The ConferenceCam category of video conferencing devices has made huge progress. Created just a few years ago, the category is nearly as large as the traditional video conferencing system market in units deployed, and it is poised to surpass it in 2016. By ConferenceCams, I mean high quality, reasonably priced video conferencing cameras and speakerphones built with standard computing components and designed for the conference room.
A new world order
The category success is underpinned by a key change: the migration from expensive and complicated systems to open and standard computing components. In the network, hardware-based on-premises solutions provided by the likes of Cisco and Polycom are being replaced by cloud-based and software-based solutions from BroadSoft, BlueJeans, Citrix GoToMeeting, Lifesize, Microsoft Skype and Skype for Business, Starleaf, Vidyo, Zoom, and others. Why customers are migrating is a combination of superior economics, simplicity, plus the freedom from being locked into a single vendor platform.
The old dedicated hardware solutions are on their way out
On the premises in the conference room, expensive and closed all-in-one hardware/software systems are being replaced by a combination of software clients, open camera, and speakerphone devices from Logitech and others. And finally, the computing power has moved from proprietary, embedded systems to off-the-shelf computing devices like laptops and PCs.
In the beginning was BYOD
In the beginning, the primary solution for video conferences was an end user bringing their own laptop into the meeting room – AKA bring your own device or BYOD. We’re still seeing this happen today. The beauty of this solution is that the user can use what they’re already familiar with, switch between different software clients on the fly, and the business can leverage the computers they already have. BYOD works great and provides incredible flexibility and cost savings to the business.
However, we’ve also observed that many of our customers have been pairing a dedicated computer in a room with Logitech ConferenceCams. What customers give up in flexibility, they gain in consistency (same computer, same software loaded) and ease of getting a meeting started (no wires to connect – just dial).
Wires, hopefully nowhere
Speaking of wires, one pain point many of our customers share is how to connect content (think MS Office or Google Docs) to the TV monitor in the meeting room. Traditional approaches use HDMI and a host of different dongles for an ever-changing set of standard wires and adaptors. And from our experience, we know that that always works (NOT!).
While some customers get things right, many struggle to solve these problems on their own. Some order computers but get the wrong ones (underpowered specs, mis-configuration, not the right video display ports). Many end up taking on the burden of testing a complete solution and finding the right local wireless solution can be an exercise in frustration for IT managers (they have better things to do in their day job).
Logitech and Intel have teamed up
In order to tackle these customer challenges, Logitech has teamed up with Intel to fill out a broader solution. On the computing side, Logitech is working with Intel to specify a particular NUC minicomputer optimally configured, designed, and priced for doing video conferencing in the conference room. It will have the right processor, proper connectivity options like wifi cards and HDMI, will rise up to the reliability businesses require and delivers the quality and performance of an expensive proprietary system at a price every business can afford.
On the wireless sharing side, we are joining forces with Intel to integrate and deploy their Unite 2.0 software solution. This solution is designed from the ground up for wireless content sharing and very importantly, it’s cross-platform so key client platforms like Windows and Mac are supported, with iOS and Android support coming shortly thereafter.
Intel: the ideal global partner
Intel is an ideal partner to tackle these problems; they certainly know the PC and computing and have dedicated incredible resources to bring these solutions to the conference room. Like Logitech and our customer base, Intel is a global company and can deliver these solutions wherever our customers are all over the planet. Most importantly, this alliance brings together two brands that organizations trust to deliver solutions with high performance at reasonable prices that just work.
Our mission is more than just making great video conferencing hardware. We want to make sure that meetings are the best they can be and as close an experience to actually being there (and maybe someday better!). Today is an important step in realizing this vision and we are very excited about what Logitech and Intel can do together.