardware to instal the codec, display and mount a camera.

Avteq Credenza

Credenzas are a bit more permanent, but still don’t require drilling holes into a wall and are generally easier for moving. Credenzas oftentimes have more space for storing equipment and come in a variety of finishes to match or compliment the rest of your furniture.

Displays vary in size and type to accommodate a variety of functions. Whether you need a single 40″ display or a series of projectors and screens, TriTech can help you with determining your needs, installation and maintenance as it is needed.

Mounting Hardware is ideal for tighter spaces, or more permanent installations. Generally, you can mount the display, camera and microphones, but still need a cabinet or rack for storing the codec.

Decor

Much like the rest of your office, you’ll want to keep the room neutrally colored, not only to keep the room pleasant for those in it, but to minimize eye strain for remote participants as well. Any vibrant colors can also reflect off of the people, and give them a strange look on screen, which takes away from the lifelike feel you are striving for in video conferencing.

Walls should generally be a flat or matte finish, since gloss can reflect the light. Patterned finishes should also be avoided, particularly stripes, since that can produce a strange flickering when reproduced on a screen.

The Office Furniture you choose for your conference room should follow the same guidelines: minimal, muted, flat. A glass conference table, for example, can cause your video to have confusing reflections or glare.

Lighting

If you can find a room without windows, that would be the best solution since sunlight can both interfere with the camera’s ability to capture an image and users ability to view the screen. However, oftentimes that is not possible and the best option is to use vertical blinds or blackout curtains that will uniformly block the sunlight.

With the artificial lighting, using a diffused or indirect light source is best. The goal is always to light the space as evenly as possible. Avoid spotlights.

Video Conference Room

Everything that must be considered to determine the proper equipment and design of your video conferencing room is a large undertaking, but you don’t need to do it alone. Call TriTech today to begin the design process. We can also install the necessary data cabling to a new room, or integrate new cabling for a room that may already be partially ready for the switch. The benefits of video communication are too great to ignore. Call TriTech, and we will help you find something that will fit into your budget and help streamline your business practices by reducing travel time and costs.

6 Reasons Why Cabling is Not for Amateurs

TriTech’s cabling technicians are certified and trained, which means you get a better quality job the first time. However, many people still see cabling as a place where they can cut a few costs and save money by either doing it themselves or hiring novice cabling techs with little experience. This is a mistake, since in the end it can end up costing more to have a pro come in and fix the mess than it would have to just call someone like TriTech in the first place. Here are several reasons why cabling is best left to the pros:

6 – Time

Professionals get it done faster.  Since they’ve done it before, your Cabling Installation project will be carefully planned to ensure there are no issues along the way.

5 – Equipment

Some cabling installations, like connecting two buildings, may require Directional Boring. This connects the network through a trench dug underneath any kind of obstruction–even under a street or parking lot. TriTech’s technicians have never been unable to complete a proposed project. Even if you need the cabling strung up, similar to telephone and power lines, TriTech has the equipment to secure the cable in this way.

4 – Training

Professional cabling technicians are certified by unbiased third parties, which proves they were properly trained to maintain specific standards. This training is a huge investment that companies make, which indicates that the company is dedicated to providing a quality solution for their customers. TriTech has been in the business of cabling since 1993 for one reason–we give customers the best solution available, regardless of the upfront costs to our company. We invest in continuous training for our technicians and promote quality work that reflects the highest standards in the industry.

3 – Warranty

What happens if your investment in cabling suddenly stops working?  If you find that there has been an error on some aspect of installation, who do you turn to? If you chose to work with a trusted cabling installation company like TriTech, you know there is a 15-year warranty on parts and labor. If it wasn’t done right the first time, for whatever reason, we will fix it.

2 – Quality of Materials

This may be obvious, but in order to use the best materials, you first have to know which materials are the best. It takes people new to any industry some time before they learn which materials perform best in which situations. This isn’t always as cut and dry as a certain brand of cable being the best in every situation–many times different types need to be used for different situations. For example, what time of climate is the cable going to be exposed to?  Is it an integrated Voice and Data network or strictly Phone System Cabling?  How far will the data need to travel? Experienced installation specialists will know which questions to ask and know what products to use based on your answers.

1 – Experience, Experience, Experience

There is no better way to learn than by doing.  TriTech’s technicians have been installing cabling for many years–some have over two decades of experience. This experience ensures you have the benefits of working with someone who has done this before and can foresee possible problems before the project even begins.  Whether you’re just adding on to an existing network, or need a new Ethernet Cabling Installation, TriTech’s cabling techs have most likely handled a project like yours before, and seen the whole process from start to finish. This not only ensures a better working network for you in the end, but also can help give you peace-of-mind during the design process.