Logitech video conferencing kit targets large meeting rooms

A new Logitech video conferencing kit offers advanced features at a relatively affordable price. Logitech also previewed automatic framing software that's planned for later in the year.

Logitech has released a package of video conferencing hardware designed for large meeting spaces and boardrooms. The vendor also previewed a free software patch that will soon give its cameras the ability to frame participants in a meeting automatically.

Logitech Rally is the vendor's first concerted effort to get its hardware into large conference rooms. The bundle includes a camera, speakers, microphones and control hubs -- all new pieces of hardware that Logitech will sell individually.

The Logitech video conferencing kit appears to offer advanced features at an attractive price, said Rob Arnold, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan. Logitech will compete with Cisco and Polycom in the large meeting room market, he said.

"Logitech is finding great success with its video conferencing products, and it makes perfect sense for the company to expand its addressed market," Arnold said. "Rally's introduction is part of a natural evolution to fill out Logitech's product line at the top end of its portfolio."

Logitech video conferencing kit offers flexibility, affordability

The Logitech Rally USB-connected camera -- available now -- pans, tilts, zooms and shoots in 4K and 1080p. The microphones and speakers, which will go on sale in the fall of 2018, are separate pieces of hardware, so companies can place the former on a table and install the latter near a video monitor.

The standard Logitech Rally bundles will include one speaker and one microphone, for $1,999, or two speakers and two microphones, for $2,499. Customers will be able to purchase additional microphones for $349 each and piece together up to seven per room. Each microphone covers roughly 150 square feet.

The Logitech video conferencing kit integrates with most web conferencing software, including Microsoft Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, BlueJeans and Google Hangouts Meet. It can also be used in conjunction with digital whiteboards, such as the Microsoft Surface Hub.

Logitech Rally includes the advanced features required in larger conference rooms at a competitive price, said Ira Weinstein, managing partner of Recon Research Inc., based in Coral Springs, Fla. Logitech is also one of the only vendors to package all the necessary audio and video components for larger rooms into one offering, he said.

"Logitech has been battling -- and successfully battling -- to step up to the next level," Weinstein said. "They don't want to be known as the low-cost provider. They want to be known as the performance and value provider."

Logitech expands its role in software

Logitech plans to release a free software update in the second half of 2018 that will enable some of its newer camera models to identify and frame human figures in a meeting room automatically. The feature will work with Logitech's Rally, MeetUp and BRIO cameras.

Logitech RightSight adjusts the camera based on how many people are in the room and where they are sitting. If someone on the right side of the table leaves, the camera will pan left. If all but one person leave, the camera will zoom.

Logitech previously released software to enable its cameras to adjust lighting and correct color automatically and to help its microphones suppress background noise and focus on the current speaker.

"When you combine good software engineering with the ability to put out high-performance products at a good price point, that's a win," Weinstein said. "They don't talk about themselves as a software play, but I see them that way."

Dig Deeper on Video conferencing and visual collaboration