Typical huddle room design requires connectivity in several distinct areas: power, USB charging, video, network and audio. Once each of the signal types is properly managed, the huddle room behaves like a magic room. Let’s start first from a simple definition on the connectivity that needs to be available to the users. This can be easily defined by the table top interconnect boxes. Here is the Altinex TNP125 with all of the necessary connections for an awesome huddle room experience.
Figure 1: Huddle room single user connections
The network connections can be handled with a simple 4×1 1Gb IP switch or Wireless switch with 4 ports. Plenty of IP routers are available to fill this requirements at a very reasonable price.
Figure 2: Cisco Huddle room network router
Next we need to manage Charging USB ports on the interface. Typical we need to provide 1.0 amp of current for each of the port. That will be enough to charge any smart phone or tablets. The audio connectors are typically merged together to provide audio mixing for all inputs. The mixing is done in a cable and allows any user to connect their audio player to the room’s audio amplifier. In this case, I used PC power amplification separately from a TV audio amp. This allows users to play audio programming without turning the monitor on or off. With this configuration all of the audio will be mixed together.
Figure 3: Passive Cable audio mixer
The mixing is done with resistors connected together to form one output. On the output I installed an Altinex SC206-204 AudioCleaner to make certain there is no hum noise in the audio system.
Figure 4: Mixing Cable wiring diagram for audio ports
Figure 5: Altinex SC206-204 AudioCleaner
For the audio amplifier I used Bose companion speakers. They have plenty of power and provide nice and rich bass.
Figure 6: Audio Speakers with amplifier
Finally we need to address HDMI video switching. First, I decided that HDMI is the main type of video source and, if there is anything else that needs to be displayed, I will manage it with adapters. So display port to HDMI for MAC, I will use and adapter. In this case I used the Altinex UT260-041 4×1 smart auto switcher. This units routes the last person who connected to the input and displays it on the main screen. I have yet to see a huddle room where all participants are connected at the same time and constantly switching the video. Hence, auto switching will work just fine for this environment.
Figure 7: Altinex UT260-041 HDMI Auto switcher
An additional feature that may be implemented is to automatically turn the monitor ON and OFF when laptops are connected to the switcher. This is an optional feature and works only with monitors that have CEC control available. Now that we know most of the components we need for the huddle room, let’s design a block diagram. The block diagram may look complicated, but once wired in and connected, everything falls in place and the actual set up is very manageable.
Figure 8: System block diagram including all components (Full drawing is available from Altinex)
Figure 10: Completed Huddle room is ready for use with four table top units
All of the documentation for this design was done using Altinex supported AVSnap software— freely available online at www.avsnap.com. All of the design source files are available from Altinex. Call 714-990-2300 and we will send you these files. There is one more thing to do before we complete this project, and that is to get connecting cables. I decided to go with the retractable cables.
Figure 11: Retractors used in the Huddle room
Let’s now review the cost of the installation, excluding the video display and the furniture. The cost is based on web prices for materials.
Figure 12: Cost breakdown for Huddle room