How to Plan Conference Rooms

Why Should My Company Have a Conference Room?

Conference Rooms. Huddle Rooms. Boardrooms. An area where meetings between peers and clients can take place within the office which is away from the normal workflow is sometimes a nice change of pace for those who need to focus on more daunting tasks or for a brainstorming meeting. What makes a comfortable and effective conference room? What’s the best atmosphere to develop when planning such a room? Which equipment should you purchase when you set up the technology in the conference room?

The Size

As you can see in the above clip from the iconic film Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, planning your conference rooms starts with understanding your available space for size requirements. Many offices make an attempt at utilizing available space for conference rooms, which can leave meetings awkward and uncomfortable when you realize there’s no space to effectively present to an audience. Proper Boardroom planning starts with knowing your limits and restrictions. Once your know how much space you have to work with, then you can plan your furniture and tech.

The Furniture

Conference rooms are usually defined by a few key elements. A long, rectangular meeting table to seat the board and staff surrounded by large, comfortable chairs to allow the right amount of support for those elongated meetings. The majority of these rooms are filled with ambient lighting, little décor to keep distractions minimal, and look almost hermetic, which doesn’t allow for a very creative atmosphere. Adding a splash of color or a bookshelf, something which makes the room more comfortable and less clinical may increase the productivity of those in the room.

The Decor

Motivational posters, paintings, small statues, oddly colored curtains. Not many of the movies in Hollywood depict large, corporate huddle rooms with creative splashes. Something that makes the workplace more fun and creative, a chalkboard wall or even a SMART Board in the room for brainstorming ideas, for example, can allow a creative outlet for the room, and such decor can also inspire a more thoughtful and expressionist environment for the employees.

The Technology

What conference room would be complete without the basic conference room technology? A large screen and camera setting to do conference calls with out of city clients, for example, is something most businesses find crucial when putting together such a room. A projector to help display presentations from different departments mounted to a vantage point on the ceiling which can allow for the sharing of charts, graphs and other data which is pertinent to the productivity of those involved. A good phone conferencing system, audio visual system, and even a recording device of some kind can be helpful in such a room to help capture ideas which some may forget to write down.

The Point?

Huddle rooms, conference rooms, gathering rooms, board rooms, meeting rooms, whatever kind of room you wish to have within your company, allowing it to have a personal feel and an added expression of individualism to help influence productivity is incredibly important. Having this room to the side to express thoughts, ideas, share in a lunch meeting with clients to go over new strategies, or to do quarterly presentations using state of the art equipment can help the productivity of the individuals within the workplace. These rooms have their own charm, but to make them too plain and too clinical can lead them to lessen the amount of excitement in entering the conference room for even the most exciting of meetings.

The Future is NAO

Once the subject of science fiction, robotics is now the fastest growing advanced technology used in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology, with concept ideals which can be applied to all levels of education. The most advanced levels of technology can be seen in this field through the application of engineering, mathematics, and mechanics, and the presence of robots in the classroom can help students grasp these concepts. NAO, the humanoid robot from Aldebaran Robotics, is a versatile (not to mention adorable) tool for both research and education. On its 5th generation, NAO has been a development project over the past decade, enhancing technology and allowing researchers to study the human-robot interaction (HRI), as well as allowing for a more focused study tool used in classrooms, allowing students hands on access to some of the most advanced technology in robotics in the world.

NAO is the leading humanoid robot whose use in research and education has allowed both educators and researchers alike to make breakthroughs in programming and applied research. The NAO is equipped with several sensors to help with these applications. Such sensors include a Gyro, accelerometer, force sensors, infrared sensors, and tactile sensors. It also has 2 cameras and 4 microphones, allowing commands to be heard and processed clearly and for monitoring to record the interaction between robot and students for later evaluation. The NAO’s application in the classroom is extremely helpful to both students and educators alike.

How can the NAO help students?

By allowing hands-on experience, this revolutionary educational robot can help students make a connection to a wide range of fields, including computer science, mechanics, and electronics. This comprehension inspires a higher level of motivation and interest for careers which would include the aforementioned fields. Working together with the NAO in a group setting to achieve a common goal, it can be used to help with communication, problem solving, and teamwork.

How can the NAO help educators?

As an educator, the struggles of lesson and project planning are alleviated. With the use of NAO, projects that encompass robotics and computer sciences are generated to cover numerous aspects of the educational and developmental processes. These labs are proven to generate engagement within the classroom and help increase the comprehension and retention of difficult curriculum material. This kind of hands-on teaching experience is also inspiring more students, the majority of them female, to enter the fields of technology, computer science, robotics, and engineering.

What other applications does NAO have?

In 2013, Aldebaran Robotics announced a new version of NAO which would help educational practices for students with autism and special needs. ASK (Autism Solution for Kids) NAO is smaller, allowing it to be more accessible to small children, and the accompanying program allows educators access to planning tools and a form of monitoring to help analyze the student’s response to the lessons put in place by NAO. Allowing a more comfortable interaction and learning experience for children with disabilities gives this version of NAO an adjusted approach to the processes which previously may not have been as effective.

While sentient robotics is something that was unthinkable 30 years ago, the betterment in the field shows just how quickly our technology is advancing. Giving students, teachers, and researchers the opportunity to have hands on access to this level of advanced robotics, engineering, and computer sciences allows them the opportunity to understand and eventually add to the capabilities of the already advanced technology. Through the promotion of hands on learning, NAO has exponential capabilities to help educators grow their current practices and will help future generations learn the complexities of this level of science with ease.

Discover Video for Visual Communication across Industries

Auditory communication can only engage people to a certain degree, especially across miles, or between locations. A conference call, for example, allows people to participate verbally, but not to illustrate complicated points, pull ideas together in a cohesive pattern, or place aspects of a project in order of priority. It also tends to make people’s minds drift. They may try to pay attention, but can end up doodling, consulting their calendars, or even nodding off. That reduces the effect of long distance training, impedes progress, and diminishes the results of business meetings, remote classes, and government collaborations.

Visual Communication Options

Live Video Streaming allows a presentation, class, meeting, lecture, or demonstration to be sent to one person, a few people, or many people at the same time in different locations. The results can be streamed to any device capable of an internet connection. That includes desk tops, SMART televisions and whiteboards, tablets, iPads and iPhones, and Roku machines. Services from companies, such as Discover Video, also provide the option to have event published on social media site through embedded coding.

Video On Demand is ideal for education libraries, showing procedures to medical students, and reviewing training exercises for military maneuvers or first responder protocols. Facilitators, business owners, teachers, researchers, and project managers can select any video and recall it for review. It is perfect for fact checking, comparing test results, measuring the progress of projects, or reviewing design specifications. Instant access can expedite results, improve problem solving techniques, and help creators and contributors continue with brainstorming efforts.

Live Webcasting is yet another option for visual communication provided by experienced companies like Discover Video, for example. This provides an effective and professional way to frequently update website information, launch products, make announcement, and engage site users. Websites with video experience higher volumes of visitors, increase repeat traffic, and keep browsers on their sites longer than websites with no webcasting capabilities. The whole point of investing in a website is to create exposure for the business. Adding affordable webcasting services will help attain that goal.

Products Required

Other clever uses of visual media systems includes digital signage in common areas, interactive office directories, and displaying announcements in classrooms. There are systems, products, and services designed specifically for classrooms. SMART boards, for example, are designed to be viewed from every angle of a classroom, and can be used as a viewing screen or whiteboard. Teachers and special guest speakers can show recent news stories to discuss current events. Emergency alerts, important breaking news, and events that are history in the making can be displayed to all appropriate classes. DEVOS systems for on-demand videos are other products available for an array of visual communication capabilities.

Most manufacturers of visual communication components have websites that explain products in detail. They highlight the advanced technology utilized in the creation of each model, and present a list of the innovative functions, software, and accessories included with the purchase. What they typically do not do is sell products directly. They include a page on their websites to direct customers to the nearest distributor of their products.

To be efficient, required information includes industry or intended uses, physical location of primary use, budget for the project, and the name or email of a contact person. A follow up call is made by a representative of the authorized dealer and service provider in that area. In New England, for example, the caller could be from CCS Presentation Systems. Another company would be responding from a different region.

Chief Improves Projector Installations for Suspended Ceilings

Chief’s SYSAU Suspended Ceiling Projector System is a new solution designed to increase speed and flexibility from an installation standpoint in a suspended ceiling. The new design incorporates an improved suspended adjustable ceiling plate, pre-assembled column and mount system, and a simplified universal interface.

The versatile SYSAU can accommodate above or below tile placement and inconsistent T-grids that are often found with suspended ceilings. The SYSAU has independent adjustment hooks that allow suspended ceiling kits to sit flat above the ceiling tile to give a nice stable installation with perfect alignment. The improvements made to the SYSAU mean installation time can be cut by one-third.

And for precision adjustments, the mount system offers multiple capabilities for absolute image control. It adjusts for pitch, roll and yaw so, adjustments stay in place and additional adjustments to the projector are not needed. More specifically, it includes a tool-free Microzone adjustment with positive drive, Centris Technology enables effortless fingertip positioning with tool-free lockdown and a Q-Lock Quick Release Lever provides quick connect/disconnect of the projector for service and enhanced security with an integrated key and lock system.


  • Compatible with 2′ x 2′, 2′ x 4′, 60 x 60cm, & 62.5 x 62.5cm ceiling grids
  • Detachable electric plate for pre-wiring
  • Compatible with popular 2 gang adjustable mud rings
  • Adjustable 0-12″ column
  • Dual inlay cable management channels for high and low voltage cables

Our manufacturing partner, Chief is a globally recognized leader of universal and custom projector and display mounts. Their innovative products are designed to solve installation challenges and improve the experience with technology. To speak to a CCS specialist about a mount system, call 339-227-6181 today. For more information, visit our websiteFacebookGoogle+, and Twitter pages.

Vacation with Lifesize Cloud

With beautiful warm weather and summer vacations well underway, it’s hard for businesses to keep a regular pace. But, Lifesize Cloud video conferencing can help businesses stay on schedule. By giving employees the tools to communicate and collaborate instantly from anywhere in the world, businesses can keep those meetings scheduled and meet their deadlines without delay.

Lifesize Cloud allows up to 40 different users to join the meeting remotely using their own device, be it their laptop, tablet or smartphone. The Lifesize Cloud software was designed to be simple and user-friendly for any user, regardless of how tech savvy they are. The user interface is uncluttered and intuitive which makes it easy to add people to either an inbound or outbound call. And, it is compatible with two of today’s most popular email programs (Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar). This makes it easier than ever to schedule and attend meetings, and ensures that everyone has access to the pertinent meeting information.

With Lifesize Cloud, any employee anywhere can stay connected to the office, join meetings and collaborate with teammates, so important business can continue without delay. It helps employers and employees find a good work life balance. So relax, plan that beach vacation according to your personal schedule and enjoy some summer. No longer do you need to worry about your personal schedule aligning with work, because Lifesize Cloud can easily get you in the office when you are needed.

CCS Presentation Systems can set your business up for LifeSize Cloud video conferencing and other audio visual and display solutions. Our specialists are experts in finding creative cost effective solutions to achieve your business objectives. Call us today at 339-227-6181. For more information, visit our websiteFacebookGoogle+, and Twitterpages.

SMART Modernizes the Dry-Erase Board

SMART kapp is the revolutionary, technology driven new interactive dry-erase board or flip board by SMART Technologies. The SMART kapp has a sleek stain-free glass surface where you can write, draw and display ideas using any dry-erase marker. But now, switch on the board and viewers may connect their mobile device either via the free Smart kapp app or any web browser for an interactive real-time learning or collaborative experience. As if by magic, notes from the SMART kapp automatically appear on the devices of up to 250 viewers simultaneously, whether they are in the same room or halfway around the world.

A camera button located on the board itself and in the mobile app allows snapshots of the content to be taken at any time and saved as a PDF or JPEG. This eliminates the need for viewers to make hand written notes, allowing them to focus their attention on the live discussion. And, facilitators or teachers may save and distribute notes afterward with their collaborators or students. If a remote user joins the lesson while in progress, they can view and download all of the saved snapshots previously taken.

CCS Presentation Systems is a distributor of SMART products and can introduce you to new ideas, new ways of learning and new ways of collaborating in the business or educational arenas. Call us at 978-256-2001 to discuss your next project and visit our websiteFacebookGoogle+LinkedIn and Twitter pages.

Get Brighter Timberlane Fundraiser Raises Over $2500 For Timberlane Regional School District And Donates Epson Projector And Training Worth $4,000

Timberlane Regional School District raised over $2,500 as a result of the “GET BRIGHTER TIMBERLANE” fundraiser program, a partnership between the District, UNO Pizzeria & Grill, CCS Presentation Systems New England, Epson and Align Credit Union.

From March 2-April 17, guests of UNO Pizzeria & Grill in Haverhill, MA located off of Route 125 on the Haverhill/Plaistow line, were able to support their Timberlane School of choice by having 20 percent of their bill donated back to that school. All Timberlane Schools will receive a donation, but the school that raised the most funds, Pollard Elementary School, will also receive an Epson BrightLink® 575Wi, including installation and training, valued at $4,000. The schools that came in 2nd and 3rd, Atkinson Academy and Timberlane Regional Middle School, will also receive prizes (an iPAD and an iPAD Mini) sponsored by Align Credit Union.

Designed to meet the needs of K-12 classrooms, the BrightLink575Wi is an ultra-short throw interactive projector delivering advanced connectivity options, PC-free interactivity capabilities, interactivity over the network, and 2,700 lumens of color brightness and 2,700 lumens of white light brightness*. The Epson BrightLink 575Wi projector also gives teachers more control with built-in Moderator device management software, allowing up to 50 computers, tablets and other handheld devices to be connected via the network for ultimate classroom collaboration. Its 3-chip technology delivers amazing, true-to-life color and detail for powerful presentations. In addition, he BrightLink 575Wi projector offers dual interactive pen technology for writing, navigating and controlling interactive functions at the same time. The value of this prize, which includes installation and training for Pollard School, is $4,000.

TRSD saw tremendous value in raising funds and helping to create technology rich classrooms through this fundraiser. Pollard School is excited to use the BrightLink projector and put the over $1,000 raised for their school to good use.

“Working with UNOs has been just great,” says Scott Strainge, Director of Continuing and Alternative Education and Head of the Community Partnership Program for Timberlane Regional School District.

“We are so proud of all of our schools for participating and would like to thank all of the sponsors and donors. This is truly what we had in mind when we were looking for school and business partnerships in our region.” “We are so thrilled to have raised over $1,000 to put toward the purchase of a new playground for Pollard,” says Michelle Auger, Principal of Pollard School. “Our staff is absolutely ecstatic to be receiving a new piece of technology and we are excited that we will be installing it in an area within the school that all staff and students will be able to benefit from it.” UNO, CCS Presentation Systems

New England and Align Credit Union were thrilled to support TRSD.

“We are honored to support local communities through this fun and interactive program. It’s important to us to support education and Get Brighter Timberlane was a great program that will benefit the entire Timberlane Regional School District.” says Chris Gamst, Vice President of CCS New England.

“This program was a first ever partnership between TRSD and UNO Haverhill and watching the spirit grow between teachers and parents as well as our staff was truly inspirational,” says Josh Wallace, General Manager of UNO Haverhill. “We are proud to support education in any way possible and TRSD as a whole.”

“At Align, we have a long history of supporting the youth in our community, especially through education,” said Align Credit Union President Ken Del Rossi. “By participating in fundraising programs like this and partnering with Uno’s and the Timberlane School District’s administration, we’re able to directly impact kids by bringing technology to their classrooms.”

A “GET BRIGHTER TIMBERLANE” Celebration Party will be held May 19, 2015, 3:30pm-5pm at UNO Pizzeria & Grill in Haverhill to celebrate the success of the Get Brighter Timberlane program. The entire Timberlane community is invited to celebrate. The party will include a brief awards ceremony, kid’s activities and all kids will eat free with the purchase of 1 adult entrée.

For complete information on the “GET BRIGHTER TIMBERLANE” Program, please contact Sarah Coletti of UNO Pizzeria & Grill at 978-914-0514 or

High School to Get Slice of Pizza Sales for New Projector

By Cyrus Moulton

SWAMPSCOTT — The school district, students and faculty, a pizza franchise, and local banks are teaming up to ask residents to eat, drink, and “Light Up Swampscott” by dedicating a portion of their bill at Uno Pizzeria and Grill to buying a new projector for the high school.

“So come on down to Uno’s, and we’ll ‘Light up Swampscott!’” School Superintendent Dr. Pamela Angelakis said in a clip from a commercial that will be aired on public television.

Swampscott High School Television Production teacher Tom Reid and student Ian Conaty replayed the clip, and shuffled through clips featuring each of the school principals in the town.

“They had between one and 10 takes,” Reid said. “And I won’t tell you who had one and who had 10.”

“Light Up Swampscott” is a district initiative and new fundraising approach to raise money for a digital projector for the high school auditorium.

The current projector is seven years old, dating back to when the high school was built, and has pretty much served its useful life. It notably broke down during Town Meeting last year, and usually can be counted on for 45 minutes of run-time, Annie Pulaski, a local marketing coordinator for Uno Pizzeria and Grill (and Hadley mom), said Wednesday.

So the district, Uno and local businesses got involved.

Uno is hosting a nine-week fundraiser in which guests can have 20 percent of their total bill donated directly to the project. All diners have to do is present a Light Up Swampscott ticket — either a paper ticket or a ticket on a diner’s cellphone. The tickets are free and available on the Swampscott Public School website under the tab for community flyers and information. They are also available at Uno Swampscott’s Facebook page.

The fundraiser opened March 23 and runs until May 25.

But Uno isn’t the only business involved. Eastern Bank is donating $5,000 for the projector, and the Salem Five Charitable Foundation donated $500. CCS Presentation Systems New England has also agreed to provide the new projector at a discounted price of $16,607, add a one-year on-site warranty, and provide an additional projector bulb, a press release on the program said.

The Swampscott Education Foundation has agreed to pay up to $10,000 toward the cost of the projector to make up any shortfall that remains.

Pulaski said Uno hopes to provide at least $5,000 by the end of the nine-week effort. So far, the restaurant has raised $500, Pulaski said. She said the collaboration of so many other businesses was special. Plus, the nine-week effort was rare for Uno — usually community fundraisers are planned for one night (although Pulaski said individual nights are being planned for each school). But Pulaski said it was appropriate that the effort involved multiple aspects of the community.

“We thought this was right opportunity to include the community,” Pulaski said. “It’s not just for the high school, the high school auditorium is used by community groups, for public forums and performances.”

So now the community is trying to get the message out. The school principals all visited the high school’s television studio last week for their takes, and Conaty is one of the students editing the video so it can appear on the public-access channel.

He and Reid both acknowledged they hadn’t headed to Uno yet to participate, but there’s time left … and the tickets are valid at all times (until May 25) in the restaurant and bar, and for delivery, take-out and catering events.

“You can do it at anytime for anything,” Pulaski said. “This is really to make it easy.”

Cyrus Moulton can be reached at

Conference center upgraded, open house scheduled

by Mark Wyatt
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
1/6/2015 – HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. — Hanscom Conference Center officials recently announced that an upgrade to the audio visual equipment in the Lexington Amphitheater and Concord Room is complete and that a ribbon cutting and open house is scheduled Jan. 20 from 1 to 3 p.m. to mark the occasion.

Among the $500,000 worth of improvements to the conference center’s two largest and most frequently used meeting rooms are new projectors, dual screens, podiums, smart technology, sound systems, a wireless microphone system, new audio, confidence monitors and video record capability, as well as a new technology called AirMedia.

“With AirMedia, anyone can present content from an iOS or Android mobile device to the projection system as long as they are connected to the public Wi-Fi network and have the capability to download and install the free Crestron AirMedia app,” said Donn DeSilva, 66th Communications and Information Division information technology help desk specialist. “There are no wires to hook-up or complicated settings to configure.”

To demonstrate just how user-friendly that and other upgrades are, conference center staff invite members across the installation to a ribbon cutting ceremony with senior leaders promptly at 1 p.m. From there, attendees will be invited inside to take a look at all the changes and learn more about the conference center.

“We scheduled the open house to display the new capabilities and show just how easy it is to use,” said Ann Markman, 66th Communications and Information Division director, who worked with conference center personnel on funding the upgrades.

Much of the audio visual equipment used previously was repurposed from a project more than 20 years ago.

“In the past, as a result of the age of the equipment, often there would be a lot of feedback from the microphones, distracting noise from the program speakers as well as frequent equipment failure,” said Patrick Libby, 66th Communications and Information Division network engineer and former IT specialist who was responsible for recommending many of the Hanscom Conference Center upgrades.

Hanscom Conference Center staff will be on hand to answer questions about new technology and how it can impact their presentations, said DeSilva.

The facility is available for organizational meetings, retirement ceremonies or commander calls to any federal agency, or any agency that is sponsored by a base organization.

Equipped with open Wi-Fi to the Air Force Network (AFNET) and commercial cable connectivity to customers, the conference center also offers wired connections from each room. In addition, convenience laptops are available in the conference center’s lobby for general use.

The conference center also offers video teleconferencing capabilities between two or more locations from many of the rooms in the building.

For larger groups, the ability to overflow between the two large conference rooms and lobby areas is also available.

The two large rooms are also equipped for classified meetings.

To schedule an event at the Hanscom Conference Center, contact Linda DeMeo at 781-225-6165.

For further information on the Hanscom Conference Center or the open house, contact DeSilva at 781-225-6166.

Outfitting an Emergency Operations Center With Video Walls

When crises emerge, municipalities turn to their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for quick help.
With the addition of a video wall, any EOC is better equipped to deal with both man-made and natural disasters.
Read on to see why a video wall is fitting in any Emergency Operations Center.

Video Wall Solutions for Your Emergency Operations Center

An Emergency Operations Center With Real-Time Situational Awareness

With a video wall, employees at your Emergency Operations Center can have all the information they need on an easy-to-view display Seeing crucial real-time information provides full situational awareness to the Emergency Operations Center. This can include video feeds from security cameras, satellite or cable news feeds, networked computers, recording devices, conferencing systems, etc.. Your video wall can show one large image or multiple images across the screen that can be moved or rearranged as needed.

Large Screen, High Resolution, Small Footprint

With high definition displays, you’ll have the highest quality video and text. Since today’s video wall displays are extremely bright, ambient light in the room is no longer an issue. Best of all, your video wall will make a big visual impact while maintaining a small footprint. Your Emergency Operations Center won’t be cluttered by individual monitoring systems requiring extensive cabling, networking, desks, and other infrastructure. You can take advantage of the height of your walls without losing precious floor space.

Options That Aren’t Available on Individual Screens

While individual screens can function as monitoring devices in an Emergency Operations Center, they can’t match the display capabilities of a fully-integrated video wall. Staff will be able to size and place images anywhere on the wall using a mouse and keyboard or even touchscreen functions. You can completely customize what is displayed and how it appears, whereas for individual displays, options are limited. Plus, adding a video wall to the Emergency Operations Center will allow all employees to view multiple types of content at once, rather than viewing content on separate displays.

Add a Video Wall to Your Emergency Operations Center

If you want to best equip your Emergency Operations Center, consider video wall integration by CCS New England. We can help prepare your Emergency Operations Center with a display system to help you better handle any emergency.