Traditionally, users were accustomed to bringing their laptop to the meeting room and start what’s referred to as a “Laptop Meeting”. This is basically connecting your meeting room TV or display to your laptop with an HDMI cable, opening one of your preferred video conferencing solutions like Skype for Business, Zoom, GotoMeeting, or Webex and starting a call. You would then use your laptop microphone and camera and for the tech savvy user, the TV’s speakers for audio output. To share content, you would open the file from your laptop and simply view it on the meeting room TV.
This setup, albeit primitive and cost effective, offers a simple and familiar user experience when compared to modern video conferencing room systems like Skype Room System v3, Microsoft Teams Rooms, and Zoom Rooms. But what it offers in familiarity, it lacks for in convenience, ease of use, collaboration, and much more.
What’s wrong with Laptop Meetings?
Everything. While you technically can move a sofa in your car (if your back seats fold down), that’s not what it was intended or designed for. You’re far better off renting a U-Haul or a pickup truck – the problem? You’re probably going to end up with tears in your sofa and scratches in your car, not to mention the very hard time you’re going to have getting the sofa to fit inside the car. Laptop meetings are not much different – yes, you can have Skype for Business video conferencing and you can share content from your laptop, but you’re going to have a lousy experience, a very hard time, and you lose a lot of powerful collaboration features.
Video Conferencing Equipment and Room Systems
In an attempt to enter the video conferencing market, Microsoft introduced Lync Room System in 2011 as a (relatively) cost-effective alternative to the then super expensive telepresence rooms from providers like Polycom and Cisco that have dominated the market for years. A year later, Vytru (now Flipdock) was first to introduce the plug-and-play room system concept and launched the RVC3000. Vytru’s video conferencing equipment was the first solution in the world to work on any TV and supported USB video conferencing equipment like cameras and speakers. Several years later, Microsoft followed suit and introduced Skype Room System replacing Lync Room System. To put matters in perspective, historical telepresence rooms typically cost somewhere in the $50K+ range, Microsoft’s Lync Room System was in the $25K range, Vytru’s RVC3000 was in the $3K range and today, Flipdock is within the $2K range, not far off from the business-grade laptop range.
The Value of Dedicated Video Conferencing Equipment
Video conferencing equipment like Flipdock offer a dedicated, permanent, and cost-efficient solution for your meeting room, it’s always there, always on, and ready to start meetings with one tap on the tabletop touch control. Unlike laptop meetings, where you need time to prepare your meeting, connect your laptop, start the call and whatnot.
In terms of content sharing and collaboration features, Laptop meetings don’t offer interactive whiteboards, you cannot share content from your smartphone, and you can’t annotate documents in the meeting. Dedicated video conferencing devices like Flipdock offer all that and more.
Obviously, laptop meetings come at the disadvantage of excluding employees who work off a desktop computer, so companies end up having to dedicate a PC or desktop in all meeting rooms. If you already have a PC in the meeting room, you should consider an upgrade to dedicated video conferencing equipment.
Finally, laptop meetings are only good for one or two people at most sitting next to each other whereas room systems are suitable for any number of meeting room attendees.