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Modern meeting room equipment allows businesses to seamlessly transmit high quality sound and video between two or more people in different locations in real time, meaning that you no longer need to be face to face to have a productive meeting – and during times when it is often impractical to meet in person, quality is key.
Once the preserve of larger enterprises with pockets deep enough to afford specialist equipment, the cost of a professional video conferencing setup has tumbled over the past few years, and is now at a level where it has become a viable option for businesses of all sizes.
What to include in your meeting room solution?
There are relatively few pieces of kit required to set up a professional video conferencing suite, offering a low barrier to getting started regardless of your budget.
At the heart of any conference solution is exceptional video. A specialised high-definition video conferencing camera or webcam helps to enhance the illusion that participants are meeting in person. This facilitates more natural conversations, ensuring that you can properly see and be seen by the other participants, thereby improving team collaboration and communication.
When it comes to Video you should be looking at one of the options below:
- Individual users: You should go for a business-class webcam which offers a minimum resolution of 1080p (full HD). This will be sufficient to provide professional quality video conference calls in a single person desktop environment. Our choice for this is the KONFTEL CAM10
- Huddle room for 2-3 people: For larger meeting spaces, our advice is to go for a camera with a native resolution of 4K (Ultra HD). The higher resolution gives a much better picture clarity and wider field of view, which makes it easier to see more detail on the faces of people positioned further from the camera. At this specification level, you can also expect additional picture framing features and functionality such as pan, tilt & zoom. We recommend the KONFTEL CAM20.
- Medium meeting room (4-8 people): As the size of the meeting space increases, so does the need to give more consideration to the quality of the optics of your camera. At this size, we recommend cameras with an optical glass lens, which is similar to a telephoto lens on a conventional stills camera, as well as plumping for full physical pan, tilt & zoom functionality. The KONFTEL CAM50 offers an excellent balance of price vs. specification at this level.
- Large meeting room (9+ people): At the top end, you should be looking to purchase a camera capable of 4K pan/tilt/zoom. This helps to ensure excellent image quality despite the larger number of people. One additional consideration at this level is whether or not the Software can manage a 4K image.
High quality Audio
Audio quality is often overlooked in favour of video. However, the choice, quantity and positioning of microphones can have a huge impact on the quality of your meetings. Audio hardware needs to be tailored to the shape and size of your environment, and the acoustic characteristics of the room must also be considered – for example, whether soundproofing is required to help dampen reverberation or reduce external noise.
Here are our choices:
- Individual users or small huddle rooms: For 1-3 person setups, we would recommend the Konftel Ego - a small, portable Bluetooth speaker phone with HD audio. It’s small enough to fit in a laptop bag but offers crystal clear audio, both that recorded and sent via microphone and the output through the in-built speaker.
- Medium meeting room (4-8 people): for setups of this size, we advise clients to look at devices which include beamforming microphones. Beamforming allows the microphones to focus in on the source of an audio signal such as the person currently talking – even if they are moving around. This reduces background noise and improves audio quality markedly. Our favourite is the KONFTEL 70, which offers Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and includes an in-built battery which provides up to 9 hours of talk time.
- Large meeting room (9+ people): for boardrooms and similarly large spaces, you may want to consider a solution which allows daisy-chaining of devices. This means you can incorporate multiple speakerphones for simultaneous use – allowing for crystal clear audio no matter how many participants there are. We recommend the KONFTEL 800, which supports up to 3 devices in a single daisy chain, and can act as a bridge for up to 5-way calls.
So you’ve now got a setup which includes a screen, laptop, speakerphone and camera. How do you connect them all together?
The KONFTEL Hub is exactly the solution for achieving this. All the devices in your setup connect directly to the hub and can easily be controlled using your computer. All the cables you need are included in the box.
A final consideration is that most meeting spaces are working on half occupancy at the moment and tend to be spaced further apart, therefore need a bigger microphones and pan tilt cameras.
What happens next?
Green Monkey AV are specialists in delivering turnkey video conferencing solutions. We are equipped to handle everything from design to installation, and in delivering the training you and your team need to make the most of your new system.
GMAV provide an initial consultation to take into account what is most important to you – sound, vision or both, and then work out the best solution for your budget.
We look at the size and shape of the room, and the number of people who will typically be participating in your calls. If required, we also consider additional smart microphones or daisy-chain connections to maximise the audio experience.
We provide written quotation within a few days of attending site, and once this has been approved our engineers will schedule the work at the earliest availability to suit you – this is typically within a few days of order confirmation.