Logitech, a leader in USB-based computer peripherals is targeting their new Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e towards the SMB, which cannot afford $50,000+ telepresence video systems, but is looking for something a step up from a webcam for conference room based video conferencing.
The Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e is easy to setup with everything clearly numbered and labeled so you know how to make all the connections. Since it uses USB you can use your favorite UC or Web conferencing application, including Microsoft Lync, Skype, Vidyo, and Cisco. The CC3000e has a remote control for changing the camera angle including left/right and up/down movements. You can do incremental movements with single presses of a certain direction or you can press and hold for faster movement, which was very smooth. You can also press the zoom in/out function keys and it too was very smooth. It was a constant zoom and I would have liked to have seen it speed up the zoom after holding the zoom key for longer than 2s, but all in all it worked pretty well. The optical field of view is a very wide 90◦ field of view and it sports a 10X lossless zoom.
The camera supports Far End Camera (FEC) control with certain apps. I'm not sure which apps those might be, but it would have come in handy. I left the remote control in the office and took the unit home to test and I had no way to adjust the camera angle, except by manually manipulating the camera. Fortunately, the camera is not "locked" tight at the angle it is resting at, so moving it doesn't give you the sense your going to break a motor. Still, I wish Logitech offered software to move the camera, especially since I couldn't adjust the zoom level by hand. I know remotes in conference rooms get misplaced, broken, or the batteries die, so having the ability to adjust the camera via a Logitech utility would be beneficial.
The product sports a "hub" which sits on the conference table and importantly the product comes with a long 32-foot cable that connects to the camera. This long cable is essential since often your "mobile" laptop or even a permanent conference room PC is located far from where the projector screen or TV (plus the camera) is mounted. USB is limited to 15-16 feet so the 32 feet cable doubles that and allows you to "cleanly" snake the cable under the rug to the Logitech camera mounted above a TV. The hub, which you position on the conference table, also connects to the speakerphone and your laptop (via USB) using cables that are obviously shorter that the 32-foot hub-to-camera cable since both the hub and speakerphone are both positioned on the conference table within reach of your laptop.
–90◦ Wide Field of View
–Full HD H.264/SVC
–10X lossless zoom, PTZ controls
–Omni-directional 20-ft diameter range
–Noise/echo cancellation, full duplex, stereo/mono
–Bluetooth/NFC for pairing to mobile device
–Components centrally connected
–32-foot range speakerphone to camera
–Camera and hub mounts
–LCD caller and function display
–Call and camera controls
–Kensington Security Slot
–Dockable remote control
The speakerphone has a LCD display that shows CallerID info and the speakerphone features your classic call control functionality - answer, hang up, volume up/down. One really cool feature is the NFC/Bluetooth pairing, which allows your to pair your NFC-enabled phone over Bluetooth just by touching your phone to the speakerphone. I tested this using a Nokia 1020 Windows Phone,which supports NFC and it performed flawlessly. I was able to use the base speakerphone as a high quality speakerphone for calls made to/from my cell phone.
The lens cap for the unit is a bit flimsy, which is ok, but because it is flimsy it can be stepped on and be easily lost or crushed. Thus, I'd like a plastic wire attached to it, which then hooks to a notch places on the bottom of the camera or perhaps the rear of the camera. This way, when you remove the lens, it stays attached to the camera and doesn't get lost. That said, you can stick the lens cap on the rear of the camera, but that relies on user diligence, so I'd like to see some sort of tethering to prevent the cap from being completely removed from the unit.
The video quality was superb and the audio quality of the speakerphone module made the audio excellent as well. Zooming worked amazingly well. I was able to zoom in on a whiteboard 30 feet away with small text written on it and it was perfectly readable with clear lettering and no blurring. This is important, since the camera can be used to project what's on a whiteboard.
I wished the remote control had presets for sending the camera to pre-defined locations. It does have a single "home" preset, but having a couple more would come in handy to quickly swivel to a whiteboard or the opposite end of the conference table, or even keep the position but zoom in at max to read a whiteboard at the far end of the room.
The Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e has a $999.99 MSRP, making it an affordable option for most businesses. My minor complaints and suggestions aside, I like the product a lot. The fact that it uses a host PC gives it several advantages over standalone products from PolyCom and Cisco, since these would require a firmware updates to work with a new video standard, while the Logitech solution works with any Windows-based (and Mac) video software, including but not limited to Skype, SIP softphone clients such as X-Lite, Vidyo, and more. Overall, the ConferenceCam CC3000e delivers on its promise of affordable and powerful video conferencing and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.