The Best Video Conferencing Equipment of 2020

by in Meeting Room, Products

Businesses of every size rely on video conferencing technology to communicate effectively across their entire organization and to conduct business globally. But with new webcams and video systems released every year, it can be tricky to find the best video conferencing equipment for your company. Here are our top picks for the best video conferencing equipment for meeting spaces of all sizes and five things to consider before you invest in new video conferencing equipment.

Best Equipment for Huddle Rooms

Lifesize Icon 300 all-in-one video conferencing camera system with the Lifesize Micpod

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 even the smallest rooms. 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

 

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Best Equipment for Small to Mid-Sized Meeting Rooms

Lifesize Icon 500 video conferencing camera system with Lifesize Phone HD

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 for 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™

 

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Best Equipment for Large Conference Rooms and Boardrooms

Lifesize Icon 700 video conferencing camera system with Lifesize Phone HD

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

 

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Best Equipment for Auditoriums and All-Hands Rooms

Lifesize Icon 800 with Lifesize camera 10x and Lifesize Phone HD

Lifesize Icon 800 with Lifesize Camera 10x and Lifesize Phone HD

The Lifesize® Icon 800™ is designed to bring large, all-hands rooms and auditoriums to life with video collaboration. It integrates with custom third-party solutions and fits perfectly into a broader communication ecosystem. When combined with Lifesize® Camera 10x™ and Lifesize Phone HD, Lifesize Icon 800 delivers an unforgettable collaborative experience to big audiences. 

  • Integrates with existing custom third-party solutions
  • Supports multiple video and audio inputs and outputs
  • Rack-mountable design for secure installation

 

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Best Equipment for Wireless Screen Sharing and Room Automation

Lifesize Share device with two screens showing animated graphs and wireless presentation

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 with Lifesize Share™. 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 dry-erase board with Lifesize Share and Kaptivo

 

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Best Free Video Conferencing Room Kit Connector

Lifesize Dash room kit with an iPad, microphone and video conferencing webcam

Lifesize Dash

Lifesize Dash™ is the free conference room connector that lets you host video meetings with up to 25 participants without the per-room licensing fees or hidden costs. With support for Windows PCs and Chromeboxes, Lifesize Dash turns third-party USB video cameras and audio devices into full conference room kits that deliver an amazing user experience, with world class reliability and centralized management.

  • Save up to $1,000 per year per room with no hidden fees
  • 25-way group video calls, wireless screen sharing and virtual meeting rooms
  • Repurpose hardware investments or equip new meeting spaces cost-effectively

 

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5 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 at their desks, 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. 

Collage of video conferencing cameras, microphones and phones

Room size

Is your meeting space a huddle room designed to accommodate two to three people or a 30-person conference room? This makes a big difference in what type of video conferencing camera and microphone are needed for the meeting space. Check out our Complete Guide to Amazing Meeting Room Spaces to find the right fit for your meeting rooms.

Learn how to design, set up and deploy the perfect meeting room based on your unique needs.

Acoustics of rooms

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 regardless of where they are located in the conference room. 

Camera quality

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 conferencing equipment that is simple to operate. 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 find from Google or Skype generally don'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.

Budget

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. Check out our post on video conferencing costs for a full breakdown of what to budget for. 

Video Conferencing Equipment FAQs

What equipment do I need to set up a video conference room? 

Here are the three components you’ll need when setting up video conferencing in most meeting rooms: 

  1. Connected TV (or multiple displays)
  2. Video conferencing system (all-in-one codec and camera or separated components)
  3. Conference phone

How do I set up video conferencing?

Cloud-based video conferencing makes it incredibly simple to set up a video conferencing room in minutes with these three steps:

  1. Connect the video system to your room display(s) and internet
  2. Pair the video system to your video conferencing account 
  3. 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:

  1. High-resolution video conferencing camera
  2. Fast computer processor
  3. 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. For more information, check out our blog: The True Cost of Video Conferencing in 2020: Software, Equipment and ROI

Conclusion

As your company continues to grow and add more remote employees and offices, a robust video conferencing solution that can scale with your company 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.