The conference room has evolved based on the needs of business and advancements in technology. Once reserved for mid to large-sized organizations, numerous factors have led companies of all sizes to incorporate conference rooms into their workplace designs. While traditional conference rooms were once reserved for big company decisions, they’re now being used to serve as hubs during high-priority situations and employee training sessions during program rollouts and compliance updates. And as more people transition to remote work arrangements, companies are converting their extra space into multiple conference rooms wired for virtual communication.
The benefits of a conference room include preserving office space, hosting guests, creating a connected culture, providing space for “mission launch pads”, making great first impressions, and can be used for team training, among many other things. But for those benefits to have a noticeable impact, conference rooms must be designed well. A significant part of that design includes the audiovisual (AV) setup. Below, find the top six concerns in conference room setup.
1. Being Able to Get Everything Set up Quickly and Efficiently
Historically, AV equipment has never been a permanent fixture of conference rooms. The reason for this is that not every meeting, training session, team collaboration, or event requires the same equipment. A good practice is to leave conference rooms as clutter-free as possible, most if not all AV equipment is stored away until it’s needed. This means that reconfiguration of AV and IT is routine.
Depending on the situation, AV technicians can have plenty of time to set up or mere minutes. For this reason, every IT and AV professional knows the importance of cable management. Not only that but the ease of access to AV ports is equally critical.
2. Eliminating Electrical Cable Hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for enforcing workplace safety. As per OSHA standard 1926.416(a)(1), “No employer shall permit an employee to work in such proximity to any part of an electric power circuit that the employee could contact the electric power circuit in the course of work unless the employee is protected against electric shock by de-energizing the circuit and grounding it or by guarding it effectively by insulation or other means.”
In 1926.416(b)(2), OSHA requires that “Working spaces, walkways, and similar locations shall be kept clear of cords so as not to create a hazard to employees.” Regulation 1926 also states that “Extension cords shall not be fastened with staples, hung from nails, or suspended by wire.” Raised flooring systems like Gridd® power eliminate electrical cable hazards by keeping them completely out of the way and out of sight.
IT and AV professionals enjoy a vital responsibility in the enterprise ecosystem. Even when the rest of the world shuts down, they keep everyone and everything connected. Much like the central nervous system, they are indispensable contributors to public safety, as well as a healthy economy. With that said, organizations should invest in methods that make AV setup as effortless and straightforward as possible.
Some smaller businesses might not have the money to purchase their own AV equipment or to hire an AV technician. For this reason, AV-as-a-Service (AVaaS) has become a reality as recently as 2020. AVaaS helps smaller, financially leaner companies to take advantage of AV technology without having to invest thousands if not more on equipment. Designing conference rooms to be AVaaS compatible is something to consider.
4. Adequate Space for Cables and Design of Cable Pathways
Having adequate space for data and power cables is dependent on the design of cable pathways. Below are some principles of cable management that should be followed when planning cable pathways.
- Keep telecommunications cables and electric cables separate to reduce signal interference.
- Minimize the obstruction of airflow by routing cable pathways in an organized manner.
- Make things easier by adhering to the standards of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
- Be sure that the setup is in compliance with the National Electric Code (NEC).
- Only use pathways classified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- In future capacity planning, leaving 10-15% for the installation of future infrastructure is advisable.
With more organizations turning extra space into compact huddle rooms, a raised access cable management solution ensures you can abide by those principles. Raised flooring allows all data and power cables to be tucked securely and discretely without inhibiting ease of access for IT and AV techs.
5. Providing Easy Connection Points
Having data and power cables stretching throughout a conference room is unattractive and may violate regulations. Providing AV technicians with easy connection points prevents the need for stretching cables across the floor. User input combined with adaptive raise flooring solutions is the best way to ensure space is optimized to respond to business demands.
Gridd reconfigures without the use of tools, fasteners, or adhesives, simplifying the process of switching out components.
6. Simplifying Reconfiguration and IT Upgrades
With the speed at which technology upgrades and changes, organizations find themselves frequently reconfiguring their AV setups and upgrading their IT infrastructures. Simplifying these processes saves time, money, and labor resources. By installing a raised floor cable management system, IT and AV professionals can handle change requests quickly and easily.
A raised access cable management system such as Gridd 40 and 70 offer adequate cable capacity for any modern workspace conference rooms. Gridd also allows for enough floor box modules to ensure your team has connectivity where it’s required. Additionally, cables go directly into the channels. This allows for cable organization without bulky, unmanageable cable trays or other devices.
Lastly, Gridd® Mobile lets you “see through the floor” before deciding on what reconfigurations or upgrades are needed.
IT and AV professionals alike have depended on various types of cable management solutions since the very beginning of the Digital Age. As workplaces evolve with technological advancements, more efficient and sustainable solutions are needed to keep pace. Whether the need is IT integration or AV management, an adaptive raised floor cable management system (like Gridd) helps the job gets done faster and more efficiently.
For help with a conference room upgrade, please feel free to reach out to one of the FreeAxez advisors.