Better videoconferencing is the investment that pays for itself

This year has seen a surge in the demand for video conference products, and with good reason. The shift to working from home and the total ban on travel means that almost all face-to-face meetings are happening with video conferencing playing man-in-the-middle.

This situation might evolve, but as a business owner and a technology expert I can say with some certainty: we’re not going back to the way things used to be. The seamless access to my team, our clients, and new business development prospects has made us more effective, more efficient, and equipped to produce great work.

Just “getting by” with low-quality webcams and integrated microphones doesn’t cut it anymore; our clients expect a level of quality. Your presence in a meeting is a subtle business card: if you don’t look good and sound good in your digital meeting, it reflects on you.

That’s why I started looking at quality video conferencing as an investment. We equip our teams with fast computers and high-quality software; now that we’re starting to re-connect in person as a team, we needed a conferencing solution that would let us connect with our clients like they were in the room.

I’ve got three solutions that we’re implementing, all for less than the price of a Pro-level laptop each. All team members are going to make use of these solutions, making the cost easy to justify. Here’s what they are and why.

Logitech MeetUp

After watching my team crowd around a single laptop before COVID-19 and realizing that can’t be a reality in a post-COVID world, I started to think about what a good solution would look like. After doing some research, I found Logitech MeetUp, designed for small conference rooms and huddle rooms.

It has a super-wide 120-degree field of view along with a pan/tilt lens that means everyone in the room can be clearly visible on camera while also at a safe distance from each other. The integrated microphone is optimized for the acoustics you’ll usually find in meeting room spaces, making it easy for everyone to be heard without leaning in to a laptop or yelling across the room.

Picture quality is right up there with up to 4K of resolution for video, an advanced lens, and a 3-microphone array with a custom tuned speaker. We can connect to it via Bluetooth for audio, and it can be mounted just about anywhere. There’s a remote to control the pan/tilt, and you can use PC, Mac, and Chrome computers with the USB connection.

Logitech Group Conference Camera System with Extension Microphones

We’re putting this one into one of our larger conference rooms; the standalone camera, base unit, and extension microphone, gives us the flexibility we need in this space. Full HD 1080p video at a smooth 30 frames per second delivers the quality I want. We can control it with the included remote, and the extension microphone can go wherever we need it.

Logitech Rally Premium Ultra-HD ConferenceCam System with Automatic Camera Control

For the big conference room, we’re setting up the Logitech Rally. It delivers up to 4K studio-quality video, crystal clear voices, and integration with the key apps that we use: Zoom, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts.

The modular approach to audio means we can cover the whole room for sound, and smart cable management keeps our space tidy.

The Huddle Room

An investment in video conferencing is a commitment to the kind of high-quality communications that our clients have come to expect, but it’s good for our internal communications too.

Our “Huddle Rooms” let the team work together, even when some are working from home. For the time being we’re cycling days of the week our staff can come in to the office while physical distancing, so the idea of the huddle room, where they can integrate together no matter who needs to be on the call, has been perfect for us.

According to a Wainhouse Research survey, people join video conferences from huddle rooms 40% of the time, more often than from any other location. These rooms have unique requirements for success, including a wide-angle lens with pan and tilt to ensure everyone in the room is seen, and built-in audio to save space. The Logitech solutions deliver on those requirements, making sure we’re set up for success.

Making the right move

Adding the expense of higher quality conference solutions to our costs for the year wasn’t something we did lightly, but after analyzing the cost in relation to how many people on our team will use them, along with how it will facilitate doing the best work we can, it wasn’t hard to pull the trigger.

It’s time to re-visit your conferencing needs and see if you’ve got the right stuff or if you’re selling yourself short.


By Mike Agerbo

July 13, 2020

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