Original post March 9,2015:
In today’s rapidly changing technology climate, there are countless systems, devices, gadgets and software that, when appropriately implemented, can simplify processes, reduce workload, increase employee productivity and, ultimately, improve your work quality of life. This doesn’t just apply to our clients, it starts right here at Erlach Computer Consulting.
Recently, we dramatically upgraded the technology around our office and we wanted to share it with you. When we expanded our office space last year, we also built a new conference room and created a space that can be used for meetings, learning seminars, video conferences and more. We wanted to implement technology that our clients and non-profit partners would find useful and create a community resource, of sorts. The outcome, which we’ll soon be introducing to all of you in person, is a smart conference room that creates endless possibilities.
The front wall of the conference room has two BenQ MW853UST Touch Write short throw projectors. This allows the entire width of the wall to be used as a touch monitor and eliminates the need for easels, video projectors, etc. The short throw feature allows a presenter to look out to the audience without the glare of a projector in their eyes, or their body casting a shadow over the projection surface. To view the video of this awesome technology in action, click here (Do it, it is really impressive!)
On our side wall, we have a Dell S520wi short throw projector with whiteboard. It supports 10 point multi touch with a stylus or just use your fingers. It’s currently hooked up to a PC, but it has a wireless gateway allowing a laptop, or a smart phone with wireless presentation, to project to it over a WiFi connection. This eliminates the problem of having the correct cable on hand, and allows the projecting machine to be anywhere in the room. This unit installs and calibrates fairly easily. I highly recommend it for someone wanting to start out in the smart board arena.
Leviton Outlets with integrated USB. Available at Home Depot.
All conference room wall outlets have two USB outlets in addition to regular 110v outlets. These are great for around the office and home, given that we have so many devices that require USB charging. They are approximately $20 each at Home Depot or Lowes and are available with up to four USB connections.
One of our favorite gadgets that we have in the conference room is the Wireless Qi chargers for smart phones. We’re using “TYLT VU” which provide five watts of charging whereas many of the competing versions provide half or less of the charging power. All phones don’t support wireless charging, but it is becoming fairly common. Check to see if your phone is a Qi compatible phone. Plugging in your phone isn’t a difficult task, but often gets overlooked. Just set your phone on the charger when you get to your desk. It recharges your phone, and you'll know where it is when it's time to leave!
Ever has a problem hooking your laptop up to a projector? Unlike the Dell projecting system that supports WiFi out of the box, our front projectors don't. So we have implemented a Wireless Presentation Gateway WiPG-1500 with Airpad. This device allows us to share any laptop onto the front projection screen by simply running a program off of a USB stick. This makes it easy for visitors to share their screen for presentations and more. If you already have a projector, and would like allow people to connect to it wirelessly, this may be a solution for you. Click here to learn more.
We wanted to be able to both connect to our corporate network securely, but allow guests to connect to the internet with ease. So, for wireless we are using an Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-Pro enterprise AC wireless access point. Through it we connect to our corporate network, while visitors connect to a guest network configured with isolation, meaning guests can’t see the corporate network, or other guests for that matter.
The writing and projection surfaces on the room’s walls are WalkTalkers. This is a dry erase surface that applies like wall paper. The front projection wall is the Erase-rite product, which is designed to be low glare so you can project on it or use it with traditional dry erase markers. The side wall is the Mag-rite II grid product. It is magnetic allowing you to tack up documents, and has a 2” x 2” grid that helps people write straight and line things up.
We didn’t want to neglect the visceral experience in the room and are using a Denon Receiver to handle all of the video and audio integration. The 5.1 surround sound makes it feel like the zombies from the Walking Dead are in the room with you!
We have also installed dimmable LED lighting in the ceiling for energy efficiency and to adapt to the requirements of the various projectors.
Lastly, the conference room is climate controlled with a Honeywell RTH6580WF thermostat, which is manageable online and allows us to get current information on the temperature and operating modes and schedule heating and cooling cycles uniquely for each day if you want.
In short, the conference room is built to easily allow us and our clients to operate almost any business function imaginable without having to leave our chairs. And, it’s pretty cool, too. We may have gone a little overboard, but there may be a technology or two that is of use to you.
We want to offer it as a resource for all of our clients and are happy to work with you to schedule a tour or a meeting. Please stop by the office to say hi and let us give you a tour.