I’m a bit unusually excited about this announcement, and from what I’ve seen of Yealinks offering, it’s going to be pretty cool. You’re likely familiar with Microsoft Teams Room systems, simple in-expensive devices that connect to the cloud to host video conferencing. These we formerly Skype Room Systems (v2) or Project Rigel and ran on Surface tablets with Windows 10. The first iterations of this didn’t leave me feeling too warm, but they worked. My biggest issues were mostly Windows 10 updates and the occasional user would would join from the tablet but not turn on the TV and were upset they were on video. Things have gotten better since those days, but I feel for smaller rooms, they’re about to get even better with Collaboration Bars.
These Collaboration Bars connect with your TV (touchscreen is best but not mandatory as there’s a remote control) or display to enable the meeting experience, the difference is that they’re compact, run Android, and are controlled from the TV, eliminating the “I didn’t know I was on video” complaint from the person who didn’t show up for training… or read the guide… or look at the sheet in the room… or the label on the tablet in the room (I’m bitter).
I’ve been following Yealink and their VC210 series. They’ve been coming out with some pretty strong offerings recently. When their first phone came out I was wary, but they quickly won me over with their user experience. Clients tend to love their products, and I have to admit that I do as well.
This device comes with a 4K camera with a 120 degree view of the room, can utilize WiFi, sit on top of your TV, and run Bluetooth to it’s full duplex speakerphone (it needs a Yealink CP900).
In fairness, as excited as I am, I haven’t touched one of these devices yet, but will update as soon as I do. These are going to be a low-cost plug and play option that is going to be suitable for what I would consider the majority of mid-market conference and huddle rooms (not the large ones, but they’ve got models for that too). Good times ahead!