Market Trends Surrounding Web Cameras
HD video conference system “V-CUBE Box” with camera, microphone, remote control, etc. in addition to the main body with codec. Since its launch in October 2015, there have been many adoption cases in various industries. It also supports meeting rooms from small to large due to the flexibility of the package provided.
Recently, about 4 to 6 people gathered immediately, and a huddle meeting that can hold a highly productive meeting is attracting attention as a new meeting style. In line with this, various products that support the huddle conference have appeared in the video conference system market. One of them is the camera, which is the theme of this time.
This time, Logitech’s MeetUp video conference camera (released in July 2017), which is attracting attention for the Haddle conference space, has been adopted for the V-CUBE Box.
The quality of video communication, including video conferencing systems, has improved dramatically over the past 20 years, and Web cameras have evolved during this time. Traditionally, the market for Web cameras has been expanding mainly for personal use by individuals on the desktop. However, over the past few years, full HD has become almost standard, especially for businesses, and many webcams that have multiple participants (groups) such as those for huddle conference spaces have appeared on the market. In addition, 4K-compatible Web cameras such as MeetUp have also appeared as a new movement.
Logitech’s enthusiasm for the video conferencing market is great. Relevant domestic sales have been growing at a high rate of 70% annually (when the product was announced on June 6, 2017). The company gains world share with consumer webcams and matches from the personal (eg Logitech C930ER and BRIO) to large conference rooms of around 20 (Logitech GROUP cc3500e) to meet the rapidly expanding video conferencing / web conferencing market. The company has expanded its lineup of corporate conference web cameras to all-round. Huddle is positioned in the middle of the conference room size, MeetUp is a product that assumes the users there.
This was adopted as one of the cameras of V-CUBE Box this time. We will verify the ability of MeetUp in combination with the well-established V-CUBE Box.
What is a camera suitable for a huddle conference and how to choose it
Before starting the verification, let’s consider how to choose a camera suitable for a huddle meeting.
A wide variety of webcams are sold from consumer to business. That’s not the case. If the video chat is done by an individual at home, a web camera of several thousand yen sold at a mass retailer would be fine.
However, a web camera that costs several thousand yen for a web conference where a large number of people participate in a single site will have insufficient video quality, angle of view (viewing angle), and sound collection range of the built-in microphone. For business use, it is necessary to capture the other person’s facial expression, so at least HD quality will be required, and if this is the theme of the huddle conference, I would like an angle of view that can accommodate about 4-6 people. I also want a reasonable sound collection range.
Considering such things, it supports up to 4K image quality including HD, supports a wide angle of view up to 120 degrees, to focus on facial expressions of participants, etc., and to display a conference room whiteboard Carrying pan-tilt-zoom, all-in-one design and light weight (1kg) for carrying, sufficient sound collection range for business, these points will be the point of choice when considering future huddle meetings. MeetUp is a product that meets these requirements with satisfactory specifications.
How to choose
High image quality and wide viewing angle
High quality voice and sufficient sound collection range
Pan, tilt and zoom are standard features
Convenient all-in-one design
Lightness for carrying around
This time, based on the conference room environment and verification equipment shown in the table below, the characteristics of the setup, video quality, sound collection range, and remote control were verified while actually operating MeetUp. For GROUP, the setup and specifications are compared with MeetUp as the main information.
Meeting room environment
Haddle meeting room (3m x 3m area ) that can accommodate 4 to 6 people
V-CUBE Box (both rooms )
MeetUp (both rooms )
GROUP (one room )
We took MeetUp out of the box, connected it to a V-CUBE Box, a display, etc., and verified a series of setup work until entering the V-CUBE Box meeting.
The MeetUp body measures 104mm (height) x 400mm (width) x 85mm (depth) and weighs 1.04kg. When you take it out of the box, the main unit is large enough to lift both hands to the width of your shoulders, and it is about the weight of a lightweight laptop. The first impression is that it is compact and very light.
It depends on how big and light it is to beat. I was honest about whether this would be okay (I’m relieving my concerns later on this point).
This is because, for these large-scale cameras, the author has been clinging to the profound image of a hardware-type video conferencing system for many years. It may also be a surface). According to Logitech representatives, development is taking place in Switzerland, where the headquarters is located. As expected, I was impressed with Logitech, which has a reputation for development capabilities.
The setup work was compared with the GROUP setup, which supported up to 14 people in the base system (20 people with an extended microphone). GROUP connects each camera and speakerphone cable around the hub, and connects the hub to a computer or display.
On the other hand, MeetUp’s camera, microphone, and speaker are all-in-one, so a simple setup is possible by connecting to the computer or TV screen from the interface terminal on the back of MeetUp.
That’s not to say that setting up a GROUP is difficult, and both GROUP and MeetUp are accustomed to going through the setup once, and after a few minutes, I think it is possible to complete the cabling of the equipment. Anyone who can wire a TV or PC can do it.
When thinking about which Web camera to use in a huddle meeting, it can be used in GROUP without any problems, but it is more convenient to use the all-in-one MeetUp, although it has a preference rather than a camera / microphone / speaker etc. separated (takes up space). Thought it was good.
Compared to MeetUp’s light weight (1.04kg), GROUP has a camera 585g, speakerphone 1,223g, hub 83g, total 1.89kg, nearly twice the weight of MeetUp.
2. Camera image performance and quality
Next, three points were verified: confirmation of the angle of view (viewing angle, shooting range) at the default position of the camera, comparison of pan / tilt / zoom functions, and comparison of digital zoom functions.
The camera angle of view is one of the points to consider when introducing a web camera, considering that it will be used in a huddle meeting room where 4 to 6 people participate. By the way, the angle of view of low-priced web cameras sold at mass retailers is around 60 ° to 70 ° on average, but this makes it impossible to fit 4 to 6 people in the shooting range. . Moreover, it does not have the performance and functions to withstand business meetings.
The default angle of view of GROUP is 90 degrees, and it can cover 4 to 8 people, but it cannot be denied that it is somewhat cramped. However, if the pan function (260 degrees) is combined with an extension microphone, it is a product that can cover a conference of 20 people (14 people in the base system).
On the other hand, the default angle of view of MeetUp, which is optimized for the Huddle conference room, is 120 °. In the conference room used for the verification, two people were photographed, but it turned out that it could cover 4 to 6 people sufficiently due to the size of the table.
I’m very grateful that I can shoot 4 to 6 people with a standard angle of view.
Along with the angle of view, the pan / tilt / zoom functions are also important. First, the pan function is a function that shakes the camera lens to the left and right, but the maximum for GROUP is 180 ° and that for MeetUp is 175 °.
GROUP’s 180 ° can be convinced that the model supports meetings of up to 20 people, but 175 ° can be said to be a wide enough angle when used in a relatively small conference room called Huddle conference. In addition, with regard to tilting up and down, I think that even with MeetUp installed below my chest in this verification, I was able to shoot myself without a sense of incongruity by adjusting it slightly upward. Even if MeetUp is installed on the display, there will be no problem. I felt that there was no difference compared to the GROUP tilt of 130 °
On the other hand, the zoom function can be said to be a function used when shooting a whiteboard behind the participant or zooming in on the participant’s facial expression. When comparing only the specs, GROUP is up to 10 times zoom MeetUp is 5 times, GROUP seems to have a minute, but considering each assumed usage environment, 5 times MeetUp is not appropriate Isn’t it?
|Angle of view||120 °||90 °|
|Bread||175 °||180 °|
|Tilt||Almost equal||130 °|
|zoom||5 times||10 times|
The Huddle conference room used for the verification was a whiteboard on the wall itself, and I tried to focus on what I had handwritten on the remote using the GROUP and MeetUp camera zooms. Although there was a problem with the resolution of the camera, in this verification environment, it was visible without problems from another conference room. However, since the conference room used for this verification is roughly 3m x 3m in size, zooming will not be required up to 10x. By the way, when I zoomed in on the face, I could see the skin and hair clearly, and I could see the high image quality.
As an aside, if you devise how to set the camera and table, you may be able to reduce the texture of the telepresence system built into each room.
3. Sound collection range
The built-in microphones are different from the four GROUP and three MeetUp, but both have omnidirectional microphones. However, the sound collection range on the specs of the base system (without an extension microphone) is significantly different from GROUP for 6m and MeetUp for 2.4m.
This is not a difference between superiority and inferiority, but a difference in performance that comes from the assumed usage environment. Considering that the conference room used for verification this time has a conference table in the area of about 3m x 3m and people sit around it, the sound collection range of 2.4m can be said to be enough .
In addition, this time it was a room enclosed in a wall and sealed in some way, and the effect of sound reflection was also helpful, so there was no problem with the sound. Pretty good wherever you are in the room. Talking to MeetUp’s built-in microphone from the wall, it was clear to the other side. However, as I noticed at the wall, it might be better to speak a little higher. Perhaps it was because he stood just at the wrinkle with a sound collection range of 2.4m. Of course, it is also affected by the room environment.
Probably, when using GROUP, it was also for large-scale conference rooms, and I felt that this Huddle conference room would be over-spec.
By the way, a Logitech representative advised recommending an extended microphone when using MeetUp in an open place with no walls. You may want to consider one good use of the wall when meeting with MeetUp.
|Microphone||Three omnidirectional||4 omnidirectional|
4. Remote control operation
As for remote control operation, there is basically no difference between GROUP and MeetUp. In addition to calling start / end / mute, buttons for pan / tilt / zoom are arranged. Both are intuitive and easy to understand. Pan / tilt / zoom operations are crisp in response to remote control operations.
Also, if you download an app for smartphones, the iPhone or Android device can be paired with the main unit, and you can start calls and zoom the camera from the smartphone. The screen has the same design as the remote control and is easy to understand.
However, there is a difference in the remote control communication method. GROUP remote control uses infrared rays. The spec suggests a remote control range up to 8.5m, but it may change depending on the room environment. On the other hand, MeetUp uses a new RF remote control that uses wireless communication.
Until now, infrared has been the mainstream for remote controls on TVs, but the movement toward RF remote controls is accelerating. The infrared remote control may not be able to operate if there is an obstruction between the main body and the receiver, but the RF remote control is wireless, so if you operate the button in any direction in the same room, the wall of the room etc. It can be received by the main body side.
I think that this verification has highlighted the difference in the size of the conference that GROUP and MeetUp are assuming. A web camera cannot be determined by simply comparing its performance. It is a good idea to choose the best webcam for your company, based on the following points:
Web cameras for corporate conferences are available from personal to huddle and large number of people.
When selecting a web camera, video quality, angle of view (wide angle is good), and the sound collection range of the built-in microphone are important points. In addition, pan / tilt / zoom performance should be confirmed.
When introducing the system, the optimal product should be selected in consideration of the number of participants, the size of the conference room, and the acoustic environment.
The corporate conference web camera is easy to set up in minutes if you get used to it.
You can also use the smartphone to operate the Web camera itself.