AV/IT plays an increasingly important role in our day-to-day operations. Businesses depend on technologies to communicate and collaborate both internally and with their customers. Technologies connect us to the Internet of Things (IoT) and integrate our systems to work together. They gather data and help us disseminate and act upon it, making our technologies even more effective. Technologies are essential to our daily workflow and operations and are a vital part of our business strategy. So, why are they often overlooked in the design and planning phase of a project?
The ultimate goal of your AV systems is to create a collaborative environment producing effective, productive meetings for faster decision-making. For the space to be used to its potential, it must be easy-to-use while providing the right mix of technologies and connectivity to those technologies. It will likely include an interactive display or projection system, a collaborative tool with plug-and-play or other form of wireless connectivity, an intuitive touchpanel for room scheduling and meeting controls and access to power and to the internet. Depending on the considerations made at the onset of this room’s design, the outcome of this space can be remarkably different.
The best aesthetic and ergonomic design
Design begins with the user, taking into consideration their comfort and accessibility to the room’s features. Users will be able to sit at the table, connect to power and to the room’s collaborative devices, comfortably view a screen and seamlessly start a meeting. Without proper planning, users may have power cords strewn across pathways to access outlets, be fumbling to connect to the room’s technologies and struggle to view shared content due to improper display size or placement. Determining placement in the design phase allows for the proper location of power, AV & IT infrastructure, projector and screen or display and room control. Making these considerations during design also allows for the required technologies and features to be aesthetically incorporated into the room. In addition, this phase is a great opportunity to review technology strategies and provide connectivity for future requirements and growth.
Not only will planning at this phase produce the most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing results, which encourage greater adoption, but will provide the best options available while saving potentially costly retrofits and change orders. For example, based on the room’s size and desired projection area, the projector would need to be positioned 12 feet from the screen. If that calculation is not considered at the onset and a custom, recessed ceiling is planned, forcing the projector to move a few feet in either direction, either the size of the viewing area will be decreased or a specialized lens may be required to accommodate the change, potentially adding cost to the project. Either result is not optimal for the client.
Working in partnership with design professionals for equipment placement, lighting control, motorized shades and room control allows for sleek, custom design possibilities. Rather than a fixed installation, the projector may be elegantly incorporated into the ceiling design, extending from a cleverly hidden scissor lift. The screen may also descend from a concealed soffit location and equipment may be stowed in a built-in credenza or located outside of the room if conduit has been provided. Similarly, power and device connectivity can be offered via built-in table access, provided that considerations have been made to locate floor boxes at the table base. Another critical factor in a project’s success is timeline. A pro will manage the project throughout its lifecycle, coordinating wiring and technology integration in unison with adjacent trades and communicating and resolving any issues that may arise.
Proper planning and coordination with design and technology integration professionals from the project’s inception saves time and money while delivering the best possible technology and aesthetics outcomes. Ready to start planning your next project and formulate your technology strategies for 2018 and years to come? Let’s get started!