Hardware Doesn’t Have To Be A Hard Decision

March 24, 2020 by Andrew Wilson

Your organization may already have a Unified Communications (UC) platform like Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx or Zoom deployed. However, to add a new meeting room, leaders must decide which hardware to use: a PC, a portable device or a dedicated device. Each of these have different benefits including flexibility, security and user experience.

Flexibility

Have a WebEx call at 10:00 am and a Zoom call at noon? Host the meeting on a laptop or room PC connected to the conference room’s camera, microphones and speakers. This offers the greatest flexibility because they can support multiple conferencing platforms. On the other hand, dedicated devices like Crestron Flex, Logitech Tap or Poly Studio X are programmed to utilize only one platform type across the system. It may seem like a no-brainer to offer the greatest flexibility in your conference rooms, until you consider the security risks and poor user experience.

Security

A room PC may offer great flexibility, but is it safe to leave an entry point to your network in an unoccupied room? Users may forget to close important documents or sign out of the PC at the end of the meeting. A room PC in a public space becomes a serious liability in light of ever-increasing network security threats. Dedicated conference platforms are purpose-built devices with locked down operating systems that offer heightened network security.

User Experience

What does user experience look like while using a room PC for conferencing? The various start-up and login processes can take several minutes to complete-all while the user hopes the system is ready to go before the meeting begins. A laptop presents the same dilemma, except everything is run from a device connected at the table. Will the user know how to select the correct camera, microphone and speakers from the application settings? Not only is this a poor user experience, it is unintuitive and confusing, requiring training before end users will know how to use the system.

Dedicated devices offer superior user experiences. When users enter the conference room, there is a familiar user interface – the same one they see at their desks. Scheduled meetings appear on the touch panel and it takes one touch to join the meeting or for users to wirelessly connect their device.


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