Ever been flummoxed by poor audio or patchy video quality while trying to attend — or worse, host — a conference call? Good quality equipment can go a long way to helping you achieve the gold standard in video conferencing; a meeting that flows as naturally as if your colleagues were in the room with you.
But what are the must-have items if you want to run a successful video conference? Whether you’re back working in your usual office space or still running operations from home, prep for your next conference with the lowdown on the best tech.
What equipment do I need for a phone or video conference?
A phone conference needs dedicated equipment to allow multiple lines to dial in at once and ensure the audio is clear for everyone. Video conferences need both audio and visual equipment that can capture and project sound and picture quality for an entire meeting room. Most offices need to be able to host both phone and video conferences, so we’ve picked out some of the top tech on the market today.
What’s the best conference phone?
There are many options, from pure telecommunication conference phones to more advanced all-in-one video conference devices. As a general rule, you’ll want to ensure you have 360 audio capture from your conference phone, to pick up the voice of every speaker in the room no matter where they’re sat.
- Yealink CP960 has 3 microphones, noise-proof technology and features a touchscreen, which stops it looks dated like a lot of conference phones.
- Poly Trio 8800 features Poly’s NoiseBlockAI to keep distracting sounds like seat creaking and paper shuffling at bay and streamlines the process of joining a meeting with one-step access.
- Avaya B100 Series conference phones have a conference guide and recording capabilities built-in and feature multiple microphones which cover audio for up to 750 square feet.
What’s the best camera for a video conference?
Good camera equipment is essential for video conferencing, connecting you via high picture quality to business contacts around the world. For professional-grade camera equipment for video conferencing, look to brands such as:
- Logitech Rally is a top of the range camera, suitable for meeting rooms of all sizes. Logitech promises “whisper quiet” pan, tilt and zoom mechanisms from their camera, as well as razor-sharp image quality.
- Logitech PTZ Pro 2 is another good model that allows remote-controlled pan, tilt and zoom manoeuvres. A simple USB connection also means you can use it with your existing speakerphone or audio equipment.
- Poly studio premium USB video bar is billed as a huddle meeting room solution. Featuring a no-fuss USB connection, this is a camera, microphone and speaker system in one, which will pan and zoom on speakers.
What’s the best TV for a conference room?
No conference room is complete without an impressively sized TV screen to interact over. For good image quality, 4K Ultra HD is going to give you all you need. Sony, Samsung and LG are consistently reliable for producing high-quality smart TVs equipped to provide a great viewing experience for video conferences.
- Samsung Class Q9F 88 inch QLED 4K TV provides premium picture quality with brilliant colour and contrast detail. There’s no bezel and you can connect via an invisible connection cable, making it look sleek and modern.
- Sony XG85 4K Ultra HD 85 inch TV boasts authentic, high definition picture allowing you to see extra detail with perfect clarity.
- LG Electronics 65 inch OLED TV promises an intelligent processor that provides enhanced picture quality.
What’s the best audio equipment for a conference room?
If you’re using a separate mic & speaker system in your conference room, you can opt for something like Logitech’s mic pods or a jabra speakerphone that you can position along a boardroom table exactly where participants are sitting for accurate voice pick-up.
To bump up the audio in the room and provide a more permanent fixture for your meeting or conference room, opt for lots of little satellite speakers. Bose and Logitech offer a good range of surround sound equipment and installed around the room, these will provide even coverage for the frequency ranges that dialogue occupies.
However, while small satellites will produce the coverage needed, they’re not ideal for the low frequencies needed for music. So, if this features in your presentations or you’re likely to play music in your meeting room, consider adding carefully placed subwoofers. These will fill the lower end of the audio spectrum more appropriate for music.
The best all-in-one conference solutions
As you might imagine, the attraction of all-in-one video conferencing equipment comes from the no-fuss connectivity aspect. Most all-in-one video conferencing devices promise high-quality audio and video for both telecom and video conferences. Some of the frontrunners are currently:
- Logitech Connect is a compact portable camera and speakerphone system that’s great for use in tabletop positions and smaller spaces.
- Logitech Group features a 10x zoom, audio clarity and a very easy set up – simply connect this system to a meeting room laptop or computer via a USB and you’re ready to go.
- Meeting Owl Pro: is a camera, microphone and speaker in one and autofocuses on whoever is talking, giving you a one-on-one video moment with the speaker.
Anyone who has been forced to delay the start of a meeting or apologise for hardware issues while frantically testing the connection of several conference devices will understand the need for reliable conferencing equipment.
The right tech will ensure a professional, frustration-free experience and enables you to continue nurturing your business relationships from wherever you are.
Still working from home? Check out our recommended tech for the job in How to create a video conference room at home.