Kitting out your boardroom: saving money in the long run

 

With the onward advancement of technology and the increase in expectations, a flipchart and pen simply doesn’t cut the mustard for business meetings any longer.

Technology now allows us access files, work collaboratively on screen and stream data wirelessly.  Upgrading your meeting room technology can seem like a costly investment but making meetings more effective can have big payoffs in terms of increased productivity and more efficient group collaborations.

Is your business taking advantage of the tools that it could be using that could save you money in the long run?

BYOD
What is becoming increasingly expected of businesses is for visitors and clients involved in meetings to be able to bring in a device (whether it’s a tablet, laptop or smartphone) and connect seamlessly to your display equipment. It is important that the projector in your boardroom or meeting rooms can accommodate this.

Working together
New interactive functionality in projectors allows several people to work simultaneously on the screen without using a pen. It is easy to annotate on the projected image, open Microsoft office files or web browsers and interact with the content without even touching a computer. 

This ability to work collaboratively on documents and presentations in meetings is a real asset to companies.  The work can be saved to a computer and distributed to participants and non-attendees after the meeting.

Conferencing
Conferencing equipment is essential for companies that regularly meet with people in different geographic locations.  Face-to-face meetings remain important but installing conferencing equipment gives you and your clients the possibility to slash travel costs and staff travelling time.

Around 1.8bn hours of Skype video calls are made each year with an increasing number of these coming from business conferences and video meetings.  Data conferencing lets you share text, images and data in real time. Videoconferencing uses telephone or data lines to transmit audio and video. A projector allows you to share content in your meeting on a super-size screen.  A large flat screen display would cost significantly more than a projector to achieve the same image size.

Going wireless
Using tablets and mobile devices as the interface between the presenter and the on-screen presentation is becoming ever more popular. Whether it’s controlling a slideshow, pulling up and manipulating data or simply used as a script/prompt for reference data, tablets are changing the boardroom and improving the way we conduct meetings.

Most projectors now have wireless functionality to stream data from mobile devices using wireless HDMI devices such as the Optoma WHD200 or Google Chromecast or Optoma’s mini WiFi dongle. 

Future proof your investment

It is important to future proof any investment in equipment.  Review the inputs and outputs you might need. Look at what sources you are using now but also what you might want to use in the future.  Most new computers and laptops have HDMI outputs enabling Full HD 1080p resolution.  Multiple HDMI inputs in your projector allow you to switch between sources easily. 

There is a growth now in HDbasedT functionality.  HDBaseT not only allows data to be sent over a much greater distance than HDMI but can also carry HD video, audio, ethernet, power and control on a single cable.  This significantly cuts down the number of cables needed for a typical business installation.

Optoma has a range of business projectors that have wireless, interactive and HDbasedT functionality.  Most have internal speakers avoiding the cost of installing external speakers.  They also include audio output if an external sound system is required. 

Most of these can be controlled remotely with full support is provided for Crestron, Extron, AMX, PJ-Link and Telnet LAN protocols. Once installed, the projector can be monitored and controlled over LAN.

Kitting out your boardroom is not just about impressing customers – it also makes financial sense.  It can save time and money by reducing off-site meetings and installing future proofed equipment in your boardrooms gives your team the tools to work more effectively.

Projector technology now has greater connectivity than ever

Projectors have progressed so much since the distant days of dusty acetate sheets on OHPs.  They now have the technology to display from the latest devices and can project a super-sized 100-inch picture on a screen or wall from just a metre away.

As well as computers, set top boxes, Blu-Ray and DVD players, you can now project straight from mobile phones and tablets, stream content from Roku, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, share photographs and video directly from cameras and camcorders, present straight from a USB stick and connect to the latest games consoles.

But it is not just the connectivity that has improved, they are designed to simply plug and play – dispelling the myth that projectors are difficult to set up.

When choosing a projector, you should look at which devices you would like to connect it with.

Multiple HDMI ports make it easy to switch between sources at the touch of a button.

MHL allows a projector to be turned it into a smart display by connecting a smartphone or tablet with a single cable to play games, stream videos and share photos on the big screen.

USB Plug and Play allows presentations to be viewed straight from a USB stick.

Most projectors have optional wireless.  This uses a WiFi dongle to allow you to connect and display presentation materials wirelessly from a laptop, PC or Mac and mobile device.

Full 3D projectors can display true 3D content from 3D Blu-Ray players, 3D broadcasting and the latest generation games consoles.

Many Optoma projectors have powerful built-in speakers which save you the cost and time of installing external speakers.  But you still have the option of connecting to external sound systems through the audio output if you want the cinema quality surround sound.

The projector is not just for offices and schools.  You can get a super-size screen at home to play action-packed games or watch TV shows, live sports and movies.  And with the short throw option allowing you to place the projector so close to the screen, it is suitable for small or large rooms.