Written By: Randy Marcotte
Welcome Back! This is part four of our series on How to Set Up a Video Conference Room Without Getting Fired.
This post pivots to a practical component of the room because of the sheer impact cameras have on the far-end participants. Most of the manufacturers are also working on or have deployed software or hardware features driven by emerging and generative AI applications. From facial recognition to hand gestures, the camera is more than a window into the room—it’s a conduit to understanding how your business uses video conferencing. So, as you plan for your video conference room, here are some tips and questions you should consider when choosing a solution. Note – this space is changing rapidly, so feel free to ask us about what manufacturers are working on or have deployed with regard to meeting equity. First, let’s look at some technical considerations and physical features of conference room video cameras:
1 – How does the camera connect? USB, HDMI? This makes a difference. In all cases you or your vendor should know the exact wire paths and distance between the content-sharing locations, the video system (codec), any media rack, microphones, speakers, and data drops. Not all wiring can be extended without expensive converters or additional wiring costs. Be sure to get this right and have a guarantee in writing from your vendor. No change orders because they didn’t measure or think this through!
2- Automation – Does the camera have Pan–Tilt – Zoom, mechanical or digital, or both? You will likely have come to a range of decisions on this based on the vendor, manufacturer, and platform you have standardized on. Wait, what, standardize? Yes…. to the degree that you can stay consistent. This makes it easier for your end users, your support team, and for the adoption of the overall solution. Know the limits of the cameras you have chosen and train the users accordingly.
3- Presets and Field of view. Where you place it matters; glare, windows, wall coverings & color, etc. During the design phase, you may have tested a camera or two. Are you aware of how up, down, left or right the camera moves and how closely can it zoom in and zoom out? Do those functions fit the need? Assuming yes, then be sure you’ve placed the camera properly and designed it to the room so that it functions as desired and as designed by the manufacturer. Most dissatisfaction we see emerges when we see a mismatch between desire and design.
4 – Does the camera or its software do any color correction? Much like the field of view, the software inside the camera technology can make a difference. The more you (or your vendor) know about the camera’s digital abilities (not just the mechanical optics), the better choices you will make with modifying software to correct environmental factors.
5 – Is there an ability to modify the camera settings? Not all cameras are created equally. At the low end, what you see (literally) is what you get. Need more from a camera related to software or field of view, then pay more. Ultimately you and your end users will be happier. If you opt to choose a camera designed for travel and the top of the laptop for your large board room, remind the users to expect what you have paid for and you should be set.
6 – Are you planning one, two, three (or more) cameras? How are they controlled? Is 3rd party control needed? When you design a room with multiple cameras in the room first remember that most video conferencing solutions assume you only want one camera on at a time. Next, make sure the cameras are placed to fit the needs of a multi-functional room and users that may also function differently while being afraid of touching a control system you deploy.
7 – AI-Based, Gesture-Based, or manual Tracking of voice switching? Just because it is cool, does mean you need it, right? Voice-tracking cameras offer a great immersive experience, but a similar effect can be accomplished with preset camera zones. In the event you opt for a tracking camera, test it first with a group of users.
8 – Top of the line vs. budget brand? As implied by much of the above, you get what you pay for. This is worth calling out specifically because many of the common mistakes we clean up are vendors that suggest a less-expensive camera in order to win a deal and in order to stay on budget, rather than having the more challenging conversation about design, performance, and expectations. Having the hopes for a low-end USB camera to function to the same ability as a high-end, codec-integrated video conferencing system sets most deployments up for failure. Just as much as you get what you pay for, make sure you pay for what you want to get.
9 -Who supports the camera, warranty, replacement, and testing? Once in production, these systems should be set so you can forget. Be clear about warranty and support, because when a camera fails, it is really, really hard to have an immersive face-to-face video conference. OK, it’s actually impossible, but what is possible is making sure this is documented and you are ready for a support event.
10 – Meeting equity – 1-9 above also helps the far-end participants see and experience the room in the best ways possible. Consider some of the AI features emerging below, but also look at manufacturers like Yealink Logi, and Neat all have dual camera systems- one on the table and the other on the TV wall. This way, AI helps the cameras pick the right angle for all the people in the room, presenting each person as a unique image in the video call. This is what Zoom calls “multi-frame” and the quality of the software delivery on this feature is enhanced by the cameras and their placement. AI tools are here to stay, so here are some AI features commonly found in these cameras:
Automatic Framing and Tracking:
Cameras can automatically frame participants in a room and track speakers as they move around, ensuring they remain in focus and well-framed.
AI can identify individual speakers, which can be useful for transcription services or identifying who is speaking during a conference.
Some systems can identify participants and provide name tags or other information during a video conference.
Noise Suppression and Echo Cancellation:
AI algorithms can help in filtering out background noise and echo, providing a clearer audio experience.
Virtual Backgrounds and Green Screen Effects:
AI can replace or blur the background, which can be useful for maintaining privacy or creating a more professional setting.
Cameras with AI can recognize gestures which can be used to control the system or interact with content during a meeting.
Content Sharing and Whiteboarding:
AI can enhance content sharing and interactive whiteboarding experiences, making collaboration more effective.
Real-Time Transcription and Translation:
AI can provide real-time transcription of conversations and translate them into various languages on the fly.
Meeting Summarization and Action Item Detection:
Post-meeting, AI can provide summaries, detect action items, and help in the distribution of meeting minutes.
Analytics and Insights:
Collecting data on meeting engagement, participant attention, and other metrics for analysis and insights.
Lighting and Image Quality Enhancement:
AI can adjust the lighting and enhance image quality in real time, ensuring the best possible video feed.
Features like anomaly detection to ensure the security and integrity of the video conferencing environment.
These features, powered by AI, significantly enhance the overall experience and automation of your collaboration spaces.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to share this post with your friends or add comments or content we may have missed.
Tune in to part five of this blog series and learn a bit about the most common mistakes made when creating a room for video conference solution. Let Perfect Video Conferencing tie it all together for you.
About DCS Global & Perfect Video Conferencing
DCS Global is a collaboration, consulting, services, and audiovisual (AV) integration company that provides various services related to digital signage, wayfinding, and kiosk manufacturing and deployment. The company specializes in creating interactive and engaging experiences for customers, visitors, and employees.
Their services include:
- Digital Signage: DCS Global designs, installs, and manages digital signage systems that help organizations effectively communicate with their audience. These systems can display content such as images, videos, and live data, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of each client.
- Wayfinding: The company offers wayfinding solutions that help people navigate complex environments such as hospitals, airports, and campuses. These solutions use interactive maps, directories, and other tools to guide visitors to their desired destinations.
- Kiosk Manufacturing: DCS Global designs and manufactures custom kiosks for various industries, such as retail, hospitality, and healthcare. These kiosks can serve a variety of purposes, such as self-service check-in, product information, and customer feedback.
- AV Integration: DCS Global also provides audiovisual integration services for businesses of all sizes. These services include the design and installation of audio and video systems, conference room setups, and video walls.
DCS Global offers a comprehensive range of services to help organizations enhance their communication, customer experience, and operational efficiency through innovative digital solutions.
Perfect Video Conferencing (#perfectvc) is an Audio Visual and collaboration services company that specializes in designing and deploying cutting-edge video conferencing and collaboration spaces. Recently, PVC merged with DCS Global, and together, they offer a comprehensive range of products and services that are guaranteed to deliver an immediate ROI for their customers.
With a strong focus on design and deployment, Perfect Video Conferencing is committed to delivering solutions that offer some of the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) in the industry. Their team of experts works closely with customers to understand their unique requirements and design solutions that are tailored to their specific needs.
Perfect Video Conferencing’s solutions are designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries enhance collaboration, improve productivity, and drive business success. Whether it’s a small meeting room or a large conference center, they have the expertise to design and deploy video conferencing and collaboration spaces that meet their customers’ needs.
In addition to their design and deployment services, Perfect Video Conferencing also offers a wide range of products, including video conferencing equipment, audiovisual solutions, and collaboration tools. Their team of experts provides ongoing support and maintenance to ensure that their solutions continue to deliver value over the long term.
Overall, Perfect Video Conferencing (#perfectvc) is a leading provider of audiovisual and collaboration services, delivering innovative solutions that help organizations improve communication, collaboration, and productivity. With their recent merger with DCS Global, they are now even better positioned to help their customers achieve their business goals.
About Randy N. Marcotte
Randy N. Marcotte is an accomplished business leader and President of DCS Global, a leading communications and collaboration company. With a proven track record of success in the industry, Randy has a strong background in organizational change, sales enablement, and customer satisfaction.
Before his role at DCS Global, Randy was the co-founder and CEO of Perfect Video Conferencing, which merged with DCS Global to provide a broader range of solutions to their clients. As the former owner and manager of Change Experts, Randy brings a wealth of experience in driving growth and success for businesses of all sizes.
Randy is passionate about building lasting relationships with his clients and partners and providing innovative solutions that deliver exceptional value. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling the world, skiing deep powder, and participating in marathons. Randy has completed 22 marathons around the world and will be completing his 23rd marathon in Nice, France this fall.
With a dedication to partnership, value, innovation, and excellence, Randy is proud to join the team at DCS Global and looks forward to continuing to bring new solutions to their loyal customer and partner base.