When considering a projector in a conference room design, there are many things to consider. Here in this article, we try to narrow it down to the top few items you should consider.
Ideal Screen Size –
Ceiling height, wall width and distance of furthest seat are the three most important dimensions in determining the ideal screen size for your room. Regardless of the size screen you might want, you are going to be limited by these measurements. For example, if you have an 8 foot ceiling and you are mounting the screen in the ceiling, you have a maximum clearance of 8' for screen height. The height of a typical conference table is 30". So using this 8' wall and 30" table, as an example, you would have a maximum screen height size of 8' (or 96") less the 30" of the table, thus leaving you with 66" to work with. We prefer to use a bottom screen height of 36"-40" in order to provide additional clearance above the conference room table. In this example that gives you a maximum usable screen height of 56"-60". To carry this example further, if you are using a 16:10 format wide-screen, with a screen height of 56", then your width would be 89.6". In some cases you may have plenty of height but only so much room on the width of a wall. In that case just reverse this process, starting with the width.
Distance of furthest seat is where a lot of people make an important mistake. Conference rooms are built so that "multiple" people can participate in a discussion while viewing the "same" material. If a person at the end of a table or in a back row can't see, or read what is on the screen then the purpose of the room has been compromised. Many clients think that they can substitute a flat panel for a projector. In a small room you often can. However there is no way you are going to see small numbers on an Excel spreadsheet, even on a 60" flat panel at over 10 feet away. It's unfortunate but many clients don’t follow our advice and end up learning this lesson the hard way. As in any profession, you want to make sure that you use the right tool for right the job. In many cases a flat panel will work well in a small room. It just doesn't work well in a large room or with a long conference table.
After you have determined your ballpark screen size you will need to dial it in further based on the screen format you plan to use. Will you use Wide-screen (16:10,16:9) or Standard (4:3)? The 4:3 format isn't much of a factor any longer as almost all new AV Installations are going to use wide-screens. To determine is the best format widescreen size for you, decide what the room will be primarily used for. Will it be for presenting data (spreadsheets, power point, video conferencing) or, for watching motion video? We personally prefer a 16:10 format for business when used to present data from a computer. The 16:10 format allows two document pages to be viewed in Word, full sized and side by side. Recently many of the new laptops have gone to a 16:9 format because it matches the consumer HDTV format for television. Most modern projectors can usually handle either format but we prefer to keep everything with native resolutions when possible. For a business environment we usually spec and prefer 16:10 screens and projectors.
How bright is the room? This is going to be another important consideration. A typical current projector will put out around 3500 ANSI lumens of light. That number is good for a small general use meeting room and depending on how many windows you have, may even allow you to leave some lights on during the presentation. However, for bigger meeting rooms with 12 or more people we would recommend a projector with over 4000 lumens. If you have room in the budget and have a large meeting room you should absolutely be over 4500 and preferably 5000+ lumens. Use caution when comparing specifications on projectors. The specs are not necessarily 100% accurate. Two projectors with the same specs will not necessarily give you the same results. That's where a trusted AV vendor's input can be very helpful. We have often observed this with our own eyes. On paper numbers do not always equate with on the job performance or appearance of two products.
We hope that helps give you a better understanding of what to consider before you upgrade your meeting rooms. There are of course other things to consider but this will get you started and we'll revisit another day for more details. Now you are armed with information on the main things to consider when you are thinking about a purchase for your organization.
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With a little planning and a few best practices, you can avoid the problems and maintenance headaches that come with improper cabling.
Your data center is the heart that pumps the lifeblood of your business. Without it, everything stops. And when it has problems, so does your business. Myriad issues can plague a data center. And although most people don't realize it, improper cabling can be one of those issues. But with some easy planning and work up front, you can maximize the efficiency and reliability of your data center cabling.
I have put together 10 tips to help you get the most out of your data center's cabling. With these tips, you'll have a more reliable data center and your staff will have a much easier time maintaining it.
1: Measure twice, cut once
It's an old adage, but an important one. Not only do you create a tangled mess if you don't carefully measure your cables, you also create a lot of expensive waste. You may think that two feet of wasted cable doesn't amount to much, but those wasted feet add up. In the end, you could save yourself a lot of time, headaches, and money by measuring twice and cutting once.
2: Label, label, label
If you don't label your cables, you're only making more work for yourself. Every cable should have a label on both ends, even short runs and patch cables. Why? Imagine you have to test a bunch of circuits — quickly. You scramble and unplug a few patch cables and, when it's time to reset them back to their default locations, you have no idea where each cable goes. Avoid this problem by taking a little time to slap a label on each end. Make sure your labeling system is consistent. Don't just go ad hoc with this or you'll confuse yourself and those who work for you.
3: Don't skimp on terminations
Don't buy cheap because they're cheap and don't rush through the process of terminating cables. If you have cables that lose their connection if you wiggle them, you need to redo them. If you can't terminate cables in your sleep, you need to practice. You may think you're saving time and money. But in the end, you're going to wind up with a monstrous headache as you troubleshoot all those terminations.
4: Don't skip the test
After you create a cable, test it! And don't accept "Star Pass" tests (a test that barely passes). If a test doesn't pass 100%, redo that cable. If, after a few tries at termination, the cable still doesn't pass, trash it. And make sure you're using a quality tester for your cables (and that you know precisely how to use it). This simple step can prevent a lot of extra work in the end.
5: Keep patch cables short
You have servers in a rack that are within a foot of each other. Don't slap three-foot patch cables on those servers — it not only looks bad, it's incredibly inefficient. And if you have an odd length between servers, use your termination (and testing) skills to create patch cables that reach perfectly. With that extra length on your cables, you invite tangles, kinks, and confusion.
6: Color code
This may sound a bit over the top, but stick with a single color for your patch cables and cable runs. The only time you should break that rule is when using a specific color cable for a specific purpose. But don't use colors randomly. Make sure each color has a purpose and stay with it. That will make it easier to follow cable runs and troubleshoot issues. And yes, it also makes for a better-looking data center — which has its merits.
7: Up size your conduit
Don't buy conduit sized for what you need NOW. Buy conduit sized for what you will need in the future. You never know when you'll be adding on, and you'll want to be able to make use of already-run conduit. You can't do that if you purchased a size that just barely fits your needs at planning time. Go big or go home.
8: Make your design cable-friendly
When you lay out your data center plans, do so in a cable-friendly way. Don't put a rack in a location where it's impossible to successfully run cable. Otherwise, you'll wind up with cable on the floor or hanging from the ceiling. Plan carefully to avoid later disaster. Also make sure to plan with expansion in mind. Run extra conduit, extra drops — more than you think you'll need.
9: Separate Cat5 and power lines
Do not run Cat5 and power together. You might think it's too minimal to be of concern, but those power lines can leach signal and cause interference with your Cat5. Yes, bunching a lot of Cat5 together can do the same thing, but not with nearly the ill effect of running them alongside power. Keep power and networking separate at all costs.
10: Keep cables cool
You may think only the servers need to be cool — but that would be a poor assumption. Cable can get warm as well, and if you have a massive amount of cable, that extra temperature can lead to disaster. Design your data center in such a way as to keep your networking runs cooled, as well as the server racks.
Cabling is often an afterthought. But when you treat it as such, you are running the risk that you'll find yourself elbow deep in a spaghetti bowl of networking cables, attempting to resolve issues that could have been prevented with just a bit of care up front.