Think how technology has changed your business. Has your staff passed a tablet around to present a video, website or PowerPoint? Did a client record video on their Smartphone that can only be viewed on a 4″ phone screen? Has everyone crowded around the phone using FaceTime or Skype to talk to a client? No, you say? They would, or they will, if you properly outfit your conference room multimedia during construction.
Multimedia adorned conference rooms are nothing new. Large corporate board rooms are generally outfitted with a video screen, in-table connections, a DVD player, WebCams, Smart Boards and teleconferencing equipment with wireless mics and overhead speakers. These rooms are so cool that firms are installing relatively inexpensive 70″ flat screens that are turning the office into the focal point for NBA Finals and Super Bowl parties.
Smaller firms, though, shun installing this technology claiming DVDs are rarely played; conference calls can be done on a Polycom telephone and a Smart Board may be cost-prohibitive. But think how beneficial it would be to hook up your tablet, Smartphone or laptop to a plug in your conference room table to stream video, presentations, websites and documents on a large flat-screen monitor for everyone to collaborate. Think how clients would benefit from this technology during a sales presentation.
Tenant’s in the real estate marketplace rarely consider the importance of the connected conference room planning during the design and construction phase because they are too focused with space planning and furniture costs. Management, though, should consider how devices used in our daily lives such as tablet PC’s and smartphones have become mainstream in the office and how preparing to display the new technology in their new meeting room can enhance their meeting experience. While they may not see the immediate need to spend for technology, steps should be taken to prepare for the future.
Remember, once the walls are closed, the carpet laid and furniture is ordered, retrofitting the room afterwards can be very costly. It’s the same logic when running Ethernet cables – it’s cheaper to perform during construction. If you are relocating but don’t have an immediate need for technology, consider some simple pre-construction steps to prepare your conference room for the future. This is by no means an exhaustive or complete list but a starting point to discuss with your project manager and design team.
1. Add wood blocking in the wall to support a future monitor bracket. Performing this task negates the need to open the wall in the future.
2. Install electric in the wall about 66″ AFF (above finished floor) to provide power behind the monitor and ancillary equipment like a webcam.
3. Install electric at standard AFF below the monitor.
4. Run at least two (2) 2″ conduits and floor boxes from behind the monitor to the floor below the leg of the conference room table for future tabletop phone, data and multimedia connections. A floor chop may be required.
5. Run an electric quadbox to the floor below the leg of the conference room table to power devices. Items 4 and 5 prevent tripping hazards from wires running across the floor to wall jacks.
6. Pre-run multiple data connections from your IT room to the conference room ceiling with a lot of slack.
Performing these preliminary tasks will ensure you have the necessary components for a future connected conference room.