Do you have any recommendations for hardware setup in meeting rooms?
When it comes to hardware we have experimented quite a bit, and the answer depends a bit on the different types of meeting rooms:
- For small huddle rooms (2-4 people) it tends to work best to have just a regular computer screen, camera and microphone that people can plug into their own computer. Here we have used both Logitech c930 and a Jabra Speak 510 which is fairly cheap, but doesn't have stellar quality, and Logitech Conference Cam Connect, which is more expensive but have both video and sound.
- For standup areas, you often need a wide-angle camera to capture everyone, and now we are using a Jabra 510 mic and a Huddly cam, a Norwegian startup that we collaborate with. This camera is absolutely amazing, but they're not publicly launched yet. You can sign up for a pre-order! You can see a picture of our setup with Huddly here: https://medium.com/the-making-of-appear-in/stand-up-with-remote-team-mates-just-got-easier-35c12e99a08f#.vfsonc6sa
- For larger meetings rooms we haven't really cracked the code yet. We have experimented with having a permanent computer (Mac Mini) installed in the room, connected to a TV, with a more advanced cam/mic setup connected to it, e.g. Logitech Conference Cam Group. Logitech also offers an integrated Intel box instead of a Mac Mini, but we haven't had a chance to test that yet. The problem with this setup is that people who come into the room want to present from their own computer, so they rip out the cables from the installed computer and connect their own - but then they're not able to use the cam/mic setup. So for now, our recommendation would actually be to go for a setup like the small rooms where you rely on people connecting their own laptop (but this of course depends on how your organization works), and just provide a loose camera and a Jabra mic (e.g. the larger 810)
- A general advice when using appear.in, is to equip all your meeting rooms with a network cable, so it is easy to plug in for people having video meetings. Overloaded Wifi routers is the biggest source of quality issues in appear.in, and plugging in a network cable eliminates this.
There are of course other products as well, we haven't had a chance to test everything. If you're buying in large quantities, we would recommend buying a couple of difference devices and test them with the use cases that are most important for you!
Pst! A pro tip for appear.in, is to add ?widescreen to the room link, if you're in a large meeting with lots of people in front of one camera. This gives you the full frame from the camera, in widescreen format. So the room link will then be appear.in/roomname?widescreen. Since this will send more data, it's not recommended if you're talking on someone on a low bandwidth connection.