How to Design and Equip a Best-in-Class Conference Room

By Bernhard Mehl
October 2, 2018

As you begin setting up an office, you need to make sure that your conference room is properly equipped to handle your clients, employees and members. The conference room design is essential, as members or employees will spend a great deal of time there, so you want it to promote productivity. You also want the room to give off a positive impression, with the best conference room technology and comfortable furniture. Keep the following tips in mind when designing and equipping your conference room.

Include Security via Access Control

The conference room design should include the ability to control access to the space. This can be as simple as a lock on the door with the key held by a receptionist, who lets people in when their reserved time arrives. You can also opt for a more tech-savvy access solution, such as an electronic lock that provides access via a mobile application for those with reservations—this will fully automate the space.

Cloud-based access control solutions can allow shared workspace owners the opportunity to charge an hourly rate for conference rooms with no (often awkward) intervention from the staff. Anyone can book the conference room if it’s available through the member management app, then an access control solution, like Kisi, integrates with these apps to allow access to the meeting room or the facility at the time it’s been reserved.

Workspace consultant, Karen Condi, uses Kisi to manage her meeting rooms:

“We’re able to have people book their meeting rooms and they can use the app to access the doors, and they don’t have to rely on a team member.” Condi sees members book rooms during after hours, too.

Meeting space revenue is a high dollar line on our P&L reports each month,” she says. “Before the door integration we couldn't track that revenue and it wasn’t easy for people to do business with us.”

Consider Client Needs When Choosing the Layout

There are many potential layouts for a conference room, including a large board table, a U-style table, and more. To figure out what works best for your space, think about how it will likely be used. If the conference room will only be used for presentations, then rows of seats and a podium will work. If there will be more interactive meetings, make sure everyone has workspace and can see each other. Always ensure there is enough space for people to walk around. The ideal layout will include furniture that is flexible and can be easily moved based on client needs.

Choose the Right Technology

Conference rooms should already have some basic equipment inside, and you want to include the best conference room technology. At the bare minimum, this should include an overhead projector, but you may also want to include a computer, so those who reserve the space can just bring a USB drive or disk. Figure out what other technology you should include, such as a printer, cables, speakers, speaker mounts, and remote controls. Also include some options that are less technological, such as a whiteboard and markers.

Provide Extra Amenities

During a meeting, clients and employees will want to focus on the task at hand, so try to include some extra amenities that prevent the need to leave the room. One example would be a fridge with some water bottles and a small basket of snacks. Make it a point to always replenish these before a meeting. You may also want to include mini-cabinets, so guests can store belongings. Don’t forget a garbage can, either, and consider adding a few pads of paper and some pens.

Setting the Lighting

The lighting design of your conference room is also crucial, particularly if you set it up to allow for video conferencing. Some spaces make the mistake of choosing overpowering lighting. Instead, allow for natural lighting but include blinds on the windows. Try minimizing interior lighting or making it adjustable, and opt for bulbs that do not emit a great deal of heat. Wellness-oriented coworking spaces provide good examples of eco-lighting that maximizes productivity and overall well-being.

Example Conference Rooms

To see how to apply these tips in the real world, take a look at Regus, one of the leaders in the coworking industry. It has several conference room designs, depending on the intended purpose. It offers security, high-speed internet, and a fully equipped space, so those who use the room don’t have to bring extras.


Phone-based systems are not just a small-business solution. CEO of Kisi, Bernhard Mehl, comments: “If you see the average of three doors connected then that might seem low but, in reality, one door relates to around 50 employees—so those are locations with about 150 people on average, including satellite offices. That’s quite significant.”

Mobile Access Control Adoption by Industry

Kisi examined which industries are investing the most in mobile access control technology. To do so, the average size of mobile access control installation projects by industry were measured. Commercial real estate topped the list with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Education management came in last with 1.0 door running mobile access per facility. 

Physical Security Statistics: Mobile Access by Industry

The number of shooting incidents at K-12 schools, according to the CHDS, reached an all-time high at 97 incidents in 2018—compared to 44 in 2017. Cloud-based access control companies, like Kisi, offer a lockdown feature for active shooter situations or emergencies, making it an effective protective layer for places that are targeted, such as religious institutions, which come in near the top of the list with 4.0 doors running mobile access per facility. 

Based on industry size, it makes sense that commercial real estate tops the list, with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Cloud-based access control enables these larger organizations to scale more seamlessly and allows large organizations, like telecommunications, to deploy the most manageable IT solutions available, eliminating the need to create and manage a business’s own IT infrastructure over time.

“Commercial real estate is, of course, the driver of mobile adoption since they have the largest buildings,” Mehl adds. “The key here is to show that mobile-first technologies are not a risk but an innovation that brings positive ROI and allows agencies to reposition their buildings as forward-thinking establishments.”

The scalabelilty and ease of use in onboarding an organization allows many different types of industries and businesses of different sizes to adapt a cloud-based access control system, either using keycard or mobile credentials for access. 

Mobile Access Control by State

Looking specifically at the United States, Kisi analyzed in which states companies are investing the most into upgrading to smartphone-enabled access systems. Of the currently installed base of access control readers, around 20 percent will be mobile capable by 2022, according to a recent IHS report. Cloud-based systems, like Kisi, are future-proof—allowing over-the-air updates in real time and unlimited scalability for users.

“Mobile unlock technology makes you think of the major tech hubs like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles,” Mehl adds. “Looking at which states have the largest projects, it’s surprising and refreshing that those are not the typical ‘tech cities, and yet that’s where access control technology really makes an impact.” The fact that the largest projects are seen in states outside of the typical tech startup landscape is evidence that mobile access control is highly applicable across industry sectors.

For further questions about this study, reach out to Kait Hobson (

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

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