Video conferencing has become a norm in our business or even personal life, and it is going to stay that way in the future years. According to the statistics provided by Statista, video conferencing platforms were seeing significant growth each year, even before the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, most conferencing platforms were having a year-over-year increase in both usage and revenue. And now, more people and companies are using them in their daily routine and subscribing to their premium plans. As a result that, many speculate that even in the post-COVID-19 era, the use of video conferencing services will still be on the rise. We also, as was covered in one of our previous articles, believe that the use of video conferencing for business will continue to stay around even in the post-coronavirus era.
The interesting point is that these statistics just make sense; video conferencing solutions are cheaper, more convenient, more nature friendly, and less time-consuming than traditional business meetings. Unlike what distant communications used to be in the past, in modern video conferencing platforms the presenters are not just a voice on the phone, but an actual on-screen host who can be both seen and heard lively.
Using video conferencing, everyone can share their screen and can see each other. The presenters can share their files and presentations, write their ideas and important points on a virtual whiteboard, see and interact with the attendees, and even invite more participants to join the meeting. Many platforms also offer the ability to pass control to other participants who would be able to continue the meeting without interruption. Or sometimes, the host can deny access to latecomers in order to avoid disruptions during the meeting.
If that is not enough, some of these platforms go even more beyond and provide more features besides the simple ability of broadcasting conferences. For instance, they let the participants also remotely access each other’s desktops, chat with one another, or exchange files. Instead of spending hours in airport lines, businessmen can easily conduct meetings with anyone using video conferencing solutions anywhere around the globe.
While most companies started their preparation for teleworking in 2020, there are still a lot of small and big companies that are not fully equipped for working from home. And since business trips are out of the question in the current era, they are left with only one option: video conferencing. There are two main ways for video conferencing, which actually tend to be used together: software-based platforms and hardware-based solutions.
The software-based type of video conferencing is a very obvious solution, and most people are familiar with them or at least have used them once. Skype and ZOOM are among the most popular applications for virtual meetings and online communication. Microsoft Teams is another useful platform that integrates other Microsoft tools such as OneDrive and Skype into one central database and communication hub and allows users to have all of their useful applications in one place. Cisco Webex, Google Meets and Google Hangouts are also alternatives for conducting online meetings. And there are tons more, which are not that well known or popular.
These software applications are usually free or at least provide a limited free trial, and then those who want more features, bigger rooms, and higher quality can go for the premium subscriptions. For this type of video conferencing, it is recommended that users acquire a good headset, a proper webcam, and obviously, a decent personal computer (PC). However, those who are on a low budget and want to avoid the cost of any extra accessories can just use a normal laptop.
Another way for conducting an online meeting for business conferences is the hardware-based video conferencing solution. This model is mainly used for conducting a meeting between two companies in different cities/countries/locations. For example, let’s say that the representatives of Company A, located in Dubai, UAE, want to have a meeting with the employees of Company B, which is headquartered in Mumbai, India.
Using a hardware-based video conferencing solution, each party can easily have a live meeting, without even exiting the office! All they need is a special camera, a TV, and a computer in order to have a live meeting with up to 4K quality with their partner company. This solution can simply avoid unnecessary business trips. Instead, people from Company A and Company B can look at each other and talk to each other instantly without paying for the unnecessary costs of traveling. There are many companies that work in this industry and develop different types of video conferencing cameras; one of which is the Logitech brand that offers guaranteed high quality.
These products are exceptionally good for smaller rooms or huddle spaces. They usually include everything needed for remote communication and collaboration in one place; except for the television of course. A PC is also required since these devices are not video conferencing endpoints themselves. Any type of computer, whether a fixed computer installed somewhere around the room or a simple laptop, would suffice.
These devices are also very easy to install. All the user needs to do is to connect the PC to the conferencing camera via a USB cable, connect an HDMI cable from the computer to a TV, and then start the video conference using any preferred software application.
The quality of these units varies but most of them feature intelligent functions in their camera and microphone systems. The camera, for instance, can detect the person who is speaking and zoom on their face. The microphone is also able to find where the voice is coming from and isolate it by removing the background noises. Most units also include high-quality speakers. Now let’s dive into some of the best available models from the Logitech brand.
Supporting up to six people in huddle rooms and small conference rooms, Logitech MeetUp is one of the best hardware-based video conferencing solutions for small meeting rooms. It is compact in size, easy to install, and much more affordable compared to its competitors. MeetUp features the intelligent type of both camera and microphone mentioned earlier. It can detect the participants who are speaking, remove any background noise, and keep the speaker in the frame, and zoom on their faces. It also provides an exceptional, natural sound experience for all present participants. Even though the small size has prevented the implementation of a robust speaker system, which would allow for louder voices, it still offers a high-quality audio capture.
Moreover, Logitech MeetUp features a wide angle of view, 5x zoom range, 4K display quality, and a super-wide low-distortion 120-degree diagonal field of view that ensures that even those closest to the camera would be seen. The 4K camera also ensures that even when it zooms on speakers’ faces, it would still present a clear image. Furthermore, Logitech MeetUp includes a convenient remote control that works with any client-based software. The Bluetooth connectivity feature is another useful feature of Logitech MeetUp, which allows for voice calls from a cell phone. Last but not least, Logitech MeetUp is the only device with a pan/tilt camera, which expands the effective angle of view to an incredible 170 degrees.
Lastly, there is also Logitech Connect, which is another one of Logitech’s best video conferencing solutions for small meetings. It is portable and affordable, has a rechargeable battery, and supports up to six people. Moreover, Logitech Connect is designed for tabletop placement and small spaces. It offers a 1080p quality with 4x digital zoom and a generous 90° diagonal field-of-view with a digital pan and tilt.
For large meeting rooms with significant numbers of attendees, Logitech Rally is the flagship video conferencing solution and supports up to 40+ people. It offers a UHD 4K PTZ camera, 15x optical zoom, wide-angle and field of view, beam-forming microphone array, high-quality speaker audio, pans 90 degrees side to side, tilts plus-50 to negative-90 degrees, and much more. Rally has much more features and capabilities than most of the other Logitech video conferencing devices, while still maintaining the same level of simplicity and flexibility as Logitech’s Video Collaboration product line. It is very easy to install and has a lot to offer.
For medium meeting rooms, Logitech GROUP is a very affordable video conferencing solution and supports up to 14 people. GROUP’s camera captures footage in 1080p display quality at 30fps, pans at 260 degrees, and tilts at 90 degrees. It also offers advanced features like acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction technology, and intuitive controls; and as always, it is affordable and easy to set up.
The world of business is becoming more digital and remote with each passing day, and especially in the current era with the pandemic still going on, having a proper Video Collaboration Solution is necessary for any company. Consequently, each corporation should choose one of these methods that best suits their situation and perfectly aligns with their size, budget, and also their usual number of meetings per month. Regardless of whether you opt for the simplest Video Collaboration solutions like Skype, or more sophisticated solutions that involve the use of hardware-based devices like the Logitech MeetUp, it is undeniable that these solutions are much more sufficient, cheap, and convenient than costly, and arguably unnecessary, business trips.