While the modern corporate environment features many different kinds of spaces for meetings of different kinds – boardrooms, video conference rooms, huddle rooms, even auditoriums – there are still special situations which demand a certain amount of flexibility. Multi-purpose rooms are quickly becoming a feature of most corporate environments because of their ability to quickly transform for different purposes. In fact, perhaps “Transformer rooms” might be a more appropriate name for these special spaces.
These rooms can be used as meeting spaces, a large venue for live events, a press conference or perhaps as a training space – and usually feature 2–3 dividing partition walls that allow the space to be transformed into 1,2 or even 3 separate sections. But what’s equally important is the design of the AV system, which needs to be capable of adapting itself to the room’s changing needs, very quickly.
The Actis Design Team suggests the following inclusions in your multi-purpose hall/room:
1. Flexible connectivity interfaces
As the purpose of the room changes, so too does the seating layout. Ensuring that the presenter and the audience can share/present content requires connectivity interfaces to be available at convenient points in the room. It’s usually a good idea to use floor boxes/wall plates with VGA/HDMI connectivity and position them optimally for various scenarios — both individually and in combined mode options. Auxiliary audio and video output plates should be positioned which would allow any third person/ press people to connect their studio camera to record both video and audio.
2. Visibility for everyone in the room
While the primary projection system may be good enough for most people to view content, there are often spots in a room with poor or no visibility. This requires the use of secondary displays; additional LED monitors may have to be placed appropriately to allow the entire audience to see the content being shared.
3. Making the technology “invisible”
Since the room may be used for an event where all or some of the displays are not required (say a music event), the projection system should be housed in a motorized lift, that lets it be hidden when not in use. A similar approach can be used for large LED display monitors too, which hides them behind wall panels when they are not in use.
4. Flexibility in control of routing of signals
The switching of content between various sources and displays should happen via a single matrix switcher with transmitters and receivers which would allow the user to perform multiple projections with various inputs simultaneously without disturbing the other rooms.
5. Centralised “backroom” and “remote” controls
A centralized master room should be planned which connects all the video, audio, lighting and control systems of all other rooms. In addition, each of the component rooms should have a wireless controller (probably a tablet or a capacitive touch panel) to operate and manage the system. During combined mode operation a “master touch panel” should be available to control the system.