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  • NOT DRAIN RESOURCES A NETWORKED APPROACH TO SOLVING

    COMMON CONFERENCE ROOM CHALLENGES

    CONFERENCE ROOMS THAT DRIVE BUSINESS

    Now, more than ever before, IT professionals are expected to contribute

    to the company’s bottom line. This means significantly reducing

    budgets for maintenance or “keeping the lights” on activities. One area

    of business that consumes considerable IT resources is the corporate

    meeting room. Whether through user error or system complexity,

    these rooms, which should improve productivity and drive business,

    are instead draining resources.

    This white paper takes a close look at the type of equipment found

    in meeting rooms and discusses the core problems that are driving

    support tickets. It presents an alternative approach that uses the

    network to solve these common challenges and reduce costs.

  • Biamp Systems | Conference Rooms That Drive Business 1

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    CONFERENCE ROOM: (kon-fer-uhns rům) (Noun) 1. A meeting space containing touchy AV equipment and even touchier participants. 2. A continual source of help-desk tickets. 3. A solid business driver when networked with proper AV equipment.

    The business managers and executives at a Fortune 500 financial services

    company had so many problems using their audio and video (AV) conferencing

    equipment they required an IT person to be present in every meeting. The lost

    productivity and impact on their partner relationships cost more than staffing

    every meeting room.

    This company is not alone in the struggle to clearly and easily collaborate

    with remote partners, customers, and workers. A July 2010 study of large UK

    businesses found, “10% of an IT manager’s working year is eaten up by helping out

    with meeting room technology problems.i” Also troubling for IT staff is that while

    40% of users blame meeting room equipment for the problems, 23% blame IT.ii

    While there are many components to a meeting room, audio is the linchpin

    that holds meetings with remote participants together. In this white paper,

    we’ll discuss how IT managers can use the power of networked audio to create

    conference rooms that drive business.

  • Biamp Systems | Conference Rooms That Drive Business 2

    THE ANATOMY OF A MEETING ROOM Meeting room equipment ranges from simplistic conference phones to multiple

    audio visual systems designed to deliver an “in person experience.” Integrated,

    installed audio visual systems typically include the following:

    Audio Component Function

    Mics and loudspeakers Picks up and amplifies meeting room audio.

    Telephone interface Allows VoIP or analog connection to

    remote participants (meeting room, landline, cell,

    bridge).

    Audio processor Improves clarity of the audio signal, removes echo and

    noise. Provides inputs and outputs to connect mics,

    loudspeakers, consumer electronics, video codecs, PC, etc.

    Video Component Function

    Video codec Encodes and decodes video signal for transmission to

    and from remote site. Connects to audio mixer to send

    and receive audio signal.

    Display Shows video feed from remote site.

    Laptop Interfaces with projector to share presentation.

    Interfaces with audio mixer if connecting web callers.

    Control Component Function

    Touch panel Controls all functions in the room (curtains, lights,

    HVAC, volume, dialing, projector).

    Wall control Controls volume and dialing features.

    Remote control Controls volume and dialing features for video

    conferencing.

    The more complex the room, the greater chance you’ll have for equipment

    integration problems and user errors. The illustration below shows the typical

    connection points in a small conferencing room.

  • Biamp Systems | Conference Rooms That Drive Business 3

    HOW MEETING ROOMS DRAIN RESOURCES

    Reducing the time and expense of supporting and maintaining meeting rooms

    frees IT resources to innovate and move the business forward. Consider these

    sources of meeting room trouble tickets.

    Poor Audio Quality

    Demand for clear audio during conference calls is one of the leading reasons

    businesses invest in new audio conferencing systems, according to a study

    conducted by the National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA). About one-

    third of the study respondents cited audio quality as a significant factor in these

    purchase decisions.iii

    As more companies take their business global, the need for clear, natural-

    sounding audio becomes more critical. However, fixing audio problems

    is time consuming because there are many factors that can affect quality.

    FIGURE 1: COMPONENTS OF AN INSTALLED CONFERENCING SYSTEM

    Video Codec

    Audio Processor

    Web Conference

    Ceiling Loudspeakers

    Mics

  • Biamp Systems | Conference Rooms That Drive Business 4

    If users complain about...

    The issue could be...

    Reverberant, tinny audio Hard surfaces in the room, glass walls, mics too far from participants

    Hearing echoes Echo cancellation not functioning properly, mics too close to loudspeakers

    Not hearing the remote participants well enough

    Conference phone that is inadequate for room size, improper loudspeaker coverage, mic problems on the far side

    Not being heard Not enough microphones for room size, mute is on, problem on the far side

    Difficulty with foreign accents, general intelligibility issues

    Could be a combination of several sources; speakers, signal processing, line quality or it could be incorrect speaker placement

    Not hearing audio from DVD player or other audio device

    Audio signal is not routed properly to the loudspeaker

    Too much background noise Noise cancellation settings, open mics

    Remote participants calling in from landlines can’t hear video conferencing participants

    Audio is not routed properly to and from all participants, bridging capabilities

    Integration Issues

    Many companies take a phased approach to implementing conferencing

    equipment. This typically results in a variety of video and audio conferencing

    equipment being used, built on an infrastructure that was designed by multiple

    vendors.

    Corporate Network

    Room Equipment - Audio Processor - Amplifier - VoIP Interface - Echo Canceller

    Server Rack Ceiling Speakers

    Tabletop Mics

  • Biamp Systems | Conference Rooms That Drive Business 5

    Any time IT infrastructure is cobbled together to accommodate disparate

    or proprietary systems, IT teams struggle to manage the combination of

    technologies and users struggle to remember how each room works.

    Lack Of Remote Management

    When meeting room equipment doesn’t allow Ethernet connections

    for control purposes, the only option for IT is to go to the room and service the

    system in person. Not only does this take IT time from other projects, but it adds

    unproductive time to the meeting participants as well.

    IT personnel responsible for multiple buildings or remote offices

    will spend enormous amounts of time and budget supporting

    meeting rooms.

    FIGURE 2: SILOED MEETING ROOMS, EACH WITH ITS OWN SET OF CONFERENCING EQUIPMENT.

    Corporate Network

    Room Equipment - Audio Processor - Amplifier - VoIP Interface - Echo Canceller

    Server Rack Ceiling Speakers

    Tabletop Mics

  • Biamp Systems | Conference Rooms That Drive Business 6

    Inflexible Configurations

    Users expect conferencing and collaboration tools to work how and when

    they need them. And this demanding user environment requires a mix of high-

    performance, intuitive controls, and flexibility.

    If the room set up or the type of meeting changes, the meeting room equipment

    must be able to accommodate the new requirements. What is one day a

    presentation may be a panel discussion the next and a sales meeting with remote

    participants the following week. This level of flexibility keeps pace with business

    needs and enables effective collaboration.

    4 WAYS NETWORKED AUDIO DRIVES BUSINESS

    By bringing audio conferencing systems onto the network, IT managers can

    transform their meeting rooms into collaborative environments that give their

    companies all the benefits that collaboration is intended to provide, especially

    improved business outcomes.

    When the audio conferencing systems used in a company’s meeting rooms are

    connected to the network, employees can initiate an audio conference in the

    meeting room as easily as they can from their desktops. Network-based audio

    systems also improve audio quality and facilitate future expansion of the system to

    additional meeting room locations. Here are four ways moving audio conferencing

    to the network can drive business.

    IT managers report that, on average, they walk a distance of 300 feet

    from their desk to the meeting rooms and back each time they have

    to go to help with a meeting room technology incident. With an

    average of 8.6 incidents a week, that