Following just a few simple guidelines to best arrange the room for the camera makes a huge difference for remote participants.
Make sure that the seating in your room is all within the camera's field of view — checking your self view will help.
Placing the camera and screen on the shortest wall, pointing down the length of the room, allows the maximum number of participants to be seen.
And make sure there aren't any distractions behind you, such as transparent walls, or doors where people will be coming and going during the meeting. Download Google Cloud's comprehensive guide.
For smaller rooms, your speaker and microphone should be placed close to the screen. For larger rooms, they should be placed about one third of the way down the table. And for big rooms, we recommend a second speaker-mic unit.
Screens should be placed centrally, with the bottom of the screen no lower than eye level. Larger rooms can support dual screens, with one screen used for content during more collaborative meetings.
If you're using a whiteboard or other wall-mounted display, this is best placed opposite the camera. Download Google Cloud's comprhensive guide.
Furniture and lighting
Achieving a comfortable lighting environment is key in any workspace. For remote participants the performance of the camera is critical, and poor lighting conditions can severely limit this.
A good rule of thumb is to have twice as much light shining on participants' faces than light shining on the background. Tables with light-colored surfaces will help to illuminate faces. You'll need blinds or curtains on external windows — not only will they block out harsh direct sunlight, they'll help the room's acoustics.
Walls should be light and neutral in color, but not white. And personal touches such as artworks or your company's logo are fine, as long as you avoid intricate patterns, bright surfaces, or stripes.
Furniture should be comfortable and provide enough space for sitting and moving around the room. Download Google Cloud's comprehensive guide.
Acoustics and sound
Poor acoustics are a common downfall of video conferencing spaces. The right allowance of acoustic finishes is needed to make sure speech is clear and audible, and adequate isolation is required to avoid those pesky interruptions.
Soft flooring such as carpet or carpet tiles are the best choice for meeting rooms. Walls and ceilings should have sound-absorbing qualities too. Walls should be full height, avoiding too much glass, and with doors that can shut fully.
You should also think about what noise might make its way into your meeting rooms — don't place them near predictably noisy spaces such as canteens or break-out rooms. And where you have a number of adjacent meeting rooms, make sure speakers aren't 'back to back' on the same wall. Download Google Cloud's comprehensive guide.
A low background noise level is important to ensure good speech intelligibility. Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment selection and location will directly impact background noise levels — noise from these can be picked up on conference microphones and hinder effective communication.
The location of power outlets and cabling should also be considered, especially where they might be visible or cause a trip hazard. You may be able to use some equipment wirelessly, but a wired network connection will provide better speed and performance. Download Google Cloud's comprehensive guide.