The Convergence of AV Technology and Workplace Design

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Multi-use space that quickly adapts to audiovisual (AV) technology setups, and re-adapts again right away, is the type of design strategy that is no longer optional. For some time and especially in the wake of the pandemic, occupants have learned that workplace priorities can fluctuate rapidly. Where large, rarely used conference rooms once sat vacant, now smaller spaces must respond in a dynamic flow of collaborative groups throughout a work day, while remaining visually uncluttered and easy to maintain.

How do interior and AV design converge to provide this lean and dynamic flow in a Post COVID economy?

The solution lies in workspace infrastructure and raised floor design.

Interior designers and AV integrators alike must focus on improving workspace utility. One of the best ways of achieving this is through the implementation of AV technology. Organizations that are utilizing AV technology to enhance office design are finding the job much easier.

Contactless, Hygienic and Automated AV Tech for Organizational Health

For me, architecture and design are the ultimate expressions of our humanity. They represent how we see the world and how we navigate the world.

Piero Lissoni | Interior Design

In recent months, AV technologies have played an increasingly significant role in keeping remote teams connected. The terms such as "engagement" and "experience" have taken on new connotations. Today's AV technology transcends traditional office monitors and speakers—mostly a one-way experience. Software platforms like ZOOM and Go-to-Webinar have given these off-site work-centered activities a new level of convenience.

Within the office space itself, touchless and voice-activated conference room assistants help keep collaborative spaces more hygienic. Intelligent automated AV technology, voice activation and facial recognition are being applied to intercom systems, access points and wayfinding areas to improve the work experience.

Automated attendants can be integrated into the meeting room with various intercom platforms. Communication integration platforms for IP, TCP/IP, RTSP, and SIP with fully connected AV solutions are growing in popularity. One such solution is available through Amazon Alexa.

These AV-focused SIP-based PBX server systems allow full high definition (HD) video streaming, intercom communications, multicast video, custom level programming, as well as voice and intelligent facial recognition attendance.

V-SENSE, by AV LinkPro, is a good example of these new touch-less intelligent automated systems. The integrated solution recognizes a human face in front of a video door intercom and initiates a call without the need for sensors or buttons. It can speak a custom greeting and can listen in two languages out of a possible 120 available languages. This solution is suitable for commercial and residential implementations.

High-definition thermal cameras are now capable of monitoring workers as they access commercial buildings in real-time temperatures without the need for handheld temperature screening devices. This is another touchless solution that can link to badge numbers.

We're now seeing AV technology augmenting spaces and providing fresh design opportunities.

Interactive Workspaces Powered by Media Architecture

More organizations and workspace design experts are giving notice to something termed "media architecture." MAB defines five main types of media architecture:

  • Money and entertainment architecture
  • Animated architecture
  • Infrastructure and participatory architecture
  • Spatial media art
  • Future Trends and Prototypes

This emerging field involves building digital media connection points into the surrounding environment and seamlessly integrating AV technology into a spatial workplace design is also quite affordable thanks to steady advances in digital technology.

However, the inherent nature of media architecture means there isn't a "one-size-fits-all" solution. As a result, the majority of projects are site-specific with bespoke design plans ranging in cost. But no matter what the cost, organizations that invest in transforming their workplaces into interactive experiences create a culture that can be seen and felt. One example of this branded experience is available at the eBay Main Street campus in San Jose, CA. It includes a 15-foot touchscreen allowing workers and visitors to explore the product categories and sales. Welcoming technologies like these encourage people to interact and engage more freely. The overall return on investment in positive, affirming experiences helps remove barriers between businesses and the people they serve.  

Media architecture combines workplace design components that can be curated and customized to meet the tempo of the environment and its occupants. Thus, it plays an important part in helping employees feel stimulated and energized by offering a workspace that is ever-evolving and reflective of their daily activities.

AV Tech For Virtual Meeting Rooms (VMRs)

Today, organizations understand the importance of high-quality virtual collaborative spaces as more of them adopt remote working guidelines and utilize freelancers. According to Work Design Magazine, every inch counts when you're hosting a virtual meeting. But rather than worry about trying to arrange people and things to fit within the camera view, new camera technology solves such issues.

Using groundbreaking three-lens design technology and real-time video stitching algorithms, this camera can record or stream in a 180-degree view. This means that someone could be sitting mere inches from the camera and yet still have their face displayed without weird distortions or cutoffs. Ironically, technology is making remote work feel more personal.

Additionally, the camera is reportedly plug-and-play, not requiring any special training or knowledge to hook up and use. With organizations shifting more towards smaller conference rooms like huddle rooms, every inch does count. The less equipment and cables the better, which makes technologies like that camera invaluable.

Disseminate Information Quickly and Effectively With Multi-Panel Video Walls

For decades, the hospitality and events industries have leveraged the power of multi-paneled video walls to “zhoosh up” the stage behind keynote speakers and more. These technologies have allowed big name companies like IBM at meetings like CES in Las Vegas each year to support presentations with slides and images of ground-breaking products. They also suspend like festoons of light and promotion above places like Times Square in New York City, and Shibuya in Tokyo.

This technology is now moving closer to home. Digital signage is now showing up in the workplace. New video-over-IP solutions can stream messages of all kinds over high-end LCD panels. Not only can this highly visible device set entice staff members to pay attention to important updates and other information, but it delivers it quicker and more uniformly. Displaying information on clear, bright LCD displays significantly boosts engagement while allowing leaders to disseminate information much faster.

Much like the camera mentioned above, multi-panel video walls greatly increase the ability of collaborators to rearrange the workspace while allowing clear visibility to people using the space.

The high-end LCD panels used for video walls produce exceptional off-axis color reproduction, allowing even those sitting adjacent to the wall the ability to read the information streams. Other than working as a kind of information stream, multi-panel video walls are employed during multi-site video conferences. Collaboration teams also use this technology when multiple sources of information must be reviewed in tandem.


Media architecture creates opportunities for engaging workplaces and allows easy collaboration and dissemination of information, but new technology also brings new challenges, particularly around building cable management. WIring a building for AV tech requires more wiring, and without the right system in place, this can mean higher costs down the line if the space needs to be reconfigured to meet new challenges — COVID-19 and social distancing is a perfect example. This is where smart building technology — like raised floor systems — helps strike the balance between architectural beauty and functionality.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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