Three years on from the start of the Covid pandemic, the role of AV in work environments has dramatically expanded and changed. The necessary focus on remote and hybrid working has become an evolving cultural change. Regardless of the future of work, expectations for conferencing and collaboration tools have been pushed to a higher level, whether users are in the office, at home, or both. The tools surveyed here are just the tip of the iceberg of that huge movement and they’re getting better all the time.
Through its modular design, the AKG CS3 plug-and-play conference system is completely adaptable to its installation environment. The base unit works with as many as 60 microphone stations and connects to recording systems, PA systems, and camera control devices. The microphone base can connect either the CS321 cardioid condenser capsule on a 12in. gooseneck or the 20in. CS521. The system operates in four modes including Override, Normal, Free, and Request.
AnkerWork SR500 Speakerphone features VoiceRadar 2.0, the upgraded vocal radar technology that integrates audio processing with deep learning to identify voices in more than 30,000 different designs and sizes of conference rooms. The device’s eight mic-array uses an AI algorithmic model that’s based on 280 hours of speech signals in dozens of simulated and field training tests—dynamically recognizing a wide range of language accents and sound sources. The SR500 is designed to support low (80Hz) to high (20kHz) audio frequencies with less than 3% vocal distortion, delivering rich sound quality from any direction.
The Atlona AT-CAP-FC110 Captivate 4K ePTZ auto-framing camera is a perfect example of the way that ease of operation and reliability have been teamed in today’s conferencing devices. In addition to automatically detecting and framing the camera for up to six participants, the unit has a 4x digital zoom and 110-degree wide horizontal field of view. From 16ft. away, the dual microphone array can clearly pick up voices. The USB-C interface for sound and video can provide device powering.
Large discussion systems can be a challenge to set up and operate but the AudioTechnica ATCS-60 uses infrared links to eliminate a lot of wiring. For multi-language environments there are four channels and the automated camera functions make it easy to use video as well. Optional Conference Manager software allows remote control of audio recording, camera positioning, and microphone adjustments. Delegate microphone stations can accept handheld and lavalier microphones in addition to the normal gooseneck models.
Sleek and professional looking, the Audix M65 tabletop installed microphone uses its innovative “swivoting” mount to allow 240 degrees rotation and 40 degrees vertical pivot. The mic has fully integrated preamp circuitry and its output is balanced to reject noise from cell phones and mobile devices. This model is finished in black nickel plating and it includes an 8ft. cable with a terminal block connector.
In January the AVer CAM570 debuted. It’s a 4K dual-lens PTZ camera with 36X total zoom and an AI lens with 95-degree FOV. Designed for medium to large meeting rooms, the CAM570 features three pairs of built-in audio sensors that detect human voices up to 10 meters with audio tracking functionality. The CAM570 is Zoom certified and works with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and other video conferencing platforms. The CAM570 uses the Qualcomm QCS610 SoC, a high performance IoT System-on-Chip (SoCs).
It doesn’t get any easier to have wires out of the way for conferencing than with the beyerdynamic Space wireless Bluetooth speakerphone. The 1.5in. full range speaker and four integrated MEMS microphones deliver perfect sound quality and smooth voice pickup. The mics can distinguish between voices and background noise to reduce distractions. Full-duplex allows participants to speak simultaneously and still be heard without dropouts or cut offs.
The new Biamp Zoom Room bundles contain a TesiraFORTÉ X 400 processor, Parlé Beamtracking microphones, Desono C-IC6 ceiling loudspeakers, Biamp’s PoE-powered amplifiers, and all necessary mounting accessories and category cabling to complete the installation in medium or large rooms. With each bundle, installers benefit from automated system deployment and configuration made possible by Biamp Launch, which identifies and configures every device in the system, performs a tuning cycle, measures acoustic characteristics of the room, applies recommended signal processing, echo cancellation, speaker tuning, noise reduction, and Zoom Rooms settings, then generates a dashboard highlighting performance settings before-and-after optimization.
The Bosch Security Systems DICENTIS Flush IP-based conference system keeps cabling below the table and its OMNEO media networking architecture uses Power over Ethernet (PoE) to speed and simplify installation. Each mic station enables voting with identification and provides an LED on the microphone to indicate the mic status. All modules have a click-to-fit mechanism for easy flushmounting into metal or wood surfaces.
The all-in-one conferencing system that’s ready to go for small conference spaces and huddle rooms, the Bose Videobar VB-S automatically finds the speaking presenter with its four beam-steering microphones while avoiding exclusion zones. Capable of Group Mode and Individual Mode operation, the 4K camera can frame everyone or follow a specific participant. The device connects to existing wireless networks, plays Bluetooth audio, and can be controlled from a smartphone.
The ClearOne BMA 360 microphone system incorporates Deep Sidelobe Beamforming for ultra-directional speech pickup and its Voice Lift feature allows the system to drive multiple mix-minus speaker zones. In rooms equipped with the ClearOne CONVERGE Pro 2 DSP mixers, Voice Lift can be configured on up to three BMA 360 units. There are also built-in power amplifiers configurable as 4 x 15W or 2 x 30W for directly driving speakers.
The new ClearOne UNITE 60 4K wide angle 4K USB camera supports AI-powered smartface and voice tracking, along with electronic PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) capabilities. With a 120-degree field of view, and a plug-and-play USB 3.0 connection for video, control, and power, the new UNITE 60 camera is suited for rooms such as executive offices, huddle rooms or smaller conference rooms.
The Clockaudio CUB-33 USB Tabletop Microphone requires no drilled holes but instead can be placed on the table surface where it provides an LCD capacitive touch screen that can be used as a mute button and a VU meter. The unit has local mute control for its rugged C33/SR gooseneck microphone and C3 capsule. Mute Sync compatible with the Zoom meetings app, the CUB-33 is USB bus powered and it includes a local gain control knob.
Without requiring a team of A/V experts to deploy, the Crestron Flex videoconferencing system can be easily configured for any size conferencing space. Remote presenters appear on the conference room video monitor while local room devices such as shades, lighting, HVAC, and sound are controlled on the screen as well. For single desks and small spaces, the Crestron Flex Phone is equipped with a 10in. high screen, camera, and Microsoft Teams software. Zoom conferences and BYOD are a breeze for all participants.
Conference centers and universities tend to have a few large conference rooms and many smaller ones. The all-in-one solution for these smaller rooms is the Epos EXPAND Vision 5 video bar with its dual speakers and four microphones. The 4K wide-angl camera features EPOS AI intelligent picture framing to get all the meeting guests into the shot and the beamforming function zeros in on the speaking presenter. Installation is simple thanks to the system’s many mounting options.
In January, the Extron Media Port 300 debuted to provide an option for professionalizing soft codec conferencing over generic USB drivers. This new 4K HDMI to USB bridge expands the MediaPort line to integrate Pro AV systems and 4K capabilities with software codec conferencing applications such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. For small meeting spaces with just a computer and display, it’s ideal for adding professional-grade equipment such as 4K videoconferencing PTZ cameras, boundary microphones, and sound reinforcement systems. In meeting and large conference rooms, it easily integrates a conferencing computer into a fully equipped AV system with video distribution and processing, control, microphones, and full sound reinforcement. It features an HDMI input with HDCP-compliant loop through that accepts signals up to 4K/60, and scales output video on the USB-C connector to a host computer at rates up to USB 5 Gbps. Audio features include program and mic inputs, HDMI audio de-embedding, USB bidirectional audio, and line level outputs. The MediaPort 300 also features audio mixing as well as level and mute controls. This enables it to serve as a soft codec interface, giving it the flexibility to integrate into larger hardware codec or DSP systems.
The recently deployed Hall Technologies Discovery Series transmitter/ receiver kits are a comprehensive video conferencing solution. These consist of one or two-gang U.S. and U.K. standard HDBaseT 2.0 wall plate transmitters and the DSCV70-RX receiver unit. The receiver features a built-in PSE module that can supply power to the transmitter. UHD video, multi-channel audio, USB 2.0, RS232 signal and power can be extended up to 131ft using a single Cat 5e/6/6a/7 cable.
For AI-enabled personal video conferencing the Jabra Panacast 20 is loaded with processors and fitted with a 13-megapixel 4K Ultra-HD camera that can make great video in ordinary office lighting. When lighting conditions change suddenly, the system automatically adjusts. Presenters enjoy its picture-in-picture mode and the versatile mounting clip makes camera setup simple. Panacast 20 works with a variety of platforms and is certified for Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
The new JVC KY-PZ510NWU ultra-wide angle 4K60P NDI/HEVC SMART autotracking PTZ camera features a 3G-SDI/ HDMI/USB/IP output and its multi-slice encoding technology enhances image quality with reduced latency. Capabilities such as vertical interval time code (VITC) and network time code (NTC) ready this unit for a variety of sophisticated applications including remote production over internet (REMI). The 80-degree wide field of view can see a whole classroom and the camera’s 2.8mm to 261.8mm focal length range gets details from a distance.
Kramer and Jabra have joined forces on wireless presentation and collaboration to serve installations from huddle spaces to large conference rooms. A combination of latest VIA Connect2 and VIA Campus2 from Kramer and Jabra’s PanaCast video range to create a bespoke solution designed for the hybrid workplace.
Compact and capable, the Lifesize Icon 700 delivers 4K video while its 20x zoom makes any part of the conference or classroom accessible to the picture. The 3840 x 2160 progressive resolution allows clear detail in presentation, and it pairs with the Lifesize Phone HD for sound that is equal in quality to the video. There is acoustic echo cancellation, full-duplex operation, automatic gain control and automatic noise reduction. The system’s inputs include PoE LAN, HD video IN, and analog mic/ line IN.
Don’t be fooled by the simple style and small profile of the Lumens VC-R30 full HD IP PTZ camera. The stylishly minimalist appearance belies its hefty capability including 1080p 60fps resolution, 12x optical zoom, and simultaneous HDMI, 3G-SDI, USB, and IP streaming ability. It gets everybody in with a 72.5-degree horizontal field of view and its range of outputs in addition to Teams, WebEx, Skype, and Zoom compatibility make it right at home in virtually any conferencing environment. This model’s intelligent white balance and auto-exposure make all participants appear at their best.
For elevating a single-camera conference connection to a professional-looking multi-source presentation, the Magewell USB Fusion is the perfect device. It can input multiple cameras, wired screenshare sources and, using the USB Fusion app, users can even prepare playlists in advance and record entire sessions on the unit. Webcam, PC, and HDMI cameras can all be connected simultaneously. The USB Fusion can operate with Zoom, TEAMS, Skype and other conferencing platforms.
The Marshall CV605-U3 is designed for top-quality video and versatility in conference and meeting room applications using a 5x optical zoom and HDMI/USB-C/IP output. Showing resolution of up to 1920x1080p at 60fps, this camera can even go beyond the conference room to a full video production environment. Through a single Ethernet cable it can carry video, audio, PoE, and control over IP. The optical zoom extends from 3mm to 15mm and that is augmented with a 10x digital zoom. All connections including RS232 are discreetly located on the back.
The Mipro Wireless Conference Series encompasses three base units and two gooseneck microphone series (3-pin and 4-pin). The BC-100 base can integrate with a gooseneck or desktop mic or stand alone as a boundary mic. The UHF BC-100T II base supports wireless use of supported goosenecks; the ISM BCT-T base encloses the transmitter PCB for wireless transmission and can connect directly to supported goosenecks.
The MXL AC-360Z-V2 works exclusively with the Zoom Rooms platform only. It applies studio-recording microphones to the Zoom environment. Twelve internal microphone capsules, divided into four quadrants, ensure 360° of perfect speech intelligibility within a 25-ft radius, without reliance on any additional equipment. Solid, all-metal construction and a reinforced frame give the AC-360-Z V2 extra durability for shared office environments. The included locking DC power supply ensures that the AC-360-Z V2 won’t get accidentally unplugged during important meetings.
Audio conferencing for groups of up to ten has moved up to a new level with the Sennheiser TeamConnect Intelligent Speaker (TCISP), set for Microsoft Teams Rooms. No need for laptops or tablets, as the speaker can identify all voices and even transcribe the meeting automatically. Microsoft Cortana voice intelligence responds to voice commands for operation of its seven beamforming microphones. This model is Microsoft Teams Certified and includes a 3-meter cable. With its 200HZ-14kHz (±6dB) frequency response, the omnidirectional speaker radiates perfectly natural-sounding voices.
In a conferencing or meeting environment, sound pickup can be more challenging than video but the Shure MXA920 ceiling array microphone is up to the task covering a seating area up to 30ft. square. The built-in web interface enables the user to drag and drop up to eight adjustable coverage areas. Steerable Coverage is also available to place 8 pickup lobes with 8 individual audio outputs. The unit is available in white, black, or aluminum finish.
In a large conference or meeting when there is no second chance to get the sound system right, the Taiden HCS-4800 Fully Digital Congress System uses a closed-loop daisy chain layout to connect all individual congress units. Up to 64-channel audio signals can be carried on a dedicated 8-pin cable while gain and 5-band EQ of each microphone is separately adjustable. Widely separated conference rooms can be connected on its optical fiber interface and there is multi-channel intercom capability.
The Televic uniCOS T/MM10 tabletop multimedia conference unit consists of a base and tilting touchscreen and it connects on installation with a single CAT 5e cable. With power delivered over the Plixus network, the unit handles 6 lip-synched video streams, document sharing, and other features. Configured as either delegate or chairperson unit, it can also be flush mounted as the uniCOS F/MM10 or F/MM7 (7in. screen). The screwlock microphone connector allows a wide variety of microphones with various pickup patterns to be securely connected.
Large Meetings and conferences are the perfect home for the TOA EM-380-AM gooseneck microphone and with the optional power supply it can be switched between battery or phantom power. The condenser design offers a wide 15Hz-16kHz frequency response and the elegant flat black finish blends with any meeting room. The stem has two flexible sections to facilitate perfect positioning for multiple participants. On the base is a push button for mic activation and blue LED to indicate mic status.
Equipped with a 30x zoom with 70.2-degree field of view and Vaddio’s advanced IntelliFrame user-adjustable auto-framing system, the Vaddio IntelliSHOT-M ePTZ camera is designed to make conferencing easy. The speed at which the camera follows a moving presenter is configurable, but the camera is also preprogrammed with six standard configurations from which to choose quickly. IntelliSHOT-M is PoE+ powered, and users can manage and control the camera remotely on Vaddio’s free, web-based user interface. The camera was certified for Microsoft Teams in November.
In November, Yamaha Unified Communications added two new video collaboration systems to its offerings: the Yamaha UC CS-800 Video Sound Bar and Yamaha UC CS-500 Video Collaboration System. An all-in-one system, the CS-800 integrates the microphone, speaker, camera, and video output (HDMI) required for remote conference into one device, while the CS-500 includes the microphone, camera, and video output (HDMI), utilizing the speaker of the connected display (Yamaha or third-party speakers).
The Aveo Systems Mira Connect 10 Smart AV Control System is housed in a black ABS plastic touchscreen enclosure that can be put on a conference table or mounted on a wall. The 10in. diagonal screen has LED light bars to indicate when the system is muted or in a call. Control extends to microphones, audio playback, cameras, input selection, and camera functions. Audio or video calls can be made from a dial pad or imported contact list. Even content sharing and room scheduling can be controlled right on the screen.
At IBC, the Avocor L Series ultra-wide displays debuted. Designed to derive superior value from hybrid meetings, these 105” 21:9 aspect ratio interactive displays offer users a more spacious, immersive view than conventional dimension displays and deliver extra horizontal workspace. Ideal for organizations looking to invest in Signature Microsoft Teams Rooms, the L Series comprises two 105” 5K image resolution displays in touch and non-touch models.
The Jupiter Pana 105T mission-critical display breaks the traditional 16 x 9 mold with ultra-wide 21×9 ratio 5K LCD platforms. Given the human field of view, this palette provides a new ergonomic, comfortable, and effective way to visualize data and consume information and is potentially transformative for conferencing.
At Zoomtopia in November MAXHUB debuted the MAXHUB V6 Classic and V6 ViewPro 4K interactive flat panels. The V6 Classic is available in four sizes: 55-, 65-, 75-, and 86-inches diagonally while the V6 ViewPro is available in 65- and 86-inch diagonal form factors. The displays encompass 20 touch points with 2mm touch point recognition and Optical Character recognition support. Wireless screen sharing is via either MAXHUB’s Share app or via a wireless dongle. The V6 Classic carries an integrated camera and 8 built-in far-field beam-forming microphone arrays with a voice pickup range of 26 feet for the Classic and 39 feet for the ViewPro. For listening to those on the other end of the line, these displays integrate a 2.1 channel audio playback system with dual 10-watt loudspeakers and one 20-watt LF transducer. All functionality is managed by a 10th Generation Intel CPU. The larger V6 ViewPro adds a dual camera setup with a 48 MP (Megapixel) fixed lens camera and an 8 MP camera with 3X optical zoom capability.
The new Planar UC Complete is a family of seamless, wide-view LED video wall displays designed for video conferencing, unified communications, and hybrid meeting rooms. Planar UC Complete video wall displays enable life-sized, high-resolution video conferencing windows and document sharing when used in conjunction with meeting room solutions such as front row for Microsoft Teams Rooms. Featuring 21:9 and 32:9 aspect ratio configurations and pixel pitches from 0.9 to 1.5 millimeters, Planar UC Complete displays provide a large seamless surface, close viewing distances and help facilitate authentic and engaging video conference experiences between remote participants and their in-room colleagues.