Businesses of every size rely on video conferencing technology to communicate effectively across their entire organization and to conduct business globally, now more than ever as the pandemic subsides and organizations gradually return to the physical workplace, creating hybrid work, teams and meetings.
Admittedly, with the onslaught of new webcams and video systems released for personal or home office use, it can be tricky to find the highest quality, most reliable video conferencing equipment for your company. Below are our top picks for the best video conferencing and collaboration equipment for meeting spaces of all sizes and six things to consider before you invest in new video conferencing equipment.
But first, it gets even better: For a limited time, Lifesize and our partners are offering promotional prices on all-in bundles that include devices, software and interoperability for many of these room systems to help new and existing customers navigate the return to the workplace. Learn the details and contact sales here.
Best Equipment for Huddle Rooms: Icon 300
Lifesize Icon 300 with Lifesize Micpod
The Lifesize® Icon 300™ is an all-in-one huddle room solution designed to capture everyone at the table in the smallest rooms, even if those rooms become one-person exchangeable workspaces. The unmatched 4K screen sharing quality allows you to present in the huddle room without sacrificing quality. When paired with a huddle room Micpod, you get high-fidelity audio and touch-sensitive call controls perfectly tuned for small spaces.
- Ultra-wide field of view lens perfectly optimized for the huddle room
- 4K full-motion content sharing
- Easily mounts above or below meeting room display
Best Equipment for Small to Mid-Sized Meeting Rooms: Icon 500
Lifesize Icon 500 with Lifesize Phone HD
The Lifesize® Icon 500™ was designed with flexibility in mind to bring 4K video and 4K content sharing to a wide range of meeting room sizes. You have the option to set up your Lifesize Icon 500 conferencing system with a single display for smaller rooms or add a dedicated second display for full-screen presentations in larger rooms.
- Full-motion 4K content sharing and stunning 4K video quality
- Full pan/tilt/zoom camera controls with 5x zoom
- Intuitive touchscreen control from the Lifesize® Phone HD™
Best Equipment for Large Conference Rooms and Boardrooms: Icon 700
Lifesize Icon 700 with Lifesize Phone HD
The Lifesize® Icon 700™ is the premiere 4K video conferencing experience. The powerful 20x camera zoom and rich camera optics with lifelike 4K image quality provide incredible image clarity and a stunning meeting experience for large conference rooms and boardrooms. The Lifesize Phone HD features Opus audio that is engineered for greater noise reduction and perfectly tuned for human speech.
- 4K full-motion content sharing and stunning 4K video quality
- Supports dual display to have a dedicated presentation screen
- 20x zoom lets you see every detail in the meeting room
Best Equipment for Wireless Screen Sharing and Room Automation: Lifesize Share
Lifesize Share makes it remarkably simple to wirelessly screen share and present in meetings by eliminating the complexity and clutter of cords, wires and dongles. Share your screen in real time, play a video and control your presentation right from your mobile device. In addition to wireless screen sharing, Lifesize Share combines other useful meeting room tools like digital signage and whiteboard sharing into a single, automated experience.
- Wirelessly present from any laptop using your web browser or Apple AirPlay®
- Automate displaying important messages on screens around the office with Lifesize Share and ScreenCloud
- Turn any standard whiteboard into a digital collaboration tool with Lifesize Share and Kaptivo
Best Equipment for Whiteboard Collaboration: Kaptivo
Lifesize Kaptivo whiteboard cameras and software solutions enhance collaboration by enabling better brainstorming, planning, visualizing and teaching from a run-of-the-mill physical whiteboard. Digitize, save and share whiteboard content with anyone, anywhere as part of a live video meeting or save the content to PDFs or PowerPoint slides to distribute later. Capture ideas in real time while keeping everyone focused and engaged.
- Capitalize on and transform any existing whiteboard into a virtual collaboration tool
- Natively integrate with Zoom Rooms, Cisco Touch 10, Crestron Flex/AirMedia/Mercury and Lifesize Share
- No apps, plugins, logins or special pens required
6 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Video Conferencing Equipment
Before purchasing new video conferencing equipment, it’s important to assess what your organization’s communication needs are and how your teams will use the equipment. Whether employees are jumping on a video call from their laptops , joining from a small huddle room or hosting a team meeting in a large conference room, you need a solution that fully accommodates all of the different ways your teams meet. Here are a few things to consider before you invest in new video conferencing equipment.
Is your meeting space a huddle room designed to accommodate one to three people or a 30-person conference room? This makes a big difference in what type of video conferencing camera and microphone(s) are needed for the meeting space.
How are the acoustics in your room? Is there loud street noise outside your window every day? If so, it may be time to get an external microphone that’s designed to eliminate background noise and boost the voice of the person speaking. For large meeting spaces, Micpod audio extenders may be needed to capture everyone in the meeting, wherever they are located in the conference room.
How is your image quality during video calls? Are you still using outdated 720p systems with a grainy or pixelated image? For the best video conferencing equipment that provides the highest-quality images, look for a solution that offers 4K video conferencing. The lifelike image quality makes it feel like you’re in the same room with the person you’re meeting with, even if you’re thousands of miles apart.
Ease of use
Employees want video conferencing equipment that is simple to operate, and IT appreciates that too. If the technology is too complicated, employees will simply not use it. Your team members should not have to contact IT just to schedule or join a call. At the same time, common easy-to-use and low-cost video conferencing software like you might find from Google or Skype generally doesn’t have the functionality to support big remote teams or sizable conference rooms with HD video (let alone 4K). To get the best of both worlds, find an all-in-one video conferencing solution that makes connecting over video effortless for all employees regardless of their technical skills, but that still has the functionality to meet all your needs.
Particularly during the mass migration to remote work in 2020, organizations landed on cloud video meeting services of choice. Although those services may work across laptops and mobile devices, most are not broadly interoperable with video conferencing equipment. As a result, it is important to understand your meeting room devices’ interop capabilities or limitations, and whether they could end up costing you thousands of dollars more per room to work with the video conferencing platform you deployed across your organization. Lifesize Icon 700, Icon 500 and Icon 300 room systems now come interoperability-ready via Lifesize Connect, which lets you use the equipment with any popular cloud video meeting app or service—be it Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex or another—with minimal additional components or costs.
Before investing in video conferencing equipment, you should evaluate the total cost of ownership (TCO) and not just the equipment MSRP. Are there additional fees for SIP/H.323 interoperability? Are audio minutes billed separately? Will the technology pay off over the span of its expected useful life? It’s important to find a robust solution that will fit into your budget.
As your organization continues to grow and add more distributed employees and hybrid work environments, a robust video conferencing solution that can scale with your business is more important than ever. Well-designed meeting spaces equipped with the right video conferencing equipment provide an exceptional collaborative experience that increases knowledge-sharing, encourages innovation, captures creativity and accelerates decision-making across your entire organization.
Video Conferencing Equipment FAQs
What equipment do I need to set up a video conferencing meeting room?
Here are the three components you’ll need when setting up video conferencing in most meeting rooms:
- Connected TV (or multiple displays)
- Video conferencing system (all-in-one codec and camera or separate components)
- Conference phone
How do I set up video conferencing?
Cloud-based video conferencing makes it incredibly simple to set up a video-enabled meeting room in minutes with these three steps:
- Connect the video system to your room display(s) and internet
- Pair the video system to your video conferencing account
- Make your first video conference call, share your screen and enjoy the benefit of face-to-face communication
For more information, check out our blog: How to Set Up Video Conferencing for Any Conference Room in 3 Easy Steps
What are the minimum system requirements for video conferencing?
Even the highest-quality equipment in the world still won’t work properly if you don’t have a capable network or use a high-quality video conferencing service. The three system requirements needed for video conferencing are:
- High-resolution video conferencing camera
- Fast computer processor
- Reliable internet
For more information, check out our blog: Requirements for Video Conferencing: Your Checklist for Hardware and Software
How much does video conferencing cost?
Pricing for video conferencing ranges from a free trial offering with limited functionality to enterprise pricing designed for larger organizations with hundreds or thousands of users. Most, but not all, cloud video conferencing vendors (including Lifesize) charge based on a “per host” model, meaning usage is billed based on those actively scheduling and facilitating meetings, whereas meeting attendees and guests are typically able to join for no cost.