Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.
It’s not just a catchy Mazda slogan, but it’s also the tale of the last few projects I’ve worked on. In a world where we hear many that like to complain software and hardware companies are talking to customers directly and that the scourge of “good enough” is ruining our businesses, I have found that customers are still looking for partners to add value to their spaces, maybe just not in the way that integrators traditionally have.
The flip side of disruption is new opportunity. The question is really: how we embrace it? Do we dig in our heels with the old? Do we try to force the old and begrudgingly accept the new as a last ditch resort to win the business? Do we create a hybrid model with old playing a primary role, while letting the new find its separate niche? Or do we flip the script completely and lead with the new?
I can’t answer that question for your company, but for mine, customers have led me down a path of flipping the script and finding a niche. With that, here are three recent system designs that all came from a starting point of Zoom and diverged from there, all utilizing the Zoom Room UI for ease of use.
I have a customer that needed a small office turned into a space for one-on-one tutoring and/or interviews. They aren’t overly technical in nature and the room really only serves these two purposes. A 55″ DTEN D7 All-in-One Zoom Room screen was the perfect fit. Proximity to the screen means the integrated touch interface is all that is needed, and the table stays clean for interview notes and BYOD devices. The integrated camera and microphone are well-designed for a space of that size as well. Finally, the sub-$6,000 delivered and installed price tag was a home run.
Zoomier (Large Brainstorming Space)
As we all know, sometimes the space and application dictate a larger space and better audio pickup and amplification. In those cases, a 55″ all-in-one just isn’t a good fit. I had a customer who needed a way to collaborate both in-person and remotely, but wanted to leverage the Zoom Room interface as the simple UI.
Leveraging an open room design with reconfigurable chairs and tables was the first step, as there is a psychological barrier to interaction in some spaces, but I’ll leave those details to a future blog post. The next part included a Viewsonic 75″ interactive flat panel driven by a PC running Zoom Room as the default boot-up state. An AVer soundbar with integrated camera and microphone array added the needed audio and video capabilities at an amazing value, and an iPad in a portable, tabletop-style enclosure gives the option for control without approaching the screen.
Finally, I had an opportunity to work on the design of a difficult space with end-user AV stakeholders who wanted to leverage their Zoom Enterprise suite of licenses.
A unique furniture layout and design was also integral to this space, but I digress again. 😊 Even with this customized seating layout, the room needed a camera with an extremely wide FOV and enhanced microphone pickup as well. They also needed room scheduling and a way to notify others visibly that the room was in use. Due to the nature of the content, they need dual screens, and based on the needs of the AV department, they like to route their video over IP and wanted a third-party control system for additional control of other items.
In this case, the room leveraged two 85″ Samsung displays, Crestron’s Flex Integration kit for Zoom Rooms, a wide FOV camera, a Shure ceiling based microphone array, in-ceiling speakers with amplification, and both an iPad and a Crestron touch panel for control, room scheduling, occupancy state, etc. Video-over-IP means that the in-room connection can be used to share content to the screens, but really content could come from anywhere in the facility with access to the video-over-IP system, adding even more flexibility.
So as you can see, even when end users standardize on software platforms like Zoom, there are all sorts of opportunities to act as a subject matter expert, helping them navigate their spaces and the unique characteristics of each, forming a relationship that allows both the customer and integration firms to thrive in a partnership that is extremely valuable for both sides.
Sometimes starting with YES allows us to start the conversation in a much better way than digging in your heels, pining for the past.