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Logitech released its first webcam in 2002, and it has gone on to develop an impressive range of professional video conferencing products. Its Room Solutions are a choice of ready-made packages, designed for meeting spaces of various sizes and for specific providers such as Google Meet, Barco ClickShare and Zoom Rooms.
We tried out the Microsoft Teams kit for large rooms, which comes in at 1p under £5,000. That may seem steep, but the money buys you a lot of quality hardware: all bundles include Logitech’s intuitive Tap display hub, with its generous 10.1in colour touchscreen, plus an entire Intel NUC mini PC running Windows 10 IoT to serve as the brains of the operation.
Unsurprisingly, the audio-visual provision depends on which package you choose. The Large kit includes the Logitech Rally 4K camera, whose motorised PTZ functions and 15x optical zoom can be controlled with a remote handset. The camera plugs directly into the Tap controller, as do the dual speakers; the twin mic pods attach to a smaller table hub, which is connected to the Tap controller by a standard Ethernet cable. If you need more audio coverage, you can add up to five extra microphone units.
If we’re honest, probably the most complicated part of setup is wiring all of this together and finding the best layout for all the components. Happily, the speakers and mic pods all have reasonably long 3m cables, and the table hub can be situated as far as 50m from the Tap, so you have plenty of flexibility.
Finally, your monitor connects to the Tap unit, and the whole thing is hooked up to a USB connector on the mini PC. Logitech helpfully provides a tough 25m USB cable, so you can hide this away wherever you like: there’s no need to interact with it, as all the action takes place at the Tap unit.
On first boot, the display hub will prompt you to choose between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams as your default service, and to log into your account. You’ll then be able to browse a list of scheduled meetings, set up new ones and initiate ad-hoc get-togethers by simply tapping to add users, then hitting the icon to place the call. Screen sharing is fuss-free too, thanks to the inclusion of a pair of HDMI inputs on both the Tap unit and the table hub.
Incoming meeting requests are just as neatly handled. When an invitation is received, a notification pops up on the display, and a single tap adds you to the meeting. At the end of every call, the camera automatically parks itself with the lens body pointing downwards, for immediate privacy confirmation.
It’s also possible to find and join meetings using Logitech’s Bluetooth proximity sensor. We tried this out on our iPad and found it worked well: we selected the Add Room option, saw the Logitech system pop up as a nearby available location and joined the conversation with one tap.
The best part is that all of this ease of use is combined with truly excellent call quality. The Rally Pro camera does a great job of covering a large meeting room: while its 90° field of view isn’t huge, we found it produced a very sharp and detailed video stream, with natural colour balance. The twin speakers delivered perfectly clear sound with punchy bass, while the microphone pods had no problems picking up everyone’s contributions.
If you’ve settled on a supported video conferencing service, and you need to cover a decent-sized meeting space, Logitech’s Large Room Solution offers everything you could ask for. Once cabled up, it’s beautifully easy to use, and its audiovisual performance is very hard to fault.
Article By: Dave Mitchell, ITPro
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