There has been an unprecedented rise in the demand for increased connectivity in workplaces over the last few years.
Consequently, all-encompassing work tools like video conferencing and unified communications are becoming essential tools, to cater to the needs of better connectivity in educational institutes, schools and workspaces for both in-office and remote meeting participants.
When it comes to implementing VC and UC solutions though, organisations look for ways to keep costs affordable, even as they provide access to as many teams as possible. As a result, they are increasingly choosing All-in-One collaboration solutions as an alternative to traditional meeting room setups which consist of several components – video, audio, video conferencing and control integrated together. Instead, All-in-One collaboration; which is simpler to implement, maintain and more cost-effective.
All-in-One Systems are a Powerful Collaboration Multiplier
Within the enterprise, there are several types of rooms that specialise in digital collaboration, differing in functionality and scope. Huddle rooms, mid-sized meeting and conference rooms to large boardrooms are extensively being extensively used to conduct meetings and make important decisions that define organisational trajectory.
All-in-One systems – which provide several of the elements needed to enable video collaboration in a single unit – make things simpler for the organisations, users and the IT or facility management teams.
To begin with, these systems are more affordable especially when there are a large number of smaller meeting rooms to be equipped. They work very well with smaller groups, and can be incorporated without the extensive cabling and wiring which has traditionally been required even for simple video conferencing setups.
Their simplicity begins with the replacement of hardware based VC codecs with a Soft VC system that is usually cloud-based (Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Meet and Webex). The speakers, connectivity interfaces, microphones and control interface are incorporated into a compact unit, which can be wall-mounted or desk-mounted depending on the room’s layout. In most cases this self-contained solution is sufficient for calls with groups of 2-6 people. In larger rooms, where better audio and video capabilities are required, an ecosystem of certified devices helps to upgrade the systems capabilities — allowing additional microphones, displays, and controls to be incorporated.
What to Look for in Terms of Features and Benefits
All-in-One collaboration systems are available in various form factors and with varying capabilities.
Here are some features that enhance the ease of use and flexibility of the system and should be looked out for while evaluating these systems.
- High Quality Quality Video and Audio During Calls
- Audio and video quality are critical elements for successful and productive meetings with remote participants.
- Hence having high-quality hardware — like the microphone and speakers is critical. Look for high-definition video (at least 1080p) and HD Audio support as well as audio optimisation features like echo cancellation and background noise reduction.
- Support for Interoperability
- As our use of video conferencing has evolved to include the organisations’ external stakeholders, so have the range of video conferencing services employed. As a result, interoperability has become an important consideration to ensure that teams can interact with external stakeholders — customers, consultants, partners and media — smoothly. Choosing a VC platform that supports open standards allows smooth connectivity with Soft VC, Cloud VC and hardware codec based systems. It enables flexibility, improves collaboration and involves only a one- time investment.
- One Touch Join
- Usability has become an important aspect of the modern video conferencing experience, as users expect them to be intuitive and friction-free to operate. This makes One-touch Join an important feature as participants can just walk into the room and dial into calls by pressing just one button. Meetings can also be scheduled easily using Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar to invite other participants conveniently.
Which solution Best Fits the needs of your Team?
Organisations can now choose from a variety of All-in-One solutions from a range of manufacturers. Which one fits their needs best depends on the capabilities they require and their budgets for each meeting room
- The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S
- This is a “true” all-in-one collaboration device as it incorporates a touch-sensitive XX” flat LED display as well as the other elements required for audio and video conferencing. It is a mobile system which can bring full VC capability into almost any meeting room. The microphone and speaker are also built into the unit along with the embedded VC system.
- Key benefits: Microsoft Surface Hub 2S has whiteboarding, video conferencing and projection abilities in addition to the audio and video conferencing capabilities. It’s highly responsive screen is built for both ink and touch.
USPs: Mobility and seamless integration with Windows 10, Microsoft Teams, Office, OneNote and Universal Windows.
- Logitech Rally Bar – All-In-One Video Conferencing System
- This device has a soundbar format, which means it can be wall-mounted with an external display to complete a VC room setup. Its advanced audio engineering delivers powerful, room-filling sound, while an innovative dual-camera system with optical zoom and an AI Viewfinder delivers fluid, cinematic video in medium and large rooms.
- Key benefits: AI Sound Optimization suppresses unwanted noise. You can start your meeting with just one touch, seamlessly connecting to your preconfigured room solution. It supports Zoom Rooms, Microsoft Teams Rooms, and others – directly on the device with no computer or laptop required. It is a good fit for larger spaces.
- Poly Studio X30 – A User-Friendly Video Bar
- This is another sound-bar form factor product that is simple to install and use. Support for leading cloud video services are built right into the device — no PC or Mac required.
- Voices are crisp and clear and wireless sharing lets users collaborate from their devices without cables or dongles. Ideal for rooms of up to four participants.
- Key benefits: Compact and lightweight design easily fits into even the smallest rooms. It delivers a room-filling audio experience and wireless content sharing lets users share from their devices without cable clutter.
- Crestron Flex Video Conferencing
- This is a table-top device which features a large built in control interface. It is easy to use and simple to deploy. It also has a built-in audio system, and provides users with easy access to video conferencing, wireless conferencing, and smart room control.
- Key benefits: In addition to high-quality video conferencing capabilities it has integrated control capabilities which can help dim the lights, lower shades, adjust temperature and connect and present from any mobile device (BYOD).(BYOD).
But which one fits your needs better?
|Logitech Rally Bar – All-In-One Video Conferencing System||Microsoft Surface
|Poly Studio X30 Radically Simple Video Bar||Crestron Flex Video Conferencing|
|Video conferencing support||In Appliance Mode: Supports compatible VC software (no PC required), including Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android, Zoom Rooms and others In
USB Mode: Plug-and-play USB connectivity with almost any VC application
|Microsoft Teams Room supported with with Windows IoT Platform||Zoom, Teams etc supported with BYOD feature||Zoom or MTR supported natively|
|Device form factor||Soundbar format||Mobile display format||Soundbar format||Table-top unit|
|Display and display functionality||Dual display support||Built-in interactive screen – 50 to 85 inches.||Single display support||Single/Dual display support depends on model|
|Video and audio quality||Supports upto 4K video @ 30fps with built in PTZ camera and beamforming microphone.
HD Audio supported
Noise suppression, AI based de-noising algorithm, add-on mic support
|Supports 4K (UHD) resolution video and has a built-in 4K camera, 3-way stereo speakers and microphone array.
HD Audio supported
|Supports 4K @ 30 fps; 1080p @ 60 fps depending on resolution
HD Audio supported
|Supports HD 1080p video @ 30 fps
HD Audio supportedAlso supports Acoustic echo cancellation, automatic mic mixing, automatic gain control, and dynamic noise reduction
|One touch join feature||Yes – One Touch Join with Tap MTR/Zoom Bundle||Yes||Yes – with Poly TC8 touch interface||Yes|
|Control interface and features||Touch panel controller included||Touch interactive display for call control||8” high-resolution touch display||10” high resolution touch screen|
|Connectivity options||Network Port with Internet for appliance mode. USB Passthrough for BYOD.
HDMI Video input for contentNO Built in wireless support
|HDMI input for Content
1x USB-A (3.0)
• 1x USB-C
• Bluetooth 5.0**
• WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (MIMO)
|Natively Zoom, MS Teams or BYOD
HDMI Video input via content extender
A final word As video conferencing technology and products evolve a lot of the technology and features that power them have moved to the cloud, as software and not just hardware. This means that the in-room hardware is more compact allowing All-in-One systems to pack in much more than we could imagine even five years ago.
These devices empower both in-office and remote teams to coordinate their work in an easier, more efficient, and smarter way. As a result they provide enterprises with a cost-effective, simple to use and flexible solution for the majority of their meeting and collaboration requirements.