More employees are working remotely than ever before - and thanks to advancements in audiovisual and video conferencing technology, it's easier than ever to communicate and collaborate with teammates all over the world.

With an increase in remote and hybrid work, conference rooms have seen more and more usage - but that is coming with a price. In 2023, 80% of workers experienced lost time due to technical difficulties during online or hybrid meetings. Conference room AV setups need to be reliable, and IT departments are on point to ensure that each room is stocked with the most efficient communication tools available. It's especially important for hybrid teams. When more employees are conferencing in, seemingly minor annoyances such as tinkering with wires and cables and dealing with bad audio or disconnects can have major effects on productivity.

Here's how you can set up and troubleshoot your audio-visual systems to ensure conference calls go as smoothly as possible every time.

What does AV stand for?

AV is an abbreviation for audio-video. AV technology refers to systems and devices used to watch and listen to media. You'll find av equipment in home entertainment systems and in the business world, such as in boardrooms.

What are the basic components of an AV system?

Here are some of the components you'll typically find in an AV system:

  • Displays: Displays are the primary place where you display information. These include laptops, monitors,  and TV screens.
  • Microphones + cameras: These include the built-in microphones and webcams you will find in laptops, as well as USB microphones and webcams
  • Speakers: You can use the speakers of a TV, laptop, or VoIP (voice over IP) conferencing phone to hear remote team members - just remember to have enough so everyone in the meeting can hear everything.
  • Connection: You'll need to connect the components of your AV conferencing system to the internet, either with a Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection. Whatever connection you use, make sure it's stable!
  • Video conferencing software: Using plug-and-play video conferencing software (i.e., you can plug in a device, and it works instantly without having to download additional software or programs) allows you to make calls and sometimes automatically optimize your display and sound.


Boardroom AV equipment must-haves

Which conference room AV setup will you choose? And what AV equipment is required? There are a variety of different setup options for meeting spaces. From huddle rooms to boardrooms, it’s important that spaces have these critical pieces of modern boardroom technology. 

1. Wireless internet with a full Ethernet backup

Enabling wireless internet connectivity is extremely important in the modern business world. Your internet technology needs to be convenient for employees to use. Unfortunately, some Wi-Fi signals are spotty or too weak to handle lots of video data.

For these rare instances, it's good to have a backup plan so timelines stay in place and nothing has to be rescheduled. Your conference room AV solution should include both Wi-Fi and Ethernet capability so you have a secure, hard-wired connection when necessary.

2. Full-view video capabilities

Let's say a few of your remote employees are conferencing in for a meeting with an in-office team. You want those who are conferencing in to feel as engaged and present as possible. To accomplish this, you should consider a solution that includes a 360 conference camera — this allows a full view of the meeting room. There are even smart cameras that allow for a 360-degree view and highlight the person who is actually speaking. This results in a very organic-feeling discussion where the barriers usually felt in teleconferencing situations disappear.


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3. Tested audio solution

One of the worst things to deal with on conference calls is poor audio quality. Not being able to hear or be heard clearly can cause confusion and mistakes down the line. Because of this, we don't recommend having your entire video conferencing system on a single laptop.

Many laptops have low-quality microphones that will leave your words muffled, crackling or distorted. And in some cases, there can be voice echoing or voice reverb. Using a system with a tested, high-quality microphone and speaker system is important, especially for meetings with more than two people involved.

If you are using an external microphone and speaker, like the Meeting Owl 3, be sure to take advantage of accessories such as the Expansion Mic that allows you to extend audio pickup by 8’ more.

4. Transportable tech

Having a conference room AV system that can easily be moved from place to place can be useful. This means that instead of utilizing the technology in all conference rooms, you could purchase fewer devices and move them around as necessary. You can also take it to other businesses, boardroom meetings, or wherever you need to have a meeting and not worry about lugging around different components. Bonus to AV equipment that has traveling cases!

5. Compatibility

Many offices have standard software they already use for video conferencing, such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Microsoft Teams. Rather than making employees learn new software, you need a solution that integrates seamlessly into your current workflow. Something that coordinates with your employees' calendar apps automatically is an added bonus.

6. Developer updates

Since the software your solution communicates with will be constantly changed and patched, the AV hardware solutions you choose should be cloud-connected and fully supported by its developer. That way, you're always up-to-date, and bugs are fixed promptly.

Top benefits of great conference room AV setup

All-in-one solutions that incorporate all of the above considerations are available and preferable to custom systems that include different pieces of hardware. They significantly flatten the learning curve for your employees since they'll only have to train on a single system. Once your boardrooms are connected and ready to include your remote workers, you'll experience benefits like:

1. Easier setup

If your conference rooms are correctly stocked, setup time for meetings will be minimal. With an all-in-one solution, you don't need to fiddle with wires or connectivity issues. Everything is ready to go; you just need to activate it.

2. Intuitive communication

You won't have to open multiple programs or different hardware configurations -- the best AV systems will have intuitive, one-touch workflows. This means the process is easy to learn and won't confuse users. The result is simple, open communication that's inclusive for everybody involved.

3. Less issues

The meeting room technology can not only minimize the about of problems that hybrid meeting attendees face, it can also minimize the amount of tickets IT teams see. When you incorporate simple, plug-and-play av technologies into your setup, the benefits are truly endless.

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