In today’s digital age, the boardroom extends far beyond four walls. Virtual meetings are the new frontier in corporate communication, connecting teams and decision-makers across the globe.
However, not all virtual meeting spaces are created equal. Subpar audio and video can be more than mere annoyances; they can be deal-breakers, costing your enterprise valuable time and resources.
Enter the world of Microsoft Teams and Zoom Rooms—sophisticated solutions that are driving the future of enterprise communications. However, achieving the perfect balance between state-of-the-art technology and user-friendly design can be a complex endeavor.
If you’ve been disappointed by providers who install your system and then disappear, leaving you with a labyrinth of cables, user manuals, and unanswered questions, you’re not alone.
That’s why, at Century AV, we believe that our job is not complete when the installation is done. We stand behind our work, offering ongoing support to ensure that your Teams or Zoom Room remains a reliable asset for years to come.
Whether you’re new to this landscape or looking to upgrade, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the critical steps of designing, installing, and maintaining a meeting room setup that offers nothing short of the ultimate meeting experience.
The Importance of Enterprise-Level AV Solutions
Something we see all too often is a company going to their local big-box store and buying consumer-grade equipment to use for their essential meetings. Using lackluster quality equipment will genuinely perform in a lackluster way, not what you want in a place of business where communication reliability is crucial.
As a general rule, business-grade technology has a more reliable build. It’s intended to last long-term and provide functionality in extended-use scenarios. As a result, professional-tier equipment is built to last longer and perform better under more strenuous conditions of use.
Consider the simple video screen for a moment. Now, you might think you can use any old display as long as it has suitable connector cables, right? Wrong. Only with professional-grade equipment (1) will you have the capacity to run screens for extended periods. Furthermore, only professional equipment is capable of performing such feats as a video wall or displays that run in bright areas or all day and night.
It’s not just in displays that we see incredible differences in the build and function of AV equipment. Cameras, PCs, even hard drives, and flash storage built to professional-grade specifications will vastly outperform their typical consumer counterparts.
Considering the cost of upgrading equipment in a large organization, it stands to reason that the extra expense for professional-grade equipment will not only outperform the cheaper, less resilient grade of equipment. It will prove to have a much greater ROI due to a lessened need for service and repairs.
The Nuts and Bolts of Designing a Teams or Zoom Room
Deciding to install a professional Teams® or Zoom® room in your organization is a must for operating at today’s fast-paced speed of business. Organizations the world over have adopted the new model of hybridized remote work. Ergo, your office spaces must provide an area where team members can meet with their teammates via Teams® or Zoom® without disturbing the entire office.
There are a few things to consider before you lay down the law of where your Teams® or Zoom® room will reside. Let’s look at a few critical factors to consider next.
The Space Assessment
When evaluating areas of consideration for your upcoming Teams® or Zoom® room installation, you’ll want to consider a few things first. Here are the ten top things to assess for a potential Teams® or Zoom® room space.
- Check Acoustics: Meeting rooms such as Teams® or Zoom® rooms should be independent of the main office and enclosed. With the average worker experiencing upwards of 15 interruptions per hour (2), forcing a meeting into the background of an open office concept will add nothing but more interruptions and frustration for your team.
Clap your hands or use a specialized app to assess how sound travels in the room. Note any echo or dead zones.
- Measure Room Dimensions: Know the exact size of your room to determine the type and number of AV equipment needed.
- Identify Natural Light Sources: Windows or skylights can affect video quality. You’ll need to know where to position cameras and screens to minimize glare.
- Consider Traffic Flow: Analyze entry and exit points to prevent cables from becoming tripping hazards.
- Check Wall Material: The type of walls can affect both acoustics and the ability to mount equipment securely.
- Look for Electrical Outlets: Ensure that there are enough electrical outlets and that they are in locations that won’t require excessive cabling.
- Connectivity Infrastructure: Verify existing networking capabilities to ensure they can handle the bandwidth requirements of your AV system.
- Ventilation and Temperature: Make sure your equipment will not overheat due to poor ventilation in the chosen space.
- Multi-Functional Use: If the space will serve multiple purposes, plan your AV setup to be versatile and easily adjustable.
- User Experience: Keep in mind who will use this space. Is it executives, employees, or clients? Each group might have different needs.
I mentioned earlier how choosing consumer-grade products is bad for your organization’s ROI. Suppose you decide to go cheap on the purchases of lesser-grade equipment. In that case, you’ll likely pay for it in the long run with repeated service calls, equipment repairs, malfunctions at critical times (like during a meeting with the board of directors), and general frustration with the equipment.
Consider the compatibility of equipment. Furthermore, consider the implications of future growth. Will the equipment be viable in one year, two years, five years, or ten?
Professional Tip: For the best gear and equipment, you’ll want to speak to a professional. Professional-grade equipment is not typically available to the general public, and it’s unlikely you’ll find any at a big box store.
Routing and Access
We briefly touched on routing and access by mentioning electrical plugs and connectivity during your Teams® or Zoom® room space assessment. However, did you know that you can degrade your video signal by running power cables in or along the same conduit? That’s one of the many reasons we strongly recommend consulting an AV professional like the team at Century AV.
Installation Best Practices
Let’s talk about installation best practices because, in another scenario, we see a lot going on to fix or troubleshoot makeshift installations.
DIY vs. Professional Installation
At almost every company, there’s someone who is more technologically inclined than others. IT departments are a great example. If you have some champions of audio and visual equipment at your firm, then an in-house DIY installation might be a good idea. Just keep in mind that you might have issues finding the best equipment, even if your IT knows their way around it.
Professionals like the team here at Century AV can work with your in-house team to get the right equipment. Furthermore, they can advise of some of the more finessed do’s and don’ts of installation.
However, if you want a professional, neat, clean, and warrantied installation, you’ll need to bring in the big guns. Contact us today to get an estimate and advice that could make all the difference in your Teams® or Zoom® installation journey.
Managing installation timelines is easy with professionals like the team at Century AV. When providing your internal team with the task, you may find that they forget something or perhaps don’t have all the right tools for setup. It is a danger of using in-house team members to install an AV system, and it can cause timely delays.
Committing to using a professional like the installers at Century AV ensures you have an exponentially higher chance of fast installation and setup times. We do these sorts of installations day in and day out. We know all the things to expect and many that your team may not have even thought of. That’s why professional installation timelines are typically faster and more effective than a DIY solution.
Ensuring Long-Term Reliability
Once you’ve committed to the appropriate Teams® or Zoom® room equipment and installation, you’ll want to ensure that two things happen: routine maintenance and robust troubleshooting ability in the face of equipment failure.
Your IT department should know the basics of electronics maintenance. In case they forgot, one of the critical things to do is maintain the equipment; here’s how:
- Read the user’s manual and follow recommendations made by the manufacturer.
- Keep equipment free of dust that could act as an insulator, causing excess heating of the equipment.
- Check connections regularly. If your building has big truck deliveries or other issues that could cause shaking (even minute shaking), then your electronic connections might come loose over time.
- Create a maintenance schedule. It’s easy to forget about professional equipment because it works so much better and is more resilient than consumer-grade electronics. So, a straightforward workaround is to set a calendar notification for cleaning and maintenance as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Even the best equipment fails from time to time. Although it’s often user error, some things might happen outside of the normal scope and require special consideration.
I won’t get into the small details of troubleshooting here today. So, if you’d like to learn more about troubleshooting commercial equipment, read our article:
Century AV’s Commitment to Long-Term Support
At Century AV, we’re committed to the long-term support of our clients. Unlike so many others that just want to sell you equipment and then move on, we’re in it for the long haul. That means we want the equipment to last and outperform your expectations. Furthermore, should it fail, we’ll be there to help. Take a look at what our clients have to say:
In an age where virtual meetings are the norm, subpar audio, and visual setups just won’t cut it. Poor-quality equipment doesn’t just frustrate you; it can also impact your bottom line.
We’ve walked you through the complexities of setting up a Microsoft Teams® or Zoom® room that serves you in the long term. From considering the ten critical factors in space assessment to the do’s and don’ts of equipment selection and installation, we’ve got you covered.
Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, the next step is to act. Don’t leave your organization’s communication infrastructure to chance. Take control of your virtual meeting spaces by speaking to experts who can guide you through the process seamlessly.
Reach out to Century AV for a tailored solution that addresses your unique needs and sets you up for success in this new frontier of corporate communication.
For more insights into customizing and optimizing your audio-visual setups, check out our additional resources below. Make your virtual meeting rooms a reliable asset rather than a potential liability. Contact Century AV today.
Here is some further information for you to help you with your Teams® or Zoom® room research:
- Customizing Your Audio-Visual Setup: Tips and Tricks for Ontario Businesses
- Reducing Costs with Energy-Efficient Audio-Visual Systems in Ontario
- Top Factors to Consider When Purchasing Commercial Audio-Video Systems
- “Xvantage.” 2023. Ingrammicro.com. 2023. https://usa.ingrammicro.com/cep/app/cms/en-us/resources/Commercial-vs-consumer-grade-products.
- Dreamhunter, Juliet. 2023. “50+ Surprising Workplace Distractions Statistics .” Juliety. April 18, 2023. https://juliety.com/workplace-distractions-statistics#:~:text=Key%20workplace%20distractions%20statistics%20in%202023,-99%25%20of%20workers&text=Top%20distractions%20in%20the%20workplace,getting%20distracted%20every%20four%20minutes..