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Google Announces New AI-powered Conference Room Hardware – TechCrunch



Google today announced the Google Meet Series One, a new video conferencing hardware suite for conference rooms. Built in collaboration with Lenovo, the Series One integrates with Google’s AI Smart by using a high-end camera and microphone, Google’s Edge TPU and Google’s proprietary Coral M.2 accelerator module. ..

Previous Google Meet hardware efforts by companies such as ASUS, Acer, and Logitech have usually been built around the Chromebox. This new initiative uses a custom-built computing system at the core, which has a tablet-sized screen almost like Google Nest, a soundbar with eight built-in mics, an additional mic pod, and one of two cameras. Combined with one.

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The camera is probably the most interesting option here. The SmartCamera XL features a 20.3 megapixel sensor and a 4.3x optical zoom. With these specifications, it can be used as a digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera. This allows the system to always automatically zoom in and frame everyone in the room, and when the next person joins, zoom and pan as needed to keep everyone still visible.

A regular smart camera can do most of this, but it doesn’t have an optical zoom, so it’s a good solution for small rooms. Google has partnered with Huddly to develop this camera system (and the two companies also collaborated on a previous Meet hardware project).

But Google has also put a lot of effort into the audio system. With eight beamforming microphones built into the soundbar and advanced noise cancellation techniques performed on Google’s AI chip, the system should be able to remove most of the distractions. Companies can add a soundbar with only speakers and microphones without an AI chip to cover even larger rooms. These additional units only have speakers and microphones, without any additional AI hardware, as all processing needs to be centralized.

Image credit: Google

One of the nice things here is that the use of Power-over-Ethernet has made it easier to install these systems. This makes it easy to install one of these systems in a conference room.

Since this is Google, it’s probably not surprising (and more important than ever) that the system allows hands-free control of the room using the Google Assistant.

It’s the smallest room kit with a basic smart camera, but without a tablet-type conference controller and microphone pod, and retails for $ 2,699. For $ 2,999, you get a complete set with one standard camera, soundbar, mic pod, and controller. If you have a very large room, you can choose the $ 3,999 version with an additional soundbar, two mic pods, and a Smart Camera XL.

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