A big tangle of cables in a meeting room wastes time, looks unsightly and can cause accidents. Here’s how to fix it.
You walk into a conference room five minutes before your meeting’s scheduled start. Plenty of time to prepare and set things up, you think. But you forgot one small detail—the room is always a mess: power cords, extenders and various types of connection cables in different lengths all tangled together. Which cables are the right ones and what goes where? Five minutes isn’t enough time to get everything ready.
If that scenario seems familiar, your workplace is among countless other companies that didn’t prioritize cable management.
Assess cabling requirements ahead of time
A surefire way of ensuring that your meeting room does not end up looking like a cable jungle is to plan ahead when building, furnishing or equipping your meeting room. It is substantially easier to have a tidy meeting room (and keep it that way) if you have planned every aspect of it in advance.
Consider the following:
- How many pieces of equipment will be installed in the room?
- Where will the equipment be located?
- How many power outlets will you need and where should they be located?
- What type of cable connections (and how many) will you require to connect devices?
- How long do the various cables need to be?
- Approximately how many extra power outlets will you need to accommodate people using their own devices in the meeting room?
- Can equipment that serves multiple purposes be purchased to decrease the amount of cabling?
- Does some of the equipment have wireless alternatives?
Answers to those questions will provide insight into the meeting room equipment and cables you need, which in turn will help you decide what type of cable management solution is the right one for you.
In a new meeting room or installation, the possibilities are endless. Cables can be routed below floors, in walls, behind baseboards and around doorframes or windows, making them completely invisible. If cables are being routed along walls, you can take the opportunity and have connection cables from AV equipment routed and connected with a wall plate connector. These panels provide different types of connections, such as HDMI, USB, VGA, Audio and XLR. Meeting participants could then connect their laptops to these devices through the input panels using short cables, instead of having lengthy cabling running across the floor. The risks are that such cables are potential tripping hazards and can also damage equipment if pulled out accidentally.
Cable management in a furnished meeting room
If your meeting room is already furnished and equipped, ripping up the floorboards and tearing down walls is understandably out of the question. Not to worry though, there are still cable management solutions out there for you.
Here are some examples of cable management tools that are readily available in most office supply stores or online:
- Cable raceways
Cable raceways are paintable plastic containers that are attached to walls. They are used to conceal and protect cables running from one end of a room to another. More advanced versions of cable raceways can also be used to provide power sockets at convenient locations.
- Cable sleeves
A cable sleeve is an attractive cable management solution that does not require any technical skills to install. They gather cables and wires into one flexible tube and prevent them from getting stuck in office chair wheels, among other things.
- Cable tray
Cable tray systems are shaped like steel baskets and can be suspended from the underside of a conference table. They are perfect for running larger quantities of cables and wires and have the additional benefit of keeping cabling well-ventilated thanks to their open structure.
- Cable wraps
Cable wraps are a great solution for keeping smaller and shorter wires from getting tangled by wrapping them between the gadget’s grooves. A cable wrap is also a smart way of shortening wires or cables to the required length by wrapping the excess cable at the end, instead of letting it trail on the floor, thereby creating a tripping hazard.
- Cable clips and clamps
Cable clips and clamps have adhesive backing and can be attached to office furniture, keeping wires and cables in place and making connections easily accessible.
- Cable identification tags
A simple, yet genius idea that labels the different cables according to their purpose and to the device to which they’re connected. These tags make it significantly easier and faster for people to find the right cable and also ensure that the wrong cable isn’t forced into a port, potentially damaging the device.
- Table wells
Table wells are a more advanced solution, but they can be self-installed. They are placed into table surfaces, so cables and wires run through the well for easy access. Many table wells also have a lid to hide the cabling when not in use.
Consider a wireless collaboration solution
Instead of thinking about whether to choose cable raceways, sleeves, clips or ties, consider wireless collaboration with Biamp’s Modena.
The Modena wireless conferencing system enables collaborators to connect to meeting room peripherals such as video displays, cameras, microphones and speakers—all without cables.
Ready to take action against cable chaos?
Whether you decide to stick to wired connections or go wireless depends on the type of room you have, the equipment that needs to be connected, the way the room is used, how often it’s used, and other factors. No matter your choice, the solutions for eliminating cable chaos are out there, you just have to find the right one for you.