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Found on the Net: Telstra's Unique Circular Videoconferencing Boardroom

August 14, 2014 | Howard Lichtman

ciasia_Round_BoardTable_Videoconferencing.jpgVisaul Collaboration Architect: Corporate Initiatives in Australia. One of two identical rooms that connect Telstra board members and executives between Melbourne and Sydney


AMX did the control systems and were able to get some details for a case study on the project that I found on their website. Here is an excerpt:

Making Room

In the Telstra building located in Melbourne, an entire floor was knocked out to create a new and improved conference room. In Sydney, the installation required a partial renovation of the existing meeting area. In an effort to create an enhanced level of simplicity and intimacy between the end users (executives and other employees) and the A/V equipment in both places, Corporate Initiatives convinced Telstra that the architectural facets of the project had to "wrap around the technology," according to Oliver.

"Larger projects such as this are often driven by the architect and builder," he said. "The client does not always have total control. I explained to Telstra that the physical properties of the rooms had to be constructed around the technology. There was no other way to do it in order to achieve efficient and effective conference facilities. We got the message through during the concept stage of design."

Ergonomic Efficiency

In most conference rooms, heads pivot toward speakers, to watch presentations and to see videoconferencing images. The lines of sight are virtually nonexistent as participants continually reposition themselves to obtain a clearer view. At Telstra, the sightlines are near perfect. With minimal effort and only a slight turn of the head, executives can comfortably watch video on a projection screen, communicate with data on automated LCD monitors, directly view the far-end person on centralized plasmas and contact technicians or support staff in a separate control room for assistance whenever needed.

"The sightlines were incredibly difficult to achieve," Oliver said. "The conference table alone required 17 separate concepts before we were able to determine the best possible layout. What we were able to provide was distinct electronic workspaces for each executive seated around the table without interfering with their normal working style."

At the front of the room, two rear projection screens display up to five far-end videoconference locations simultaneously. The introduction of MPEG2 broadcast technology provides full-motion, DVD-quality videoconferencing between both facilities. The high placements of the screens ensures maximum visibility (line of sight) from every seating position in the room.

"We're using premier products for the highest clarity of video and audio," Oliver said. "In this case, the level of audio actually enhances the quality of the image."

Technology Blitz

Eight plasma screens are located in the center of the main conference table. These screens display images at the far end of a videoconference. The placement of the plasmas create a natural line of sight between the speaker and the audience. Installed above each plasma is a video camera that offers far-end viewers the ability to establish direct eye-contact over video with individual executives and other speakers.

At each seat around the table, automated LCD monitors rise and descend on command to display supporting data for presentations. The LCDs also double as a control interface to manage aspects of the room, such as multimedia presentations and lighting.

"We had to maximize the floorplan, and I was just able to think of some innovative ideas," Oliver said. "I don't let something that hasn't been done before stop me from finding a solution. I always ask, can we make it better and how can we do it differently?

Ci ? Corporate Initiatives Australia P/L
360 Whitehorse Rd
Nunawading, Victoria 3131
Phone: 1300 CIASIA (242742)
Email: info[at]

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