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How to Pick Collaboration Hardware for Any Meeting Room Size

Optimize small, mid-sized, and large meeting rooms with these intuitive hardware choices for video conferencing and more.

Hybrid meetings are the norm and will likely stay that way so it's time to get meeting rooms, big and small, ready for the future of work.

Chances are you’re working in, or integrating hardware into, meeting rooms of various sizes. Since the return to the office is still in flux, hybrid meeting rooms and hybrid work are here to stay. Whether it’s a small, mid-sized, or large meeting room, there are discreet hardware choices that are easy to set up and use in hybrid meeting rooms. Read the article below to find out more about these hardware choices and how they can keep your meeting rooms ahead of the curve.

1. Small-sized Meeting Room

Interconnectivity is the name of the game when it comes to meeting rooms. The need for multiple connections to a laptop is necessary when it comes to having USB 3.0 peripherals, such as a camera, a mic, and speakers. A hub, a switch, and an extender are a necessity for this type of connectivity. Even small meeting rooms now need accessories and speakers to be used with Zoom or Microsoft Teams for remote/WFH participants.

A device such as the ATEN US3344I Industrial Hub Switch is both a hub and a switch that lets up to four computers share four USB 3.2 Gen 1 devices. For example, it can stay connected to a meeting room PC that is concealed and always ready, leaving three ports for laptops. The US3344I works with conferencing systems as well as touchscreens or presentation screens being used in a meeting room. Plus, it has an external remote control port that simplifies cable layout.

The ATEN US334I is a 4-port USB 3.2 Gen 1 Industrial Switch that enables four computers to share and use USB 3.2 Gen 1 devices such as keyboard, mouse and other peripheral devices.

To complement a hub switch such as the US3344I, the UE3315A USB 3.2 Gen 1 Extender Cable, is a USB extender that can easily be implemented in this scenario. Plus, it measures 15 meters long, more than enough for most meeting rooms. This allows you to place equipment at a distance and out of sight. This cable can extend a USB hub, conferencing system, or even provide touchscreen or presentation screen extension.

2. Mid-sized Meeting Room

A KVM switch might not be the first thing that springs to mind when it comes to meeting room integration, but that’s what makes this device so powerful. (Are you unsure what a KVM is? Check out our feature article that explains it.)

A KVM switch such as the CS1824 uses HDMI, USB 3.0, and RS-232 to connect to various inputs and interfaces, such as a monitor for remote participants calling in on a video call, speakers, meeting room collaboration, audio devices, and even a laptop.

We’ve seen from the market that the CS1822-24-42-44 models have often been requested for their USB 3.0 capabilities. That’s because USB 3.0 is popular in meeting rooms these days for its ability to support video/camera and audio signals as more hybrid and digital meetings are being held since 2020. This makes this KVM switch perfect for a mid-sized, more full-fledged meeting room.

The ATEN CS1822 HDMI KVMP Switch connects various inputs in a meeting room into central hub.

Small- and mid-sized rooms can feature a number of devices in use. In order to control them all, though, you’ll need a control system. Having one in place means that room devices can be managed via Serial, IO, or Ethernet.

A solution such as the ATEN Control System (VK0200 for the EU 2 Gang, VK0100 for the US 1 Gang) multi-button, customizable control pad is both ready-to-use and user friendly. It’s an Ethernet-based management system that connects to all hardware devices in a small- or mid-sized room, and even a classroom.

3. Large-sized Meeting Room

If you really want to take your meeting rooms to the next level, you’ll want to look into a presentation switch. Meeting room tech often requires combining various interfaces seamlessly and in a way that any user can easily learn.

A presentation switch, such as the VP1421, combines all of these different interfaces into one device. The VP1421 can distribute various signals over one HDBaseT cable. These signals include:

  • Video
  • Audio
  • RS232 control
  • Power

If you’re working with a large meeting room or conference room, you’ll likely need to extend video and audio signals over some distance too. A low-skew Cat5 Ethernet cable such as the 2L-2910 works with video and KVM extenders to transmit video and audio signals over long distances (each of these cables is 305 meters/1,000 feet). It does this without the bulk, high cost, or loss of image quality that most video cables suffer from, even traditional twisted pair Cat5e cables.

Another option for AV signal distribution is a fiber optic cable such as the VE7835, a True 4K HDMI Active Optical cable. While they only transmit video and audio, unlike HDBaseT extenders, optical cables such as the VE7835 are True 4K so they work better as extenders in this regard. In a large meeting space or auditorium, for example, they could be used to transmit signals from a video matrix to a video projector.

This type of cable also passes easily through cable canals, which means that it’s easy to install. In fact, this feature alone is sometimes the reason why some system integrators choose an optical cable such as the VE7835.

4. Making Meeting Spaces Better

As many workers return to the office, meeting rooms will start buzzing with activity again. Using the above three scenarios, you can future proof your meeting rooms in relatively short order and in a way that’s both easy to use and allows for better collaboration.

5. ATEN Solutions for Meeting Spaces

ATEN specializes in flexible, easily deployed solutions for in-person and hybrid meeting spaces, including huddle spaces to meeting rooms, to future-proof organizational collaboration and meet the needs of the evolving workplace. These include:

  • Presentation switches with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) functionality for streamlined meeting productivity
  • KVM and USB hub switches that allow for various interface inputs and outputs, including USB 3.0 and USB-C, for greater device connectivity
  • Industry-leading pro AV signal distribution for meeting spaces, both large and small, as well as digital signage
  • Centralized, customizable control systems that give meeting participants greater control over their devices and meeting spaces, from lighting and projectors to blinds and HDMI inputs

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 About ATEN

ATEN International Co., Ltd. (TWSE: 6277), established in 1979, is the leading provider of AV/IT connectivity and management solutions. Offering integrated KVM, professional AV, SOHO, and intelligent power solutions, ATEN products connect, manage, and optimize AV/IT equipment in corporate, government, education, healthcare, manufacturing, broadcasting and media, and transportation environments. ATEN has 650+ issued international patents and a global R&D team that produces a constant stream of innovative solutions, resulting in a comprehensive portfolio of products available worldwide.

Headquartered in Taiwan, ATEN International Co., Ltd. has grown to include subsidiaries and regional offices in China, Japan, South Korea, Belgium, Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Russia, Turkey, Poland, India, Romania, South Africa and Mexico – with R&D centers in Taiwan, China, and Canada.