The COVID-19 epidemic has changed everyone’s working habits. Nowadays, a large number of company employees are working remotely, and visits and meetings between different companies are also usually conducted remotely. At the same time, the rapid development of cloud meetings such as Zoom and Teams also makes remote office and collaboration more effective. Now there is a growing demand for remote meeting and collaboration rooms. Here comes the question: how can we find the right hybrid meeting solution?
What a Hybrid Meeting Solution Should Include?
A hybrid meeting solution should not only possess the presentation and screen-casting function for in-person meetings, but also include the remote collaboration function.
Generally speaking, the key requirements for presentation and screen-casting in an in-person meeting include USB-C connection, HDMI connection, and wireless screen casting with dongle. In some meeting rooms, you may also need to cast screen from your mobile phone via AirPlay or Miracast.
In terms of remote meeting and collaboration, the key requirements usually include a wide-angle camera and a speakerphone. The camera should allow the remote side to view all the local participants clearly, and the speakerphone should be loud and clear enough to prevent the participants from listening fatigue. Besides, the pickup range of the speakerphone should be large enough to ensure that each side’s voice can be heard clearly by the other side.
Above all, the most important requirement for this type of meeting room system is that it should be plug-n-play and maintenance-free, thus it can save the hassles of IT maintenance and reduce extra costs.
Next, I will make a detailed description of the above requirements.
The Presentation System for In-Person Meetings
Though the mainstream laptops are built with a USB-C port, some old-fashioned computers don’t have one, or their USB-C interface doesn’t support video function. Thus, it is recommended that the meeting presentation system should be built with both USB-C and HDMI interfaces.
However, the wired video connection method can’t cover all the locations in a meeting room. In this situation, a presentation system supporting wireless screen-casting via dongle can be adopted, like Barco ClickShare and AV Access eShare W50 wireless presentation system.
What’s more, we also need to note that an ideal meeting presentation system should also support the function of turning on/off the TV automatically. Thus, the TV in the meeting room can be turned on automatically and the end user can cast screen instantly once the input source is connected or the dongle is connected.
Remote Collaboration Function
The essential devices for remote collaboration include webcams and speakerphones.
You can choose from a variety of webcams according to the size of your meeting room. One common type is a PTZ camera that supports optical zoom. It is ideal for large meeting rooms, as it can capture clear image even at a long distance. However, its price is relatively high. Also, you usually need an HDMI-to-USB cable to connect it.
Another type is a cost-effective webcam, which can work seamlessly with Zoom/Teams and also support ePTZ control. Some high-end webcams even support advanced AI functions like auto framing and auto tracking, ideal for small and medium-sized meeting rooms. Besides, they also cost less than PTZ cameras. However, it is recommended to choose a webcam with an ultra-wide angle, like more than 100 degrees, so all attendees sitting in front of the meeting table can be framed. Huddly series and AV Access BizEye80 4K AI webcam are among these ideal choices.
In terms of speakerphones, you can also select one according to the size of the meeting room and the number of attendees. The normal listening volume of users generally ranges from 65 to 68 db, which is more pleasant to their ears in a meeting. If you sit 4 meters away from the device and still want to hear clearly, the loudness of the speakerphone is required to be set to over 80 db. Besides, there are also requirements for the pickup range of its microphone. As for the speakerphone placed in the middle of the meeting room, the pickup range is required to be more than 3 meters. As for the speakerphone placed on the TV side, the pickup range is required to be farther. It is recommended to choose a speakerphone which supports cascade connection (more microphones can be added on to it).
Up to now, some brands have also developed video bar products for remote collaboration, which integrate webcam and speakerphone into one device. The representative brands are Poly Studio R30/X30, and WyreStorm HALO VX10/APOLLO VX20. In particular, WyreStorm APOLLO VX20 supports video input and wireless screen casting.
Taking all aspects into consideration, AV Access eShare W50 meeting presentation kit is an ideal solution for hybrid meetings in a small and medium-sized meeting room. Priced only at $713.43, the kit includes a presentation system device, a USB-C dongle, a 4K AI webcam, and a full-duplex speakerphone. For all-in-one video bars, you can choose Logitech CC4500e/CC5000, WyreStorm HALO VX10/APOLLO VX20, Poly Studio R30/X30, etc.