Logitech officials continue to rapidly grow the company's portfolio of video conferencing products that can be used in the enterprise and smaller businesses.
The company for several years has been offering peripherals—including cameras and speakerphones—that can be used with PCs or tablets to create video conferencing environments for groups and rooms of various sizes. Customers can use their own PCs that already use video conferencing software from an array of third parties, connect the Logitech technologies through the USB and they're ready to collaborate.
However, there are challenges, according to Logitech officials. The PC may not have the necessary processing power or the cables don't work or the remote controls are confusing or the Windows software on the systems is mis-configured.
Or, "many of our customers also prefer the convenience of just walking into a room and joining a meeting like a traditional video system," Scott Wharton, vice president and general manager of Logitech's Video Collaboration Group, wrote in a post on the company blog. "No computer required."
To address the various challenges, Logitech is partnering with Intel to create a simple and affordable video conferencing "kit" that includes video conferencing technology from Logitech with the chip maker's NUC micro-PC and its Unite software. The goal is to give users a complete collection of technologies that can use most PC-based cloud services and doesn't require them to bring their own PCs to the meeting.
"We then take these pieces and work with our channels to package and sell a solution to business customers," Wharton wrote. "We enable people to mass deploy video conferencing for their choice to every meeting, huddle, breakout and collab room at your business and sell more ConferenceCams. It's a delicate balance of prescribing and curating a conference room solution without selling all of the components. More of a 'soft bundle' for our channels. We know it's a relatively new and different model for Logitech but absolutely what the market wants."
Logitech's new ConferenceCam Kit is the company's latest push to expand its presence in a competitive and rapidly changing video conferencing market that is seeing greater demand for easier-to-use software- and cloud-based solutions. After almost seven years, Logitech in January spun out its Lifesize video conferencing unit, and a month later introduced Logitech Group, an offering that combines a high-definition video camera and a full duplex speakerphone that can run software from other vendors and is aimed at the enterprise.
With the ConferenceCam Kit, Logitech is combining its ConferenceCam offerings that offer high-definition 1080p video and professional audio capabilities with a Logitech keyboard and Intel's small form-factor NUC computer that is optimized for video conferencing. The system includes a pre-configured Microsoft Windows 10 Professional operating system and Intel's Unite software, which enables systems running on Intel's latest Core vPro chips to connect wirelessly to projectors, displays and other peripherals.
"But most importantly, it contains a new element—a software shell called QuickLaunch SE that runs on top of Windows and turns the PC into a video conferencing kiosk," Wharton wrote. "This provides the best of both worlds for IT: a locked down computer but fully configurable by IT to add select Windows applications (think Office, Google Drive, or custom designed company programs) at their discretion."
The software also includes other features, like the ability to ask after a meeting is complete if the user wants to email the document used on the PC with changes or wipe out any confidential information to protect security.
The ConferenceCam Kit is optimized to work with products from members of Logitech's Collaboration program, including Blue Jeans Network and Zoom Video Communications.
Logitech is putting the kit on display this week at the Enterprise Connect 2016 show in Orlando, Fla. The offering will be available in the United States in April starting at $1,599.