5 Pieces of Video Conferencing Hardware for Meeting Room Collaboration

It’s no secret that video conferencing has become a fundamental communication tool for businesses around the world.  Essential for collaboration between partners, customers and colleagues; the technology has quickly grown from its early adopter stage to today’s form of mass market dissemination. 

So, what is video conferencing and how is it used in meeting spaces?  In its simplest form, video conferencing is an online meeting between two parties where each party has visibility to the other and can listen and interact with them in real time.

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Video conferencing can happen in two ways; either point-to-point, or multi-point communication.  Point-to-point video-enabled meetings are when one person or group is connected to another.  The individual or party often uses hardware such as a laptop or a desktop with an integrated camera and microphone or a room-based solution where the video conferencing equipment is stationary to that setting. 

Multi-point video conferencing is similar to point-to-point in terms of hardware but enables three or more locations to be connected together.  All video call participants can see, speak, and listen to each other during the session, as well as share content if needed.  Users have a “grid” view of the entire group on the call. Using a technology called voice activated switching (or VAS), the system distinguishes who the speaker is and displays a larger image of that person on the screen. 

If you are thinking about incorporating a video conferencing solution for meeting room use, you might be wondering how to get started.  What are the basics when it comes to video conferencing hardware?  Leveraging a video conferencing system in your conference room requires a few essential pieces of video conference call equipment.

When DIY-ing Isn’t The Answer

Thinking about a DIY video conference system for your meeting room? You may want to think again. 

Yes, you can buy some equipment on the internet. But, is it worth sacrificing reliability, professionalism and user experience?

Audio visual systems, like meeting room video conferencing solutions, are designed by professional audiovisual engineers who understand the technology options, system design standards, and how technology fits within your workflow. What does this all add up to? A team that can design a system which takes into account unique room features and functionality. Professional integrators work extensively with video conferencing platforms and have the knowledge needed to select technologies and plan a system. That means you get a solution with features that support your business’s workflow without wasting the time and money associated with DIY trial and error, which often leads to low reliability, difficulty communicating and nests of tangled cords.

Generally, a video conferencing solution involves but is not limited to the following:

Display

Camera or Webcam

Microphone & Speakers

Codec Unit

Control Panel

In short, the solution requires five basic pieces of video conferencing hardware and a software program, such as Skype for Business or Zoom, to tie everything together.  Each piece of this system plays a major role in your conference room AV strategy. These disparate technologies are commonly manufactured by different companies. An audio visual integration company will enable each piece of video conferencing equipment to work together, creating a positive meeting experience for the users.

The first piece of video conferencing hardware is the display. The display acts as a “window,” and allows you to see the party you are communicating with.  In a business environment, it is best to use professional grade HD LCD Displays in your conference room or boardroom.  Depending on how you want to use your video conferencing system, your integrator may recommend a second display to allow for content sharing while still viewing far-end participants. 

The camera allows the group you are communicating with to see your team.  This is mounted either above or below the display depending on where participants will be in the room (your AV integrator can provide a recommendation on camera location).  The goal is to make the experience as natural as possible.

Users will communicate with the other party via their microphone and speakers. This can be incorporated into a single piece of hardware or stand-alone technologies for large conference rooms.

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A Codec (compression/de-compression device) takes audio or video feed, compresses and transmits the data over a network.  The Codec can be a piece of hardware or software depending on use and compatibility.  Again, your AV integrator can discuss options, pros and cons of different platforms and provide a recommendation that aligns with your business needs.

Last is the control panel, which controls the room. It lets you start a conference, adjust the volume, and share your screen. It may integrate with a scheduling system and feature a push-to-join option, or users can type in the meeting number on the interface to join the call.

Video conferencing can bring colleagues, customers, and businesses together no matter the distance.  It helps remote employees feel more connected and has also been known to increase meeting productivity overall.  Furthermore, video conferencing reduces travel costs for many businesses and enables teams to feel better engaged during meetings.  So, why not make the most out of your meetings?