Adaptive Conferencing For A Hybrid Workforce
by Carter Saul
A smoothly functioning conference room AV system depends on reliable hardware and proper configuration.
As the pandemic continues, the technological demands of the commercial real estate environment must grow to meet the challenges of a remote workforce. Now more than ever, it is vital that a conference room is up to the task of facilitating business conducted across the globe.
By upgrading a few components within a conference room, Malko can make the out-of-office transition considerably smoother. A customer of ours felt their conference room was due for upgrades and reached out to us for assistance in building a system better oriented for the hybrid work environment we face today. After a thorough consultation to identify the wants of the customer, as well as the shortcomings of the system, it was determined that an entire overhaul of their existing system was not necessary, and the improvements would not result in more than a day’s worth of downtime for the conference room. We effectively removed their dreaded audio ”echo”, improved the audio quality of the tabletop microphones, incorporated a total control system, and expanded the input capability allowing anyone to easily present with whatever device they bring to the table.
Introducing an audio system equipped with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) was a necessary step now that their company meetings are based out of Microsoft Teams, connecting those working from home with those in the office. Without AEC, the other end of the conference call heard their own voices being played back to them, distracting the participants, and making it difficult to understand those speaking from within the conference room.
Our next requirement was to improve the control system. Implementing an all-in-one touch panel interface located on the conference table increased convenience and functionality in contrast to their previously installed wall button switch. Our systems programmer met with the client and shared graphic layout options custom-made to fit the company’s branding and demonstrated the solutions that would meet their needs. We effectively streamlined control over the entire room, allowing the client to start up meetings and presentations, adjust volume, change presenters, and shut down the system without ever leaving their seat at the table.
To meet the client’s return to work protocols, Malko expanded the input capabilities of the room allowing users to present from their own device rather than using the shared in-room PC. We installed AV transmitters at the conference table so participants may share high quality 4K video via wired connection. While this was an improvement over the old methods, nothing beats the convenience of wireless content sharing, so we added that too, while remaining under the customer’s tight budget; a cost-effective and worthwhile solution to any conference room or shared amenity space.
The outcome of the system update was an improvement in user experience, streamlined functionality resulting in smoother meetings, less frustration, and a seamless transition to a hybrid workforce. We were able to create a high-end experience without replacing expensive hardware. We made use of all the existing displays, speakers, and microphones, making the cost to upgrade a worth-while investment that furthers the longevity of their existing equipment while still maintaining the potential for future upgrades. After a short training session with the staff, everyone was up to speed and ready to take advantage of the improvements.
Upon completion of the project we discussed how the system can adapt to full occupancy with the ability to host in-person meetings with outside companies. Our client showed particular interest in a solution to bridge their table-top VoIP telephone with their conferencing system so that an outside caller may become an indistinguishable member of the Teams conference calls. Following the discussion, both Malko and the customer are prepared for whatever the future may hold, ensuring regular maintenance updates and offering support at a moment’s notice!