Some hardware manufacturers have an AGNOSTIC view of video conferencing software which means that their hardware will serve any software package you have in the room. Often this means you would BYOD (i.e. your own PC) with the software installed and connect via USB cables to the camera and microphones etc.
These are useful when you use INTERNALLY a multitude of packages. It’s a bit clunkier as you need to manually plug your PC with the license of choice for each meeting every time you change HOSTS however you can host meetings using any software package you have installed. All manufacturers of these types of hardware devices will list the software packages that their hardware is COMPATIBLE with. This is different to CERTIFIED. See below.
DEDICATED ROOM HARDWARE
There are dedicated hardware solutions that are specifically optimised and designed around the HOST software service. Often they are CERTIFIED with the host software provider. These are always a more user friendly option. In this scenario you can dedicate a mini PC or Nuc with a license installed permanently in the room so you literally walk in, launch the meeting and go. No mucking around with cables and connecting your PC. Certified hardware solutions will allow the full range of software features to be used. I.e. If you use MS Teams then every MS Teams will work.
AGNOSTIC PROs and CONs
The upside is that typically these are cheaper than DEDICATED hardware solutions and you have flexibility as you’re not tied to one conferencing software package. Agnostic solutions can be configured to multiple vendor solutions but customers often need technical assistance to do this. Companies that have external people that often use their facilities and wish to use their own installed hardware are an excellent example where this is ideal.
The downside is that the in room experience while often professional is a lot more manual and while it can be managed it is still less elegant and hands on – which is the cost trade off. Compatible hardware is not the same as certified hardware. ‘Certified‘ means the hardware development is done with close oversight from the software manufacturer and therefore has the deepest interoperability between the hardware and software functions. ‘Compatible’ simply means the use of software as listed is supported by the hardware manufacturer but is essentially an independent solution. Each vendor can impact on the functioning of the other. Think troubleshooting.
Dedicated Hardware PROs and CONs
Upside is that it’s almost foolproof and the user experience is ultimately much better.
Downside is that they are a little more expensive however the cost difference really isn’t so great as to be prohibitive.
If you only use one specific service – get a dedicated room system to suit your software service.
If you host MULTIPLE software packages then perhaps consider an agnostic service.
Fast Track do this for a living and we love what we do. Talk to us before you start and save yourself some pain. If what you have needs fixing we will be happy to help. If you’d like to talk to one of our professional team members about the best solution for your requirements, then fill out the form here and contact us today, we are here to help!