Logitech has a long and proud history in the webcam market, having purchased the Connectix Quickcam business way back in 1998 and building upon it massively since then.
Although the company has a range of webcams available for sale in stores like Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and any number of computer stores, Logitech is reaching for greater heights with its new ConferenceCam Connect.
Naturally, Logitech styles ConferenceCam Connect as a ‘portable all-in-one video conference solution with a breakthrough design for small and medium sized rooms’, and as a ‘transformation in communication’.
Connecting via USB as you’d expect, and working with PCs, Macs and even Chromebooks, it also works with virtually any videoconferencing system you can name, such as Cisco’s Jabber and WebEx, Citrix’s GoToMeeting, Blue Jeans, Google Hangouts, Lifesize, Microsoft’s Lync and Skype, Vidyo, Zoom and others, and as a portable device, you can easily move to it any room or location you need to.
Launching in April 2015 with an RRP of $599.95, it’s clearly aimed at the business market rather than the sub-$100 webcam user, but of course Logitech isn’t pretending otherwise.
Jason Moss, GM of Logitech’s Collaboration Group said: "For about the cost of an office chair, businesses of all sizes can now afford to quickly connect with customers, vendors and remote employees anytime and anywhere with the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect.
“We believe there is simply no workspace that should not have video conferencing capability, and the ConferenceCam allows us to connect to meetings no matter where we are.”
Clearly Moss isn’t talking about the $120 office chairs on special at Officeworks, but the fancier ones instead, but when you are talking about business communications, you do expect a lot more than just what you’d get from a webcam or the camera built into your laptop.
So, what does it offer, exactly, beyond simply videoconferencing capability?
Besides PC, Mac and Chromecast videoconferencing compatibility, you also get can mirror the screen of Android devices running 4.3 or above, or Windows Phones running 8.1 or above - but there’s no iOS screen mirror capability built-in.
Screen mirroring lets you wirelessly display presentations, spreadsheets, videos or Internet content from your mobile device to a TV screen through an HDMI connection, and claims to automatically connect to the display, eliminating the extra step of TV input selection.
The camera has Full HD 1080P video calling which Logitech says is ‘razor sharp’, letting you ‘clearly see objects and everyone in the room via a 90-degree field of view, with digital pan and tilt, mechanical tilt, 4x digital zoom and a Zeiss lens with autofocus.
Best for groups of up to 6 people, it uses Logitech’s Rightlight 2 technology for a clear image in various lighting conditions, which includes low light, and has a camera LED to show when it is capturing video.
It’s also obviously a full-duplex speakerphone as well, with echo and noise cancellation, with 360-degree wideband audio with 12-foot (3.7 metre) diameter range that is Bluetooth and NFC enabled, and has two omni-directional microphones to boot, promising ‘conversational realism.’
The ConferenceCam Connect runs on AC power or battery, with 15 hours of battery life in speakerphone mode, or 3 hours of battery life in videconferecing or screen mirroring mode, with an LED indicator shows the battery charge status during use. It takes 3 hours to deliver a full charge to the unit.
It has HDMI out to TVs, a 6 foot (1.8 metre) USB cable, a remote control with a 10 foot (3 metre) range and a Kensington lock socket to secure the unit.
Here’s Logitech’s promotional video showing the ConferenceCam Connect in action.
Bill Haskins, Senior Analyst and Partner at Wainhouse Research added that “Teams are collaborating more frequently than ever before, sharing content and using video conferencing to connect with both local and remote team members.
“At the same time, today’s enterprise is undergoing a massive, and sometimes complex transformation. Our research points to a rise in open seating environments, shrinking conference rooms, more telecommuters, and the use of a growing number of collaborative applications. The Logitech ConferenceCam Connect meets these challenges head-on by providing an intriguing combination of flexibility and portability.”