If you’ve ever been on a video conference, you may have already used the built-in video conferencing equipment of your laptop: the webcam, speakers, and the built-in microphone. If you are a business owner, you may think you can get by with your video conferencing needs by hooking up your laptop to the TV at the back of a conference room with the ever-dangling HDMI cable laid out on the desk and using the tinny speaker and potato-quality webcam on your laptop and hope everyone is heard and in a frame.
However, the extent to which video conferencing has become prevalent in the business world demands that you invest in high-quality video collaboration services and hardware that can add some class, quality, and taste to your video conferences and take them to the next step.
What are video conferencing solutions?
In short, video conferencing solutions are software and hardware that provide participants in a video conference with the tools they need to properly communicate and participate in a remote call. Video conferencing hardware includes conference cameras, microphones and microphone extensions, speakers, and much more. While it is possible to separately purchase such video conferencing hardware, there are innovative video conferencing solutions that offer such hardware in a modular format. This means that the microphone, speakers, and conference camera all come in pieces of hardware, rather than separately.
If you are finding yourself in need of some further information and product recommendations about video conferencing hardware, then continue to read. In this article, we will cover the basics of video conferencing equipment and discuss Logitech’s video conferencing solutions.
What video conferencing hardware do I need?
Broadly speaking, the most essential video conferencing hardware falls under three categories: (1) cameras; (2) speakers; and (3) microphones. There are also some hardware that cannot fall under a specific category, except for maybe “organizers.” These devices can help de-clutter your desk through smart cable management and enhanced compatibility across devices. You’ll see a few of this unique hardware in this article.
In order to improve your video conferencing game, you would need to start by enhancing your image and audio quality by procuring a better conference camera, speakers, and microphone. To find the right hardware, you will want to assess your needs so that you can choose the options that are just right for the conditions of your conference room or huddle space. Some matters to consider should include: how large your conference room is, where you intend to place the video conferencing equipment, and how many people are going to attend the video conferences.
For example, if there is a lot of sunlight coming in from the window and the webcam is looking straight into the window, you should know that it would be a challenge for most webcams out there to give you a usable image as they tend to favor the lighter spots, leaving everyone in the frame unintelligible shadows in front of an over-exposed window. If the room is big, maybe you should think about getting larger, fuller speakers. If there are too many people in the conference room, you should think about obtaining equipment that supports microphone extensions to capture everyone’s voices, as necessary.
Where are video conferencing solutions best used?
Different video conferencing solutions are meant for different scenarios, especially when it comes to the size of the meeting room or huddle space it is going to be used in. Based on the webcam’s pan/zoom/tilt functionality, the speaker’s size, and the distance from which the microphone can pick audio, you can decide whether the device or devices are suitable for your professional environment.
Logitech video conferencing solutions
Logitech, the top brand in video conferencing products, knows about all the different needs of a workspace when it comes to video conferencing and has introduced a wide variety of product lines directed at all the different scenarios.
From Logitech’s all-in-one Rally lineup that gives you all the imaging and audio tools necessary to ensure you and your colleagues are seen and heard clearly on the other end, to its standalone video conferencing client, there is something for everyone. Depending on how much you want to up your video conferencing game, there are many options at your disposal. In this list, you will see some of the best video conferencing solutions Logitech has come up with.
These products come in different forms. The most obvious and essential part of Logitech’s video conferencing solution ecosystem is their webcams and speakers with their Rally series and the Logitech MeetUp. They combine crystal-clear, high-resolution images with full sound designed for rooms and office spaces of different sizes with advanced beamforming microphones that picks up people’s voices clearly while suppressing background noise. This means you won’t need to look for a webcam, a soundbar, and a microphone separately as all of them are included with the Rally series and the MeetUp.
Other than the essentials, Logitech has a few other tricks up its sleeve, creating entire product categories with video conferencing equipment that businesses and education institutes cannot ignore! From the intelligent whiteboard enhancer with the Logitech Scribe to the Swytch, whose sole purpose is to declutter the desk of shared presentation desks to the standalone video conferencing client, and Logitech Tap.
All-in-one video conferencing solutions
Logitech MeetUp: The all-in-one video collaboration solution for small rooms.
The MeetUp is the first option on our list. It offers an ultra-wide camera with RightSight technology that can adjust the motorized lens’ position and zoom to bring everyone into the frame. Speaking of the camera, it is a 4K ultra-high-definition camera with up to 5X HD digital zoom. The crystal clear image is accompanied by a beamforming microphone array that can separate speech from background noise and even auto-level louder and softer voices while suppressing unwanted noise. The crisp audio input is backed up by a built-in Bluetooth speaker housed in an anti-vibration enclosure combatting the bassy sound in many video calls that can rattle a speaker.
The Logitech MeetUp features Logitech’s proprietary RightSense technology that combines RightSound, RightSight, and RightLight. RightSound offers crisp audio clarity through human voice optimization, noise suppression, and conversation clarity enhancement (RightSound). RightSight utilizes smart framing with motorized panning and digital zoom (RightSight) to offer great images. Lastly, RightLight uses a smart exposure setting to make sure no one is over/under-exposed regardless of the light behind the subject.
Logitech Rally Plus: The ultimate, modular video conferencing equipment.
The Rally Plus is the no-holds-barred, zero-compromise, ultimate Logitech video conferencing solution for large rooms and nothing else comes close.
It’s hard to tell which part of this ensemble is the most impressive. From the motorized PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) camera lens with a 4K sensor and 5X optical zoom, to the dual speakers with low distortion and bass tubes, the modularity of the product, and the inclusion of the Rally Mic Pod, it’s hard to pick a favorite! A fully decked-out Rally Plus supports a very large conference room with support for up to seven Rally Mic Pods that can spread around the room.
You also get a couple of incredibly useful extras in the box with the Rally Plus: the Display Hub and Table Hub. The Display Hub is the link between our computer and the camera and speakers. The Table Hub, connected to the Display Hub via Ethernet, acts as the hub for the Rally Mic Pod extensions while also allowing people at the center of the room to connect their displays to the Rally Plus.
When it comes to enterprise video conferencing solutions, the Rally Plus is the most premium video conferencing equipment you will find on the market, with a price tag to match!
Logitech Rally Bar: Power meets simplicity.
The Rally Bar takes everything from the MeetUp and cranks it up by a couple of notches. It has a dual-camera system: one AI camera to help the Rally Bar read the scene for intelligent framing with RightSight, and another for crisp video up to 4K resolution with the same excellent motorized PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) functionality of the Rally Plus. It also takes the great speaker on the MeetUp and adds another one to it to create room-filling audio with the same patented anti-vibration housing to combat bass-rattle.
The Rally Bar offers a wide variety of mounting options. You can mount it on the top or bottom of your conference room’s TV, have it on a desk or mount it on the wall with the optional wall mount. It can be used as a standalone device that can run today’s most popular video conferencing apps, but can also be used with a Windows or Mac computer.
Perhaps the biggest reason why the Rally Bar is meant for medium to large-sized conference rooms as opposed to smaller ones is its compatibility with the Rally Mic Pod extension. The beamforming microphones of the Rally Bar can pick up voices up to five meters, which is well-suited for medium-sized rooms. However, you can add up to three Rally Mic Pods to the Rally Bar to extend the range by up to another five meters per each Rally Mic Pod added.
Note that both the Rally Bar and the Rally Mic Pod feature Logitech’s proprietary RightSound technology, which can suppress unwanted sounds, enhance the clarity of the human voice, and auto-level louder and softer voices for a coherent audio experience.
The Rally Bar was introduced after the MeetUp and the Rally Plus were presented to the market, taking the simplicity and ease-of-use of the MeetUp and combining it with the room-filling audio, modularity, and flexible camera of the Rally Plus. Rally Bar provides an all-in-one, simple-to-use, but very capable video collaboration solution for medium or large-sized conference rooms.
Logitech Rally Bar mini: The no-compromise mini
The Rally Bar mini tried to jampack as many features as it could from the Rally Bar and cram it into a smaller package designed for smaller huddle spaces. The similarities include the same design language and material, the same excellent 4K motorized pan and zoom lens that is accompanied by the A.I. camera to use RightSight and find out the best frame based on who is talking and how many people are in the room. It also has the same beamforming microphone array and the same room-filling dual speakers with a tube for lower-frequency sounds housed in Logitech’s patented anti-vibration suspension system.
The differences are actually rather minor. The Rally Bar mini features a 4X digital zoom capable lens whereas the Rally Bar offered a 5X optical and 3X digital. The Rally Bar mini also supports up to two Rally Mic Pod extensions as opposed to the three supported by its big brother.
Otherwise, the Rally Bar mini is just a shrunk-down version of the Rally Bar designed for smaller huddle spaces with virtually no sacrifice to the quality, capability, and feature-set of the Rally Bar.
Other Logitech video conferencing solutions
Under this category, you will find products that can’t be named under a specific group. These products are the result of Logitech letting its designers come up with innovative product ideas that complement Logitech’s all-in-one solutions. Here are some of those ideas that materialized as video conferencing solutions for business.
Logitech Swytch: No more “pass me that HDMI.”
Perhaps the most unique product on our list, the Logitech Swytch lives in a category of its own. The Swytch is essentially a BYOM (bring your own meeting) device that allows for anyone who is bringing their laptop to the conference room to use their video conferencing software of choice with no hassle as they see just a single USB C/A cable on the desk that they can use for all their video conference sharing needs.
Video call participants can connect the Swytch either to the USB-C port (capable of up to 60W of power, which can charge your laptop) or the USB-A port of their laptop and not worry about having to bring display adapters or any cable for that matter since the Swytch is a universal solution. The Swytch comes with many cables and a couple of hubs in the box. The installation might seem a bit daunting, but once it’s done, what you get is a clutter-free conference desk.
The Swytch enables everyone around the desk to use it to connect the audio and video of the conference room setup. It works through DisplayLink to make the connection process as easy as possible through the USB-A or USB-C ports. This creates a better-organized conference desk with no clutter, considering the smart cable retention and magnetic dock that come with the Swytch.
The Swytch is an expensive solution to the clutter of a meeting desk on which different people are expected to present. But when it comes to products that solve a very specific problem with virtually no competition, it’s hard to question its value. If you have a meeting room in which people bring their own laptop to connect to the display and don’t want clutter or having to use multiple cables to connect to video conferencing equipment, the Logitech Swytch is the only device of its kind that combats this specific problem.
Logitech Scribe: The intelligent whiteboard-presentation assistant
Another one-of-a-kind product by Logitech was designed with not just workspaces in mind, but also education. You need to look at the Scribe as an optional addition to the whiteboard you have in your conference room or classroom. This addition can enhance whatever it is that you’re teaching/presenting on the whiteboard for however many people on the other end of the video call.
The Scribe is an A.I.-powered whiteboard camera that can be used on popular video conferencing apps such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. You can start sharing what is being scribed on the whiteboard with a simple tap of the share button, which can also be done using the Logitech Tap, the all-in-one standalone video conferencing controller.
The unique premise of enhancing a whiteboard presentation is supplemented by the A.I. in the Scribe. But what does it do exactly? Well, it can remove the presenter from the image captured of the whiteboard so that you can focus only on what is being scribed on the whiteboard. On top of that, it can even enhance the color and contrast of the marker to give it a uniform look and make it easier to read, even if the marker is dry! Another interesting feature of the A.I. in the Scribe is that it detects sticky notes and keeps them as a part of the whiteboard.
The Logitech Scribe is a unique tool to enhance your usage of a whiteboard in your presentations, whether it be in a workspace or classroom.
Logitech Tap: The centerpiece for all things video conferencing
The Logitech Tap is another innovative product by Logitech that almost creates its own category because of its unique functionality. The Logitech Tap can be used in tandem with a Windows laptop, a MacBook, a Chromebook, or as a standalone device to join Zoom or Teams meetings or other video conferencing software. It is the hub that allows you to enter scheduled meetings with just a tap, free from the clutter of wires or even the hassle of opening up your calendar on your computer and looking for the right link to the right room. The Tap connects with your calendar and because of the proximity sensor it has, you don’t even have to turn it on when you sit at the table, you just need to tap the join button on the Tap and you’re in.
The Logitech Tap is at the heart of Logitech’s video conferencing solution ecosystem and connects everything together, making all other devices work together more smoothly and efficiently.
“Ecosystem” is the key word when we’re thinking about Logitech’s video conferencing solutions. Logitech has made sure to think about every use-case scenario and created a device to suit it. We already have much more in-depth overviews of the Rally Bar series so if you want to read up on those click this link to follow up on them.
If you find the video conferencing equipment that you like, you can check out its availability by contacting us so that we can connect you with one of our partners. If you are unsure which is video conferencing service you should go for, you can contact our product team for assistance in choosing the right ecosystem for your specific needs.