In times past, wowing clients and colleagues relied on nothing but a well-rounded proposal or slide deck presentation and a touch of self-confidence to seal the deal. Today there’s a bit more to it.
Technology is progressing at a rapid pace and it’s hard not to notice the resulting transformation in meeting rooms and conferences everywhere. Video presentations, interactive touchscreens and collaborative meetings with local and remote workers are common place. But for these to work with any kind of efficiency, you need the right audiovisual equipment in pace.
It goes without saying that a great display screen will make a huge difference. But with the rise of video, remote working and global conference calls, you can’t forget about audio.
It’s a good question. Sound was on the side-lines for many years as copy and visuals took the limelight. But the rise of remote working coupled with the move away from simple slide decks and towards multimedia presentations has made top audio technology more important than ever.
Creating a multisensory experience is the name of the game, and while images and video can engage the eyes, making sure sound is crisp and clear in both directions is equally important if you’re looking to really engage attendees and reinvigorate the meeting room.
When discussing the importance of sound systems in the meeting room it’s impossible to ignore the rise of remote working, which has swept across the international business scene thanks to the capabilities of modern technology. In fact, the increasing demand for flexibility within companies, as well as the increase in self-employed workers, means that conference call technology is now pretty much compulsory.
To enable this flexible working practice it’s vital that employees have access to the best audio equipment so they can make their voice heard. Whether in a video conference, remote meeting or on a one-to-one call, remote workers and the businesses they are addressing need to have desk mics and speakers that will allow them to hear, and be heard.
As we said before, it’s all about collaboration and the multisensory experience. Relying on a basic laptop mic or USB speaker just won’t cut it anymore if you want to create a genuinely immersive environment that engages attendees and drives productivity.
So what’s the solution? Naturally, the answer differs depending on the circumstances, but here are a few of the essentials.
Video conferencing technology – The advancements in video conferencing technology mean it really has never been easier to host a successful meeting no matter where your team are dialling in from. More and more businesses are turning to video conferencing hardware with professional microphones to ensure everyone’s voice is picked up clearly.
Logitech’s conferencing technology is one of the most popular and effective choices. Easy and affordable, the brand’s complete room solution uses Intel technology to deliver HD video with a full-duplex speakerphone, as well as acoustic echo cancellation and noise reduction to remove ambient sounds that could affect the quality of the audio so everyone’s voice is picked up loud and clear.
The AMX Acendo Vibe by Harman is another strong contender, providing industry leading conferencing sound bars and a wide-angle camera. Putting full emphasis on the importance of audio, the Acendo Vibe uses integrated JBL speakers and far-field microphones to create an engaging audio experience that is just as effective wherever you are in the conference room. Everyone can be seen and heard, whether your team are on a video conference call or watching a video presentation.
Portable alternatives – Of course, you’re not always working from your own meeting room. If you’re away from the office and need top audio technology on the go, portable sound systems are an option. Ideal for remote workers or those on business trips, portable speakers and mics make it possible to conduct conference calls on the go.
Products like Jabra’s Speak 510 are built to move, but this doesn’t mean quality is compromised. Set yourself up in seconds using the USB connection and make use of the built-in omnidirectional microphone to ensure everyone is heard at both ends of the conversation.
Portability can sometimes mean issues with integration if software or hardware isn’t compatible with everyone’s setup so it’s best considered as an extra rather than your main conference room audio system. But the Speak 510 is worth considering for a quick audio solution on the move.
So you’re all set to purchase your new conferencing audio equipment, but you can’t get started without first assessing your environment. Most hardware options now come with a plethora of connections, but it’s still important that you consider what your exact space requires before making your final choice.
AV receiver – Conferencing hardware is essential for making and receiving calls clearly. But if you’re also sharing video and audio content from a variety of other input devices – for example your team’s laptops or tablets – your audio setup needs to add an extra level of sophistication with an AV receiver.
This box is used to centralise the audiovisual technology so that whatever source you’re using, from PC to portable device, you can connect it to your main display screen and speaker system quickly and easily.
Speakers – Although included in some conference room systems, speakers sometimes have to be purchased separately and this is a decision that will impact upon the overall success of your audio system. In-ceiling speakers are often the top choice for those with a permanent space as they can create a cleaner finish. However, the process of installing your speakers can mean a lot of mess and channelling if you don’t have suspended ceilings, which may be unappealing or simply impossible depending on your office arrangements.
An alternative is to select a wall speaker or soundbar based on the size and use of your room, many of which have been designed to be discreet and easy to connect. Read more about the best speaker installations for meetings rooms here.
If you have any questions about how you could use audio to transform your conference room, please get in touch on 0800 073 0834 or drop us an email.