I must say its rather exciting to see products evolving in the “huddle room” space. Its been one of those areas that has been catered for by DIYers for some time now. Of course its difficult to justify spending thousands of dollars on gear for the huddle rooms especially when many organizations have so many of them.
Thats why we have seen devices such as the Jabra Speak 510 and the Plantronics Calisto 620. To prove the point just look at the sudden birth of Polycoms RoundTable 100, its targeted at the huddle room space and that all for around $1000 (US).
So the stage is set for functional, easy to use, sub-$1000 huddle room solutions. Exciting!
The Logitech ConferenceCam falls into this space very well (at $499.99 (US). Its great for Huddle rooms (1-6 people).
Logitech have done a great job covering off the details in their Datasheet found here. Also you can view a YouTube video of it in action.
My first impression was that its aesthetically a beautiful product.
A quick overview of the product is as follows:-
It offers 3 connectivity modes:
- USB – as a Cam, mic and speakers
- HDMI (& WiDi) – Screen extend\duplicate (and mic & speakers if present). Wirelessly stream content to the ConferenceCam
- Blue Tooth – mic and speakers
Switching between connectivity modes is done by simply touching the mode you want on the top of the ConferenceCam.
The camera is superb!
- It supports HD Video 1080P
- 90 degress field of view with both digital and mechanical tilt
4x digital HD zoom
- The Lens is Auto focusing
The Audio is great provided the room isn’t too large, it provides:-
- Speaker phone has 360 degree sound with a 12foot range from the unit
- Full Duplex sound
- Acoustic echo and noise cancelling
What I really enjoyed is the inclusion of NFC. I paired my Nokia Lumina 920 (I know its older..) using the NFC and it worked very smoothly. Entering the huddle room while on an active mobile call, I was able to flick the call over to the ConferenceCam by simply placing my mobile phone next to the NFC tag, that is awesome!
Its also rather cool that you can connect to the unit over WiFi to stream content to the HDMI connected monitor. I used my Surface Pro running Windows 8.1 to test this functionality.
Once the HDMI monitor is connected, on screen prompts guide the user through the connect steps
The Remote functionality includes:-
- Camera – Pan tile Zoom
- Volume control Mute Call answer
- It also doubles as a privacy mode as it covers the cam lens and sits in place magnetically
The remote is also very responsive with little delay.
- Unfortunately the ConferenceCam doesn’t do WiDi\Screen-cast (Transmitting screen to HDMI) and USB for AV at the same time.Lync meetings often have content as well so the only way to get content and audio is to split the audio off to Bluetooth, of course that leaves video out of the equation.
- The WiDi\Screen-cast does see the HDMI monitor as a mic and speakers, the speaker component works but my test monitors don’t have mic inputs and yet the application seems to think its there (default HDMI behavior). This results in the plug and play behavior having no audible mic input. This confuses the user and in my experience, if its not plug-and-play its considered broken or too hard to use.
Overall I think this is a great idea and believe it will make a very positive impact in the huddle room space.