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Wireless and the huddle room

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In their commentary on this year’s InfoComm, Wainhouse Research announced that “the Huddle Room Eagle has finally landed”. Key to this is the welter of announcements of enterprise quality wireless technologies. AV News looks at some of the most interesting.

Huddle rooms (or spaces), BYOD and wireless technologies go hand-in-hand, and, of late, products formerly dismissed as ‘gadgets’ have been reintroduced, and even re-engineered, as essential elements of a huddle room solution. A, perhaps, surprising number of these were on show at the recent InfoComm show, dubbed by Wainhouse as “Three Days of Fun in the Sun”.

AMX Vibe

 

The AMX Acendo Vibe 5100 is a web conferencing sound bar with an integrated wide-angle camera.

 

With the trend toward open working environments, small meeting spaces are becoming more and more important. It is critical that these spaces be well suited for quick, extremely intuitive collaboration, so as not to interrupt the daily work flow. Bringing Your Own Device into meeting spaces that lack technology means a group huddling around a laptop and trying to hear, and speak, using the laptop audio and video (which is really meant for an individual rather than a group).

Audio

With the inflexibility and wiring overhead imposed by traditional audio solutions, the prevalence of wireless audio came as no real surprise. Sennheiser, for example, showcased a comprehensive range of dedicated business products. The new TeamConnect Wireless Tray-M Set, is a more compact configuration of the innovative wireless conferencing solution for up to 12 participants.

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Huddle Hub One connects wireless mobile devices and joins them to a single videoconference connection, transforming them into a multi-camera, multi-screen videoconference solution

 

Andy Niemann, Director Business Communication said: “We are excited to offer the opportunity for US customers to learn more about our growing ‘Sennheiser for Business’ offering. This comprehensive 360° portfolio for the corporate market includes innovative solutions for personal communication, meeting and conferencing, presentation and visitor information.”

“Across all four of these areas there are huge transformations occurring as digital technologies transform the nature of the workplace, of collaboration and customer engagement. High quality audio is therefore becoming a vital asset to organisations of every size and in every industry.”

Collaboration

For the spatially challenged, scaling down both the size and the component count of huddle room solutions is a common concern. This year, Sennheiser expanded its TeamConnect Wireless portable wireless conference system with the TeamConnect Wireless Tray-M Set. This more compact configuration – with two rather than four satellites – is a perfect solution for dedicated meeting rooms and conferences for up to 12 participants.

Boasting award-winning design, TeamConnect Wireless is described as providing excellent sound for online meetings. The system delivers multiple connectivity options with any smartphone, laptop or PC via Bluetooth, USB, or 3.5 mm jack – brilliant flexibility to cater for a broad range of Unified Communications demands.

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Combined functions

Combining functions is another reduce the real estate occupied by the solution. The AMX Acendo Vibe 5100 is a web conferencing sound bar with an integrated wide-angle camera. The integrated JBL speakers, far-field microphones, and DSP algorithms are said to ensure everyone in the room is seen and heard clearly. Additionally, because the camera and microphones are integrated into the same device the potential for echoing during the call is eliminated.

HDMI, USB and Bluetooth connectivity support BYOD environments as well as integration with Acendo Core for an even more intuitive room collaboration solution. CEC screen control turns the display on and off in response to triggers. Dedicated audio inputs and outputs that can also be used to integrate Acendo Vibe with other room technology, such as hearing-enhanced systems.

Acendo Vibe’s CEC Display Control will turn the huddle room display on and off in response to triggers, making it even easier for users to get started with their meeting. For example, by plugging a laptop into Acendo Vibe, the display will turn on and show the laptop content. Because this is all done with CEC, there are no additional cables or programming required therefore simplifying installation.

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In the UK, i3 is distributed by Anders and Kern, provide local support and training for the Belgian manufacturer.

 

All-in-one

When we first came across Yamaha’s CS-700 it was a case of ‘hats off’ – here is somebody that really understands that Huddle Rooms are small. These new spaces demand technologies that are more convenient and enable a seamless collaboration experience so users can easily come together to exchange information, share ideas, and collaborate at any time. But the key point about the CS-700 is that it is an all-in-one collaboration solution that is not only integrated but it is wall-mounted.

“The Yamaha CS-700 is the first of many solutions that combine the market expertise of Revolabs with the product expertise of Yamaha to deliver excellent audio, video, and collaboration capabilities,” said Yoshi Tsugawa, director, Yamaha Commercial Audio Department. “The CS-700 is the first product in this initiative to demonstrate Yamaha’s commitment to the business collaboration market and improving the meeting experience at every level.”

The Yamaha CS-700 is described as the first solution of its kind to bring together comprehensive audio, video, and collaboration capabilities in a wall-mounted system. Combining Revolabs’ expertise in microphone technology, Yamaha’s leadership in loudspeaker engineering, and new high-quality video and screen sharing capabilities, the CS-700 provides an affordable, simple-to-install, high-fidelity system for successful teamwork from a single USB connection.

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Sennheiser expanded its TeamConnect Wireless portable wireless conference system with the TeamConnect Wireless Tray-M Set.

For clear, stress-free audio, the CS-700 boasts a beamforming microphone array, ensuring that every word spoken is perfectly captured and delivered to the far end. In addition, four speaker elements provide the highest degree of audio coverage for all the participants in the room. Through the integrated USB port, the CS-700 is ready to connect to the organization’s chosen unified communications platform, such as Microsoft Skype for Business, Cisco Spark, GoToConference, Google Chromebox for Meetings, Vidyo, WebEx, Zoom, BlueJeans®, and many others.

The unit’s special wide-angle video camera captures all meeting participants in the room, even those close to the camera. The optical solution ensures a high “pixel-per-face” resolution necessary for participants to recognize nuanced facial expressions that are vital to effective meetings.

Fast learners

To be fair, those doyens of the wireless Huddle Room Logitech have also picked up on the fact that organisations suffering space constraints favour solutions that keep desks clear.

Neither of the company’s latest products, the BRIO 4K webcam and the all-in-one collaboration solution Logitech MeetUp, occupy desk space. The MeetUp device includes a 120-degree field of view camera with Ultra HD 4K video, three microphones, an integrated speaker, and an RF remote.

AV News reviewed MeetUp last month in a remote video conference scenario and found: “MeetUp is easy to set up and operate. One of things that has always impressed us is the industrial design of Logitech products.          Setting the product up is really just a matter of plugging it in and connecting a USB cable to a computer.”

“Would I swap my Logitech Group for MeetUp? No, but then I am quite happy with the desktop space I have to give up. If I was a victim of a coup or another reorganisation, I would be too upset to switch to Logitech’s wall-mounted option.”

Ultimate spacesaver

A relatively new entrant to the market, in our experience anyway, HRT (Huddle Room Technologies), used InfoComm to introduce a device that allows up to six (6) local meeting participants to use the cameras and displays on their mobile devices to participate in a multi-party video calls.

Huddle Hub One connects wireless mobile devices and joins them to a single videoconference connection, transforming them into a multi-camera, multi-screen videoconference solution requiring no other video equipment.

The solution receives a video stream from each device camera, combines them into a single layout, optionally highlights the active speaker, and sends the mixed stream to the user’s conference software.

Users can also connect their wireless mobile devices to the Huddle Hub One, and present the screen of any device directly to the screen of all the others. No matter where you are in your company, when connected to the Huddle Hub One users can make a presentation with no other video equipment.

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AV News reviewed MeetUp last month in a remote video conference scenario and found: “MeetUp is easy to set up and operate. One of things that has always impressed us is the industrial design of Logitech products.

 

 

 

Complete solution

If your customer prefers a muddle room solution that employs the latest wireless technology from a more orthodox AV heritage, you might look at the solution from i3-Technologies. The name i3 (iii) stands for interactive, integrate and inspiring and their mission “is to provide every learning and meeting environment in the world with affordable, easy access to inspiring ways of working”. In the UK, i3 is distributed by Anders and Kern, provide local support and training for the Belgian manufacturer.

i3HUDDLE

The i3 HUDDLE 2.0 is a hassle-free, all-in-one meeting solution that connects users with colleagues in a secure environment. It gives easy access to Skype, Excel, PowerPoint and the i3MEETINGHUB (a collaboration tool where remote and local users can interact, brainstorm and present together). It also integrates with the i3SYNC Touch (a wireless and lightweight screen-sharing tool) and i3NOTES, the technology that allows you to make notes and ideas with digital ink and then handily email these over to yourself in PDF format or download to your mobile device.

The software offers customisation options and addresses the importance of personal and company security, allowing users to clean the screen of all data by simply clicking on the ‘Exit’ button. The screen also features integrated sound bar with easy volume control, and C-Sense technology which adds to its high level of responsiveness as it does not rely on pressure. This intuitive and sleek whiteboard connects users in a secure environment, increasing team efficiency at the same time.

i3SYNC

The i3SYNC is a plug-and-play wireless presenting tool which changes the way users give presentations. It is a wireless device which allows users to share the huddle room screen with other participants. The tool is OS independent and is compatible with any HDMI device, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and cameras.

It is only a matter of plugging the wireless transmitter and receiver in your device. There is no installation required meaning can be share instantly. Users can easily switch between screens with the push of a button. This means they can share images, files, presentations, videos and much more in high quality on a large screen.

The device allows up to 254 users to share their screen, promoting collaboration and flexibility in the meeting room. The is no need to struggle with cables or re-adjusting resolutions. i3SYNC is a true plug-and-play device, which allows workgroups to save valuable time.

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In the UK, i3 is distributed by Anders and Kern, provide local support and training for the Belgian manufacturer.


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