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Logitech MeetUp... ideal for video huddles!
 
 
Video is the way to go for conference calls -- at home or office

Bangalore, October 30 2017: The camera  on the mobile phone, has whetted the appetite of millions of users for video.  Coupled with the availability of free calling apps like Skype Google Duo and  Facebook Messenger, it has  made it  easy-- and affordable -- to ' see as you speak'.
Since so many  phone owners are 'prosumers' -- professional consumers --  this has led to a sort of reverse osmosis:  instead of professional tools 'trickling down' to  lay users,  consumer apps like Skype are seeing an upward mobility into corporate corridors and have seen a new wave of  attractively priced  video conferencing tools. These are    aimed at 'huddles':  small groups of   3-4  people connecting wirelessly with similar-sized teams at multiple locations, anywhere, anytime.    
Indeed, surveys show that over half of all corporate con-calls or conference calls involve such small numbers of participants whose interactions  are short-n-sweet, frequent, spontaneous and unstructured. This rules out the old-style, pre-planned  video conferences  using third party  networks, proprietary software,  passwords....
Logitech, who many of us may recognize more easily  as a maker of keyboard and  mouse,  has emerged as a leader in this New Age  videoconferencing  business. Some tools in their video collaboration catalogue can be as simple as a Rs 12,000  table-top speaker phone into which you can stick a mobile phone and get started -- or as elaborate as a Rs 1.2 lakh Group videoconferencing system  for  mid-to-large rooms.   I had occasion to tryout their latest product which is somewhere in between:  MeetUp is a  ConferenceCam  ideal  for  the huddle room which seems to be a feature of these new style open-plan offices.  The main unit is about  40 cms wide and weighs one kg.  It incorporates an ultra HD ( 4K) video camera with a 120 degree field of view,  which can be panned, tilted or zoomed  from a separate remote unit;  3 echo cancelling  microphones and  a speaker.   If the room is bigger you can add more mikes.  A 5-metre USB cable connects the  main unit to  PC, laptop or a Chrome-based device  and you can  also connect to a  large screen via HDMI.
The beauty of a solution like MeetUp is that  it works with  standard   video-calling software  like Skype for Business or Cisco Jabber without imposing its own proprietary tool.   So you can do a conference with other platforms  as long as all use the same software.    It needs to be said that none of the currently available software solutions support 4K video. Think of it as future proofing! MeetUp was recently launched in India  and costs Rs 99,995, something   most  small business might consider  a good investment.