At Northeast Digital Integrators, we are continually working with our clients, vendors, and suppliers to find the best AV installations for our commercial and education clients. Recently, our customers have been asking for more effective and easier to use systems for hosting online video conferencing.
Video conferencing has really exploded over the last few years. Until recently, it was limited to large corporations and, even those who had access to it were hesitant to use it due to complicated setups and less than optimal performance. But thanks to new products like Zoom Rooms, video conferencing has become an attractive option for organizations of all sizes to allow remote attendance to meetings, lectures, and other gatherings via a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
Multiple Configuration Options
One of the best parts about new systems like Zoom Rooms is that they don’t necessarily require you to replace all of your current equipment, even if it is a few years old. These systems use the computer itself to code and decode the audio and video. They also don’t require the latest, most powerful computers. The software is not especially hardware intensive, meaning that it can run on older PCs or Macs. Newer machines can be used with older VGA components using readily available and inexpensive adapters.
Most typical Zoom Rooms video conferencing configurations are in small to medium rooms like conference rooms and multi-purpose spaces. However, with the right equipment and installations, there is really no limit to room size. Large conference rooms and even auditoriums can be turned into Zoom Rooms.
The size of the space dictates the complexity of the hardware required. The most basic setup requires a computer, an iPad, or another tablet to control the system, a display or projector, a camera, a microphone, and speakers. For small spaces, USB connected camera, microphone, and speaker combination units can create an excellent experience at a much lower cost. Integrated products like these also make the system much easier to install, setup, and operate.
For larger spaces, it may require the knowledge and experience of a professional installer to review options like multiple PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras, built-in speakers, and microphone systems. The technology built into Zoom Rooms makes it perfect for these more complex setups. The software can automatically choose the right microphone, depending on who is speaking and optimize audio levels. With multiple cameras, the operator can select and control the camera right from the iPad controller and, with the right camera, even zoom, pan, tilt, or choose a camera preset.
A Growing List of Features
Zoom Rooms offers a myriad of additional features. Multiple iPads or other tablets can be configured so that one can control the room, and the other can be used as digital signage to display the room schedule and when the room is in use. Via the tablet controller, meetings can be started with just one button. It also only takes one touch to initiate screen sharing allowing anyone in the room to share the screen from their laptop, phone, or tablet to the in-room screen and to all the online participants. Meetings can be recorded with just a touch of a button or pre-configured to record automatically.
Zoom Rooms can also be easily integrated with corporate and office calendars like Office 365, Exchange, and Google Calendar. Anyone in the organization can set up a meeting in any available Zoom Room and have it ready to start with just a touch.
Even More Options
Zoom Rooms is a subscription-based service with a monthly fee of $49 per room. That gets you unlimited multipoint video calling, wireless presentation, room signage, room scheduling, and more. For those with existing touchscreen-enabled displays, the software allows you to open up to twelve whiteboards at a time, share them with all meeting participants, and save the contents. Additional features are also available for additional charges such as toll-free dial-in numbers for audio-only participants and webinar hosting for up to 10,000 remote viewers.
Let Us Help
Zoom Rooms is an excellent option for organizations looking to get started with or take the next step with video conferencing. However, it is not the only option. There are packages available from Microsoft, GoToMeeting, Ring Central, and others.
If you want to learn about all the hardware, software, and configuration options, contact Northeast Digital Integrators. Let their dedicated team of audio visual professionals help you find the perfect setup for your organization.