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Blueprint for Success in Corporate Boardrooms

The tony corporate boardroom is a well-trod market for AV integrators, but not the most hospitable one. Some rooms are older than the oldest board members, barely wired for speakerphone, let alone stereo surround sound and high-definition plasmas. Others, the new rooms, are so image-conscious they're built without regard for the way AV and architecture must play nicely together.

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Glass walls and doors can prove tricky. That glass wall in the NeuStar boardroom? It changes from opaque to transparent, offering a view of a control room. 

Glass walls and doors can prove tricky. That glass wall in the NeuStar boardroom? It changes from opaque to transparent, offering a view of a control room. 

Credit: Julie Solomon, CCS Presentation Systems

Boardroom AV is being dictated by the same technology trends that are affecting the entire industry. HD is an obvious requirement for rooms that tend to get the most generous budgets. Interactive displays, such as the Smart Board, are increasingly common for the front-of-room display. Collaboration software, already commonplace in other meeting spaces, is another option that more corporations are considering for their boardrooms. Wireless audio and Internet are also making inroads.

As a result, future-proofing a boardroom infrastructure is indispensable. "Any time you're building any room out, you need to [ask] 'What's the lifetime of this room,' and 'Can I build an infrastructure that will support that lifetime,'" Tarry says. "It's easy to replace the projector, but do I really want to tear out all the switching equipment? It's difficult. We're in this transition between analog and digital."

Rather than making boardrooms obsolete by effectively virtualizing their functions, good audio- and videoconferencing technology could save a few by helping them earn their keep.

The traditional boardroom "appears on the books as a beautiful, cost-weighted, unavailable resource to the corporation," Smith says. "The opulence of the space becomes kind of an ego stroke." In these times of bankruptcies and bailouts, upgrading a boardroom's conferencing hardware so that well paid executives can spend resources more efficiently might be the best image-booster of all.



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