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- La Scala
The Art of Technology
1385 Boundary Road, Vancouver BC
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Tag Archives: conference room
The AV system was designed to provide the ideal collaborative solution for your team. Perfectly aligned to cast its laser image onto the projection screen while centered exactly on the custom ceiling tile, the projector would descend on a scissor lift at the touch of a button. The equipment order had been placed and the trades were meticulously scheduled. And then, well into the project; a request was made to change the room’s prominent light fixture and consequently, its location. Its new position would place it directly in front of the projector’s path. It may not sound like a complex issue but repositioning the projector may require either a short or long-throw lens be added, or a longer scissor-lift be specified. The electrical drop may also need to be relocated along with moving any other affected ceiling features. Audio visual systems are integral to any collaborative space and changes to a room’s walls, ceiling, flooring, lighting or furnishings may have a ripple effect that could result in costly change orders and extend your project’s timeline.
Typical video conferencing-enabled spaces will feature either a flat panel display, videowall matrix or projection system, along with microphones, speakers, AV equipment and room control device such as a pop-up touch panel. These elements are all part of an expertly engineered system, each with precise locations carefully documented. If, for example, a change is made replacing the specified 2-pedestal boardroom table with an extended 3-pedestal table, additional in-ceiling speakers or microphones may be required. Placement of these components will likely affect adjacent ceiling features including fire sprinklers, HVAC, occupancy sensors and lighting fixtures. Switching from 2 to 3 pedestals also shifts the locations of the floor boxes for power and connectivity. While these issues can be resolved through collaborative redesign and coordination with other trades, they will certainly impact the project’s timeline and budget.
Change orders of furniture, audio visual systems, electrical and more happen and for a variety of reasons. Custom items may encounter unforeseen delays. Furniture specified months earlier may be discontinued or the designer or client may have requested a change. Regardless of the circumstances, collaboration among stakeholders at the onset of change is the key to successful project outcomes.
Effective, productive collaboration is dependent upon the participants’ ability to communicate and engage with the shared content. Content must be clearly visible with displayed text legible from every seat in the room. Designing the space with the appropriate display size, type and placement is key in creating an engaging, collaborative environment.
Addressing the space’s technologies early in the planning phase will allow for the most flexibility in design options and provide the best possible outcome. Determining the ideal display will require an analysis of the requirements and goals. Working with the interior designer and project stakeholders to factor in furniture, calculations of the room’s dimensions, viewing distances and angles can be made. Ambient light, available in-ceiling and on-wall mounting locations, control system, budget and the types of content to be viewed will be factored in as well.
Viewing Distance Determines Display Type
Viewing distance is calculated based on the furthest participant and is a key factor in determining display type. There are various methods of calculation to determine proper viewing distance and screen size. Our commercial AV industry association, AVIXA (Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, formerly Infocomm), offers the specification “ANSI/INFOCOMM V202.01:2016, Display Image Size for 2D Content in Audiovisual System”. This industry standard uses multiple calculations that factor content, image size, font size, viewer positions from multiple locations, ambient light, off-axis viewing, the human eye’s range of sight at various angles, and more. These standards apply not only to presentation spaces, but to more complex applications as well including auditoriums, multi-purpose spaces and large training venues.
Calculations using a multiplier factor can provide a close estimation of display size that can help guide the design of small-to-medium size spaces including huddle spaces, board rooms and conference rooms. Screen size and distance calculations are greatly impacted by the content being presented, however, because the type of content dictates the multipliers (or factors) used in the calculation.
For corporate environments where presentations including PowerPoint, Excel, Word or Webpages will be shared, a large image will enhance user engagement by allowing participants to clearly and comfortably read the content. To calculate for this scenario, use a multiplier of 6 times the display’s image height (based on 1920 x 1080P resolution) to determine the furthest seating position. If data-rich content such as CAD drawings, Word or Excel documents or Web pages are to be shared, a factor of 4 should be used for added clarity. In rooms using video conferencing (WebEx, Skype, etc.) a multiplier of 4 is also recommended since it is a mixed-use application with multiple windows within the display image.
Video viewing is more lenient respective to screen size and distance. Smaller screen sizes or longer viewer distances are acceptable. The multiplier used for general video increases to 8 times the display’s image height. For example, if using a 55″ Monitor (27″ high screen height), the maximum seating distance would be 18’ (8 X 27” = 216”). In a mixed-content environment, such as a conference room, the text-content calculation would be the default. An alternative offering great flexibility without compromising design is installing both a flatpanel display as well as a recessed projection screen which can provide a larger image when required.
The 45° Cone
Viewing angles are an important consideration, especially with rooms that are exceptionally wide or where multiple displays may be needed. For ideal viewing, participants should be within 45 degrees from the center of the screen. The top of the screen should ideally be positioned within 30 degrees above eye level. AVIXA’s standard is more exact, but this general guideline will help set the expectation of screen size and positioning for design purposes.
Aspect Ratio and Scaling
Widescreen aspect ratios of 16:9 and 16:10 are prevalent, with 16:9 becoming the go-to. Laptops have standardized on 16:9, but most new displays and projectors can properly scale a 16:10 image to 16:9 and visa-versa. Any incompatibilities in native resolution can be addressed by the system designer.
Providing a screen that maximizes your content will keep your participants engaged and allow for a successful, productive meeting. Do you have a collaborative space that could benefit from a more engaging video solution? Call us for a complimentary on-site assessment of your space! We’ll do the math!
It’s a basic expectation really. You want to walk into a meeting room, easily connect your laptop, and make a presentation. And you can. Your conference room or huddle room system can be a simple plug-and-present; a wireless solution or one that is controlled by your smartphone. But, like all good designs, great outcomes depend on great input. While any of those solutions may be an effective presentation system, if it doesn’t suit the needs of the user, it will fall short of expectation. An effective presentation system is not as much about the technology as it is the user experience. A few simple questions will uncover the right solution for you and your team.
Define and Design
The first step in designing a system is to define the desired user experience for all users. The right solution will depend on:
- Who will be using the system? Will it be a defined group or will the room be open to visitors or personnel from other offices?
- What is their experience level?
- What are your company’s workflows?
- Are you wanting teleconferencing, video conferencing, content sharing, whiteboarding?
- Is there a company standard such as Skype for Business?
- What is the desired interface? Minimal interaction, single-button press or plug-n-play? Do you want to avoid the use of small, uninstalled units such as a hand-held remote control that may disappear in a huddle room?
- Will users be mobile – on smart phones or tablets? And how many connections are anticipated?
- Do you want the system to detect user mobile phones, syncing the system based on the room’s scheduled calendar event?
- Are you wanting to create a standardized solution that will be replicated across the enterprise?
Let’s Be Clear
In this era of rapidly evolving technologies, new acronyms and terminologies abound. VC, VTC, VMR and UC, for example, can mean a variety of things depending on who you’re talking to. One person’s definition of video conferencing may mean a traditional conference room setting with dual-screen monitors and sophisticated cameras that track movement, displaying far side participants as well as shared content. Another may be imagining a video call in the cloud with a completely remote or mobile staff. Collaboration is another term that requires a clear definition. To some it means simple screen sharing via Webex or Go-to-Meeting while others imagine a fully interactive experience that allows wireless sharing of multiple PCs or collaborative whiteboarding.
Wired, Wireless and your IT Department
Wireless presentations from a laptop, tablet or mobile phone (Bring Your Own Device) can offer seamless, convenient connectivity to the shared display, but not all IT departments allow this accessibility due to network security. Several solutions on the market today offer point-to-point connectivity, enabling connectivity via a self-contained Wi-Fi without being on your network. Some companies require heightened security measures, restricting wireless and providing only a secure wired solution.
Designed to Scale
Your communications, conferencing and presentation systems are a strategy, not a trend. Be sure your system is based on your needs and desired outcomes and not the latest solution offering by a particular manufacturer. It should take into account your potential for future needs and growth and provide the required scalability. As you add spaces and staff, standardizing on a solution that can be replicated throughout the building or across the campus is a clear cost advantage. Not only will it save in design and installation costs, but users will be more likely to adopt and use the technology in the room if they are already familiar with it. Savings are also realized on employee training.
Scalability needs to support technology needs as well. A well thought out strategy and design will provide IT infrastructure to support growth over the next 5 years or more. Network and data requirements, multiple VLANs and robust Wi-Fi can be implemented now, along with conduit and pre-wire for future expansion.
The solution drives the best possible outcome. Partner with an AV/IT professional to create huddle spaces, meeting rooms and board rooms that are efficient, effective and impactful, for your users and for your bottom line.
PC Magazine’s “The Best Video Conferencing Software of 2017”