How to Create Post-Pandemic Meeting Rooms on a Budget

Things have changed.

Recent data has shown that meeting room reservations have returned to 70% of pre-covid levels*. With some workers returning to the office frequently while others continue to work from home, meeting rooms are becoming the most important rooms in the building to keep team collaboration alive. 

On the return to the office, many businesses’ may still be stuck in the past with their meeting rooms just consisting of a meeting table, chairs, a dusty flip pad or stained whiteboard (Why is it that people always accidently use permanent markers on whiteboards?!)… or if they’re ‘lucky’ they might have a screen and HDMI cable too. 

But it’s not enough anymore.

Without modern technology, many meeting rooms will become almost unusable in the post-pandemic world.

According to Lifesize*, 80% of users said they use video communications for 1:1 meetings and 78% of users use video communication for team meetings. We expect almost all office based businesses to be using video to some extent. Even in the unusual instance that all your employees are back in the office, communicating with clients, suppliers and external partners over video is likely with 30% of the UK workforce working remotely at least once a week*. 

The pandemic really was the catalyst for video adoption. People now expect to be able to see, hear and interact with each other in meetings, which (other than face 2 face) isn’t possible without video technology.


It’s not asking for the world.

The adaptations of meeting room technology over the past 5-10years are incredible. No longer do you need deep pockets to deploy a fully video enabled room with dedicated video codec, multiple cameras, daisy chained microphones, AV rack and reels and reels of cables. Or exclusively have only the ‘Corporate boardroom’ equipped with video technology - even then it would rarely be used. Now video technology is much more affordable, easier to deploy and extremely easy to use.

With modern video technology anyone can walk in to the room and start a virtual meeting. It’s inclusive nature allows you to seamlessly dial people in to the call and for them to feel like they’re in the room, making the collaboration issues that come with remote working a thing of the past. 



So, what are the options?

There are A LOT of products on the market when it comes to video devices, and sometimes it can be hard to know what to do. The super complex, fully integrated Cisco-esk. telepresence solutions do still exist but aren’t achievable when on a small budget. 

At Podia, we are vendor-agnostic so we’ve done the due diligence for you. 

We’ve summarised into 3 options:

Videoboards:

Videoboards are the perfect all-in-one solution designed to give the best-in-class video communication. Videoboards come with built in mics and cameras so that they can simply be set up, plugged in and you’re ready to go without having to purchase any additional tech or attach your laptop. 

The DTEN D7 for example, is an award-winning video board for Zoom Rooms. Not only does it have crystal-clear audio and 4k video, but it also has some amazing adaptations to aid collaboration. Firstly, the board has an ultra-responsive touch digital whiteboard so live on-screen annotation can be shared, meaning workers dialling in don’t miss out on anything. Secondly, with dynamic auto-framing and Zoom smart gallery view, individuals can be sectioned out in the call making it easy for the virtual members to focus on who is speaking and not see everyone in a huddle. 

Another great videoboard is the Neat Board. In a similar way, the neat board is the full package with built in audio and mic but is suitable for both Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Teams Rooms. An addition to the Neat Board is the Neat Pad. When paired, the Neat Pad can either be used to control meetings or be used outside meeting rooms to display room availability. Using the Pad as a scheduling device means the room can be instantly booked without workers having to go through calendar systems. As a meeting controller, the Neat Pad enables you to start meetings quickly, invite participants, mute them, and share screen in a simple tap. 

Explore all our videoboard solutions here

Videobars:

Videobars are the perfect solution for companies that already have a screen to display video but don’t have a camera, microphone, or speakers to accompany it. Offering the full collaboration solution, videobars will ensure everyone in the meeting room can be seen and heard impeccably and hear external members of the call clearly. 

The main benefit of a video bar is that you get the same great video quality as the videoboards, but they are a more cost effective alternative as they can be used with any existing screen. They have in-build codecs so they don’t require a laptop or computer to use either. You simply send an invite to the room and you can join upon entering.

The Poly Studio X30 and Poly Studio X50 are one of Podia’s most popular videobars for medium (X30) to large (X50) sized meeting rooms. These videobars is extremely hassle free and easy to use, they both have a smart camera with auto-framing and facial tracking to ensure the camera keeps visual focus in the right place and advanced microphone design to pick up all corners of the room. Finally, one of the best features of this videobar is its noise block technology and acoustic fence capabilities which ensure that outside disruptions and conversations don’t interrupt your call. 


Another highly recommended videobar is the Neat Bar. With a simple and elegant design the neat bar is an aesthetic yet highly capable addition to any meeting space. Equipped with a 4K wide-angle camera and five angled microphones everyone can be heard and seen seamlessly. Also, with the integrated chip and snap on mount this bar can be set up effortlessly without the need for a dedicated PC. 


Another in the mix for Videobars is the Jabra Panacast. Unlike any other videobar, the Jabra Panacast  is equipped with a 180’ panoramic 4K Camera. Certified for use with both Microsoft Teams and Zoom, this videobar is an excellent addition to any meeting space. The 180 degrees view not only saves floor space but allows everyone in the room to be seen without the need for huddling round one end of the table.  


And finally the Logitech Rally Bar Mini. This all in one video bar is the perfect addition to small to medium sized rooms. With advanced audio engineering and an innovative dual camera system no sound or action is missed. The adaptive beamforming mics and AI sound optimization ensure the speakers voice is heard and unwanted noise is kept out.  


Explore all our videobar solutions here

Plug and Play Webcams:

The final solution of the 3, and the most affordable solution, is simply purchasing a Plug’n’Play Webcam (and screen if not already available) which will still ensure everyone in the room can be heard and seen but requires somebody to bring a laptop/ computer to host the meeting from.

The camera would connect to the laptop over USB and then a separate HDMI cable would be needed to plug to the screen from the laptop. Although this type of room solution does come with the smallest price tag, it can be hassle with a slightly longer time to set up, as well as being messier with cables trailing across the room.

The quality of these devices has come along way though, and you can experience superior video and a fraction of the cost. Here’s some of our recommendations:


First of is the Poly Studio USB, built with best-in-class sound (powerful stereo speakers & 6-microphone array), group framing with speaker tracking and NoiseBlockAI technology, your virtual meetings would’ve never been so productive. Noise and even visual distractions will be blocked out, your teams will hear and also be heard seamlessly allowing for exceptional team collaboration. 


Another from Poly is the Studio R30, beautifully designed, this video bar has everything from aesthetics to exceptional performance. With a dynamic camera experience and rich audio that filters out background noise, everyone is in frame and has a voice throughout the whole meeting. Built to have an easy, flexible setup, the Studio R30 can be attached via the display mount, an add on wall mount or is compatible with standard tripod mounts, then just plug in your laptop and you’re ready to go.


Finally for webcams is the Logitech Meet up, this is the perfect webcam choice for small collaboration spaces. This all-in-one conference cam packs big features into a sleek, compact design. Built with a 4K ultra-HD camera, full-range speaker system and beamforming microphone array meaning connectivity is never less than brilliant.  Also, with its motorised lens and Rightsight vision, Meetup automatically adjusts camera position and zoom to ensure everyone is in frame. 


Explore all our Webcam solutions here


Whats next?

Regardless of which solution you choose, the future of meeting room technology all needs to evolve around enabling the people in the room to see, be seen, hear and be heard. By constantly developing this, team collaboration will never be at a loss due to remote working. 

To ensure your meeting room is ready for the post-pandemic world, its time to invest in the best-in-class technology and not leave your team short of interaction. 

Get in touch with our expert team today to discuss your meeting room needs.

Alternatively, explore our meeting and huddle space technology solutions here



* https://www.davincimeetingrooms.com/press/davinci-reports-q2-increase-in-day-office-and-meeting-room-rental

* https://www.lifesize.com/en/blog/video-conferencing-statistics/

* https://jobdescription-library.com/remote-working-statistics-uk

5 Must Haves for Employees Working from Home
5th July 2022