You know you need to sort out the tech in your small meeting room or huddle space.
Perhaps the research from Herman Miller showing that small groups only use smaller conference rooms for their meetings 10 per cent of the time, opting instead to take up larger meeting spaces, struck a chord with you. You know it’s not that your entire team have personal space issues – it’s the limited technology available in comparison to the impressive boardroom or conference room setup where you’ve invested!
So how can you get your small meeting room tech up to scratch even with a limited budget of say £1,500? It’s not easy to bring everything together when challenged with cost restraints but it is possible.
If you’ve been tasked with kitting out a small meeting room with an equally small budget, read on to find the right technology to deliver surprisingly big results.
Your first challenge is choosing the right display screen for your space; it’s where we’d invest the majority of our budget. You need to ensure that your team can all see the screen clearly, no matter where they are in the room and no matter the level of detail on display.
For a budget display screen, the Hitachi CML55U01 is pretty near perfect. At just £799 ex. VAT, this 55-inch 4K UHD display is a decent size and the fact that it’s got 4K resolution is a real win at this price level. With 4K, your team will be able to use the screen for working on everything from reviewing marketing material to analysing data-filled spreadsheets.
If 4K isn’t quite so important to you, you might want to assign your display budget to a touchscreen instead. Touchscreens are inevitably pricier than standard display screens, but if you’re using the room for a lot of speaker-led presentations or interactive meetings, then you might be better off allocating your budget to functionality over resolution.
Take a look at the Viewsonic CDE5561T, priced at £2,038 including VAT. This screen is a great size at 55 inches and with 1080p Full HD resolution, you’ll still find it’s more than adequate for all but the most detailed of tasks. In return for your step up in price, you’ll receive a bright touchscreen with 20-point touch and a wide range of connectivity options.
A great display screen is the focal point of your meeting room, but audio is more than just an afterthought. Businesses and teams have a real need to review and create content with an audio element. It’s your role to give them the tools they need to listen to and work on this content.
We can recommend the ConXeasy SB603 SoundBar as a highly efficient, high power audio solution that offers excellent sound and value for money. The device is just £129 ex Vat, a drop in the ocean when you consider the boost it’ll bring to your meetings. It works well in corporate environments where high definition audio is a must-have and there’s no need for a separate subwoofer, which is a bonus if space is at a premium or you’re keeping costs and equipment to a minimum.
The key to the ConXeasy SB603 is its connectivity – it can easily connect to any panel or audio source via cable (analogue or digital), HDMI or wirelessly via Bluetooth Aptx, so your team can use just about any input device they like, be it a laptop, smartphone or tablet – great if you’re running a BYOD policy.
That’s the big ticket items dealt with. But how are you going to get your audiovisual equipment up and running? Time to look at mounts and connectivity solutions.
If you want to mount your screen on the wall, take a look at the BTech BT8422-Pro Universal Flat Wall Mount. Perfect for screens between 50 and 80 inches in size, it won’t take you long at all to fit this mount and give your team a great view of the display screen. And it’s just £75!
However, if you will potentially be using the screen in another room, then keep your options open with the Peerless AV SR598 Universal Trolley Stand so you can move the screen around rather than committing it to a single wall. This is a step up price wise, you’ll be looking at £699 for this specific model, but if you need that extra level of flexibility, it’s money worth spending.
Whether you go for a wall-mounted screen or choose to keep your screen on a trolley, don’t forget you’ll need to buy the right cables too.
TechConnect do a good starter package that should have everything you need, from faceplates to VGA, HDMI and USB cables and connectors. We’d suggest the five-metre package for most small meeting room spaces for £59 ex. VAT – not much to ask to cover just about all your potential connectivity needs.
Now that we've specified all of the essentials, you just have to consider the cost of installation. We've installed into thousands of meeting rooms since 2001, and we'd estimate the cost of a basic display install with all of the above tech to be around £440.
So that’s your £1,500 small meeting room solution sorted with all the essentials, fully installed!
Good quality, useful meeting room technology can be a reality, even on a small budget and there’s no need to compromise on user experience just because you’re kitting out a smaller space.
This package will allow you to get the whole team involved and ensure that everyone can hear the conversation clearly, share information swiftly and collaborate effectively. Remember well-equipped rooms are used five times more often than poorly equipped ones so you’ve made a great start by investing in the tools and equipment your employees need to improve collaboration and productivity.
If you’re in a position to stretch the budget a bit further there are some excellent add-ons that can take things to the next level. Have a quick look at the options below.
Control systems help streamline the use of audiovisual equipment and reduce the time spent messing around getting contributors and presenters connected. A good option for a small meeting room is the Neets Control - QueBec. The device allows users to switches automatically between HDMI and VGA signals so there’s no time wasted with remotes, buttons or switching around inputs during a meeting.
With research from Barco showing that two-thirds of staff have had to put meetings on hold in order to sort out technical issues, anything that makes your team’s use of AV equipment more efficient is surely a good investment.
Speaking of efficiency in the meeting room, the Barco ClickShare family is another set of products we’d highly recommend taking a look at if you have some extra budget available. This simple device makes it incredibly straightforward for people to contribute during a meeting, no matter what device they’re connecting from.
PCs and laptops can plug in the ClickShare button to their USB port, while tablets and smartphone users can download the ClickShare app to their device. Then, when they’re ready to share the content from their device up onto the main screen in the room, it’s just a matter of tapping the app or pressing the button.
The different ClickShare base units are designed to cater for different sizes of teams and meeting environments. For a smaller meeting room, we’d suggest the CS100.
Finally, here’s a bit of tech that can help save time and improve focus even before your team has sat down in the meeting room. Whilst you’re upgrading or kitting out your small meeting room, why not upgrade your room booking systems too.
With room booking panels, the user interface and built-in room availability functions change in real time to show room availability. Users can easily locate and book an available room directly from the panel. If that room is booked, users can quickly locate the nearest available room or the next available time with ease. Vision Free Space Room Booking App (VFSA) starts from just £595 excluding VAT.[/vc_tta_pageable][/thb_border]