Logitech adds all-in-one phone, conferencecam to lineup…and it's, well, cool

Tools

Webcams and videoconferencing hardware come in a variety of shapes and sizes that carry price points that range from a couple of Jacksons for a very basic webcam to six figures for some of the high-end telepresence models, which carry the same panache as a Rolls Royce.

Logitech ConferenceCam

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Few of them, however, are as eye catching as Logitech International's (Nasdaq:LOGI) newest entry to the market, its BCC950 ConferenceCam, which, at first glance, has you thinking more Star Trek than business meeting.

But, unlike a Rolls Royce, the all-in-one audio and video ConferenceCam offers more than just good looks. It combines an HD webcam with a high-quality, omni-directional full-duplex speakerphone in one USB device. The motorized camera also can pan, tilt and zoom via a control pad on the device, or by using a remote control, which also can be used to answer calls, end calls, adjust the volume and mute the microphone.

Logitech has a number of webcams on the market that work for videoconferencing, but none as versatile as the BCC950, Eric Kintz, VP and GM of Logitech for Business, told FierceEnterpriseCommunications. And, he said, none that were as targeted to the business market as this one is.

"Traditionally, we design for the consumer market and then go to the business market where a product had applicability," he said. "In this case, we met with CIOs and channel partners, and it came back over and over, especially among early adopt of video conferencing, that the nature of work and collaboration was changing from one-to-one and large group collaboration, to smaller teams, dispersed, and working almost ad hoc."

That, he said, made it apparent that the market needed a different tool.

"We heard, over and over again, that collaboration increasingly is happening on the fly, in smaller rooms," he said. "The need for small team collaboration and ease of use is what drove us to develop the 950."

The camera is optimized for Microsoft Lync and is Skype Certified, but it also works with most UC and video platforms.

It features a 78-degree field of view and 180-degree video pan, support for 1080p, 30fps HD through plug-and-play UVC H.264 video technology/ It also features  a speakerphone at its base. The entire package weighs in at just 20 ounces, meaning it can be moved from room to room, hooked up to a laptop-Mac or Windows-via a USB port.

Logitech is taking a different route to market with the BCC950 as well; you won't, for example, be able to find it in a Best Buy, like most of the company's other webcams. At close to triple the price point of its highest-end webcams--the BCC950 will retail for $249.99--the conferencecam is being sold only through resellers and channel partners at the moment.

"We want to increasingly design products for the business environment and target them at unified communications deployment," Kintz said. "Sure, they'll be used for teleworkers and by the home work force, but this is our way of telling business channels that ‘this is for you.' It's one more way we can declare this is a business-grade product."

(Home office workers take heart, you can get one through resellers like cdw.com.)

The BCC950 is expected to be available worldwide beginning in May.

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