Posts

Webcams for Business

Webcams for Business – What to consider

There is no shortage of webcam options available for businesses to select from. In fact, it can become a bit overwhelming. Organizations like Call One, Inc. and our sister company Hello Direct can help you select the right webcam for your multiple use cases.

Here is a guide of things to consider when choosing webcams for business. 

Compatibility with Operating System

Not all computers and laptops are created equal. Make certain the webcams you are considering are compatible with your computers’ Operating System/s. Most leading webcam manufacturers will provide a System Requirements list. For example, the Logitech C925e System Requirements are: Windows 7 or later, macOS® 10.7 or later, Chrome OS™ Version 29.0.1547.70 and later. Some webcams will even include the type of processor and recommended RAM, like the Cisco Webex Desk Camera System Requirements list: Operating system: Windows 10 with Universal C Runtime and above, Mac OS X 10.12 and above | CPU (Recommended) I5@2.4 GHz/i7@1.9 GHz Intel processor, or a processor with equivalent capabilities | RAM (Recommended) 8 GB or more | USB Port: USB-C port, USB-A port (USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, 4K video requires USB 3.0 port).

Be sure to check webcam System Requirements before you buy.

Video Platforms Supported

Most USB webcams will work across all major and popular video platforms, but it is a good idea to check to ensure webcam will work in your video environment. Some webcams are certified to work with specific platforms. This means the webcam manufacturer has met all the specifications and requirements set forth by the platform provider to perform in an expected way. For example, the Logitech C930e, Yealink UVC20, Huddly IQ, Jabra Panacast and others are certified for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. However, they are also compatible with other popular applications to include BlueJeans, Cisco Webex™, Fuze, Google Meet™, GoToMeeting®, Lifesize Cloud, Pexip, RingCentral Video, Vidyo, and Zoom®.

Windows Hello Support

Microsoft face authentication in Windows 10 is an enterprise-grade identity verification mechanism that is integrated into the Windows Biometric Framework (WBF) as a core Microsoft Windows component called Windows Hello. Windows Hello face authentication utilizes a camera specially configured for near infrared (IR) imaging to authenticate and unlock Windows devices as well as unlock your Microsoft Passport.

I’m currently testing multiple cameras however, here is a list of cameras Call One, Inc. offers currently that support Windows Hello: Logitech Brio, Yealink UVC30 Desktop, and Cisco Webex Desk Camera.

Webcams for business

Video Resolution

Today you can purchase webcams with 4K video resolution to include: Logitech Brio, Yealink UVC30 Desktop, Konftel Cam20, Huddly IQ, Jabra Panacast, VDO360 3See, Poly Studio P15 and the Cisco Webex Desk Camera.

Most users are good with 1080p and even 720p depending on their role in a video meeting.  Some cameras have a fixed resolution like the Logitech C505e at 720p at 30 fps. While many webcams can adjust from 720p to 1080p. Most presenters will do well by selecting webcam with higher video resolution.

Field of View and Auto Framing

Field of View (FOV) has become increasingly more important as video meetings have become a part of our daily lives. Today people are joining from a variety of environments and some are using green screens to help hide their background. Some video participants prefer less of their background to be seen and require a webcam with a narrow FOV. While others need to share a wider field of view. The ability to adjust field of view is ideal for many use cases and select webcams offer that function via their software. While others allow you to zoom or provide pan, tilt, zoom capabilities via their software. The Cisco Webex Desk Camera supports FOV adjustment between 65°, 70°, 75°and 81°. The Logitech Brio supports FOV adjustments between 65°, 78°, and 90°. If you need a wider field of view, the Jabra Panacast offers 180 degree field of view with the option to adjust between 90°, 120°, 140°and 180°. Some cameras have a fixed FOV with digital zoom. How much or how little of your background do you want shown? Field of View is something to consider.

Webcams for business

Auto Framing, Group Framing, Intelligent Zoom, or whatever they name the technology, is a great feature available from select cameras. This technology finds you and frames you perfectly in the center. This is great for those who like to walk and talk or simply need to move to another area of the room and not have to manually adjust position of camera. These cameras offer this feature: Huddly IQ, Jabra Panacast, and Poly Studio P15.

Autofocus and Auto Light Correction

Autofocus is a great feature especially if you want to show something directly from of the camera so others can see the detail. Most cameras offer Autofocus however a select few lower cost models like the Logitech C505e and JPL Vision Mini do not support. Low light or poor lighting is a major factor depending on your location. Some have ideal settings with strong light source facing them while others due to room and furniture configuration may have strong light source coming from behind them or they have poor or no light source. All the Logitech Business Webcams offer RightLight technology that help you look your best in any lighting environment. Other webcams like the Poly Studio P5, Konftel Cam10, JPL Vision and Vision Mini, and Cisco Webex Desk Camera all offer Auto Light Correction.

Built-in Microphones

Personally, I strongly recommend a good corded USB or wireless headset or USB speakerphone. However, I understand some folks rely solely on their laptops for audio so having solid performing built-in mics available, is an upgrade. Webcams offer a variety of options from single omni-directional mic, two omni-directional mics, single and dual directional microphones, two full-duplexed microphones to microphones that can also support background noise reduction. If you need to walk away and still be heard, the VDO360 2See includes a far-field mic array that picks up your voice from up to 8 meters / 26 feet away.

Privacy Shutter

Many like the peace of mind of having a privacy shutter on their webcam when not in use. I am a fan of webcams with built-in privacy shutters like the Poly Studio P5, Logitech C925e, Konftel Cam10, Yealink UVC20, and Cisco Webex Desk Camera. Some do not include a lens cover like the Logitech C505e and Huddly cameras. If a privacy shutter is important, be sure to ask if one is included.

Mounting Options

Because of the multiple use cases, many folks require threaded tripod-ready mounting as well as mounting clip to attach to monitors and laptop screens. Some also invert the camera and mount in ceiling. If you are looking to flip and mount camera upside down, ensure there is software available to invert view.

USB-A or USB-C Connectivity and Cable Length

Most webcams today provide a USB-A connection. However, many newer computers and laptops only provide USB-C ports. Some cameras include USB-A and USB-C connection options. The Yealink UVC30 Desktop camera has a USB-A cable and includes a USB 3.0 Type A to Type C adapter. The Cisco Webex Desk Camera includes removeable USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C cables. The Poly Studio P15 and VDO360 3See include a USB-C type connection. I have tested USB 3.0 Type USB-A to type USB-C adapter with several USB-A webcams and they have worked.

There currently does not appear to be a standard USB cable length and will range from 3ft to 7ft+. Check on cable length prior to ordering to ensure the length will be sufficient for your setup.

Additional USB Ports

Computer manufacturers are decreasing the number of USB ports they include. Some webcams include additional USB ports that can be used to connect a headset, speakerphone, or other USB peripheral. The Poly Studio P5 and VDO360 1See each include one USB-A port and the Poly Studio P15 includes two additional USB-A ports. This is a great feature to consider when selecting a camera.

All-In-One

If you are looking for a personal all-in-one device that includes a camera, microphones, and speakers, you may want to consider the Poly Studio P15 or VDO360 3See. Check out the Poly Studio P15 in action in this video below!

Device Management

Today the hybrid work model is prevailing across multiple industries. Remote work will be a part of many. Being able to manage your audio and video devices personally or remotely is something to consider. Leading brands like Poly, Logitech, Yealink, Jabra, and Cisco offer enterprise and individual device management software to ensure your devices are performing optimally by having the latest software and firmware updates. Additionally, you can access multiple features and settings to help customize your video experience.

Warranty

Warranty can range from 1 to 3 years depending on webcam brand and model. All Logitech Business Webcam models include a 3-year limited hardware warranty. Beyond warranty, check with your vendor to understand the warranty service process. However please note, I have tested several webcams and it is very rare for a webcam from an established brand like Logitech or Poly to quit working. We have experienced issues with some of the lesser-known brands.

Price

Fortunately, there are webcams available to support all budgets. I have tested really low-cost (Under $50) webcams like the Adesso CyberTrack H3 and H4 webcams and JPL Vision Mini as well as moderately priced webcams ($89-$129) like the Yealink UVC20, JPL Vision+, Logitech C925e, Logitech C930e, Poly Studio P5 and Konftel Cam10. I have also tested the premium models in the $199+ range to include the Logitech Brio, Cisco Webex Desk Camera, Huddly IQ, Konftel Cam20 and all-in-one units like the Poly Studio P15. Of course, the size and scope of deployment will impact pricing so don’t let MSRP be your deciding factor.

In Conclusion

The individual use case will ultimately determine which webcam is best. Our helpful team along with our partners can help you and your business select the right solution. If you would like to set up a meeting to discuss your audio and video solutions needs, contact us!

Check out our Desktop Video Solutions and watch us put these webcams to the test in this Webcam and Video Collaboration Solutions Playlist!

Cisco Webex 4K Desk Camera

Cisco Webex Desk Camera

The Cisco Webex Desk Camera is a premium USB web camera that provides high-quality video and audio for video conferencing, video streaming, and video recording.

Don’t let poor quality video get in the way of a great meeting, with superior 4K video, high-quality microphone audio, intelligent AI-based features, and IT device management no matter where you are, this webcam is the cream of the crop.

In this blog, we’ll list the specs and features of the Cisco Webex, and later we’ll link a video showcasing the camera and microphone quality!

Cisco Webex 4K Features

  • 4K Ultra HD Video
  • Provides superior video with outstanding clarity, rich colors, great smoothness, superb resolution and frame rate
  • iHDR Enabled Light Performance
  • Improves video quality in various light conditions Helps users always look the best on video calls
  • Auto Focus
  • Brings peace of mind by fast, clear and perfectly sharp focus
  • Adjustable FOV
  • Offers a convenient way to choose the ideal angle of view
  • Built-in Privacy Shutter
  • Controls the video streaming on and off to ensure the complete privacy as needed
  • Offers high quality microphone audio with background noise reduction
  • Face Detection and Recognition
  • Certifies with Windows Hello and allows secure facial recognition login through the IR sensor
  • Multiple Connection and Mounting Options
  • Includes both USB C-to-A and USB C-to-C cables for flexible PC connection plus multiple placement options with the camera clip and the tripod screw thread

Final Thoughts on the Cisco Webex 4K Desk Camera

This is no ordinary webcam. Whether you are working from home or the office, the Webex Desk Camera is perfect for hybrid working styles. Collaboration administrators can easily update and troubleshoot every Webex Desk Camera from the Webex Control Hub making deployment and management easy.

Being able to download the Cisco Webex Desk Camera App and personalize your personal webcam is a huge bonus. From changing the resolution (from low res to 4K), field of view (65, 70, 75 or 81 degrees – show more or less of your space), frame rate, to the color and saturation of your image, this webcam truly does it all. Plus, it’s compatible with all popular meeting or video applications (including Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Zoom, Google Meet and Google Hangouts, BlueJeans, Slack, FaceTime, etc.) And it’s Windows Hello compatible!

Personally, I think this is a great solution regardless of platform if you are looking for a premium webcam. If you want to see it in action along with available settings in the Cisco Webex Desk Camera App, watch video below! If you would like to set up a pilot or proof of concept for mass deployment, contact us!

Bluetooth Headsets Hybrid Work

My Top Picks for UC Bluetooth Headsets for Hybrid Work or Work from Anywhere

In our blog, Questions to ask when selecting audio and video devices for Hybrid Work we learned that organizations should understand if their team members setup is the same in their home as in their office.

If your team members use a computer (softphone) and mobile devices in both locations, here is a list of my top picks for UC Bluetooth Headsets for Hybrid Work, Work from Home, or Work from Anywhere. All models listed are compatible and/or certified with all major business communications and collaboration platforms to include Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco and more. All these headsets will pair to your mobile device via Bluetooth and your computer via included USB dongle. Check out this video below on Why you need a USB dongle:

UC Bluetooth Headsets with ANC Speakers

Based off my personal tests and our YouTube Channel viewer comments and feedback, here are my top picks based off overall audio quality, compatibility, ease of use, comfort, & portability. In no specific order:

You can find a complete list of ANC Headset Solutions from Poly, Cisco, EPOS, Jabra, Logitech, and Bose here.

Discreet UC Bluetooth Headsets

If you are looking for a discreet UC Bluetooth headset, here are some you may want to consider.

Poly Voyager Focus 5200 Bluetooth Headsets Hybrid Work

Budget-Friendly UC Bluetooth Headsets

If you are looking for a no-frills, get the job done, UC Bluetooth headsets starting at $159.95 USD, look at these options available in single or dual ear headband wearing styles from Poly and Jabra. Both series support corded USB mode if you forget to charge headset or are experiencing Bluetooth density problems. To help keep you productive and uninterrupted, both offer online indicator/busy lights to show you are in a call. Carry cases are included with all models to make it easy to transport between locations.

See the complete list of UC Bluetooth headsets designed for computer and mobile phone here!

If you would like to learn more about Hybrid Work audio and video devices for your team members, contact us directly Monday through Friday, 8 am – 5 pm ET at 1-800-749-3160 or fill out this form! Don’t forget to ask about our Agent in a Box Service that can help simplify deployments by shipping all the components your employees in need in a single box right to their doorstep anywhere in the US, business, or residential addresses!

Contact Center Headset Solutions

Contact Center Headset Solutions for 2021

It’s been a year since the first stay-at-home orders were issued here in the US. I remember how incredibly easy it was for Call One, Inc. and our sister company Hello Direct to transition from in-office to working from home because we had invested in cloud platforms for our ERP/CRM and business communications and collaboration platforms. We’re looking at the best contact center headset solutions for 2021.

8x8 Contact Center Difference Between UCaaS CCaaS Contact Center Headset Solutions

Our businesses utilize 8×8 as our primary voice and UCaaS platform however, we also use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, and other collaboration platforms to communicate with our customers, partners, and vendors. Our team has access to pretty much any headset they would like. Many of our team members are using the Poly Voyager Focus UC (MSRP $299.95, currently only $199.95). It was great in our open office environment, and it’s also a great solution in their home office environments. It provides ANC speakers, compatibility with all major business communications and collaboration platforms, wireless connectivity to their computer and mobile device, and up to 12 hours of talk time which is more than enough to cover an 8hr workday. Shop all Poly Voyager Focus Series Here!

For this blog I’m focused on Contact Center Headset Solutions that are available from the leading manufacturers: Poly (formerly Plantronics + Polycom), Jabra, EPOS, Cisco, and JPL.

Compatibility

Poly, Jabra and EPOS are the current leaders globally in the contact center headset solutions space for a reason. Poly has been in the call center/ contact center space since the 1960’s and Jabra is a subsidiary of the GN Group that’s been around for over 150 years. These leaders have deep relationships and integration with all leading contact center on-premise and cloud platforms like Avaya, Cisco, Genesys, NICE inContact, Amazon Connect, 8×8, Five9, talkdesk, twilio, and more!

Flexibility – Wearing Styles, Corded and Wireless

Headset Wearing Styles – Headsets are available in a variety of wearing styles to include: Single or Dual Ear Headband Style, Over the ear, Neckband (behind the neck) and Convertible options that include multiple wearing styles with a single sku (Headband, Over the ear, Neckband, other).

USB Corded Headsets – As many contact centers shift to cloud-based platforms, there has been an increased demand in USB corded headsets. Manufacturers have developed headsets with USB-A and USB-C connectivity as well as offer UC and Microsoft Teams certified models. Look at available corded USB headsets from Jabra, Poly, Logitech, Cisco, JPL, EPOS and Yealink here!

QD Corded Headsets – Headsets that terminate in a QD or Quick Disconnect (Easy Disconnect for EPOS Headsets) allow agents to change out interface cable to support connectivity to a desk phone, computer, dispatch console, turret and more. There is not a universal cable that allows you to connect a headset to all phones, computers, and consoles. An authorized headset vendor like Call One, Inc. can provide compatibility and help you choose the right interface option.

Wireless headsets today offer a ton of flexibility. They utilize DECT and/or Bluetooth to support multiple connectivity options and provide you freedom to move about your workspace.

The preferred wearing style for most contact center agents is single or dual-ear headband style like the new JPL Element TT3 Avant Monaural and Binaural options that have QD (Quick Disconnect) feature that allow agents to change out interface cable to support connectivity to a desk phone or computer.

Contact Center Headset Solutions
Jabra Engage 50 series

The Jabra Engage 50 series are headsets designed for the digital contact center. The Jabra Engage 50 features a powerful processing chip in the earcup that delivers advanced functionality including call analytic data. A unique, 3 microphone system with intelligent noise-cancelation filters our background noise and breathing sounds, giving callers a superior experience. For greater efficiency and call control, pair with the Jabra Engage Link. The call control unit accessory enables agents to adjust volume levels and mute, speed dial, answer and end calls, and update their status lights at the touch of a button. The control unit is easy to use and designed to stay in place.

Contact Center Headset Solutions Blackwire

The Poly Blackwire Series offer a broad range of solutions that include ANC speakers, USB-A, USB-C, and 3.5mm Connectivity options, UC and Microsoft Teams certified variants, and headset models that align with all budgets. From the entry-level Blackwire 3200 and 3300 Series all the way to the Poly Blackwire 8225 that includes Hybrid Active Noise Canceling (ANC) speakers and microphone that is Noise canceling with Acoustic Fence Technology and meets Microsoft Teams Open-Office certification levels. Check out this video below showcasing Poly Blackwire 8225 vs Barking Dog!

https://youtu.be/cr5ILr2HrhU

Pre-and Post-Sales Support

All leading headset manufacturers along with their authorized partners like Call One, Inc. and Hello Direct understand the challenges of the contact center. Together we can work to support Proof of Concept or Pilots that allow you to thoroughly evaluate headset solutions before you make a purchasing decision. Additionally, for those contact centers looking to deploy wireless headsets, select brands offer Wireless Density Surveys to determine which wireless headsets and how many you can deploy.

Call One, Inc. offers Agent in a Box service to help simplify deployment of headsets nationwide by including all the required components in one box. We can ship headsets to your contact center agents wherever they are (Business and/or Residential addresses in the US). Learn about how Agent in a Box helped one organization deploy thousands of EPOS SC230 & SC260 Headsets, CAVA31 phone cable and ED01 USB Adapters here!

Warranty Service – Most Contact Center headsets include a 1-3 Year Warranty depending on brand and model. In-Warranty Service is available directly from the manufacturers.

Full Line of AccessoriesSave money and Increase the life of your headset by replacing accessories like ear cushions, mic screens, voice tubes, wireless headset batteries, and more!

Wireless Headset Accessories

Corded Headset Accessories

Headset Management Software

 As Contact Centers shift to working remotely, a robust CCaaS solution like available from 8×8 is becoming critical, as well the ability to monitor and manage headsets remotely. Most IT leaders understand that you need more than the ability to push out software and firmware updates. Headset Management Software continues to evolve. Today, headset software from select partners allows you to monitor, manage and maintain your headsets. IT can help troubleshoot and fix issues remotely as well as manage deployment and inventory effectively. But there’s so much more! Contact Center customers can improve the customer experience by leveraging the power of analytics to influence business results with unique data captured directly from the headset. Please contact us to learn more about current headset management software.

Poly Lens

 Other Contact Center Services

Call One, Inc. can support contact centers of all sizes. Global Contact Centers may have additional services available directly through the manufacturers depending on size and global footprint. Contact us directly to see if you qualify!

Trade-In Programs – To help simplify the deployment of new headsets, trade-in programs are sometimes enabled to leverage existing headsets by assigning them a dollar amount and using that as a credit towards the purchase of new. Contact us to see if you qualify!

Eprocurement – Our in house Ecommerce team can integrate with your existing purchasing platforms and even help to develop and manage CIF and PunchOut catalogs to help simplify access to the headsets and full line of accessories you need. Contact us to learn more!

Budget Optimization Program – Call One, Inc. offers convenient monthly payment options for your contact center headset needs. We understand the value of positive cash flow and provide equipment financing options to help you make the most of your budget. Contact us to see if you qualify!

CCaaS Solutions – Call Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions enable you to architect a customer experience that will leave your customers pleased and feeling good about interacting with your brand when they call. They enable a more dynamic business with on-demand scalability, global reach, and easy, out-of-the-box integrations into the widely used software that makes your business run. Contact us to learn which CCaaS provider is best for your Contact Center!

Conclusion

2021 marks 34 years of servicing customers. In the beginning we served primarily call centers and dispatch centers with Plantronics, GN Netcom, ACS and Unex headsets. Today, the contact center manages multiple channels of communications with customers that includes email, social media, chat, voice and increasingly, video. Our long term and very strong relationships with the leading brands and providers give us an additional layer of support when it comes to helping meet your contact center headset solutions needs. If you would like to learn how we can help your contact center, contact us today!

Best headsets and speakerphones for Zoomsgiving

Best Webcams and Speakerphones for Zoomsgiving and other celebrations!

The year is 2020 and we’ve done virtually everything…virtually. The holidays are no different. Many will be celebrating physically apart connected via video meeting platform from Zoom, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, or other available options.

The focus of this blog will center around things to consider when selecting a webcam or camera to capture the moment this Zoomsgiving or other celebrations! Two key things to consider are the field of view (FOV) and audio. Celebrations will range from one to one, one to many, and many to many. In order to capture everyone in the frame, a wider field of view is optimal. FOV ranges from 54 degrees to 180 degrees depending on brand and camera model. Some brands offer software that allows you to adjust FOV and other settings to improve overall video quality.

Smartphones and tablets today have nice built-in cameras that can access multiple video meeting and conferencing apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Google Meet, etc. Enjoy the moment by getting a stand or mount to hold the phone or tablet. Depending on where you position the smartphone, you may want to consider a Bluetooth Speakerphone to set in the middle of the table so everyone can hear and be heard.

Best Webcams and Speakerphones for Zoomsgiving
Mobile image quality

Many laptops have built-in cameras, microphones, and speakers. The video quality may not be the best and almost always, the built-in audio in laptops is horrendously bad. It’s best to look at an external webcam and audio device for Zoom or Teams conferencing.

Best Webcams and Speakerphones for Zoomsgiving
Laptop image quality

The new Logitech C505e offers a FOV of 60 degrees. (Watch Logitech C505e Video). This tighter shot is great for one person.

These cameras offer a wider field of view that can be adjusted via remote control or software:

Watch the video to see these cameras in action to see some of the best webcams and speakerphones for Zoomsgiving!

Lastly, you will want to look at a good USB or Bluetooth speakerphone designed to work with the various video meeting platforms and applications. Strongly consider a speakerphone that offers full duplex for more natural conversation. The new Jabra Speak 750 and Poly Sync 20 offer full-duplex audio while on Zoom calls!

Jabra Speak 750 video https://youtu.be/ANwzNdCEXrY

Poly Sync 20 video https://youtu.be/GkbPGy-aYWg

See a full list of webcams and speakerphones here!