Google launches Series One room kits for Google Meet

Google's latest attempt at meeting room gear focuses on simplicity

Google are now making hardware specifically for Google Meet

Google LLC is doubling down on videoconferencing with the launch of its new Google Meet Series One hardware in partnership with Lenovo Group Ltd. The "Small Room Kit", which comes with a Smart Camera, Smart Audio Bar, Compute System, and remote control, costs a whopping $2,699.

With soft silhouettes and quality materials that complement any meeting space, the new Series One room kits were designed specifically with customers and administrators in mind.

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The Google Meet hardware kits will soon be ready for pre-order in a number of countries, including the USA and the United Kingdom, but there's no apparent plans to launch them in India any time soon. Yes, but that was in October 2017, as in pre-pandemic.

The company's design intent looks not to the current environment where everyone is appearing at meetings in their pajamas, but one where parts of the workforce are cycled into the office and group meetings are held in large rooms with socially-distanced participants. But the Series One hardware is fully designed by Google, and features like the noise cancellation in the Smart Audio Bar and the automatic framing done by the Smart Camera seem like they could be handy. Google says they can enhance human voices and filter out sounds like typing and noisy snack bags thanks to a technology the company calls "TrueVoice". You can check out all the technical details on the Google Cloud blog. The Smart Audio Bar uses 8 beam-forming microphones and the largest kit configuration can process up to 44 channels simultaneously. This is a more complex task because in a meeting room, there are often multiple people talking at multiple distances, across each other, in addition to the usual noises. It uses a 20.3-megapixel sensor with 4.3x optical zoom and offers digital pan, tilt and zoom movements due to that higher resolution. The camera's ability to frame people of different races, however, is a work in progress. "I think this is something that the industry is finally acknowledged and is accepting and we are actively working with partners to develop algorithms that can do this", he said. Exact timing isn't known yet, but pricing starts at $2,699 for the Small Room Kit.

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Depending on what version of the Series One hardware you purchase, you'll may also be able to control meetings via a rechargeable remote control or a 10.1-inch display.

Automatic over-the-air updates ensure easy fleet management. Everything is securely managed through the Google Admin console, including setup, status checks and minor issue resolution without having to visit the room. To help monitor room utilization and maintain safety protocols, each kit can anonymously sense the number of room participants and visits. Mic Pods - of which the medium kit gets one, the large two - for extended aural reach to individual participants.

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