"But first, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have." ~ Jimi Hendrix
It has been well established for some time now that Mr. Hendrix had in fact, been experienced. Maybe, like Confucius, Jimi understood that knowledge hinges on knowing what you know and what you don't know, and that there are no true substitutes for knowledge acquired through experience. As with many things in life, successfully designing and implementing a conferencing solution also requires a certain level of knowledge and experience. So, as a project stakeholder, what I really want to know is, are you experienced?
To quote Stephen Covy, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, begin with the end in mind. In the case of our conferencing system, what is the end result you desire? Regardless of your level of experience in project development, system design, and solution implementation, it is very likely you know the experience you would like to create. It is also probable that your envisioned experience shares commonalities with similar projects. First and foremost, you want a room that consistently facilitates effective communication between all conference participants, and a room that is easy to use and support.
By assembling a qualified and experienced team, you can help ensure that your goals are met. Just as you would review the qualifications and references of potential employees, you should do the same with your audiovisual systems project team. That includes reviewing their Industry and Manufacturer's Certifications, as well as their references. Again, relevant experience is important throughout the project, as is your vision for the experience that will be the end result of the project.
When designing audio systems for conferencing applications, it's helpful to consider several factors, including physical characteristics/environment, application requirements, organizational culture, and of course, budget.
Regarding the actual room environment, several questions are relevant. What are the characteristics of the project environment? How big is the room? What is the furniture layout? What materials are used in the room? Is the space reconfigurable or combinable? Are there adequate cable pathways? These are questions that should be easy to answer, but without consideration of this basic information, a valid system design is unlikely.
Then there are this most often overlooked and disregarded, yet most critical aspect of the project environment - the acoustical performance of the room. Rooms with a significant amount of reflective surfaces such as windows, concrete floors, stone walls and table surfaces, as well as ambient noise from mechanical systems or other sources, can negatively impact the desired end result. If acoustical issues aren't identified and corrected, expect to spend more on technology, in spite of the fact that technology may only partially correct, or mask, the issues.
Wireless microphone systems, such as Revolabs Executive HD system, are a great choice for rooms that require flexibility as well as rooms that have inadequate cable pathways. For challenging acoustical environments, these systems are also a good choice, as microphones can be placed closely to seated participants and placed on primary presenters. Lastly, the Executive HD is extremely scalable, supporting from 4-32 microphones in a single environment.
Application requirements are of equal importance. What does the room need to do, or in what manner does the room need function to support the people using the room? How many people need to be supported for conferencing? Will there be presenters that move around the room? Is voice-lift a requirement? Do all participants need to be covered in an audio conference, or just presenters? Answering these questions can help you right-size the system, reducing cost by removing unneeded features and capabilities.
When it comes to budget, "value engineering" may sound like a good idea, but solutions based primarily on tight budgets can negatively impact room performance and the desired experience. Keep in mind that you can't fool Mother Nature (aka physics). Reducing the number of recommend microphones, or other audio system components, may help your budget on the front-end, but long-term, a poorly functioning room will be a bad investment.
The flexibility required of modern day conference rooms make wireless systems a good fit for these spaces. For small rooms, the Revolabs FLX Wireless Conference Phone is a great solution that can be used stand-alone, or with a video conferencing codec or computer for web-based conferencing applications. For medium rooms, the Fusion 4 or 8 Channel Wireless Microphone System, with built-in mixer/digital signal processor requires minimal configuration, reducing cost and complexity.
At Revolabs, we are believers in audio, and like many, we believe that effective communication makes companies and organization perform better. For communications over distances, i.e. audio and video conferencing, the quality and intelligibility of your audio system should be a high priority. By partnering with our team - including our distributors, resellers and consultant partners - we can help you build the audio solutions that exceed your expectations and fulfills the vision you had in mind.
Have we ever been experienced? Yes, we have.