I, like you, work in an office equipped with meeting rooms that are enabled with screens (TV screens) for displaying content from a PC, a video conferencing system to allow me to call customers and have customers call me and so on. Now believe it or not, the challenges that I encounter as a technology expert are the very same ones that I bet you struggle with. Which has often led me to ponder why is it that after so much careful investment in the latest AV technologies, do we so often find ourselves being let down at critical times by the technology we rely on?
Is it simply user error? Or could it be that there's something more sinister lurking in the background?
Since joining the AV (audio-visual) industry over 10 years ago, I've had the privilege of working in nearly every single discipline there is within the AV sector. From live event conferencing, white glove services where I managed the AV for the top brass in the biggest investment banks and finance houses. To selling, designing, installing and servicing AV systems. I've seen it all as far as installed meeting rooms and presentation systems go...
Along the way I've helped many a person who's had one issue or another that relates to AV and technology in general. As I think about all the years of helping people solve their problems there are really only a few things I found you can put all the issues down to... I've listed the top five below in the hope that you will find them helpful!
Top 5 reasons why technology lets us down when we need the most...
Not allowing for a setup time
Ok I get it, who tests their phone before making a phone call or who tests their TV at home before firing up an episode of Game of Thrones? No one... because these systems work so effortlessly that we can rely on them enough to just expect that they will function as and when we need them to. Yet, there is a major difference between these everyday home events and when setting up your meeting room technology for a presentation or a conference call at work.
That difference is down to the number of pieces of kit that all have to "play nicely" together to enable your laptop video to pop up on the meeting room screen. Or allow you to be seen and heard on video conference calls. Add to that the two way nature of video conferencing which requires someone at the far end of the call needing have their VC kit setup properly in order to see and hear you. They leave the mic muted nearly everytime, don't they... and you the Monty Python sketch like "can you hear us, we cant hear you...", "we can see you, can you hear us" for 15 mins back and forth!
I find the majority of issues people have with AV technology is nothing to do with the technology itself, but rather that people don't allow for something as simple as enough setup time prior to the meeting or presentation start time.
So next time you are setting up a three way VC call with your satellite offices in Europe, make sure to add at least 30mins prior to the start time for setup and testing. Have all the participating rooms booked ahead of the start time and ask for someone to be in the room early for setup and testing. Allow enough of a time buffer for testing before your chatty colleagues get into the room and start catching up on their weekends and making it impossible to hear whats going on during your testing time! Hey, if nothing else you'll be early for the meeting and impress everyone else!
USING "KEWL" KIT, MEANT FOR HOME USE
Too many times I've seen eager tech nerds (hey I'm one, so don't be offended) introduce technology from home to the office because it seems like a great idea. Apple TV was a big one and here's why these are indeed brilliant at home but a no no in a commercial environment...
They aren't built for the sheer number of hours that commercial applications requires.
For instance did you know that commercial screens are designed to run 16 or 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A consumer TV will not stand up to those sort of hours without burning out after about a year, if you are lucky.
When it comes to technologies such as wireless sharing systems, your IT network mangers will want the advanced security and network management features that are only available with commercial grade equipment. This allows them to manage the equipment over the IT network so that everything software and security wise can be kept up to date...