By Jeffrey Schwartz
Logitech believes it has created a way to make online video meetings easier for business users to set up and control with a new touch-based controller for conference and huddle rooms.
The new Logitech Tap, introduced Monday at the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) conference in Amsterdam, is a low-profile device that partners will be able to install on a meeting room table or a wall, that allows one-touch calling. Logitech will initially offer three versions of the Tap, designed for Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts.
Set for release this spring, Tap will come either as a standalone controller or as part of the Logitech Room Solutions portfolio, consisting of the company’s Meetup or Group Kits, which are bundles that include its Rally cameras, codecs integrated with software and the Intel Next Unit Computing (NUC) 4×4 miniature PCs.
Logitech will co-brand systems integrated with Microsoft Teams Room Systems, Zoom Rooms and Google Hangouts Meet Hardware via the companies’ respective channel partners.
“Our main go-to-market is really with those three key partners,” said Joan Vandermate, head of marketing for Logitech’s collaboration business unit, in an interview with Channel Partners.
Vandermate said Logitech has distribution arrangements with Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Synnex for the new Tap. Measuring 9.6-inches wide by 7-inches deep and 2.3-inches in height when sitting on a table, Tap has a motion center that can detect the presence of those in a meeting room. Overall, it’s designed to eliminate the need for dedicated laptops or tablets with complex user interfaces.
|Here’s our most recent list of new products and services being offered by agents, VARs, MSPs and other channel partners.|
Tap is the outgrowth of Logitech’s partnership in early 2016 with Microsoft, when it was one of two room-system hardware providers to develop Skype-for-Business-based room systems to complement the high-end Surface Hub offering. (The other was Polycom, for what was known as Project Riley, though Crestron, HP, Levovo and Yealink are now among others that offer Microsoft- compatible room systems.)
For Logitech, that resulted in SmartDock, a higher-profile controller integrated with the Skype Room Systems, which Microsoft last month renamed Teams Room Systems. The move reflects last year’s integration of the Skype for Business communications functions into Microsoft Teams.
Vandermate described SmartDock as successful, but said customers wanted a simpler and lower profile control pad.
“We’ve taken a lot of learnings from those deployments and have tried to incorporate pretty much everything our customers have requested,” she said.
Among other things, customers didn’t want the interface to incorporate the functions of Windows or any other operating system, Vandermate said. Customers also wanted the wall-mounting option and more simplified cable management.
Hence, the new Logitech Tap includes one Aramid-reinforced USB-C interface that’s 10 meters long, with a 25-meter option for $499, to connect to a PC controller. The other ports are HDMI input and a standard USB 3.1 Type A port that allows users in a room to connect USB devices.
Industry analyst Ira Weinstein, founder and managing partner with Recon Research, said channel partners have struggled with the new online meeting systems because …