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Conference Room Conundrum

Recently, editors here at PRO AV central in Washington, D.C., settled into a fifth floor conference room to discuss, among other things, ways in which we'll improve our Web site over the coming months.

Recently, editors here at PRO AV central in Washington, D.C., settled into a fifth floor conference room to discuss, among other things, ways in which we'll improve our Web site over the coming months. This particular discussion, as you might expect, required visuals. So before the meeting started, we tapped a button on an AMX controller, an Eiki projector appeared from the ceiling, a Da-Lite screen came down into position, and motorized shades lowered over windows that ordinarily look out on Massachusetts Avenue. It was AV integration perfection—what you might expect at the worldwide headquarters of PRO AV.

But not all the conference rooms throughout our offices are as suited to audiovisual bliss. In fact, there's one next to my office where the projector rests on a glass conference table, there are windows on two sides covered by aluminum mini blinds, and nothing but a wall (albeit white) to project images on. Clearly, it's not meant for quality AV, and if we'd held the same Web site meeting in that room, we'd probably have said what a whopping 45.2 percent of AV pros and users recently told research firm TFCinfo Corp.—that ambient light problems continue to plague projector usage.

Clearly, if almost half the folks in a projector survey are having ambient light problems, then proper conference room design and AV integration are often little more than afterthoughts, instead of the carefully planned and executed projects they should be. Heck, when I sat down with PRO AV readers last month and asked who was specifying AV equipment for their clients, they said it wasn't unusual for an office assistant, instead of a technology manager, to simply ask for a projector setup because executives wanted to give presentations.

Obviously, a better idea would be to show the client Tim Cape's story on conference room design in this month's issue (see “The Perfect Blend,” page 30). Tim's piece is a nuts-to-bolts survey of the conference design room landscape (warts and all), replete with tips and guiding questions that will help ensure any project is a success. There's no one-size-fits-all solution (in many cases, a projector is a poor choice anyway), but Tim, an InfoComm instructor and a best practices author, gives you the tools you need to arrive at the size that fits your situation perfectly.

Brad Grimes, Editor
e-mail: bgrimes@hanleywood.com



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