The way companies and corporations do business has changed, perhaps forever, all thanks to how the pandemic altered nearly every aspect of our lives. While many things are back to “normal,” things are not how they exactly used to be. In the last two years, companies introduced significant changes to how employees could work. Remote work options became widely popular, conference room meetings turned into video conference meetings, and business meetings that would otherwise be done in person are now done virtually using video conferencing devices.
The trend, or at least traces of it, remains in many industries. Working remotely is way more common now than it ever was. The new norm also comes with its own set of tools; in the case of remote working and business, some of the tools that businesses should have in their arsenal are video conferencing solutions. But not all webcams or microphones are built for the same purpose and for the same room size.
In this article, we’ll explore three all-in-one video conferencing equipment that is designed for small, medium-sized, and large conference rooms respectively. Each conferencing solution featured is designed and manufactured by Logitech, the undisputed market leader in the sphere of conference room equipment. At the end of the article, we will expand on Logitech Scribe, a video conferencing device that perfectly complements all three video conferencing solutions and offers great features for any conference room size.
With small conference rooms, you should be looking at entry-level professional video conferencing (VC) equipment. Professional entry-level VC equipment comes in the format of all-in-one solutions. This often eliminates the need to look for multiple speaker setups, concerns about whether you can add more microphones to your setup, or research how much your camera can zoom in or have smart tilt/swivel to find the right frame.
All-in-one VC equipment like the Logitech Rally Bar Mini is your best bet when looking for conference room equipment in smaller spaces as they eliminate the need to spend extra time purchasing every aspect of your video conferencing setup separately. While the Rally Bar Mini is the entry-level professional VC solution that Logitech offers in its Rally Bar line-up, it offers a plethora of excellent features.
Logitech’s patented Right™ AI technology, which assists in video-framing, audio enhancement, neutralization, and light management works in full effect even in the entry-level Rally Bar Mini. This technology consists of three functions: RightLight™, RightSound™, and RightSight™.
In short, RightLight™ ensures that even if the backdrop of your frame is unforgiving sunlight, the exposure correction will ensure that the participants will at least be discernable and exposed much more evenly. RightSound™, on the other hand, oversees evening-out incoming audio. If someone speaks too loudly into the microphone, RightSound™ prevents audio clipping by compressing the audio. In the opposite scenario, it adds a few decibels to quieter voices with minimal loss of quality to create a pleasantly consistent audio experience.
Lastly, RightSight™ oversees the most elegant of the nice-to-haves in the previous section: proper framing. A secondary fixed-angle camera in the Rally Bar Mini helps RightSight™ know where everyone is at all times, even if the frame doesn’t include them. With the data coming from the AI Viewfinder, RightSight™ takes control of the motorized pan/tilt functionality on the primary lens to adjust the frame to include everyone or shift the focus to the speaker, especially if framing needs to change because of speakers sitting far away from each other.
While the Rally Bar Mini video conferencing device doesn’t come with extra speakers in the box, it still has a satisfyingly room-filling dual-speaker setup and a woofer installed on a patented anti-vibration suspension system to remove bass rattle. Another notable sound feature of the video conferencing equipment is that it offers an array of beamforming microphones that pick up audio up to a range of seven meters. But if seven meters isn’t enough, there’s always the option to add up to three Rally Mic Pods to your setup, with each adding an extra five meters to the audio pickup range.
There is nothing “mini” about having a 4K image sensor, but the Rally Bar Mini sports one. The motorized pan and tilt of the sensor allow the Rally Bar Mini to cover a 163° field of view horizontally and 110° vertically in a frame that always covers a 120° diagonal field of view. Combine all that with the RightSight™ technology and the 4x digital zoom, and you will never have to worry about the frame featuring people in the background when you don’t want them to appear in the picture.
You can use the Rally Bar and Rally Bar Mini video conferencing solutions as both standalone devices that run Android and can act as a client that directly connect to Microsoft Teams and the like through the Ethernet connection or use the BYOD (bring your own device) mode to connect your laptop to the Rally Bar via an HDMI cable (video-in) and a USB cable (audio-in). You also have the option to connect via the Logitech Swytch adapter.
There is nothing “mini” about the Logitech Rally Bar Mini. It just happens to be smaller than the Rally Bar. And while it certainly doesn’t come with a mini price tag, there is no other video conferencing equipment on the market that is even in the same ballpark in terms of features and usability.
The Rally Bar Mini features top-of-the-line image quality with many framing capabilities assisted by hardware and software, a beamforming mic array that cancels out background noise and evens out different audio inputs, and a speaker system that punches way above its size. Moreover, it offers a good deal of modularity with the option to add Mic Pods and various mounting options.
If your business relies on video conferencing and your conference room is on the smaller side, there is no video conference room equipment for small businesses on the market that quite competes with the Logitech Rally Bar Mini as an all-in-one video conferencing device.
While it is very difficult to imagine why you would need any more than what the Rally Bar Mini offers, the Rally Bar offers the same features, and a few more, for bigger conference rooms. While both run the same software and feature similar technology, the Rally Bar improves upon the incredibly solid foundation of the Rally Bar Mini with respect to hardware.
The Rally Bar’s speakers are built for bigger rooms and have a more room-filling sound. This is because the speakers offer dual 70mm drivers, which are significantly larger than the 43mm drivers found on the Rally Bar Mini. Because of the massive size difference, they also require twice as much power (8W) to run, giving you significantly higher volume.
The Rally Bar features two bass tubes in a patented anti-vibration enclosure, so you won’t hear any bass rattle. The prevention of rattling sounds is made possible because the enclosure is suspended in a way that provides enough room for vibration when thumping bass sounds are projected.
Moreover, the Rally Bar supports the addition of up to four Mic Pods as opposed to Rally Bar Mini’s three, each adding five meters of range to Rally Bar’s own seven meters.
A different view
While the inclusion of the 5x optical zoom on the Rally Bar video conferencing solution is a clear improvement over the 4x digital zoom found on the Rally Bar Mini, the reduction of the field of view (FOV) from 120° to 90°, however, isn’t.
FOV isn’t a matter of better or worse. For instance, with 120° FOV, you can fit more people in a single frame, but there are a couple of caveats. One, you get fisheye distortion around the edges of the screen, and two, if you want to focus on one subject, you need to zoom in more, which brings down the image quality. With a narrower 90° FOV, you won’t be able to fit as many people in a single frame, but what fits is sharper and needs less zoom, resulting in better picture quality.
Choosing the right FOV is a matter of needs analysis. You may prefer the frame to stay still and fit more people in it without the need for automatic readjustment (as is usually the case in small rooms where you can fit everyone in a single frame easier). Or you may feel like a larger FOV is a better idea. If, however, the room is larger and you won’t get to fit everyone in the same frame anyway, or you prefer a more zoomed-in frame with fewer people with less loss of pixels when zooming in, a smaller FOV is a better pick. But of course, the smaller FOV would need to be able to readjust itself to fit mainly the speaker in it, which all the Rally offerings are capable of doing.
Mounting options for Rally Bar and Rally Bar Mini
Part of the reason these premium all-in-one video conferencing devices come with a hefty price is because of the robust mounting options they provide. While you can use them both as a tabletop device, you also have the option to purchase a wall mount to install the Rally Bar on the top or the bottom of your display. You can also mount the device to the wall and benefit from the well-thought-out built-in cable management system.
It might be helpful for you to know that there are even mounting options for the extension microphones and the Logitech Tap, an extension of Logitech’s VC solutions that allows for the Rally series to operate without the need for any computer to be attached to it.
The Rally Plus is the most comprehensive all-in-one video conferencing solution on this list, designed specifically to be the end-all-be-all video conferencing equipment for large rooms. The Rally Plus comes with so much in the box: a camera, two speakers, a display hub, a table hub, two Rally Mic Pods, and a remote. Read along to find out why the insane modularity of the Rally Plus is just what you need for a large conference room.
The most flexible camera out of the bunch
The lens or the image quality of the Rally Plus isn’t any better than the Rally Bar since they use the same lens and sensor. But the enclosure of the Rally Plus makes it a lot more flexible. The motorized PTZ camera equipped with RightSight technology can pan 180° and tilt 140° while covering a 90 ° field of view. No one in the room can escape the gaze of this camera since it frames its subjects automatically and can do so with great freedom. Just like the Rally Bar, the Rally Plus features 5x optical and 3x digital zoom, ensuring the crispest video of any video conferencing solution.
Stereo, room-filling sound
Sporting the largest drivers out of the three, the Rally Plus video conferencing device features a dual speaker setup with huge 76mm drivers (40mm is what you find on most high-end headsets) that can blast crisp audio up to 95 decibels! Just for reference, the sound of city traffic inside the car is rated at 85 dB and a Jazz Concert at 91 dB, so this speaker setup is theoretically only slightly quieter than a nightclub which is rated at 97 dB! The port tubes supported by a patented suspension system also ensure rattle-free bass. Since the speakers are separate units, you can space them out further for a true stereo experience. The speakers are connected to the Display Hub via Mini XLR cables.
This time around, the Rally Plus speakers don’t have built-in microphones. Instead, Logitech went all-out with the modularity of their Rally Plus video conferencing solution by including two Rally Mic Pods in the box. Each Rally Mic Pod has a range of five meters. By daisy chaining the two microphones, you get 10 meters of coverage.
You have the option to add five more Rally Mic Pods to the setup if you wish. This comes especially handy when you have a large round table and you want to spread out the microphones every few seats so that everyone is heard loudly within the effective range of the microphones. Perhaps the insane level of microphone modularity and reach is the main reason that makes the Rally Plus the best video conferencing equipment for large rooms.
Desk Hub and Display Hub for flexibility and accessibility
A unique feature of Rally Plus is the inclusion of the Desk Hub and Display Hub.
The Display Hub sits under/behind your TV and out of sight. It is the interface that connects the speakers together and connects the camera to the display. The Desk Hub, on the other hand, acts as the medium to connect the Mic Pods to the whole setup. One of the included Mic Pods is connected directly to the Desk Hub, while the rest are daisy chained to that Mic Pod. The Desk Hub and the Display Hub are connected via an included RJ45 (LAN) cable to allow for communication between the microphones and the rest of the setup.
Here is the most unique aspect of the duo: you can connect your computer to either the Display Hub or the Desk Hub, allowing for two scenarios. You can either plug a computer into the TV and the Display Hub setup or into the more accessible Desk Hub to allow all participants in the meeting quick access to the video conferencing solution.
No matter the size of your office, one of the options mentioned above will meet your needs. When it comes to video conferencing systems for business, there is no competition for the comprehensive packages that each of the Rally models offers. However, if you are thinking of using a Logitech all-in-one VC solution for home use or small huddle spaces, check out our introduction to the Logitech MeetUp, a smaller and more affordable version of the Rally Bar Mini.
Interested in learning more about Logitech products?
As an official Logitech distributor in the Middle East, Newcom offers a wide range of Logitech video conferencing devices, including the Rally Bar and Rally Plus solutions mentioned in this article.
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