Bose and Barco Team Up to Offer All-In-One Video Conferencing Solutions
I overheard someone talking about a new Bose product, I would
probably picture a pair of noise-cancelling
And for me, the name Barco summons up images of large, high-tech
cinema projectors, some costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. (I
remember reading somewhere that the blockbuster film director Michael
Bay has a Barco projector in his uber-high-end home theater.) But
despite my rather myopic range of experience with these companies,
both are diverse firms with fingers in many pies. Bose has a long
history in the communications business — the noise-cancelling tech
used in the company’s popular consumer headphones was originally
developed for communications headsets for pilots — and Barco is a
leader in wireless AV
conferencing gear for the enterprise business market. Now the two
companies have worked together to integrate a new Bose product called
($1,199) with Barco’s Clickshare Conference platform.
millions of people working remotely, and business-related travel
still significantly reduced, the ability to collaborate with
coworkers in other locations has never been more vital. It is with
this in mind that Bose recently launched the Videobar
which looks like a soundbar, but is in reality an all-in-one USB
conferencing device that combines microphones, speakers, and a 4K
ultra-HD camera with “autoframing.”
promises to work seamlessly with Microsoft
Teams, Google Meet, Zoom,
and other popular third-party cloud services, using existing network
infrastructure. The VB1
employs six beam-steering microphones, which can actively focus on
whichever person is talking at any given moment, and automatically
reject noise. Audio is played back via Bose-proprietary transducers
that were designed to ensure that voices sound clear and natural. The
speakers also promise “room-filling
audio from multimedia presentations.”
Bluetooth connectivity gives users the option to connect a smartphone
directly, turning the VB1
a standalone speakerphone or music player.
On the video side of
things, the Videobar
has at its center a 4K
with autoframing to help keep presenters, whiteboards, and other
in-room objects in clear view for remote participants elsewhere in
the world. Both a table stand and wall-mount kit are included, and
both allow for manual tilt adjustments. But sometimes it may be
necessary to focus the camera on a particular part of the room, and
so the VB1 can be controlled in real time using the Bose Work mobile
app, to pan, tilt, and zoom the camera, as well as to adjust the
volume, select presets, and control other functionality. The Videobar
connects to an external display via HDMI, and a single USB connection
handles 2-way audio and video between the VB1 and the user’s
computer. This single-cable connection reduces clutter, but even one
cable can be too many when the VB1 is mounted to a wall, and the
user’s laptop is across the room. This is where Barco comes in with
its Clickshare Conference platform.
Bose Conference with Clickshare
Clickshare Conference is a wireless AV connection solution that “instantly gives you access to wireless conferencing (with) a more immersive, interactive, and guest-friendly meeting experience,” according to Barco. Essentially, it’s a two-part hardware solution. On one end, the Base Unit connects to meeting room cameras, microphones, soundbars, and other USB AV peripherals. In the case of the Bose Videobar VB1, it is the Base Unit that connects to the VB1 via USB. The other half of the solution is a small USB-C dongle called the ClickShare Conferencing Button, which attaches to the user’s device; it can be a laptop, an Android device, or an iPad Pro, for example. The user simply plugs in the dongle, clicks the button, and within 7 seconds, a secure wireless connection is made between the dongle and the Base Unit. The user can then use any application on the control device, enjoying full AV integration with the existing video conferencing gear in the room.
The philosophy of Bose Work is to provide the conferencing and collaboration solutions people need, regardless of where and how they work. Barco’s expertise in wireless conferencing solutions provides the capabilities needed for a full-room solution and complements the VB1’s capabilities. This alliance creates a solution that reduces wires, saves space, and delivers a premium meeting experience with a simple button.
— Martin Bodley, director and global head, Bose Work
Barco offers a number of different ClickShare packages that can accommodate various scenarios, depending on the size of the room and the complexity of the AV setup. A small or medium-sized conference room could be outfitted with the Bose Videobar VB1, an external display, and the small Barco ClickShare CX-20 or CX-30 package (contact Barco for pricing info). A large room might require the use of additional microphones and speakers throughout the room. In this case, the more powerful and flexible ClickShare CX-50 can be used in conjunction with either the Bose ES1 or DS4 ceiling audio solutions. These are complete conferencing systems that combine a Sennheiser in-ceiling microphone with Bose loudspeakers, a Bose amplifier, and DSP, all working together with the Barco Clickshare Conference platform to provide simple connectivity.
We’re excited the Bose Work solutions are certified for use with Barco ClickShare Conference. Together we offer customers easy, intuitive, and clutter-free meetings that make the new era of hybrid work simply work for everyone. Our guaranteed compatible products integrate seamlessly with existing platforms, bringing enhanced video and audio performance to popular third-party cloud services.
— David Fitzgerald, vice president, Global Alliances at Barco
The Bose Videobar VB1 is clearly both a product of the times, and a product for the times. I don’t know if it was already in development before the beginning of the pandemic, but it’s not hard to imagine any number of scenarios where it would come in handy these days. My friend Alap works for a large bank; my friend Chris teaches math; and my sister Rachel runs community programming for a social service agency. None of them had any need for video-conferencing gear prior to 2020, and now they all rely on it for every aspect of their work. Although the VB1 and the associated Barco AV integration solutions fall outside of my usual purview, I expect that these products will be of some interest to many Audioholics readers. Have you or your company invested in new video conferencing gear since the pandemic began? Let us know in the related forum thread below.
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Recent Forum Posts:
We just unboxed our sample and must say the packing, produt fit and finish and features offered are all first class. But, can this be used for hosting conferences at our place?
Read: Bose Videobar preview