Google Introduces Series One Meeting Room Kits for Meet

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

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

The hardware bundle - made exclusively for Google Meet - includes the Smart Audio Bar using onboard Google Edge TPUs with noise cancellation technology, a 45K PTZ camera, the Google Meet compute system, a touchscreen control panel, Mic Pod for larger rooms and other conference room technologies like Power-over-Ethernet.

All Series One room kits take advantage of the same tech used in Google's data centres, built right into the Meet Compute System and Smart Audio Bar. Google Cloud, in partnership with Lenovo, has just announced the upcoming Series One Google Meet Hardware kit for meetings small to large.

While Google has always worked closely with the companies that produce hardware for its software platforms, the Mountain View team has never waded into the hardware end of the pool when it comes to Meet hardware.

Companies interested in adding one of the Series One kits to their conference rooms will soon be pre-order one.

The kits come in three sizes to accommodate small, medium, and large spaces.

Google is now in a virtual meeting war with Microsoft and Zoom. When other people join the meeting, the smart camera will zoom out for inclusion in the frame. That technology includes Google's TrueVoice noise cancellation and voice amplification technology.

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A Smart Audio Bar houses a 2.5-inch woofer, one-inch tweeter, and eight beam-forming microphones that Google says 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. This means distracting sounds, like snacking or typing on a keyboard, are filtered out completely, but voices are crystal clear.

Each kit includes a regular or extra large 4K smart camera, allowing for automatic participant framing without loss of quality. Google said its system recognizes the number of people in a room "based on physical objects and other attributes and voice" and that it does not use face scanning.

"Our goal as Google is to effectively develop and represent darker skin tones in a much, much better way than traditionally cameras have", Varghese said. "I think this is something that has been finally recognized and accepted by the industry, and we are actively working with partners to develop algorithms that can do that", he said. Controllers (both touch screen and simple manual remote control) will support voice control so you can call into a meeting by asking the assistant to connect you.

Speaking of which, Series One is "the first system that we built from the ground up specifically for Google Meet", Varghese said.

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. Each kit can anonymously sense the number of room participants and visits.

When there is only one person in a large room, they can use the one-touch auto zoom option on the control panel so that callers can better see them.

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