The room kit phenomenon was born out of companies’ desire to bring video conferencing into underused conference rooms, typically by combining off-the-shelf devices connected to a cloud video service.
The upside? More video-equipped meeting spaces. The downside? Services figured out how to turn that crowd-sourced ingenuity into big business.
Today, we’re excited to share an alternative approach to delivering video in all of your meeting spaces while also reducing costs and improving quality. Lifesize Dash™ is our answer to video conferencing kits without the Zoom Room tax.
What is a conference room kit?
A video conference room kit usually consists of a small computer connected to USB audio and video devices. Conference room kits take the concept of an all-in-one video conferencing system and separate it into off-the-shelf audio and video components that can be driven by software on a small PC to enable video conferencing in a meeting room.
Conference room kits provide a huge step up from just gathering around someone’s laptop in terms of meeting experience, and they are a popular way of bringing video conferencing into meeting spaces, whether you’re just getting started with video or expanding your video initiatives.
Lifesize Dash Room Kits
Lifesize Dash is the free meeting room connector for conference room kits and works for both large rooms and smaller huddle rooms. Available for Windows® and Chrome OS™ devices, Dash takes off-the-shelf USB video cameras and microphones and enables unlimited free video conferencing for up to 25 participants. Paired with the free Lifesize Room Controller app for iOS and Android™ tablets, users can search their directory, start or join a meeting, add participants and screen share with intuitive touchscreen controls.
Compared to similarly specced kit offerings like Zoom Rooms, organizations can expect to save up to $1,000 per room per year in license fees and H.323/SIP interoperability. Dash rooms aren’t limited by a proprietary codebase and can connect with any standards-based H.323/SIP video system without added interoperability fees.
Conference Room Kit vs. All-in-One Video Conferencing System
Conference room kits and video conferencing codecs are both completely viable video conferencing solutions. Video conferencing is a critical component of an organization’s long-term communication strategy, and for many, a combination of room kits and dedicated systems is the perfect mix for enabling video meetings and content sharing in the meeting room.
Room Kit Solutions
- Flexibility of inexpensive, readily available components
- Hardware can be repurposed or auctioned off as needed
- Test video conferencing viability prior to investment
- Time required to maintain individual components
- Minimal warranty offerings, multiple vendors to manage
- Cord management
- Consumer-grade devices need to be replaced when broken (or go missing)
Video Conference Room Systems
- Provide high quality results (up to 4K video and 4K content)
- Warranty/maintenance offerings can include advanced hardware replacement
- Automatic software updates
- Simplified user experience
- Lower total cost of ownership
- Higher initial investment costs
- Interoperability varies by vendor
- Advanced features may not be needed for every room
Configuring a Dash Room Kit
Lifesize Dash works great on existing room kit configurations or by building a kit from scratch using a range of USB webcams and microphones. Here are the five components you’ll need to configure your conference room kit.
1. Mini PC or Chromebox
Lifesize Dash supports both Microsoft Windows and Chromebox™ devices. Run the Lifesize Dash software application on an Intel Nuc, Asus Chromebox, Acer Chromebox or similar mini PC for a small form-factor solution for powering your Dash room. Lifesize Dash is an ultra-lightweight application capable of running on modest M series Intel processors. Download the datasheet for full system requirements.
Webcam plug-and-play flexibility is a key component of any conference room kit. Connect to a Logitech Meetup, Huddly Go/IQ, Polycom Studio or any other standard UVC-compatible USB camera.
For audio input, many UVC-compatible cameras include onboard microphones. External USB microphones can also be used from brands like MXL, Yamaha and Konftel.
The Lifesize Room Controller tablet application can be installed on Android and iOS tablets to give you directory access and touchscreen meeting controls.
Finally, you’ll need a TV or monitor with a free HDMI port for use as the in-room display. Check out our blog for tips on choosing the right sized display for your meeting room.
Consistent Cloud-Based Video Experience Across All Your Room Systems
Whether you are just getting started with video, expanding into additional rooms or simply seeking a better way to meet, Lifesize Dash can help you maximize your technology investment, your office real estate and your team’s productivity while meeting your unique needs for workplace collaboration. Get started with a free video conferencing solution for your room kits at www.lifesize.com/dash.