Collaboration Rooms

When you go into a business meeting you want to communicate with everyone else in the meeting.  That involves making sure that you all see and hear the same things.  The simplest level of collaboration is screen sharing, where everyone can see what's on one person's screen.  The second level is content sharing, enabling everyone to work on the same document.  The next level allows people who aren't physically present to take part in the meeting, often through audio or video conferencing.

As working practices change and more people work from home and out of the office, companies are finding benefits in having a dedicated room or space for meetings.  These collaboration spaces all differ in size and layout, but they share some of the same characteristics.  There's always at least one large screen that everyone can see, a way to connect a variety of different devices wirelessly to it and some sort of sound system.  Everything has to be intuitive to use without any training.

Turning an ordinary office into a collaboration room is relatively straightforward.  First you get a large LED screen and fix it securely to something solid so that everyone in the room can read the screen without having to close the curtains when it's sunny.  Then you set up the wireless collaboration system.  That's not too bad, so long as you've got the right system for your company.   Everything should work fine until real people start to use the room for real meetings.  Remote controls go missing, the equipment gets left in a state which is totally unsuitable for the next meeting, people get a new phone and can't remember how to download the ap for the collaboration system and so on.  You can avoid some of these pitfalls with a control panel in a fixed place with a big button that you press to start the meeting.

Things get more complicated if you want to let people take part in the meeting without being present in the room.  Video conferencing was once described as someone in a room twiddling a lot of knobs until he could look at somebody twiddling identical knobs somewhere else in the world.  It's much better than that now, but people's expectations are higher too.  Good video conferencing needs properly positioned cameras, microphones and echo cancellation in addition to bandwidth and other requirements on the IT infrastructure.  Just like any other system it too will benefit from a well designed out control panel.

Although setting up a collaboration room is often the responsibility of the IT department, there is a significant part which needs AV knowledge.  That's what we have.  We are experts in the things that IT people aren't.  Simple things like fixing a LED screen securely to a wall, supporting multiple displays, where to position video cameras, how to get quality sound etc.  More complicated things like formats for streaming video, the technical differences between collaboration systems, how to make everything easy to use and so on.

Ascobra can help you get more effective use from your collaboration room.