Companies across the country are upgrading their audio visual conference room technology in an effort to increase productivity.
While capabilities like video conferencing can significantly increase efficiencies, a lack of strategic planning leaves money on the table. By strategically planning your meeting room audio visual systems, you can use space-specific solutions while developing a standardized user experience.
Perhaps your office has a large conference room for major presentations, as well as small conference rooms or huddle spaces reserved for team collaboration and meeting preparation. In this case, you’ll be outfitting your office with different audio visual technologies.
When doing so, there is an extra component that you will need to consider: audio visual standardization. Standardizing solutions can save your organization time, money and enhance the user experience in the long run.
Imagine your end-user preparing for a major presentation in a small conference room whose audio visual equipment they’re highly familiar with. Then, when presentation time comes, they walk into the main conference room only to find that the audio visual equipment is setup with a completely different user interface.
They can’t get the presentation to load and call the IT department. You troubleshoot the room only to find the systems functions fine, and it was user error. Your time is wasted, their time is wasted, and the meeting attendees time is wasted.
Audio visual standardization refers to the consistency of user experience in multiple spaces. It doesn’t mean all the technology has to be identical.
An organization can standardize large conference rooms, huddle rooms, and small conference rooms to provide the same user experience with different technologies.
For instance, you may want an interactive display with video conferencing capabilities in your huddle space while a large conference room needs multiple monitors, video conferencing push to dial and screen sharing.
When we talk about conference room standardization, we’re not talking about standardizing technology. We’re talking about standardizing the user experience.
Many Room Types
Different equipment, different capabilities, and different user interfaces make using the technology a feat in itself. Your end-users stop trying to use the technology because each space is so different. In one room they may plug in a lap top while the other they have to dial in with a hard codex. This inconsistency decreases organizational efficiencies.
Too much technology
The user doesn’t know which remote to use, how to connect their computer or if their computer even can connect. They don’t know why the room has six remotes, three plug-ins, and none of the buttons work on the user interface.
There is so much technology, and so little training, that no one knows what the room is capable of. The room is often out of order because something is broken, but the lack of cohesiveness in the system makes troubleshooting difficult.
A Burden on IT
Conference room standardization is also important from an IT perspective. Different system configurations increase the chance one of your team members is working on an issue for the first time. With standardized systems, the IT department can begin understanding what glitches rise to the surface and how to fix them. The chances you’ve seen this issue, and know how to handle it, increase.
You can also begin stocking parts, like bulbs, which need to be replaced throughout the life cycle. Every bulb is the same, every time.
More Efficient Training & Troubleshooting
Standardization allows companies to decrease training time by training on one platform. Once an end user is shown how to use the system in the large conference room, standardization enables him or her to use the huddle room without any additional training. While there may not be as many buttons, the user interface looks and acts the same in both rooms.
Troubleshooting becomes less cumbersome as IT professionals become more familiar with a consistent system. This lets the IT and AV teams proactively address issues, or ensure the right parts are on-hand to fix common glitches.
If a display goes down in one huddle space your end users can move to the second huddle space, intuitively understanding the technology experience will be the same room to room. Plus, you can troubleshoot the same problems in multiple rooms and begin to notice patterns. By cataloguing typical service calls and support requests, you can streamline your IT department and take a proactive approach to audio visual support.
Accurate Life Cycle Planning
As you plan for future growth, standardization allows you to project room costs with greater accuracy. With conference room standardization, you can forecast what a conference room setup will cost, when you’ll need to make updates, and what pricing models work for your company. Most importantly, you’ll be able to accurately incorporate these costs into your annual budget.
Now that you’re aware of the importance of conference room standardization, how do you get started?
The first step is to develop a relationship with an audio visual expert. You may already have someone that fits this bill in your IT department, but it is still helpful to find an integrator you trust. You need a company who is willing to spend the time with you to truly understand your needs, and who knows the technology.
The next step is to understand what is currently in place.
Take a look at your rooms and see what technology is in the current systems.
Standardization doesn’t necessarily mean each room will need entirely new AV. Sometimes, you can supplement systems instead of a complete replacement. It can be as simple as adding a user interface or a few additional pieces of technology to an existing system to align the end-user experience.
Look at your rooms and reflect on what works, what’s missing and what’s too much. Bring your end-users in at this step and gauge their feedback on the space and how it is being used.
Next, identify the room types and needs.
Are you going to standardize off of 2 room types, a huddle room and conference room, or does your organization require 4 configurations? Understand the room types then identify what functionality you need in each space.
Once you have clearly laid out your needs for each room, your integrator can identify technology that fits those needs.
The last step to getting started is to create a ‘dashboard standard’.
Think about opening the door of a new car and sliding into the driver’s seat. Intuitively, you understand how to gauge your speed, what pedal is gas and where the break is.
Cars may have different motors, but the fundamental user experience is consistent. The dashboard in a truck looks similar enough to the dashboard in a sports car that it is usable without training.
That’s how your AV experience can work. That is the goal.
Take time to work with your integrator on developing a dashboard standard, so each time an executive steps into a conference room they will intuitively understand how to use the system.