Boardroom video conferencing systems are the prestige end of video performance. While a simple laptop and external webcam might be enough to power your home office, the latest boardroom offerings are as much about presentation as they are about function.
To make sure you, your colleagues, and your business are always displayed in the most professional light possible, we’ve gathered together four high-end offerings that each provide a little something extra for those seeking a powerful, professional video calling solution for the boardroom.
Fortunately, it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever to outfit your boardroom. The products below come ready-to-use in convenient, user-friendly packages that can be installed to deliver high-end visuals without the need for an advanced IT degree.
We’ve found four boardroom video conferencing solutions that each offer something unique in the high-end visual communications market:
- Logitech’s affordable, high-quality boardroom innovation
- Polycom’s high-tech version of a traditional boardroom setup
- Cisco’s dual-screen multimedia display
- DTEN’s digital whiteboard vision of video conferencing
Let’s get started with a consumer-friendly version of the traditional boardroom video conference configuration.
Boardroom Video Conferencing Solutions
- Logitech Rally
- Polycom RealPresence Group 500
- Cisco Webex Room 55 Dual
- DTEN D7 and Zoom Rooms for Touch
1. Logitech Rally
Logitech’s heritage is in consumer electronics. It’s no surprise that their video conferencing products are designed to install with plug-and-play simplicity and arrive at a small-to-medium business friendly price. With Rally, Logitech is attempting to deliver all that value while producing a high-end video system that will impress the C-Suite inhabitants of any boardroom. They have come up with a completely modular system that can be customized by the IT or facilities team to suit a room’s size by adding mic pods and speakers.
Logitech’s Rally package is built around a 4K-capable PTZ camera with optical lens that offers 4K or 1440p clarity at 30 frames per second (fps) and 1080p at an extra-smooth 60fps. The Rally package features Logitech’s RightSense suite of smart technologies such as automated image cropping, camera movement, and focus, along with advanced noise cancellation, light correction, and audio enhancement. The Rally setup uses a simplified system of cables–just one between the display hub and table hub, both of which have connections for wired content sharing.
While the price tag of the package is higher than any other Logitech video conferencing product, it is still the most affordable boardroom video conferencing solution ($1999 for the basic package, which includes one speaker and one mic) that still meets the needs of high-end users.
2. Polycom RealPresence Group 500
Polycom is going through something of a transformation. The long-time producer of on-premises video conferencing hardware was recently acquired by audio specialist Plantronics in a $2 billion deal that will no doubt see it embrace more cloud-based video conference delivery. Its hardware legacy, however, means the company still provides some of the most advanced video systems on the market.
The RealPresence Group series showcases Polycom’s rich in-room history with solutions that cater to spaces of different sizes, from small huddle rooms right up to large conference rooms. The 500 series is aimed at groups of up to 20 people and is led by the EagleEye IV camera, which produces HD visuals at a smooth 60fps. If you pair this camera with the top-end EagleEye Producer peripheral, you can automate your video meetings with facial recognition technology that automatically finds participants and crops the image to suit. Audio input and output are built into the camera to minimize cabling and the system is controlled from a touch-sensitive control hub–though it’s wise to remember that the series comes with a five-figure price tag.
3. Cisco Webex Room 55 Dual
Cisco’s Webex Room series is a little different than most in-room video conferencing systems in that the camera is incorporated into the multipurpose screen display. The long-time industry leader in unified communications technologies has shifted away from stand-alone camera dynamics to instead focus on the presentation side of video conferencing. The resulting two-screen Room 55 Dual offering is an expensive but spectacular demonstration of this focus on wow-factor, with two 55-inch screens that are as much about multimedia display as conveying the faces of remote meeting attendees.
The camera still packs an HD punch and includes automated speaker tracking and framing, but the focus is on more unique features such as an automated wake-up function that turns on the system when someone enters the room and can recognize individual users through their paired mobile device. It’s an all-in-one solution that ships with microphones, speakers, and touch screen controls, but the bulky display will limit where and how it is deployed, and, like the Polycom option above, it’s pricey–in the neighborhood of $30,000.
4. DTEN D7 and Zoom Rooms for Touch
Zoom’s success as a startup that bloomed into a tech unicorn before going public as a multi-billion-dollar company means it now commands the attention of leading video conferencing hardware makers. Like Skype before it, Zoom now stands as a certified value-add for manufacturers that want to capture existing video conferencing users.
That is certainly the reason why digital whiteboard-maker DTEN joined the list of companies designing hardware solutions to be paired with cloud-based Zoom Rooms video conferencing. The DTEN D7 with Zoom Rooms is an all-in-one boardroom video conferencing solution that incorporates video calling within the multimedia display power of a multi-touchpoint digital whiteboard. The unit ships with a detachable 4K-capable wide-angle camera and 16-element microphone array that allows for active speaker tracking to make meetings more manageable.
The reason to value this solution over standard camera and microphone setups is the whiteboard–it lets you use a stylus or just your own hands to draw, manipulate text and graphics, and collaborate on projects in real-time.
At around $4,000, it is significantly cheaper than the other boardroom video conferencing solutions we’ve listed–with the exception of Logitech Rally–and is best suited to creative meetings where group collaboration is encouraged.