New from VideoCentric – Focus Arena brings together both Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) and Zoom Rooms into one integrated package allowing users to select their preferred mode. The addition of Desktop & BYOD modes also allows for alternative Apps such as Webex, BlueJeans, Lifesize, Pexip, GoTo Meeting, Google Meet to use the same room camera & audio system.
Collaboration Bars supporting multiple applications were launched in 2020 but users’ expectations were dashed when they found that they were focused on futureproofing an investment and needed to be re-configured by the IT Department, as opposed to allowing a user to walk into a room and simply select the required mode to join a Zoom or Teams conference call.
VideoCentric has used its wealth of integration expertise to launch a hybrid solution that switches One PTZ Camera (with either 5x or 12x zoom), One set of Wireless Microphones and One Speaker seamlessly between platforms on demand. The single Touch Controller is switched between Microsoft’s MTR interface and Zoom’s Room interface and allows for integrated camera control.
VideoCentric’s marketing states that it is ……..“As simple as 1-2-3”. But what does that mean in practice? David Shimell, Sales Director for VideoCentric commented: ”Users don’t care what is going on behind the scenes, as long as it works. They get invited to a Teams or Zoom meeting and simply want to join it; not to be told they don’t have the right licences, or they need to contact IT, or wait for two or three restarts to occur”. “So, we set about developing a single solution based on components that were already certified by Microsoft and Zoom and where we could add our little bit of magic, based on a simple 1-2-3 approach”
- Power ON Displays
- Select MODE (eg Teams, Zoom, BYOD or Interactive Whiteboard)
- Press JOIN
The name is derived from its “FOCUS” on Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) and Zoom Rooms capabilities for primary meeting room usage, whereas the “ARENA” represents the wide selection of desktop Apps that employees or guests might wish to use instead, such as Webex, GoTo Meeting, Lifesize, Google Meet, BlueJeans, Pexip, Teams desktop, Zoom desktop or others, whether they be pre-installed on a meeting room NUC, an Interactive Whiteboard or brought into the room by participants on their own Windows laptops or Macbooks.
Two camera variants are offered at launch but others will follow in 2021, together with a wireless BYOD option. With only one Cat 6 cable to the table, wireless microphones and wireless presentation sharing, cable management is already minimal but for those with solid floor or glass tables, VideoCentric will install a completely wire-free solution at the same price.
Eloise Speight, Marketing Communications Manager at VideoCentric said, “We have invested in creating a high-quality integrated package that will work reliably in a variety of meeting rooms without reconfiguration between conferences”. “During the Covid-19 lockdown employees have become familiar with their own preferred desktop apps & cloud solutions, but as the return to work begins, corporate policy is often dictating a different direction for the meeting room or training facility. This direction may not be fully clear yet, but those management staff and employees that will be returning to work, want a solution now; one that is flexible to accommodate change moving forward. Focus Arena provides the best of all worlds….One camera, one audio system, one installation and the ability for users to switch between multiple video conferencing applications rather than rely on IT to continually reconfigure it with all the pitfalls that entails”.
VideoCentric recognises that Microsoft Teams Room and Zoom Rooms platforms aren’t necessarily right for everyone, especially those who have customers or suppliers using alternative cloud platforms. For these users, the “Arena” Apps are either preloaded on to a fixed PC (eg NUC behind an interactive whiteboarding display, or brought into the room on an individual’s own device (BYOD). A wireless keyboard and mouse are included for those Arena Apps residing on the NUC, but of course BYOD users bring their own keyboard controller with them anyway. Laptop users still need to connect to cables supplied, but the same professional camera, wireless microphones and speaker are switched automatically when the NUC or BYOD modes are selected on the illuminated wall panel installed.
VideoCentric’s Thames Valley showroom is already demonstrating the full flexibility and ease of use of Focus Arena to remote participants. From full Teams Room and Zoom Rooms focus, to a wide arena of desktop capabilities on NUC and portable BYOD, orders are now being taken for installations during March 2021.
Established in 2001, VideoCentric Ltd is an independent end-to-end solutions integrator of the worlds’ leading video conferencing, telepresence and video collaboration solutions.
VideoCentric designs, supplies and installs cloud-based, on-premise and hybrid video based solutions for businesses in both the private and public sector. From SMB’s to multi-national enterprises and UK Government, VideoCentric’s solutions are suited to boardroom & meeting space fit-outs, remote working, lecture theatres, hospitals, court rooms and classrooms.
It is VideoCentric’s policy to demonstrate and support everything it sells. That includes Microsoft and Zoom product ranges from Yealink, Poly, Pexip, Crestron, DTEN, Logitech and Lenovo, interoperability licences from Pexip, BlueJeans, Lifesize & Cisco integrated with switching devices, displays and accessories from Extron, Iiyama, Avocor, SY, Barco, NEC, LG, Aver and others.
VideoCentric provides low-cost financing for those looking to preserve cashflow and pay monthly over 24-60 months. Visit our website https://videocentric.co.uk/focus-arena/ to learn more, read our case studies and request a live remote demonstration from one of our showrooms.