Conferencing has been around for a long time, of that there can be no doubt. Only recently however since COVID-19 has it stepped into the limelight.
With Lockdowns, families being disconnected, businesses forced to adapt to working remotely and even doctors being required to conduct virtual appointments, we have seen real and rapid change.
Zoom stole our hearts and captured our imaginations, seeing families reconnected, friends having remote games nights, doctors doing what they do best and, now with Hybrid working, things will never be the same when it comes to how we interact. In this article we will cover some questions posed by our clients, look at some interesting topics and think about what innovations we may likely see coming our way in the years to come.
What is Video Conferencing?
This is probably the most common question we see pop up online, it is still very new to people and certainly new to some businesses.
In short, it is a means of communicating via the internet with a camera and microphone via a software application such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
You need very little to host or be part of a video conference. You just need a Camera, Speakers, and a microphone. Typically, most laptops have built in cameras which aren´t the best quality but they get the job done. As for a microphone you can buy standalone mics, or you can opt for a Headset or Speakerphone.
Once you have these you can host or join a conference through the vast options now on the market.
What are the benefits of Video Conferencing?
Where to begin! Let’s look at the top three we have found to be true based on client feedback and research.
This is a huge perk, before Video conferencing if you had a meeting you may need to travel in order to attend this put you at risk of delays due to traffic, fuel costs taking time out of your day to account for the commute therefore losing valuable time in your day.
Video Conferencing take all of that away. You can be in you office working up until the last minute before you have to attend and jump right back into what you were doing once the call is over.
This is a big one for businesses, as with the above points, you can cut travel from any budget saving potentially thousands in business costs that can be better used elsewhere.
We have also noted a significant reduction on overall costs when it comes to telecommunications equipment in offices. In combination with VOIP services you no longer need to have a phone on your desk. All you need is a USB Headset either wired or Wireless.
Greater Collaboration between teams
Collaboration is a huge buzz word in this field right now and it is probably the beating heart that keeps driving the world of Video Conferencing forward and indeed, our world.
Initially we may have had to hold up something to the camera to share our ideas or a sketch but now we have access to some of the best collaboration tools ever designed. Our clients in the education sector come to us for a host of Document Cameras which allow them to carry out presentations in the classroom at the touch of a button which distance learners can also be a part of.
Some products like the Jabra Panacast 50 have whiteboard integration features whereby one of the cameras intelligently focuses on the whiteboard in the room and opens a new screen just to show the details on the whiteboard to attendees wherever they are. An amazing feature for any business that conducts meetings with clients at distance.
Other manufacturers such as Yealink have their own digital ecosystem and you can use their wireless sharing dongles to instantly share content from your device to the main screen at the touch of a button.
How do I know what equipment I need?
There are a few factors to consider here but initially you only need to consider three;
- How many people can your meeting space hold?
- What software will you be using i.e. Zoom, Teams or something else?
- What budget do you have?
Meeting room sizes are commonly defined as the below
- Huddle Rooms – typically no more than three people
- Small Rooms – Up to 8 People
- Medium Rooms – Up to 12 people
- Large Rooms – 15+ People
Some brands may state differently but we have found these to be a good unit of measure.
Zoom kicked Video conferencing into the limelight but it is no longer the only choice out there. The most popular Video Conference Platforms we have encountered are;
- Microsoft Teams
- Webex Meetings
- Bluejeans Meetings
- GoTo Meeting
- Google Workspace
- Cisco Jabber
Once you know which you will be using, your options are narrowed down considerably. For example, brands like Logitech, Poly, Jabra and Yealink offer prebuilt systems that are native to Microsoft Teams or Zoom whilst also offering solutions that can be used with any software you need such as the Logitech Rally Plus which is a hugely popular and successful product designed for mid to large sized rooms.
This tends to be a topic no one wants to discuss at the outset of looking for a solution, but it is something that needs to be addressed early in the process. The reason for this is that in Video Conferencing you really do get what you pay for.
For Huddle rooms you can opt for a simple set up using a simple camera connected to a Laptop such as the EXPAND Vision 1 by EPOS. This will give you amazing visuals and has built in mics but you may suffer from poor audio output (what you end up hearing).
Whereas for a bigger budget you can go for the Logitech Meetup, this allows you to connect a laptop by USB and jump right in, it has built in mics and Speakers and a Camera that supports 4k resolution.
The sooner you define a budget the better and, if you are not sure you should speak to one of our experts who will be able to draw up some options at different price points based on your requirements.
Can you make some recommendations for room sizes here?
Of course! Our most popular sellers in Video Conferencing are listed below by room size as links so if you wish to see them on our site, you will be taken right there.
- 120º field of view
- Ultra HD 4K image sensor
- 3-microphones and a custom-tuned speaker
- Plug&Play USB connectivity
- Compatible with all meeting apps
- 4K video conferencing solution
- 180º field of view
- 3 Megapixel cameras
- Real-time video combination technology
- Plug&Play, compact, and easy to transport
- 1080p HD video with 30fps
- Full-duplex speakerphone
- Dockable remote control for pan, tilt, zoom, and navigation
- 90º field of view with 260º degree pan
- 10x HD zoom
- Smart video conferencing with AI technology
- UHD 4K
- Super-wide 133º field of view
- Full duplex experience
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Panoramic “fisheye” camera with 1080p HD resolution
- 360º capture over 3 meters
- Autofocus on the active speaker
- 8 beamforming omnidirectional mic array
- Sound capture from 5.5 meters away
- Exceptional audio quality
- 1080dpi resolution with 4K camera
- NoiseBlock and Polycom Acoustic Fence: noise-cancelling technology
- Dynamic video conference: clear imaging
- Plug&Play solution with USB connectivity
- UHD 2160p (4K) capture resolution
- 5x digital zoom
- 120º field of view
- 8″ high-resolution touch display
- Microphone with up to 15 ft pickup range
- Dual 8MP camera
- 120º field of view
- 8 MEMS microphones and 5W speakers for full-duplex audio
- Yealink Noise Proof: distraction reduction
- AI technology: auto framing and speaker tracking
- PTZ Plug&Play ultra HD camera
- RightSense technology
- 180º field of view
- 8 acoustic beams
- Acoustic Echo cancellation and background noise suppression
- Quick wireless content sharing
- 4K resolution with 5x digital zoom
- 8″ high-resolution intuitive touch display
- 120º field of view
- Automatic people framing and speaker tracking
So what comes next?
In conclusion, Video Conferencing is here to stay and it is evolving rapidly. We now see Interactive screens from Brands like Yealink, DTEN and Newline that allow interactive whiteboarding and have many variations for different sectors.
Hybrid working is also changing rapidly and this is being addressed by products such as the Logi Dock series.
We will see many more innovations in the years to come and, things such as Augmented reality could feature highly as this is already being introduced within manufacturing and construction industries.
One thing is certain, Onedirect will have its finger on the pulse ready to offer you the best solutions for the best price with the best service.
Thanks for reading!