Noise cancellation is important when working with microphones and speakers in a meeting room with videoconferencing technology. “Most systems have it but if you get somebody who knows what they are doing with noise cancellation, you can make for really responsive microphones,” says Epeneter. “Anybody in the room can be heard but you do not hear the echo or have other feedback problems.”
For Rod Andrewson, Manager of Engineering at CCS Presentation Systems, based in Tucson, AZ, an important element of a good meeting space is that it is the right size and that the space is appropriate for the use.
Often we prefer to integrate outside of the construction process, as long as the client puts in our infrastructure where we designate. If the client value-engineers for space, the size of the room can end up being too small for the use they had in mind. “For example, when the walls are too close for the people sitting at the table,” says Andrewson. “That is a big problem.”
Or the reverse problem can happen where it becomes a gigantic room because the client may put two smaller rooms together. “Now the space dwarfs the technology that we’re going to install,” says Andrewson. “So, the key is in understanding the size and purpose of the room.” Is it a training room? A boardroom? Is it a division conference room? “Those details often get left out but they are imperative in order to determine the right layout and A/V ingredients.”
An acoustically comfortable room is not highly reverberant and it has not been acoustically modified to the point that it is completely dead. “I’m one of these kooky people who get fatigued in rooms that are really hard and reverberant,” says Andrewson. “You hear yourself back over and over and it requires extra energy on your part to work in that space. By the time I get done meeting in rooms that are not well-managed acoustically, I feel like I’ve been through a war.”
An issue that impacts sound and acoustics is temperature management in the room. “An HVAC system that sounds like a jet engine is not conducive to good acoustics,” says Andrewson.
In training and collaboration rooms, there is now much more consideration of how people look on camera. “Now that is a huge priority,” says Andrewson. “When the lighting is bad, everyone looks awful.” Engineers have to think about what presenters are going to look like. Plus they do not want obtrusive lights sticking down and impinging on the meeting. “The architects would kill us if we had big old flat panel lighting hanging down,” he says. “To be able to hide the tech requirements in appropriately fitted lighting is a huge and distinctive way to make a room look better.”
Providing a user interface for control of the A/V, that is easy to use and that the end users can understand quickly, is key. “If it is a room in use all the time, they learn how to use the technology,” says Jim Yorgey, technical applications manager at Lutron Electronics. “But if it is a hotel ballroom area, a complicated touch screen system with multiple pages will not be easy to use and will go unused by hotel customers.” The hesitation of end users to actually use equipment has been a problem. “There is a fear of technology, and many people not familiar