Permanent Video Conf Room Setup

Has anyone used Zoom rooms or another solution room solution. We have some Zoom business accounts that individuals use and well as Google Meet (but doesn’t recored with non-profit version like Zoom).

We have several med to large size rooms (probably 600 to 1000 sq feet rooms) that we are wanting to have permanent solution that someone can just use walk into the room for video calls without having to setup temp computer and mics every time it needs to be used. Most rooms have one to two TVs on the wall, and the larger rooms have a small soundboard and overhead room speakers so not sure if that would give feedback to mic on video conf. solution. Any suggestions are appreciated.

We are looking to do something similar and will welcome suggestions.
We have been having great success with the Meeting Owl, but like you, we’d like a more permanent setup.

Terry Schordock
Bay Presbyterian Church
Bay Village, Ohio

We recommend Microsoft Teams-- just as easy, free, and full-featured.

Thanks Nick. My question is more about the physical set up of the room and hardware.

We tested for the first time yesterday. We have a Poly Studio x50 on a rolling cart we made. It sits in the center of the room. There is some feedback from the mic so those in the room could hear. Without the mic, the people on Zoom could hear fine. We’re tweaking it, but it works well so far. It could be that we have people in the room on Zoom that have headphones in so they can interact with people online (we recommended against this, but they did it anyway). There are definitely more in depth setups that you can run. You could just use a Poly Studio USB (or a USB PTZ) with a Mac mini. For the room, you would have video configured to come through the camera, then you could run an out from the soundboard into a usb input and select that as the mic.

We rely a lot on video conferencing to connect our offices in LA, San Antonio, Dallas, and remote workers in Chicago. Like you, we had a few personal Zoom Accounts but hadn’t invested in the Rooms hardware, it was not a great setup. We moved to BlueJeans because they had excellent hardware, albeit proprietary. Of course over the last couple years there have a been a few changes to the market. So we are coming back to Zoom with Zoom Rooms. They definitely get pricey but we love the experience for our staff. One-touch join with integration to Outlook Resources make it a breeze.

We kicked around the idea of Teams, we love it, and it’s great internally. But the demand from our staff working with external parties, Zoom still comes up on top. They have been making big strides with their integrations to work with Event software like EventBrite as well. Very slick. Teams is probably 95% as good, and much better in some aspects, take the non-profit pricing and Rooms licenses are like $10/mo it is a great deal. I’d hope we end up on Teams eventually.

After a lot of research, testing, and a bit of experience, we are going with Logitech Rally Plus and Meetup devices, with Neat Pads as our controllers. For our rooms this seems to be the only real choice. We wanted the one-touch experience, but also wanted to have an easy setup so that staff could bring in their laptop to connect to other systems like Google, Webex, etc. For us that works best when you can connect everything as easily as possible, which means these systems could just move one USB and HDMI or use something like the Logitech Swytch to make it even easier. We just got the Swytch devices in today but had issues with the DisplayLink drivers, hoping we can figure it out, because it’s about the best setup I’ve seen.

There is a pretty good amount of stock on eBay these days, and Provantage seems to have the deepest discounts we could find on new hardware.

We plan to be switched over from BlueJeans to Teams by the end of May, so I can have much more details soon.

Thanks and will be waiting to hear update. Probably won’t implement anything before end of May, and from my own online research I think Logitech Rally Plus may be what we go with, with either their Tap device (or Stream Deck, which surprisingly was mentioned to me be their sales rep). He didn’t say it was better than Tap, but just to look at it also. I will probably buy small PC to go behind the TV, and have a Tap or Stream Deck run from it to conf room table to be able to call up Google Meet or Zoom.

Hi Mike, we have two of our medium sized conference rooms setup with Lenovo ThinkSmart Hub Gen 1 Room systems.
We have been very pleased with the devices.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/across-devices/devices/product/lenovo-thinksmart-hub-gen-2-rooms/776
This above is for the Gen2 ThinkSmart Hubs but we are on the Gen 1 devices.
You can enable it to work with Zoom but we purposely decided against it so we could cancel two of our 3 Zoom Pro accounts and just have staff use Teams.
We had to keep one Zoom Pro account because one of our elder teams uses breakout rooms and they set them up ahead of time. There are some limitations on Teams breakout rooms but I’m sure they will catchup soon.
We’re considering a similar setup for a large conference room, but the problem with large meeting rooms is microphones. You pretty much need array microphones to cover adequately, and the array mics are super expensive.