Video Conferencing Equipment
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Video Conferencing Equipment TrustMap
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What is Video Conferencing Equipment?
Video Conferencing Equipment is audio-visual hardware that enables video conference calls. This includes cameras, microphones, speakers, remote controls, etc. These are installed in a meeting room with a monitor so that conference participants can collaborate with colleagues in a remote location. Modern deployments may support one-to-many conferences (e.g. a livestream broadcast), or many-to-many collaborations with peers spread across disparate locations able to talk to and see each other.
Meeting Space Collaboration System
“Meeting space collaboration system” and "Conference room system" are other common names for video conferencing equipment. Many vendors in this space offer room system or collaboration system packages that include both the hardware and software necessary to set up a virtual meeting room. Other vendors instead offer web conferencing software and partner with companies that provide the hardware like Logitech, Poly (formerly Polycom), Avaya, Dell, Dolby, Lifesize, and Cisco.
Certain vendors in this category focus primarily on the hardware and audio visual(AV) set up part of room systems. For example, vendors like Logitech, Poly, and Extron provide several different wired and wireless components to help create collaborative meeting space systems.
Cameras: Beyond webcams designed for personal computer or laptop use, meeting room cameras that can be mounted in office spaces are also included in this sub-category. In this case, there are versions of these products which come with remote controls so that camera angles and viewpoints can be adjusted without interrupting a meeting.
Headphones: In cases where you're happy with the microphones in your tech stack, there are enterprise-quality headphones available. A key feature to look for is noise-cancellation, which comes in handy in loud or busy office spaces.
Headsets: Like headphones, noise-canceling headsets are extremely popular. Additional aspects of headsets, given that they combine headphones and microphones into one tool, include background noise elimination so that wearers not only can focus on their personal video conferences, but the noise from their meeting area is canceled out to minimize distractions.
Microphones: Microphones in this category tend to function similarly to cameras, as in, there are those meant to be connected to personal computers, and those meant to act as meeting-room-wide microphones for conference-style calls.
Remote controls: Universal remote controls can be configured to operate with various devices in your video conferencing equipment stack. In some cases, these products also double as laser pointers for presenters.
Room devices (also known as video collaboration systems): Room devices actually refer to a bundle of other product sub-categories. These are designed to make it easy to design meeting rooms for office planners. They typically include cameras and microphones optimized for conference rooms. They're also typically offered by web conferencing vendors so that the room devices easily integrate with your web conferencing software as well.
Smartboards: Smartboards are large, interactive electronic displays for use as a digital whiteboard. These come in a variety of sizes and dimensions. Most double as television or computer screens.
Speakers: Video conferencing speakers are typically designed for meeting room use. This allows for audio streaming from computers to be heard throughout a larger area.
Video Conferencing Equipment Features & Capabilities
While Video Conferencing Equipment is an expansive category which includes the various components that make up digital communication, there are some common characteristics to look for between them. Video equipment may provide the following key differentiators:
Lifelike HD video quality
HD audio quality, support for multiple microphones
Interoperable with web conferencing software
Interoperable with VoIP services
Self-diagnostic & easy troubleshooting
Room booking, calendaring and scheduling
Scheduled event reminders
Event recording to software platform, video service
Dynamic responsive video camera (focus on speaker)
Multi-monitor (e.g. dual display) support
Screen-sharing, support for web conferencing type features
Video Conferencing Equipment Comparison
To help you determine where one product differs from the next as you evaluate video conferencing equipment, consider these four key factors:
Voice quality, as well as video quality, are crucial. Most vendors strive to make the audio and visual streams as lifelike as possible so that high-quality video conferencing can replace travel/in-person meetings without sacrificing productivity. However, there may be differences in audio and video quality across products.
Performance not only impacts the quality of meetings, it also determines how much time IT administrators will need to spend troubleshooting the equipment. Performance may also vary from device to device.
Interoperability with web conferencing software, VoIP providers, appointment scheduling functionality, etc. is another key consideration for buyers. The ability to upgrade by adding multiple cameras and/or microphones for larger spaces and groups is also important. Before purchasing video conferencing equipment, check to make sure any software you already have in place will be compatible with the hardware you plan on purchasing.
In addition to connecting conference participants face to face, some video conferencing equipment allows users to share content with the group from their mobile device or computer. If the end-users at your business will need this functionality, make sure to check the equipment you purchase has this capability.
Video conferencing equipment is available on perpetual licensing and presents a single up-front cost. However, device service plans, warranties, or firmware updates are usually available on a subscription basis. Discounts may be available for equipment bundles (e.g. free cables, discounts for multiple cameras, etc.). And because many video conferencing equipment vendors have shifted focus to web and video conferencing software, with their recurrent revenue model, video conferencing equipment is often discounted when bundled with a subscription to a vendor’s conferencing software.
Zoom is a unified communications platform primarily known for its use as a web conferencing tool. It features HD video and audio, collaboration tools, chat functionality, and an enterprise cloud phone system.
From LogMeIn, GoToMeeting is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software that enables users to connect via the internet. It hosts a suite of online meeting tools, including real-time screen sharing and integrated audio.
Lifesize is a web conferencing platform focused on making video conferencing systems and video conferencing apps work well together, while still being easy-to-use. Their platform incorporates web conferencing software with meeting room devices and wireless screen sharing.
GoToConnect Powered by Jive is a cloud-based business phone system with built-in web-based video conferencing solutions. It includes features such as call analytics, call recording, softphone, fax to email, voicemail to email, and desktop integration.
From PGi, GlobalMeet is a web-based video conferencing platform. It hosts a cloud PBX system and offers capabilities for incorporating team collaboration into video meetings.
With the Cisco Webex Board, users can wirelessly present, whiteboard, video or audio conference, and even annotate shared content. The Webex Board was designed to provide everything needed for team collaboration at the touch of a finger. Use the Cisco Webex Teams (formerly Cisco…
The Cisco Webex Room Series is a video conferencing solution that wakes up when users walk into a meeting room where it is installed and provides theater-quality voice and video, as well as content sharing from personal devices. For small to medium rooms with 6-8 people, there's…
The Polycom RealPresence Group Series is a video conferencing codec that connects to a standards-based video conferencing infrastructure to allow users to make video conference calls. There are three products in the series – RealPresence Group 300, RealPresence Group 500, and RealPresence…
Highfive is an integrated hardware and cloud-based software product for room-based video conferencing, wireless projection, and web conferencing. Highfive does not require any downloads, PIN codes, or passwords to use and features unlimited meetings and minutes.
Cisco 700 Series Headsets includes Clear Voice technology and features built to enable productivity in any environment. The vendor states its deep integrations with Cisco collaboration applications and devices allow for intuitive user experiences and intelligent headset management…
TeamViewer Meeting (formerly Blizz) is a web conferencing software designed for global collaboration. It aides users in connecting with contacts and remote teams through video meetings, instant chat messaging, screen sharing, and conference recording on desktop and mobile from any…
The Cisco Headset 500 Series offers a range of wired and wireless models with deep integrations with Cisco devices and clients to support easy setup and effortless administration. Designed to provide outstanding audio performance and powerful noise isolation in a lightweight form…
Cisco Business Edition 6000 (BE6000) is a telephony and VoIP business phone with unified communications features from Cisco, similar to their enterprise Business Edition 7000 offering though targeted at SMBs with less extensive needs than their larger enterprise counterparts.
Dolby presents the Dolby Voice product line of consisting as software as well as conference phones and video conferencing equipment, able to produce an immersive, natural conferencing experience. It is available in various kits, such as the Dolby Voice Room kit, as well as Dolby…
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a number of well known video conferencing equipment providers, they include:
Some vendors offer video conferencing software and hardware bundles Other vendors may only offer the software piece, but have partnerships with vendors that provide the hardware.