Technological Features That Make an Impact
“Thanks for your excellent engineering, craftsmanship and execution. The electronics guys say they have never seen a table that was so easy to work with. There is room to run everything imaginable.”
We are experts at figuring out good ways to bring power and data to our conference tables. It’s a three-part problem:
- What you plug into: Power/data units
- How we hide it: Hatches & Other Strategies
- How to get the wires into the table: Wire Runs
There are hundreds of these available, at a very wide variety of price points. We are happy to work with your IT people or the AV firm you designate. We can also make recommendations if your needs are simple. We have three favorite manufacturers: Extron, Electri-Cable, and Mockett. We can help you to choose a unit that works for you. (But: we are not qualified to design complex AV systems, nor are we licensed electricians. It’s your responsibility to ensure that the units you choose will work, and to wire them to your network and the grid.)
Our first choice for power/data is Extron. They make a huge variety of solutions. We have used their AAP series customizable plates many, many times. These plates can be configured with any combination of plugs that fits. Here is an example:
AAP 106: with custom plug configuration:
Electrici-Cable makes some nice units. Here’s a 30″ Oasis Table Trough, set into a Quartz Zodiaq table top that we built for Vanguard:
Mockett makes a lot of units. Our favorite, because it fits into our custom hatches, and is very inexpensive, is the PCS-3:
Once the units are chosen, we design the table to accommodate them. Our flexible construction methods make it easy for us to reconfigure the table to accommodate any kind or quantity of unit. We can handle microphones and monitor lifts as well. Anything you can think of: we’ve done it.
Most people like to hide the plugs under a hatch. Some power/data units come with their own hatches, but most don’t. We have several strategies for hiding the plugs.
We build a hatch directly into the conference table top. The grain of the top veneer will run uninterrupted across the hatch. This is a very clean look, and the least expensive approach. The downside? It’s harder to access the power/data ports without removing the top. But they do look great:
This is a removable unit consisting of a frame that holds the dataport, and the hatch. Like the frameless, we run the veneer continuously across each lid. The advantage here is that the whole unit lifts out of the table top, allowing for access to the underside of the unit and the table interior without top removal. It also provides some protection from spills. Downside: It’s more expensive, depending on whether the hatch is wood or metal. Here’s an example:
We get asked for these frequently, and we strongly recommend that you choose one that is spring activated instead of powered – the units are much less expensive, and work reliably. Our favorite unit of this type is the Altinex PNP-417, see below. The hatch for this looks simple, but it’s actually quite complicated to fabricate the stuff that you can’t see. Add to that the high cost of each unit ($1700 or more) and this is the ultra-priced option.
We can make hatches out of any material, and size the to suit the equipment chosen. Here’s an example of an all-metal hatch with a back-painted glass top:
Table Edge Units
There are a number of low-profile units that are designed to be mounted under the conference or boardroom table edge. These work well, and keep the top uncluttered, but eat into leg room, and require an additional piece of structure under the top. Here’s one:
In The Base
We’ve put all kinds of plugs into the base of the table, but we recommend against this. It’s hard to see them, and difficult to use them in a dignified manner. But if that’s what you want, that’s what we’ll do.
Our table bases are designed with wiring in mind. We make sure that there is a clear and accessible path from any of the pedestals to any other part of the table. And our bases are designed so that they can be assembled and wired before the top goes on – this greatly speeds up installation. Here’s a typical 3 pedestal base, with bridge units that both connect the pedestals and act as wire runs:
The pedestals are open to the floor, and each has a hatch on its face, held on by magnets, that allows access to its interior.
We can add wire runs to any of our base designs, even those with traditional styling. Here’s a shot of a Sheraton style base with a central wire chase:
And here’s a shot of another of our bases, after being wired. Even a very heavy wire load, as seen here, fits neatly into the bridge units
Let’s finish where we started, with the same quote: “ Thanks for your excellent engineering, craftsmanship and execution. The electronics guys say they have never seen a table that was so easy to work with. There is room to run everything imaginable.”
That’s our promise to you.