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The Next AV Gamechanger: Video Conference Bars

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Video conferencing, remote teams, hybrid meetings - professionals spend much of their time collaborating with people who aren't in the same room. This trend has taken off in the last couple of years, and now nearly 5 million Americans work remotely at least half the time. The AV industry has responded to this change with better video conferencing solutions, and leading them is the video conference bar. Until video bars, setting up video conferencing meant sourcing, installing, and configuring a lot of technology. A major manpower and time commitment, in other words. Video bars solve this problem by combining all the devices needed for conferencing into a single package. There's no easier and faster way to set up your conference rooms or huddle rooms.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

What Does a Video Bar Include?

A video bar is capable of driving a clear and compelling video conferencing experience. Inside every bar, the following are included:
  • A camera (with pan-tilt-zoom capabilities)
  • Microphones (MEMS, cardioid or second-order mics)
  • Speakers (mono or stereo, some with bass)
The only thing you'll need to complete the system is a display. Compare this to traditional video conferencing solutions, which have to be put together piece by piece hardware-wise. In addition to all that hardware, technology racks and control systems were required to run them. You'd also need a laptop or PC to run the conferencing software.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Video Bars Make Meetings More Efficient and More Convenient

The reduced hardware load means video bars are a far more compact and efficient technology for businesses. Their all-in-one design means they can be scaled down for smaller meeting rooms, and because they include control hardware, too, they're simple to use. You can even port a mouse and keyboard into the system to steer the meeting from the table. There are a few more perks with modern video bar solutions. For example:
  • Video bars speed up meetings - Video bars consolidate control and management of the room's conferencing technology. User preferences can also be established for everyone, so they only have to walk into the space and hit a button before launching a meeting. The alternative is configuring audio, video, and the connection prior to every meeting, which eats up precious time. Video bars give that time back to your teams.
  • Video bars are easier to manage - Video bars are easy to manage on the user side and they're easy for IT to manage, as well. Just like the hardware itself is consolidated into a single package, so is hardware management. Your IT people can monitor each room's status, pinpoint performance issues, troubleshoot, push over updates, and power each room's technology on or off. That means video bars also give IT a break.
  • Video bars enhance meeting quality - Sound and video quality are both excellent with video bars, and you'll lose nothing by making the switch. Video bars can also be used with additional conferencing accessories to make the meeting even more effective. A second display, for instance, can be used for content sharing purposes while the speaker is in frame on the other display. Go further with an interactive display, and meeting participants can guide the meeting from the display. All of this is possible with a video bar.
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A Couple of Leading Video Bar Solutions

Video bars fit perfectly into modern organizations, so it's no surprise that some of the most reputable AV manufacturers have produced their own versions. Here's a couple options worth considering:
  • Poly Studio X Series - The Poly Studio X Series is ideal for focus rooms to large conference rooms. Poly is one of the most respected brands in AV, and it has partnerships with other major tech brands, like Microsoft. The company has earned respect by combining industry-leading audio and video technologies. Its Poly Studio X Series is available in a few models. The Poly Studio X30 is built for compact conferencing spaces like huddle rooms, the X50 for traditional conferencing spaces, and the X70 for boardrooms and other large spaces. The Poly Series X includes a PTZ camera, which offers 4K resolution and a 120-degree field of view. It automatically tracks who is talking and maintains framing for participants on the other end of the call. It's also packaged with Poly's NoiseBlockAI software, which automatically detects interfering sounds and neutralizes them, ensuring they don't interfere with voices. Poly Studios are also designed for enterprise-level management, so every Poly Studio can be onboarded before arriving at the office and without IT having to touch a single device.
  • Crestron Flex - Crestron is another top AV brand and another Microsoft partner. Its Flex Soundbar is one of many solutions offered through the Flex line, and all it takes to connect it to the room is a single USB cable. The Flex Soundbar includes a beamforming microphone array and a framing camera that provides a 150-degree field of view. The Flex Soundbar can also be controlled from a 10-inch tabletop touch display. From here, users can ready the room for a call and start that call with a single tap. Crestron's collaborative technologies can be managed using the company's XiO Cloud. Through the XiO Cloud portal, IT can provision thousands of soundbars at once, monitor their performance and resolve any issues remotely.
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Your AV Integrator Can Implement an Optimal Video Bar System For Your Organization

Video bars are built for usability, but it's still recommended to work with an AV integrator to launch your project. There are several video bar solutions available, each with their own set of features and products. A certified integrator can help your company select the optimal fit and oversee system design and installation to get it off the ground quickly. With a video bar solution, your organization can rapidly transition to video conferencing without over-committing in cost or material. You'll get the best of what the technology has to offer, in a package that's easy to manage and easy to use.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]