VIdeo Conferencing Hardware

Hey Guys,

In the 7 years, we have been running coworking, I have noticed a shift from meeting spaces that have the optional extra video conferencing system to it being a must in almost any meeting room that is 3 people or more.

The challenge is selecting the right video conferencing hardware that can support a wide range of solutions since every company who is a member of our space has a different software stack they prefer.

SO… what are your recommendations for video conferencing hardware? If you would like to expand to your complete physical tech for a meeting space, I am also very interested in that. And what programs do you notice your members using most often for video conferencing?

Carl

I would strongly challenge the idea that this is a "must."

It's something to break, to maintain, to replace, and to worry about training people to use. We've tried several "meeting room" boxes and have sent them all back in favor of Zoom and Zoom rooms for our own stuff and letting everyone bring their own.

Plus, like you said, everybody has their own platform preferences and requirements. So whatever you choose, you can expect a large % of people to NOT use it.

Choosing hardware and systems like this makes more sense for an office who has their own space, but far less so for shared resources.

The two most high value improvements I've seen for video conferencing is adjustable table lighting to help people look nicer on camera, and dedicated Ethernet cables and adapters to ensure people can and do plug their computers in for the most stable internet connection possible.

-Alex

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On Nov 19, 2018, 4:35 PM -0500, Carl Sullivan <[email protected]>, wrote:

Hey Guys,

In the 7 years, we have been running coworking, I have noticed a shift from meeting spaces that have the optional extra video conferencing system to it being a must in almost any meeting room that is 3 people or more.

The challenge is selecting the right video conferencing hardware that can support a wide range of solutions since every company who is a member of our space has a different software stack they prefer.

SO... what are your recommendations for video conferencing hardware? If you would like to expand to your complete physical tech for a meeting space, I am also very interested in that. And what programs do you notice your members using most often for video conferencing?

Carl
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Alex touches on an often overlooked element of coworking vs a standard office. In typical office environment the IT department controls the laptops as well as the meeting room equipment. In a coworking space that is not the case. Anything that requires extra software to install is an extra step members will need to do and extra help your staff is going to need to help them with. While it may seem “easy” when you do it once, it’s more like death by a thousand cuts. And of course there are always members that bring in an old dusty laptop with outdated software and you have to find a way to support that as well.

I had the opportunity to buy fancy systems and instead opted to put a nice camera on the TV and extend USB + HDMI to the middle of the table. This leaves the door open for any system they want to run on their computer.

···

Jacob Sayles

Collaborative Systems Designer

Kanawha Design Studio
https://kanawha.design

Yep. Great advice.

···

Gene Ward

Co-Founder and Director of Community Engagement

Cell: 202-658-6329 | Email: gene…@befunction.al | Website: www.befunction.al

They are all good points, perhaps I can expand on what I mean.

Currently, we set up all our meeting rooms with an appropriate sized TV, then;

  • hook up an HDMI cable with a mini DVI>HDMI Dongle and a USB-C>HDMI Dongle

  • Attach an Apple TV (for Airplay), and

  • Attach a Google Chromecast device

This set up allows 95% of all devices (inc mobiles and tablets) to use the screen for meeting purposes, and we really enjoy the flexibility it gives to all members.

The challenge is to now pick hardware for both videos conferencing via multiple computers, tablet and mobile devices, plus have the ability to use mobiles for audio-only conference calls.

Alex challenged me in that this is not a “must”, well our community (and many businesses in Sydney in general) are not head offices, and 80% of the companies that use our space have teams based elsewhere. So for our community video conferencing facilities are an integral part of their workflow and a feature that we would love to support to the best of our ability.

Currently, we are testing out a Logitech Group COnferencing unit https://www.mwave.com.au/product/logitech-group-video-conferencing-system-for-mid-to-largesized-meeting-rooms-ab84646?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvYnH1ILk3gIVlIqPCh1E_A6pEAQYAiABEgKf3PD_BwE but it has been a little clunky, and I have therefore been looking into other options, especially the Google Hangouts Hardware https://enterprise.google.com/intl/en_au/chrome/devices/google-hangouts-meet-hardware-kit/ given that the majority of our community ues the Google Enterprise suites to run their email, calendars, tasks and online drive.

In addition to this, an increasingly critical component of our tech stack is the use of Google Calendar for us to sync meeting rooms across multiple platforms. Given that when using google calendar natively, it will automatically generate an online video chat code (through Google Hangouts) plus I am assuming it also has the ability (via the chrome store) to add in apps to the other major platforms (slack, skype, zoom, appear.in, go to webinar, etc.)

All that said, I would love to know if there is a solution that works well in your community?

Carl

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On Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 8:35:59 AM UTC+11, Carl Sullivan wrote:

Hey Guys,

In the 7 years, we have been running coworking, I have noticed a shift from meeting spaces that have the optional extra video conferencing system to it being a must in almost any meeting room that is 3 people or more.

The challenge is selecting the right video conferencing hardware that can support a wide range of solutions since every company who is a member of our space has a different software stack they prefer.

SO… what are your recommendations for video conferencing hardware? If you would like to expand to your complete physical tech for a meeting space, I am also very interested in that. And what programs do you notice your members using most often for video conferencing?

Carl

Hi!
What we found works well is a mini PC hooked up behind the TV with a web camera connected and fixed on top of the tv with a full view (as much as possible) of the room.
This allows anyone to come in and log into their platform of choice. The PC has our admin log in and then a guest log in with mouse and keyboard put on the center of the table for quick grab.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

-Jana