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Thread: Conference room meetings?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Webhead's Avatar
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    Conference room meetings?

    How do you guys do conference room meetings? Over here I have a few things happening. First, I have a giant 55" TV with a computer connected to it. I have 2 long cables attached to it (one HDMI and one VGA) so that the presenter can host a meeting on the TV from his laptop at the conference room table. I can switch TV inputs from HDMI 1 to 2 and someone can present from the other computer using a wireless keyboard/mouse. In the middle of the table is a Polycom phone.

    So here's what happens,... let's say a meeting is called. The boss walks in with his laptop. He first powers on the TV. This takes maybe 15 seconds or more (I haven't timed it.) Then he connects the HDMI cable, switches to the correct HDMI input and then proceeds to find the file he wants to present from (Powerpoint, Excel,... or whatever the case may be). The whole process,... from the time the presenter walks in the room, everyone sits and the presenting begins is maybe a few minutes or so.

    Now if someone else brings in a laptop, then they transfer the cable to that person and then that person starts presenting.

    Also, we use WebEx with outside people.

    So that's generally how we do it. Seems pretty standard right? But I just had a request from someone who was asking me to starting thinking about a way to simply bring in a tablet and begin presenting immediately as soon as they walk in the room. Obviously I started thinking about AirPlay with iPad and Google Chrome with Google products. Then of course I also started thinking about just having a WebEx meeting ready to go. But other than that, we aren't really (technologically speaking) there quite yet. Am I right? Or again, am I missing something?

    I think the guy has a vision in his mind of the staff walking into a room with tablets and everything instantly connects and everyone begins presenting immediately where people can switch content between each other and collaborate and share easily. If something like this does exist, I imagine it must be very expensive (i.e. Cisco Telepresence?)

    I want to have a "can do" attitude but I sensed that the guy thinks I'm making excuses. First of all our computer equipment is getting a little dated. Laptops don't have SSD's in them and take a little time to boot, etc. I'm trying to convince them to (at the very least) upgrade these older laptops to SSD's or replace them with newer equipment. But they usually don't want to spend money. So I'm a little bit at a loss. I'm a sys admin, not a magician. Any thoughts on any of this? I'm going to start researching this a bit more but just wanted to see what other sys admins thoughts on this subject might be.
    Last edited by Webhead; 07-31-2014 at 10:47 PM.

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    Senior Member Webhead's Avatar
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    Oh wait, I got it! I know what's happening finally. The guy who I work with (real nice guy by the way) is a big advocate of Microsoft products. I bet you he watched a Surface Pro commercial and saw all those trendy Surface hipsters gather at a tablet and start a meeting within a split-second.

    Like this: http://youtu.be/CTo5DfBtWkY?t=20s

    Now it's all starting to make sense. Correct me if I'm wrong but this only possible in the commercial right? People don't do this in real life correct?

  3. #3
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    I think they have been watching too much NCIS

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    forum fool 3fingersalute's Avatar
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    We had several projectors at my last place that were wireless, but they required a software install on each computer connecting to them. They may have android/ipad apps at this point, not really sure but that requires time spent on each one installing app, setting up, etc. so not really a good option for Joe Schmoe to just walk in off the street and start projecting. Not to mention if they want to show videos wireless may not be up to it depending on the wireless connection, etc.
    "Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free." - Jim Morrison

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    Senior Member Webhead's Avatar
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    Gotcha. So it sounds like I'm just doing it the normal way it's done then. Pretty standard.

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    Junior Member Semper Fi's Avatar
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    You're smart TV's can accept broadcast from tablets/ipads, provided you have the app and the TV is aware. Older flat screens won't do that. I think that's what they are looking for, so perhaps upgrade just the TV, still have your VGA and HDMI for laptop access. As far as the Wireless projectors, as stated, don't go there...never been a good solution.

    To note, we've had two retrogrades in our conference rooms, one in 07 to the tune of almost $40,000, then a second run in '12 for about $36,000 to try to get front and back conf rooms the same, and also intercommunicating for joint sessions. All done by the owners son. It's still only really about half way there. Some cool stuff, but not the finished product. All I'm saying is, with the right equipment and knowhow, you can do some amazing stuff, but it get's costly the more you want to add...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Webhead's Avatar
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    Wow,... $40,000? My people won't pay that kind of money. Sounds like some awesome conference rooms though!

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    forum fool 3fingersalute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    Wow,... $40,000? My people won't pay that kind of money. Sounds like some awesome conference rooms though!
    Yeah, not a lot of good options that are cheap and work well. I really like the google chromecast thing that plugs into your HDMI port but it' so limited on what it can do. It can play youtube, netflix, hulu, etc. but you can't throw a browser window or powerpoing presentation up on it, not to mention the most important one for me, a simple video being played through VLC or something.
    "Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free." - Jim Morrison

  9. #9
    Senior Member Webhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3fingersalute View Post
    Yeah, not a lot of good options that are cheap and work well. I really like the google chromecast thing that plugs into your HDMI port but it' so limited on what it can do. It can play youtube, netflix, hulu, etc. but you can't throw a browser window or powerpoing presentation up on it, not to mention the most important one for me, a simple video being played through VLC or something.
    Actually it can! So check this out.... I mounted a TV on the wall in the lobby and stuck a Chromecast on it. Then in a cubicle I have this computer dedicated to "casting" content to the TV. I use it to cast a welcome screen for when we have visitors. Chrome + Google Cast extension + stuff stored in Google Drive = greatness.

    It's a little clunky and a little glitchy though. For example, I have to have the content (jpg, powerpoint slide, etc.) set to 1366x768 and the screen resolution on the computer set to 1366x768. My TV by default is 1366x768. So all three things have to line up otherwise you get some vertical or horizontal blackbars. But what's weird is casting Youtube videos doesn't seem to matter. It always fits the screen nicely.

    Also, you can cast your whole desktop to it. There's a very non-obvious way to do it.

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    Senior Member Webhead's Avatar
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    Take a look....


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