Conference Room Technology Trends
What are the hottest conference room technology trends? We look into the trends and offer tips and recommendations.
The modern office huddle space is evolving. Although businesses had already begun to embrace new technologies before, the pandemic upended the various ways businesses and employees meet and gather, accelerating the trend even further.
As a result, the modern conference room—the formal gathering place where many major decisions are made—must also change with the times. Simply having a desk, chairs, and a phone will no longer suffice. Not when modern businesses are embracing newly emerging design trends and office technologies.
But what are the ongoing conference room technology trends that your office should consider adopting and emulating? Let’s review the major conference room design innovations.
What Makes a Good Conference Room?
A conference room is a gathering place used for calls, board meetings, management discussions, team building, client presentations, unified communication, and more. It can be a collaboration hub, brainstorming room, or presentation portal.
Typically, this type of medium-to-large sized room is catered to larger businesses. It’s an all-hands room where a group of 10 or more people can meet.
This type of room is usually both internally and externally facing. Therefore, it should be designed to accommodate your employees while also impressing any would-be guests. As a result, the conference table dimensions and room design should lean more formal than casual.
While a conference space can be multipurpose, three key goals should be considered in the design and technology you choose:
- Making meetings more efficient – The ultimate use for conference rooms is to host meetings. A properly designed conference room can help eliminate one of the most pressing pain points when it comes to meetings—they tend to be unproductive and inefficient.1 By installing collaboration tools, setting consistent meeting habits, and integrating the top technologies, you can transform the conference room into a productive space where the right decisions can be made quickly.
- Establishing a first impression – Are you trying to close a deal, sign talent, or hire a new employee? A conference room is often the place where critical business deals are made. Ideally, you want to start any meeting off on a good foot by creating a strong first impression via the conference room. Adding branding, incorporating aesthetically pleasing design elements, and utilizing novel technologies can demonstrate your company’s sophistication and professionalism.
- Video conferencing – If you operate in a hybrid environment or your business is spread out over the country, your conference room and video conferencing technology serves as the focal point for a company’s internal, digital, and face-to-face communications.
The Emergence of the Smart Conference Room
Digitalism has infused every element of modern business. These days, the right technologies can create optimizations and add conveniences that empower your business to work smarter and harder.
Smart conference room solutions integrate both hardware and software to create the quintessential business meeting space for both remote and in-person attendees.
But what elements have become must-have additions to the smart conference room?
#1 Interactive Smartboards and Whiteboards
Say goodbye to dry-erase boards and the markers that constantly, well, dry out.
Increasingly, forward-thinking businesses are replacing them with advanced interactive whiteboards. These technologies make it possible to collaborate, take notes, and record ideas, with just a finger or a stylus on the board’s touchscreen surface.
Interactive whiteboard technology allows you to collaborate in real-time from two locations simultaneously. And, best of all, you can save content—and all of the annotations, design elements, and doodles—for future use without needing to erase it all.
Advantages of this type of brainstorming and presenting technology include:
- Easy presenting – Users can share content to meeting attendees from connected devices directly to the screen for a more dynamic and interactive delivery.
- More engaging meetings – Multiple participants can add to the board simultaneously, and various visual elements can be incorporated into presentations.
- More effective meetings – Conference rooms equipped with novel technologies make it easier for teams to meet, brainstorm, discuss, and act, whether they’re remote or in-person. With smartboards, you can collaborate across devices, offices, and even time zones.
- Visual ideation – It can be difficult to boil complex topics down to their essential meanings. With a digital whiteboard, you can leverage visual elements and drawings to break down complicated concepts into much more palatable morsels.
#2 LED Video Walls
Projectors are going the way of the dinosaur. Instead, they’re giving way to video walls.
As the name suggests, these LED screens can take up an entire wall of a conference room. The massive screens utilize a bright display with 4k resolution, making it easy for everyone to see the screen and participate in the meeting no matter where they’re situated in the conference room.
In addition to the convenience for both the presenter(s) and the audience, after the initial investment, this type of technology has low maintenance and energy costs. According to Big Screen:2
“An indoor LED screen has a long lifespan since LED lamps are generally long-lasting components. They can normally last up to 50,000 hours. What’s more, the LED screen does not require frequent maintenance such as changing the LED lamps every few months.”
The display is one of the most crucial components of a smart office. And the display panels that make up the wall can be customized to fit any configuration your conference room requires.
#3 Bookable Rooms
A smart conference room should be utilized as much as possible—after all, no one benefits when it sits there empty. But it can also create problems if two groups of employees want to use the space simultaneously.
The modern approach for the smart office is to make it bookable. This reduces friction between employees, increases meeting visibility, and maximizes office space usage. Ideally, you can incorporate conference room scheduling software that allows you to:
- See when the conference room will be in use, by who, and what for
- Reserve a time slot for your conference room meeting
- Request any special tech support specific for the upcoming meeting
- Book the right room according to size and the room’s built-in capabilities
For smaller businesses, this may seem like a minor convenience. But the larger your company becomes, the more demand there will be for the limited meeting spaces within the office.
#4 Audio-Centric Conference Rooms
Office spaces tend to be more like lunch halls than libraries. They’re alive with the hustle and bustle of people talking with one another, machines whirring, employees making calls, and a dozen other sounds adding to the office atmosphere.
Such noises can signal productivity, but they can also distract meeting-goers from the matter at hand.
A private meeting should be just that—private. The best modern conference room will drown out external noise while amplifying the noise inside the room.
Two types of technologies can contribute to an audio-centric conference room:
- Acoustic sound panels that can dampen noise from coming in or escaping
- Microphone technologies that can increase the clarity of speakers in the conference room while muting other ambient noises
#5 Energy Efficient Smart Rooms
Just because you incorporate digital technologies doesn’t mean that you need to waste power. Although many modern technologies are already designed to be green, there are additional measures you can take to ensure that the conference room conserves energy. Examples include:
- Smart room control systems – These allow you to control the room’s settings—lights, temperature, device power, etc.—from a single touch screen panel. The brain of your smart office, many smart room control systems enable you to monitor and optimize power usage.
- Occupancy sensors – Automated sensors can tell when a room is occupied or empty. If empty, they can take additional energy-saving measures, such as switching off the lights and equipment or turning down the room’s heat or air.
- Motorized blinds – Window treatments play an essential role in regulating a conference room’s temperature. Motorized blinds can help with insulation, trapping warm air during the winter and retaining cold air during the summer.
Aside from reducing your environmental impact, going green may also help your company save money on utility bills and reduce waste.
#6 Adjustable Lighting
The lighting of a space can significantly impact the mood of its occupants. With adjustable lighting, you can create an ambiance that matches the meeting format.
If you’re presenting to clients, you may wish to create a more dynamic feel with dimmed lights. Or, if you’re having a meeting, you may prefer to use lighting colors that are associated with creativity and energy.
Equipped with smart conference room lighting, you can save specific settings, manually adjust for color or brightness, or have the system automatically set lighting to match the time of day and weather.
Designing Your Conference Rooms with Juniper Office
Conference rooms are evolving alongside technology. Today, there are dozens of hardware and software tools you can install in the conference room to make meetings more effective, impress clients, and optimize business activities.
But in the rush to get your hands on the newest and best conference room technologies, you can’t forget about the essentials—namely, the desks and chairs.
Juniper Office can help with that.
In addition to offering an array of modern conference tables and seating options, we offer a free office planning service. Just tell us what you want your conference room to look like, and our design team will partner with you to design the ultimate meeting space.