The meeting room PC – ready for action when needed?

I was on a consultancy visit recently. I was shown into the boardroom – a very nice room, laptop on the table and a large TV fitted into the wall.

I had taken my laptop out was asked if I wanted to log onto the wireless network. I said I would be happy to use their laptop as all the systems I wanted to access were either cloud based or on our fully hosted systems so all I needed was a web browser.

The PC was turned on and it booted up….but there was no display on the TV Screen. Pressing a few buttons to try to make it connect did nothing. The internal IT person had not yet arrived, so someone else was called in to have a go. She turned up a couple of minutes later and had a peek – then plugged the TV cable into the laptop! But… still did not produce any display on the TV. A reboot of the laptop did not resolve the issue either.

By this time the IT manager had arrived, and he was duly summoned. He fiddled about and eventually got it functioning – about 15 minutes after we first started.

Imagine the embarrassment having someone (client or prospect) come into the office and offering them a short demo of cloud accounting……

Moral – make sure the IT was started up ready for use first thing every morning.

But who am I to make such comments? I tried to listen into an ICAEW webinar last week. It did say on the joining instructions make sure everything worked at least 15 minutes beforehand! Normally, these webinars would be run in our main meeting room, but this was already in use, so I had to use the secondary room. We had not used that setup for a webinar before, the TV and PC in that room being a recent addition. The PC was on, and I could get video, but no sound! I could not get it working, so decided to use my laptop; turned it on and logged onto the link for the webinar…..but could not get it to display on the TV as I had left the USB to HDMI adapter at home. There is no HDMI socket on the laptop itself. The result was we watched the video on the TV and listened to the sound from the laptop. Another potentially embarrassing incident if there had been a room full of people. Fortunately, only one of my partners was sat in.

Moral – as above – make sure the IT works before needing to use it in a live environment.

The device in the boardroom was a thin client device running Linux and an embedded old version of Firefox. All we need is a device to connect to the internet that will connect to the TV. Therefore, this thin client device will shortly be replaced with a “PC” about the size of a cigarette packet (PC on a stick). This runs familiar Windows software, has a USB port to plug in a dongle to run a wireless keyboard and mouse and connects to the TV via HDMI. The whole setup can be installed for around £150 inc VAT.

All we need to do is make sure someone turns it on and gets it running every morning ready for meetings!

Are your systems ready for instant use?