Whether in an auditorium at a university, a boardroom in a corporate setting or a 2,000 square foot space that needs to be versatile and scalable, multipurpose spaces are becoming a sought after solution for many organizations. Planning ahead can ensure that these spaces fit the needs of every individual who uses them not only now, but into the future.
Planning for Technology
Current trends such as AV over IP and BYOD should be considered to ensure that a multipurpose room will meet the needs of users now and five or ten years from now without having to reinvent the wheel. When planning for collaboration, real-time wired or wireless sharing are a necessity to ensure quality. Sacrificing quality detracts from the engagement of remote participants and with some foresight this can be avoided.
When meetings or gatherings require digital signage or projectors, close attention should be paid to ambient light and interior lighting conditions. Planning a space that can limit lighting that is either too bright or too dim can be crucial to ensuring that everyone involved both on-site and remotely can clearly view displayed images or video. A beautiful view of the city is wonderful, but if the ambient light from large windows inhibits the purpose of the space, then perhaps the location of the view should be in another room where ambient light won’t be so intrusive. Being able to hear clearly is also an important factor, so ensuring a multipurpose room is not right next to an HVAC unit, vent or other industrial equipment is critical to providing unimpeded audio.
Users are typically not technology experts and being able to select a preset and have sound systems, video, cameras and other equipment automatically be set to their needs is a time and resource savings. With advanced planning, reconfigurations can be made painless so that there is rarely a need for IT personnel.
Hard surfaces, although practical from a standpoint of durability and maintenance, make acoustics difficult. In a multipurpose room, soft surfaces and acoustic panels can help to absorb some of the reverberation especially if sending audio 2 way or engaging with conversational activities such as video conferencing.
New AV trends will continue to emerge and by planning ahead, your multipurpose room will be ready to evolve and continue to be a useful space for years to come.