This fall, Almo Professional A/V announced the launch of its fully-kitted Zoom Room Hardware Bundles for the U.S. and Latin America. Almo also entered into a distribution partnership with Hudlly and offers Zoom-approved Huddly Cameras with the “Huddle Room” bundle. Integrators got their first look at these bundles during this year’s E4 Experience and at Zoomtopia, Zoom’s annual user conference.
Almo Professional A/V executive VP and COO Sam Taylor says Almo spent several years evaluating collaboration software options to arrive at the Zoom partnership with an eye to the particular needs of AV integrators who need all the certified components in a single box with a single SKU, and with the confidence that the components will perform to an AV standard in terms of signal quality, integration and control interface. Zoom Room Bundles can also be combined with Almo’s Managed Services for Digital Signage, providing a recurring income for supporting content creation for a Zoom-driven signage network and its employee-facing content.
Brian Rhatigan, director of business development for Almo Professional A/V, Almo’s very first BDM (Business Development Manager), says that ZoomRooms and soft codec-based systems in general provide a big market opportunity for Pro AV integrators, many of whom have been installing traditional hard codec-based systems for many years. Statistics published by Frost and Sullivan state that 70% of all video conferencing room meetings will be in huddle rooms by 2022, and that as of 2017 there has only been a 1.9% penetration rate of conferencing systems in these spaces, which is expected to grow to 17% by 2022. “Pro AV integrators are already in these spaces,” he says “and with the expected growth in soft-based codec systems, this presents a big opportunity to provide hardware solutions required for these applications such as cameras, microphones and loudspeakers.
“While the IT department will likely deploy the actual Zoom Rooms software and manage the licensing, the AV integrator still plays a crucial role in the project as they are the key professionals relied upon for successful implementation of the required hardware, and will have the knowledge to accurately specify the appropriate camera, microphones and audio for the room,” he points out.
“With that in mind, we realized that there was a need for identifying key hardware components for a successful Zoom Room implementation that could fit across a large percentage of small- and medium- sized rooms. This was solidified after we met with Zoom and listened to them talk about the same need. For Zoom, it’s all about the user experience, and since they don’t make the hardware they want to be sure the appropriate hardware is chosen that will provide the best possible user experience for their clients,” Rhatigan says.
“We carefully selected the components of our bundles, taking guidance from Zoom and using only products that have specifically been certified by Zoom. This takes the guesswork out of the equation for integrators looking to specify equipment for these rooms. Additionally, many of the components are physically small, so if you think about a large rollout that will cover 50+ rooms, the chances of having little boxes misplaced or put in the wrong room, etc. become great. By packaging every component needed for the room in a single box, which can be ordered as a single SKU, it greatly simplifies the logistics for integrators.”
When the Zoom Room Bundles are combined with Almo’s Managed Services for Digital Signage, integrators can also provide content for Zoom Room signage mode so, when the screens are not in use, they can serve as digital options or corporate communications boards, and at the same time, provide recurring revenue options for integrators. Almo Digital Signage services include content templates, such as widgets with easy-to-deploy information like news, weather, custom calendars, waiting lists and tickets. Almo also offers standard content templates for Digital Menus and Lobby Directories. These templates can be added to the Zoom Room bundle like a product.