Small conference rooms are the setting for important discussions and decision-making, but the reduced footprint can limit equipment, furniture and technology options that allow productivity to thrive. Avoid having your space become a bottleneck with these savvy small conference room equipment upgrades.
- Companies need to upgrade their small conference room equipment to increase comfort, reduce clutter and get more use from the meeting space.
- Potential upgrades include wireless presentation systems, video conferencing devices, audio systems, interactive whiteboards, smart lighting and climate control, ergonomic furniture and room booking software.
The Importance of Upgrading Small Conference Room Equipment
Unlike fine wine, technology doesn’t get better with age. Outdated or insufficient equipment can cause delays and technical difficulties and ultimately hinder the success of a meeting.
Many small conference rooms lack the necessary equipment and technology to boost productivity and enhance communication simply because the space doesn’t allow for it. Newer, more compact solutions can make your team more productive and collaborative, offer better experiences and help you get the most out of your meetings.
When you equip your conference room with the latest tools and technology, you create a space conducive to better meetings. Teams have access to solutions they’re used to using in other areas of their work and experience less friction when meeting with remote participants. It’s an essential step in ensuring these spaces remain useful and efficient.
Consider the following areas of investment in your small conference room equipment upgrades:
1. Wireless Presentation Solutions
Rather than letting hardwired devices take up space, users can bring their own devices to meetings and only bring what they need. With wireless connectivity, meeting attendees can quickly and effortlessly share content from their devices. There’s no need to email files or navigate new devices the users are not familiar with, allowing meetings to start promptly.
These solutions often come with features like annotation tools or whiteboards to support live collaboration. They’re also becoming increasingly affordable and accessible, allowing businesses to easily integrate them into their conference room setup.
When choosing a wireless presentation system, consider the following features and capabilities:
- Device/screen mirroring or screencasting (wirelessly mirroring or streaming a device’s screen)
- Desktop sharing (ability to share a user’s entire desktop or a specific screen)
- Multi-device compatibility
- Range (ideally the range will span the entire room)
- Ease of use
- Technical support
Wireless presentation systems can help companies of all sizes do more with less equipment while opening up your small conference room to more users and use cases.
2. High-Quality Video Conferencing Equipment
One essential upgrade is a high-definition video conferencing system that provides clear audio and video capabilities. A reliable system with features like recording, auto-framing webcams, and distraction blockers allows for seamless communication with clients or team members.
Types of video conferencing systems include:
- Desktop solutions, where all components are integrated into a single device that sits on a desk or table
- Wall-mounted solutions, where all components are hard-wired into the conference room and ready to use
- Portable solutions, where all components can be easily transported from conference room to conference room
For small conference rooms, any of these options can work. Portable systems can move from one conference room to the next and only take up space when needed. Wall-mounted systems have everything you need in a single unit. Desktop versions have small footprints and don’t require much real estate.
Neat offers integrated video conferencing systems in all three models to give you more flexibility over your small conference room. Our all-in-one devices are easy to set up right out of the box and allow users to launch meetings with the touch of a button.
Other features to look for in a video conference system are:
- High-definition video that captures gestures and facial expressions
- Clear audio (especially if two people are talking at the same time)
- A user-friendly interface that requires little or no training to use
- Virtual boundaries to block out background distractions
- Easy-to-install components
Choosing an integrated solution like Neat streamlines the decision-making process since you don’t have to choose individual components. Each component is designed to work flawlessly with the others to create an optimal video conferencing experience.
3. Audio Systems and Speakers
Audio systems and speakers help each participant hear each other clearly, even when people are talking over each other. It’s easier to hold productive meetings when participants can express their thoughts with clarity. Good audio systems and speakers also reduce background noise and echoes, ensuring participants are not distracted by ambient sounds (a major consideration in small spaces).
Conference room audio speakers can take the form of standalone speakers, sound bars, video bars and integrated speakers in your video conferencing device.
If you’re using an integrated solution like Neat, your audio system will be built into the video conferencing device. Neat’s built-in speakersmimic natural conversation. If two people are talking, neither will sound muffled or clipped. Neat knows the difference between participants speaking vs. echoes and background noise (like a dog barking or doorbell ringing) and will squash those noises so the speaker can be clearly heard.
If you’re building your own solution, choose audio speakers that will ensure adequate coverage without producing feedback or echoes. Also, consider how the speakers will need to be positioned or mounted to ensure good sound travel. Read our guide on how to choose a conference room speaker for more guidance.
4. Interactive Whiteboards and Collaboration Tools
Interactive whiteboards are the future of business meetings, offering the ability for participants to share ideas, collaborate in real-time, save their work and pick up where they left off. Small conference rooms can benefit greatly from this technological upgrade, as interactive whiteboards add form and function to the space.
Benefits of whiteboards in small conference rooms include:
- Better communication. Displaying presentations in real-time and annotating on the spot allows participants to collaborate and make meetings more productive.
- Reduced printing. With fewer printed materials required, such as handouts or brochures, companies can save time, money and paper waste, making your company more environmentally friendly.
- Engaging experiences. Multimedia tools like videos and images help convey messages more effectively than text alone. Teams can engage multiple senses during each meeting, leading to better recall and enhanced creativity.
Whiteboards can be virtual (e.g., Zoom’s built-in whiteboard) or physical (e.g.,Neat Board), both of which can be shared with meeting participants so everyone can access its features. Neat Board is unique in that it offers a total meeting room package, complete with speakers, a camera, a microphone and a monitor.
When choosing an interactive whiteboard, consider the size of the board and the room in which it will be placed. Small conference rooms may benefit from a portable solution like Neat Board that can move from room to room and not take up space when it’s not in use. Whiteboards can even be built into video conferencing systems, giving you more functionality with fewer devices.
Also, consider the resolution of the board. A high-resolution board will provide a clearer and crisper image for presentations. Think about how you will share the content when the meeting concludes and how users will access and use it. Whiteboards that integrate with other tools and software make it easy to share content and keep work moving.
5. Smart Lighting and Climate Control
Smart lightingand climate control provide multiple benefits to small conference rooms. Smaller footprints can be more cost-effective compared to larger meeting spaces, but companies still need to monitor their usage and optimize things like power consumption and air conditioning to avoid paying more than they should. By expanding a small conference room’s use cases, the room may receive more usage and will require close monitoring to reduce expenses.
Smart lighting allows you to adjust the brightness and color temperature of lights based on the time of day or specific activities happening in the room. This can help to reduce eye strain and promote better concentration during presentations. Automated lighting controls can also save energy by turning off lights when the room is not in use, which can result in significant cost savings over time.
Climate control systems can also lower your total meeting room costs. Using advanced sensors and automation, companies can optimize temperatures based on meeting room usage and reduce energy waste.
Enhancing your lighting and climate control starts with learning more about your meeting room usage.Meeting room analyticscan track usage over time and show you how your room is being used along with frequency and popular days and times.
Devices likeNeat Padcan collect these analytics on your behalf while also doubling as a meeting room controller. Use your meeting room analytics to decide how to invest in smart lighting, digital thermostats and similar solutions that will reduce your meeting room expenses.
6. Ergonomic Furniture and Accessories
Small conference rooms can feel cramped or uncomfortable. With meetings being an integral part of doing business, it’s essential that participants feel comfortable and supported.Ergonomic furniture(e.g., chairs with armrests and neck and back support, adjustable height desks, and footrests) can help attendees focus and engage fully in meetings.
Ergonomic chairs have adjustable features such as lumbar support, height adjustments, armrests and swivel options that allow users to customize their positions accordingly. Ergonomic tables come in various sizes and shapes that can fit into small conference rooms while providing ample space for documents and accessories. The addition of accessories like footrests or monitor stands can also enhance comfort for participants by reducing strain on their necks or feet during prolonged periods of sitting.
7. Room Booking and Scheduling Software
Managing conference rooms can be time-consuming and complicated, especially if there’s no person in charge of bookings. With more people using the space, a schedule becomes necessary. Software can automate the process, making it easier for businesses to see room availability and usage patterns.
Room booking and scheduling software eliminate double bookings. Many businesses struggle with this due to manual processes where multiple people try to book a room at once. With automated systems, companies ensure only one person can book a room at any given time. This saves valuable time that would otherwise be spent trying to resolve conflicts between different groups who want access to the same space.
What’s more, you can display meeting room information outside each conference space. With Neat Pad, users can see at a glance where their meetings are being held to ensure they’re in the right place. Plus, they can reserve rooms via the same interface.
Neat: Innovative Solutions for Conference Room Upgrades
Neat makes valuable additions to small conference rooms with impactful upgrades that improve the way you work. With all-in-one devices that fit in any space of any size, users can fast-track their meetings with simple yet powerful video conferencing technology. Launch meetings with the touch of a button, easily connect your own devices and get superior audio and video quality that feels more like in-person communication.
Our customers agree, too:
“Neat was incredible! They are a newer player in the audio/video equipment game and are making a name for themselves with their incredible products, amazing customer support, and reasonable prices.”
“The product is great, arrived quickly and was easy to set up and use.”
“We find the Neat Board to be a very flexible and versatile offering that we have widely deployed. Easy for our support teams to manage and troubleshoot.”Neat Customers
What is the most cost-effective way to upgrade my small conference room equipment?
Choose solutions that offer multiple functionalities. For example, instead of buying a separate monitor, microphone, speakers and camera, choose an integrated video conferencing solution. One that’s portable (like Neat Board) gives you even more functionality since you can use it in multiple spaces. Modular furniture is another easy way to upgrade, as it can be configured or used in different ways to suit different use cases.
Can I install and maintain the equipment myself, or should I hire a professional?
Some solutions are too complex for the average person to install and maintain, but there are simpler solutions on the market that offer high-quality audio and video and are easy to install and troubleshoot. If your IT budget is a concern, a simple solution like Neat is a great option since you can install it yourself and get troubleshooting support.
How do I ensure that my upgraded equipment is compatible with my existing technology?
To ensure compatibility, do your research before making any purchases. Start by identifying what technology you currently have and what specifications it requires. If you are keeping certain technological components, you want to ensure your new equipment will align with those requirements. Or, you can avoid compatibility issues by choosing an integrated solution. With microphones, cameras, speakers and monitors in the same unit, all components are designed to work together.
What kind of warranties or guarantees should I look for when selecting equipment or services?
If warranties aren’t specified, always ask what warranties are available. Ask specifically about equipment replacements and timelines to have new equipment shipped to you to minimize downtime. You can also ask whether support is included and how to access support (e.g., phone, online chat, email, self-serve resources).
How can I train my team to effectively use the new equipment and technology?
Take advantage of the manufacturer’s existing resources, such as online blog articles, how-to guides or setup videos. You might also hold a group training session where would-be participants can ask questions or test the equipment.
43 Pieces of Ergonomic Furniture. Trend Hunter.
Small Room Acoustics Vs Large Room Acoustics. Acoustic Fields.