Written By: Randy Marcotte
Thanks for checking out this post, the first of five in our series focused on helping you design a video conferencing room and not get fired in the process. At the conclusion of this series, we will summarize the series in our top five overall items to remember.
When we originally approached the idea of building “conference rooms” five years ago, the technology was far more silo-based and far more expensive. Doing it wrong could actually get staff fired. Now, that’s a bit of a dramatic statement as it takes really, really big mistakes to get it THAT wrong. Today I want to focus on a simplified checklist – How to optimize a video conferencing room setup. In a later post in this series, we will take a look at design elements in greater detail and why good design matters.
It is also important to shift the focus from thinking of your spaces as “conferencing” spaces and move to a plan that enables your spaces as collaboration spaces. To conference is to meet, whereas to collaborate shifts the focus to outcomes of work, meetings and allows multiple modes of working together with both internal and external partners. The goal of this article is to help you set up a video conference collaboration strategy that does not break your budget, provides optimal use and satisfaction for your internal customers, and delivers against the promise of a perfect video conference experience, every time. This checklist can be applied to any sized room and will help you plan for a flawless deployment.
It is always our goal to deliver on the promise of an immersive, flexible, and easy-to-use video collaboration experience, but without proper planning, that can fail quickly and lead to massive dissatisfaction. The ability to connect seamlessly with team members, clients, and stakeholders across the globe is paramount. But setting up a video conference room and collaboration space isn’t just about having a camera and a screen. It’s about creating a space that fosters collaboration, creativity, and clear communication. This is just the starting point, so let’s begin.
1) Make it pretty, make it pop! The color palette, furnishes, wall finishes, lighting, and the room itself matter. These factors harken back 20 years and to video conferencing 101 – but should not be glossed over even though the equipment of today helps correct many of the historical show-stoppers. Look for more on this in the third post of this series: Video Conference Design, 5 Things to Consider.
2) Consider your audience – both near and far. Camera placement and TV layouts will impact a local view of content sharing as well as the view for far-end participants. Does your camera placement provide the most natural viewing angle? Will the folks in the room be motivated to look across the table or toward the screen and what impact does that have on the camera view? We often suggest sound from the far end of the video call come from the camera wall so that during a call there is a “look me in the eye” experience, rather than when on a voice call the sound usually comes out of the center speakerphone- more akin to the “huddle room” experience. Know what your users want and expect; place the camera appropriately. Understand the limits of the technology and train users for the planned outcome. If these two are not aligned, dissatisfied customers are generally the result.
3) Switch platforms, BYOD (Bring your own device), and share content and get more out of the room. Many room designs assume the room will be used for standard meetings or voice-only and (gasp) that video conferencing will not be the only function of that room. Be sure to plan for multiple uses of the room. There should be inputs and content-sharing options that are intuitive, flexible and allow for anyone – especially guests – to connect without having to call IT. Some factors to take into consideration:
- Wired, or wireless content sharing?
- Accommodate BYOD and other platforms?
- How much automation do you require and do you have a budget for that?
- What wires are needed on the floors and walls? Who runs them and who repairs them?
- Plan for flexibility in the use of the room multiple uses of the room and your video conference room will function for any user, not just the power user.
4) Integration helps with adoption and simple scheduling is an asset in that pursuit. Immersive collaboration rooms that are easy to use become popular. Expensive conference rooms that are complicated deter use. Assuming we are headed for the former, plan for calendar integration with visitor sign-in applications, wallboards, or scheduling tools. We have seen growing amounts of applications that assume integration to the leading video conferencing bridges so booking a resource also helps your users manage access to these rooms. Check with your team about any expectations they have around schedule management and room access visibility.
5) Plan for scale. We find price points have come down so dramatically and the flexibility of the equipment has increased so much that we no longer have to plan for just one special expensive room for just a few special people. Today all rooms – big or small – can be equipped for HD video conferencing. Develop an integrated video conferencing plan for all huddle rooms, open spaces, conference rooms, and training facilities. If you have all rooms in mind during the planning process, it will help shape your technology choices so that your partner and solution of choice meet the needs of any room you choose.
These are the top five considerations I wanted to post here, but there are others. The list below rounds out our top 10 checklist items. We will be addressing these points in greater detail during the remainder of our series, but these highlights speak for themselves.
- Involve your stakeholders. This will be discussed in further detail later, but if you don’t have the full participation of the key stakeholders, someone is very likely to have an opinion AFTER the fact, and it might not be one that works for the design and plan you have chosen.
- Have a trusted partner and a solid plan. This will be key for training, documentation, deployment, and support as much as it is key for the up-front decisions around the technology and solution chosen.
- Know the problems you are solving and stick to a plan. This speaks for itself, but we will discuss this further in a webinar.
- Design your budget and choose a vendor that will guarantee their work.
- Take a test drive and ask your friends.
I hope this post has been helpful and thank you for taking the time to check us out. In conclusion, setting up a video conference collaboration space is not just about technology. It’s about creating an environment that enhances communication, fosters collaboration, and ensures that every participant, whether in the room or thousands of miles away, feels connected and engaged.
Remember, in the world of video conferencing (collaboration), preparation is key. With the right checklist in hand, you’re not just setting up a room; you’re setting up a space for innovation, collaboration, and growth.
About DCS Global & Perfect Video Conferencing
DCS Global is a collaboration, consulting, services, and audiovisual (AV) integration company that provides various services related to digital signage, wayfinding, and kiosk manufacturing and deployment. The company specializes in creating interactive and engaging experiences for customers, visitors, and employees.
Their services include:
- Digital Signage: DCS Global designs, installs, and manages digital signage systems that help organizations effectively communicate with their audience. These systems can display content such as images, videos, and live data, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of each client.
- Wayfinding: The company offers wayfinding solutions that help people navigate complex environments such as hospitals, airports, and campuses. These solutions use interactive maps, directories, and other tools to guide visitors to their desired destinations.
- Kiosk Manufacturing: DCS Global designs and manufactures custom kiosks for various industries, such as retail, hospitality, and healthcare. These kiosks can serve a variety of purposes, such as self-service check-in, product information, and customer feedback.
- AV Integration: DCS Global also provides audiovisual integration services for businesses of all sizes. These services include the design and installation of audio and video systems, conference room setups, and video walls.
DCS Global offers a comprehensive range of services to help organizations enhance their communication, customer experience, and operational efficiency through innovative digital solutions.
Perfect Video Conferencing (#perfectvc) is an Audio Visual and collaboration services company that specializes in designing and deploying cutting-edge video conferencing and collaboration spaces. Recently, PVC merged with DCS Global, and together, they offer a comprehensive range of products and services that are guaranteed to deliver an immediate ROI for their customers.
With a strong focus on design and deployment, Perfect Video Conferencing is committed to delivering solutions that offer some of the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) in the industry. Their team of experts works closely with customers to understand their unique requirements and design solutions that are tailored to their specific needs.
Perfect Video Conferencing’s solutions are designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries enhance collaboration, improve productivity, and drive business success. Whether it’s a small meeting room or a large conference center, they have the expertise to design and deploy video conferencing and collaboration spaces that meet their customers’ needs.
In addition to their design and deployment services, Perfect Video Conferencing also offers a wide range of products, including video conferencing equipment, audiovisual solutions, and collaboration tools. Their team of experts provides ongoing support and maintenance to ensure that their solutions continue to deliver value over the long term.
Overall, Perfect Video Conferencing (#perfectvc) is a leading provider of audiovisual and collaboration services, delivering innovative solutions that help organizations improve communication, collaboration, and productivity. With their recent merger with DCS Global, they are now even better positioned to help their customers achieve their business goals.
About Randy N. Marcotte
Randy N. Marcotte is an accomplished business leader and President of DCS Global, a leading communications and collaboration company. With a proven track record of success in the industry, Randy has a strong background in organizational change, sales enablement, and customer satisfaction.
Before his role at DCS Global, Randy was the co-founder and CEO of Perfect Video Conferencing, which merged with DCS Global to provide a broader range of solutions to their clients. As the former owner and manager of Change Experts, Randy brings a wealth of experience in driving growth and success for businesses of all sizes.
Randy is passionate about building lasting relationships with his clients and partners and providing innovative solutions that deliver exceptional value. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling the world, skiing deep powder, and participating in marathons. Randy has completed 22 marathons around the world and will be completing his 23rd marathon in Nice, France this fall.
With a dedication to partnership, value, innovation, and excellence, Randy is proud to join the team at DCS Global and looks forward to continuing to bring new solutions to their loyal customer and partner base.