More employees are working remotely than ever before. In fact, 68% of employees around the world, work from home at least once per month. This is an upward trend that shows few signs of slowing down thanks to advancements in audiovisual and video conferencing technology.

With this increase in remote work, your conference room will see more and more usage. Your conference room AV set up needs to be reliable and your IT department must ensure that each room is stocked with the most efficient communication tools available. It's especially important for hybrid teams. When more employees are conferencing in, seemingly minor annoyances such as tinkering with wires and cables and dealing with bad audio or disconnects can have major effects on productivity.

Here's how you can set up and troubleshoot your AV system to ensure conference calls go as smoothly as possible, every time.


What Does AV Stand For?

AV is an abbreviation for audio-video. AV technology refers to systems and devices used to watch and listen to media. You'll find this technology in home entertainment systems and in the business world, such as in conference rooms.


What Are The Main Components of an AV System?

Here are some of the components you'll typically find in an AV system:

  • Displays: These include laptop and TV screens.
  • Microphones and Cameras: These include the built-in microphones and webcams you will find in laptops, as well as USB microphones and webcams.
  • Speakers: You can use the speakers of a TV, laptop, or VoIP (voice over IP) conferencing phone to hear remote team members.
  • Connection: You'll need to connect the components of your AV system to the internet, either with a Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection.
  • Video Conferencing Software: Using plug and play video conferencing software (i.e., you can plug in a device and it works instantly without having to download additional software or programs) allows you to make calls and sometimes automatically optimize your display and sound.

Conference Room AV Equipment Checklist

Which conference room AV setup will you choose? Consider the following when looking for a solution to upgrade your conference rooms and meet business needs of the future:


1. Wireless Internet With A Full Ethernet Backup

Enabling wireless internet connectivity is extremely important in the modern business world. Your technology needs to be convenient for employees to use. Unfortunately, some WiFi signals are spotty or too weak to handle lots of video data.

For these rare instances, it's good to have a backup plan so timelines stay in place and nothing has to be rescheduled. Your conference room AV solution should include both WiFi and Ethernet capability so you have a secure, hard-wired connection when necessary.


2. Tested Audio Solution

One of the worst things to deal with on conference calls is poor audio quality. Not being able to hear or be heard clearly can cause confusion and mistakes down the line. We don't recommend having your entire video conferencing system on a single laptop.

Many laptops have low-quality microphones that will leave your words muffled, crackling or distorted. And in some cases, there can be voice echoing or voice reverb. Using a system with a tested, high-quality microphone and speaker system is important, especially for meetings with more than two people involved.


3. Full-View Video Capabilities

Let's say a few of your remote employees are conferencing in for a meeting with an in-office team. You want those who are conferencing in to feel as engaged and present as possible. To accomplish this, you should consider a solution that includes a 360 conference camera -- this allows a full view of the meeting room. There are even smart cameras that allow for a 360-degree view and highlight the person who is actually speaking. This results in a very organic-feeling discussion where the barriers usually felt in teleconferencing situations disappear.

conference room av setup from Owl LabsSource: Owl Labs


4. Transportable

Having a system that can easily be moved from place to place can be useful. This means that instead of utilizing the technology in all conference rooms, you could purchase fewer devices and move them around as necessary. You can also take it to other businesses, board meetings, or wherever you need to have a meeting and not worry about lugging around different components.


5. Compatibility

Many offices have standard software they already use for video conferencing such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype or Google Hangouts. Rather than making your employees learn new software, you need a solution that integrates seamlessly into your current workflow. Something that coordinates with your employees' calendar apps automatically is an added bonus.


6. Developer Updates

Since the software your solution communicates with will be constantly changed and patched, the solution should be cloud-connected and fully supported by its developer. That way, you're always up-to-date and bugs are fixed promptly.


Benefits of Great Conference Room AV Setup

All-in-one solutions that incorporate all of the above considerations are available and preferable to custom systems that include different pieces of hardware. They significantly flatten the learning curve for your employees, since they'll only have to train on a single system. Once your conference rooms are connected and ready to include your remote workers, you'll experience benefits like:


1. A Lower Carbon Footprint

That's, right! Remote work is green work. Not only will the business not have to invest in larger offices or pay for as much energy usage, but it will also keep employees off the roads. Fewer cars commuting to and from work each day lessens the amount of carbon emissions. Transportation is the leading cause of these dangerous emissions, so reducing commute time lessens the harm to the environment.


2. Easier Setup

If your conference rooms are correctly stocked, setup time for meetings will be minimal. With an all-in-one solution, you don't need to fiddle with wires or connectivity issues. Everything is ready to go; you just need to activate it.


3. Intuitive Communication

You won't have to open multiple programs or different hardware configurations -- the best systems will have intuitive, one-touch workflows. This means the process is easy to learn and won't confuse users. The result is simple, open communication that's inclusive for everybody involved.

Your company can't afford to be behind the curve when it comes to its video conferencing setup. Employees are increasingly looking for opportunities where they can work remotely. If you want to attract and keep talent, you'll need to have a solution in place. To learn more, check out the best video meeting apps next.

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