IT in the Conference Room

Outfitting a conference table with a complement of IT connections has always created a compromise of form and function. Yet with some advanced planning the conflict between these opposing objectives can be minimized.

IT in the Conference Room

Beautiful conference room furniture is intended to make your guests feel special and promote confidence in you as the host.   It is a feeling that you get when you enter a well-organized and elegantly furnished conference room. But in addition to being beautiful, the furniture must be functional – fitted with the Information Technology (IT) requirements necessary to conduct an efficient and effective meeting.

Outfitting a conference table with a complement of IT connections has always created a compromise of form and function.  Yet with some advanced planning the conflict between these opposing objectives can be minimized.

IT Connections

Although a complete list of IT connections is long, the most common and essential items are:

  • AC Power for notebook and tablet computers, projectors and phone systems
  • RJ45 (data and internet connection)
  • RJ11 (telephone)

Routing Cables – Cable Management

Well-designed conference room tables incorporate cable management systems to route cables from the floor to the table top.  This is most commonly performed through “chimneys” in the table legs. A portion of the table leg is hollow and designed to pass cables from the floor through the chimney and out between table modesty panels. This chimney feature allows cable routing while maintaining a clean and uncluttered look.

Under Table Connections

Conference tables with wood inlays are strikingly beautiful.  Putting a hole in the table top to accommodate IT connections seems like a sacrilege.  To preserve the esthetic beauty, IT connections may be mounted under the table.  Multiple outlet strips may be positioned at strategic locations under the tables to accommodate electrical needs.  Communication and data cables can be routed the same way.

Although this strategy does preserve the integrity of the conference table top, it does have one obvious disadvantage. Users must look under the table to find the appropriate connection. If these connections are not within easy reach, your meeting may begin with an uncomfortable game of musical chairs.

Tabletop Grommets and Plates

Many conference room tables are designed with cable management routed to the top surface of the table. The tables have holes located very close to the leg’s chimneys for cable routing. The holes are covered with a grommet plate that may be removed to allow access to IT connections within easy reach.

Some grommet plates are rectangular, measuring about 3×6 inches, while others are shaped more like channels and run the length of the table along the center axis. After connections are made, the grommet plate can be put in place to maintain a clean appearance.

Power and Data Modules

Most tables designed with tabletop grommet plates may be fitted with Power and Data Modules.  These modules come in a variety of configurations and connections.  Some are designed for AC power only while others combine power and various data connections.  In most cases, these modules have some sort of door or cover so the module blends in with the tabletop when not in use.

Most conference table manufacturers offer some power and data modules.  But there are just too many designs and configurations available for manufacturers to offer all types.  For a wider selection, consider the following manufactures of Power and Data modules:

  • Electri-Cable Assemblies
  • Doug Mockett & Company, Inc.
  • Harbor City Supply Inc
  • Byrne Tool & Die, Inc.

Technology Intensive Tables

When your conference room requires a full complement of IT connections, consider a conference room table designed specifically for a technology-rich environment.  These tables accommodate as much IT as may be required and are available in either high pressure laminate surfaces or North American hardwoods veneer finishes. They typically have large tabletop openings with several AC receptacles and optional technology plates for RJ11, RJ45, USB, HDMI, and audio.  In some cases, the table frame can house rack-mount switches or routers for multiple data connection requirements.

Clearly, the days of extension cords and tripping hazards marring the your presentations, and your corporate image having come to a happy end.

Citations:

Offered by ConferenceRoomOutfitters.com. With over 30 years of experience with conference tables, chairs and accessories, ConferenceRoomOutfitters.com is dedicated to helping companies make informed choices that produce the best conference room experience for their employees and guests.

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2 Responses to IT in the Conference Room

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