Huddle room setup for collaboration in less than $500

Wireless presentation device

 

A meeting room can leave a lasting impression on the meeting attendees. It can help them come up with new ideas, or it can distract them with difficult to use technology. If you want the former rather than the latter in your next meeting, understanding and knowing the right tools and technology to choose for your meeting rooms before overhauling on the AV technology in your meeting/huddle space will save your company from unnecessary expenses and set you up for success.

But by looking at the videoconferencing solutions available today, you quickly realize that they:

  • are expensive
  • are difficult to setup
  • require specialized and expensive hardware
  • face communication breaks and delays between participants due to technical issues (network, hardware/software connectivity, video/audio bandwidth connectivity)

In this article, we will list out all the basic technology necessities of a huddle room and how to achieve them without a big hit on your CAPEX expenses.

Huddle Room Requirements

  1. TV/ Displays – Having a display to share screens is critical for any meeting room. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and fill the whole wall, just as long as everyone can see and feel included. Select the display’s size according to viewing distance for optimum visibility when sharing detailed content.
    Choose displays that will serve as both local presentation and conferencing monitors. 4K displays give you a future-proof solution for video conferencing and are recommended for anyone who wants the best quality communication for years to come. A touch screen display will have added advantage for collaboration as it can also be used for annotation and whiteboarding.
  2. Camera for Videoconferencing – A good quality external webcam is a must-have in modern huddle rooms for collaboration with remote teams. A conference camera like Logitech Meetup is ideal for huddle rooms with 4k Camera and Beamforming Microphones. But if you are under a tight budget target, then even HD webcams such as Logitech C930E, Logitech C922 or Logitech 920S can do a good job without hurting your pockets. Since huddle spaces are typically small and can accommodate only 4-6 people, these webcams are not a bad choice.  While not that expensive, it enables more flexibility and control on your video feed, in contrast to a laptop’s built-in video camera.
  3. Mic and Speakers – Conference Cameras and Webcams generally come with built-in microphones. For the smaller rooms, these mics do a decent job. And your TV speakers can be reused for video conferencing instead of external speakers to save the overall cost.
  4. Presentation & Collaboration Solution – With all above-listed hardware you will need AV equipment for wireless presentation, video conferencing and collaboration. Zoapi is one such cost-effective solution. For the price of just $10 per month, every meeting room in your organization can be video-enabled and be able to join meetings hosted on different video conferencing services. Zoapi is Windows 10 based software that can run on any mini PC/PC (existing or refurbished) which makes it CAPEX friendly instead of choosing expensive third-party hardware.  The Zoapi Hub makes screen sharing, video calling and collaboration quick and easy.
    While some companies today offer room kits that combine software and hardware, they can be limiting, i.e., you can only use it to join meetings on one service. But what if you’re invited to a video conferencing meeting on a different service? Your room immediately becomes obsolete! With the Zoapi Hub, future-proof your room with a service that gives you the flexibility to join any meeting from your huddle or meeting room — even those hosted on different services. With the annotation and whiteboard features, you’ll be able to visualize your priorities and ideas.
    Rooms can be searched for availability and can be booked instantly for meetings with the Room Scheduler App

 

Depending on the item choices, the approximate cost table for a collaboration enabled cost-effective huddle room looks like this:

Item

Cost ($)

32” TV

200

PC (existing or refurbished)

100

Zoapi License (one year)

120

External webcam

70

Total Estimated Cost

490

 

Conclusion

AV enabled huddle rooms and conference rooms need not be expensive. Every Small and Medium scale businesses do not have 5000$ budget per conference room. But having the latest technologies in these collaboration spaces can add significant value to employee productivity and organization culture in general. By planning well, reusing existing hardware and procuring the only necessary equipment and by choosing a TCO friendly collaboration platform, even the smaller huddle rooms can be transformed into a complete collaboration space in less than $500.

About Zoapi

Zoapi is an all-in-one collaboration solution with screen mirroring, video conferencing and support for 3rd party applications from a single, trusted provider. It is –

  • Simple to set up and use.
  • No expensive hardware/software is required
  • Runs on generic low-cost hardware
  • It gives its users an easy-to-use, consistent collaboration experience across platforms and devices to achieve maximum productivity and collaboration.

For an IT administrator, a fully integrated system like Zoapi that includes an online dashboard for device management, service and support means less time spent on deployment and training, which translates into lower total cost of ownership for the company.

Contact Us to know more about Zoapi and setting up meeting spaces.

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