Although companies often preoccupy themselves with the visual effect of a meeting space, there's more to setting up a conference room than attractive lighting and touchscreen whiteboards. Productive conference rooms cannot promote collaboration without advanced audio equipment. Though it can be easy to overlook, sound is the primary method through which communication occurs, while visuals merely enhance the audio messaging.
The Importance of Audio Equipment in Conference Rooms
Productive conference rooms require high-quality audio equipment. Without the best equipment, effective communication and collaboration simply aren't feasible.
How many times have you been on a conference call and missed vital information simply because it was impossible to hear the person on the other end? Or struggled to follow along with a presenter whose speech was too quiet to understand? A spotty sound system is guaranteed to disrupt the flow of important meetings and cause your entire team to appear unprofessional when communicating with clients.
Not only can poor audio cause frustration in meetings or between team members, but it also leads to a loss of productivity. A couple of minutes of lost audio may not seem like much at first. However, studies show that low-quality audio equipment leads to a loss of 29 minutes per week, which equals about three days per year. Multiply that by the number of employees attending your meetings, and the payroll costs of lost labor hours can stack up quickly.
Despite this, many companies fail to recognize how investing in a sound system can significantly — and beneficially — impact any organization. For one thing, it facilitates communication between team members and with clients. Plus, quality audio encourages employees to have full engagement with the information at hand.
Of course, equipment is only part of the equation. Proper audio installation and design is also a necessary element of a productive conference room. Your company may already have the best equipment available. But if the installation doesn't complement the layout of your conference room, sound quality can get lost, and you won't garner an adequate return on your investment.
And as remote work becomes more popular, demand for the best audio equipment continues to grow. 83% of global business leaders expressed that audio equipment is more important than a mere two years ago. Strategic installation of the proper audio equipment helps ensure that your in-house team members can interact with remote employees or long-distance clients as if they were physically present.
The bottom line is that it's in the best interest of your company to accommodate employees with a top-notch audio setup. To help you reach this goal, here's everything you need to know to enhance your conference room with advanced audio equipment.
Crucial Audio Equipment for Productive Conference Rooms
While each company and meeting space is different, certain pieces of audio equipment remain the same in virtually every conference room. The elements of an audio system for productive conference rooms include:
- Microphones. For a clean, minimalist finish, many modern conference rooms utilize invisible microphones installed directly within the table by audiovisual integrators. The audio cabling is easy to conceal as it runs within the table's frame and into the floor. Another option is beamtracking ceiling microphones to provide complete room coverage while not having to drill or cut into the top of your conference room table. Whichever style of microphone you choose, microphones in conference rooms should be omnidirectional and easy to arrange for optimal sound quality.
- Speakers. Quality speakers overcome the most obvious challenge when installing technology within the conference room, ensuring that participants can adequately hear the information provided. Typically, these speakers are mounted to the wall. Or, for a tidier look, your audiovisual integration team can install the speakers out of sight within the ceiling.
- Audio Digital Sign Processors (DSP): To provide the highest quality audio sound in a conference room or other space, audio signaling needs to be processed. This is provided through the use of Audio DSPs. The DSP manages all of the audio mixing, echo cancellation, and gain levels to ensure the highest quality user experience possible. With DSP, users will not need to worry about things like dropped audio or feedback.
- Control Systems. The control system allows individuals to make any necessary adjustments to the audio output, such as to speakers or microphones. The best control systems reduce IT support time and learning curves for employees, ensuring that your team members can get on task quickly.
Sound System Design for Optimal Productivity
Once you have acquired the right audio equipment for your needs, it all comes down to installation. Audiovisual professionals must install the sound system so that it works with the office space itself.
For example, as more offices make the transition to an open floorplan, large glass windows have become a popular choice in modern conference room design. While this effect might be aesthetically pleasing, it's not the best choice for sound system design. The glass reflects vibrations from the speakers and can render conference calls unintelligible. Glass isn't the only culprit, though. Giant video screens, whiteboards, and even drywall are liable to reflect sound as well.
Ideally, companies would work with a team of experienced audiovisual integration professionals during the design process so that the room is constructed specifically for optimal acoustics. But in a majority of cases, this simply isn't possible. Luckily, audiovisual professionals know which techniques are best for counteracting poor sound design.
If your conference room is primarily composed of drywall, we suggest that you install sound-absorptive wall panels. However, if your conference room is composed of glass windows, installing wall panels isn't an option. In this case, it is an excellent choice to install sound-absorptive ceiling tiles into the ceiling, along with hanging baffles that absorb sound.
Uses of Audio Equipment in the Conference Room
Providing high-quality audio equipment within a conference room may often go overlooked, but try hosting a meeting without it. The frustration, productivity loss, and energy spent attempting to troubleshoot are unnecessary. 95% of modern workers experience audio pain points that significantly impact their productivity. Presentations, video, and conference calls are guaranteed to be more productive when upheld by top-notch audio equipment.
When it comes to giving presentations, audio equipment is an integral part of effectively communicating information with team members. The correct installation and placement of microphones empower the presenter, so they don't need to strain their voice, yet every individual can adequately hear. And through the use of omnidirectional microphones, participants can alter the positioning of the microphones to suit their needs.
Prioritizing Quality Audio for Effective Communication
Whether you're putting together a new conference room from scratch or hoping to bring your existing meeting space into the 21st century, audiovisual professionals can help set you up for successful productivity and collaboration. Just remember not to skip the audio element, or your team may get bogged down by time loss and miscommunication.
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