Conference rooms and huddle spaces need inexpensive, easy to use, platform agnostic devices…

By Danny Hayasaka

October 28, 2016

It’s been really fascinating to watch the evolution of the meeting space. I remember conference rooms, the analog speakerphone and using a conference call service to connect multiple participants. Oh, and paying by the minute.

Video was added to enhance the experience. It required expensive codecs, hardware, bridges, managed services and a degree from MIT to operate. So the reality was video conferencing wasn’t used and the codecs sat there and collected dust.

Nowadays there are so many options for audio and video meetings via Microsoft Lync/Skype for Business, Cisco Jabber, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Vidyo, BlueJeans, Adobe Connect, Fuze, ReadyTalk, and on and on. Additionally, meeting spaces can now be anywhere from the traditional conference rooms to huddle spaces.

With so many options, the need for platform agnostic devices has increased. Additionally, customers are in search of “easy”. How do they video enable a room easily, inexpensively and doesn’t require a specialized degree or certification to operate?

Fortunately, there are plenty of options from multiple vendors. That’s the other fantastic thing that has occurred…customers are no longer tied to “one” brand for a complete solution. They can mix and match depending on need and budget.

You can use devices from Logitech, Jabra, Plantronics, Sennheiser, Konftel, Revolabs and more!!!

For personal use, you can use a USB/Bluetooth headset or USB/Bluetooth personal speakerphone and Webcam.

For small groups of 2-5 people, you can use a USB speakerphone and Webcam.

For groups of 6-10, you can go with ConferenceCams, USB speakerphones and Webcam or PTZ webcams.

For even larger groups you have options for ConferenceCams with extended mics, or more robust speakerphones with USB connections and PTZ Webcams.

 

 

All these solutions cost thousands of dollars less than traditional video conferencing solutions and they are extremely easy to use. Most are “plug and play”. Simply plug the USB cable into your PC or laptop and off you go.

Logitech is making it even easier with their ConferenceCam Kit which includes Intel NUC, Keyboard, Mouse and Iluminari Quicklaunch SE (a fully configurable and simplified user interface that brings appliance-like ease-of-use to the meeting room, minimizing the need for user training or IT support.)

What does this mean do inexpensive, platform agnostic, easy to use devices mean for business?

Increased user adoption, more collaboration and decreased IT Help Desk trouble tickets.

Below are listed some examples of products that can be used to video enable a space. There are more from other manufacturers/brands. Below are some of the more popular, tested/certified webcams and speakerphones:

Webcams, PTZ Webcams and ConferenceCams:

USB and USB/Bluetooth/NFC Speakerphones:

 

 

One way to reduce distracting noise in your office… Jabra Noise Guide

By Danny Hayasaka

October 20, 2016

Open offices are great for improved team work and collaboration however with that comes an increase in noise! Yes, sometimes your colleagues become your biggest distractions.

Jabra introduces the Jabra Noise Guide with SoundEar®3 software. It’s a portable device that monitors noise levels and provides visual feedback so coworkers are more aware immediately that they may be distracting others.

There are three light color schemes:

  • Green = acceptable noise levels
  • Yellow = warning noise levels are getting high
  • Red = unacceptable noise levels
  • (Of course it can work in reverse if you want higher noise levels ie. Sales Floor, Green could indicate not enough noise going on)

The SoundEar software defaults to preset “Noisy Office” noise levels. You can also select from “Normal Office” to “Quiet Office” depending on acceptable level of noise in your space. Additionally you can customize and set it to what is best for your office.

The Jabra Noise Guide includes: Noise Guide, USB Key with software, Power Adapter with EU, US & UK plugs, USB Adapter Cable (A-plug to micro-B).

Your office environment will determine whether you obtain a Table Stand or Cubicle Mount.

How does the Noise Guide work?

Noise Guide provides you with 2 types of measurements, simultaneously. The ear symbol indicates the state of the current noise level while the LED panel at the bottom of the device indicates the average noise level over the past 15 minutes.

Software Setup

You will find the software on the included USB Key. When you have installed the software, make sure to check for software updates to ensure that you are always updated with the latest version.

You have three standard settings to choose from:

  1. Noisy Office (Default)
    1. The device is lit green when the noise level is below 60 dB.
    2. The device is lit yellow when the noise level ranges from 60 dB to 70 dB.
    3. The device is lit red when the noise level exceeds 70 dB.Normal Office
  2. Normal Office
    1. The device is lit green when the noise level is below 55 dB.
    2. The device is lit yellow when the noise level ranges from 55 dB to 65 dB.
    3. The device is lit red when the noise level exceeds 65 dB.
  3. Quiet Office
    1. The device is lit green when the noise level is below 50 dB.
    2. The device is lit yellow when the noise level ranges from 50 dB to 60 dB.
    3. The device is lit red when the noise level exceeds 60 dB.
  4. Customized Settings
    1. Allows you to customize settings

There are many options from this GUI in addition to Quick Setup:

  • Setup
    • Device Info
    • Light Settings
    • User Manual
    • About Jabra Noise Guide
  • Measurement Data
    • Live Measurment
    • Measurement Library
    • Import Data From USB

You can now review for peak noisiest hours and depending on where you position units, you can pinpoint which areas of your office are noisiest and when.

I think this is a really cool tool for any business looking to monitor noise levels in their office space.

To learn more go to http://www.jabra.com/business/office-headsets/jabra-noise-guide