Google has been quick to update its Google Meet video conferencing software as more people than ever depend on it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the company announces new Google Meet video conferencing Hardware – However, the hardware is designed for conference rooms, not your home.
The new Series One hardware, developed by Google but manufactured in partnership with Lenovo, has several components. There is a 12MP Smart Camera and for larger conference rooms a 20.3MP Smart Camera XL. According to Google, the devices can automatically frame the participants in a meeting and recognize how many people are in a room without using face recognition and digitally panning, tilting and zooming.
There’s also a Smart Audio Bar with a 2.5-inch woofer, 1-inch tweeter, and eight beam-shaping microphones that Google claims can handle “up to 44 channels at a time.” Google says that thanks to technology the company calls “TrueVoice,” they can enhance human voices and filter out noises like typing and noisy snack bags.
The entire setup is supported by a Chrome OS-based “Meet Compute System”, as reported by Google The edge Both the computer system and the Smart Audio Bar have two Google Edge Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) on board to aid in processing video and audio during meetings. Depending on which kit you buy, you can also use a rechargeable remote control or a 10.1-inch touchscreen to control your meetings. Both support the Google Assistant for hands-free control of meetings.
This isn’t the first meeting room hardware designed for use with Google Meet. Asus, for example, introduced new Google Meet devices for conference rooms in May. However, the Series 1 hardware was entirely developed by Google. Features like noise suppression in the Smart Audio Bar and automatic shaping by the Smart Camera seem practical. And this isn’t Google’s first technology in the workplace either – the company launched Jamboard, a giant 4K digital whiteboard, in 2017.
For companies looking to equip their conference rooms with this new equipment, however, the Series One kits are not cheap. The “Small Room Kit,” which comes with a smart camera, smart audio bar, computer system, and remote control, costs a whopping $ 2,699. You can pay $ 2,999 for the Medium Room Kit and $ 3,999 for the Large Room Kit which has more hardware. The Series 1 hardware will be available in two colors – “charcoal” (black) and “chalk” (white) – and Google says the kits will be available for pre-order “soon”.