Logitech expands video/audio gear for meeting rooms

New equipment merges camera, microphone and speaker for small meeting areas known as "huddle rooms."

Logitech today expanded its offerings in the videoconferencing/collaboration space with the launch of its ConferenceCam Connect device ($499.99). Combining an HD 1080p video camera with dual microphones and a speakerphone for 360-degree audio, the ConferenceCam Connect is aimed at small workgroup collaboration settings (up to six people). The device sits between the entry-level BCC950 unit ($249.99) and the upper-end ConferenceCam CC3000e ($999.99).

Logitech says the new hardware is aimed at smaller conference rooms known as "huddle rooms," where groups of employees congregate and need to then connect to videoconferencing systems (it's certified for Microsoft Lync but also works with other systems such as Cisco Jabber, WebEx, Skype, etc.). While many companies have invested money in large-room conference systems, many smaller rooms exist where no gear lives, so video collaboration often happens with people squeezed around an internal webcam or someone brings in an external webcam attached to a tripod.

The cylindrical unit is designed to be more portable than other rooms, which lets users bring along the system when they move to a different meeting area (as long as the IT group hasn't locked it down via the available Kensington lock port). A rechargeable Lithium-ion battery gives placement flexibility to the device, as you don't need to have it sit near a power outlet for the video call.

The ConferenceCam Connect features a 90-degree field of view (up from 78 degrees on the BCC950), and a 4x full HD zoom (up from 1.2x). The camera features digital pan, tilt and zoom features, controlled via a remote control unit that quite cleverly pops out from the unit's cover.

Advanced features include the ability to wirelessly mirror content from a smartphone (Android or Windows Phone, no iOS support) to an HDMI-connected monitor. This is done via Miracast technology (a dongle sits inside the ConferenceCam device) users can connect via Bluetooth to the camera, then go via HDMI cable to the monitor/TV. This also provides audio output from the monitor/TV, so you can play a video/presentation on your phone and see/hear it on the bigger display.

In addition to the silver unit, Logitech plans to sell a red version, called the ConferenceCam Connect Ruby Limted Edition, on its Web site. Pre-orders for both versions are available now, with a March 2015 availability, Logitech says.

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Tags gadgetsconsumer electronicsskypeLithiumMicrosoftlogitechkensingtonvideoconferencing

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