Logitech Rally Runs the Analyst’s Gauntlet
Dec 05, 2018
Frost & Sullivan’s Analyst Gauntlet is a structured program wherein participating vendors and service providers give industry analysts deep dives and demonstrations of their collaboration solution(s). The analyst then uses the collaboration solution(s) and provides candid feedback based on his/her user experience with the specified tool(s).
This week the Connected Work research team at Frost & Sullivan is evaluating the new Logitech Rally video conferencing system for mid-size meeting rooms. Anchored by the Rally Camera, the Rally product line is aimed at front of meeting room configurations.
The Camera is available separately or as part of several bundled packages. The base Rally system includes the Rally Camera, one Mic Pod, one Speaker, as well as a Table Hub and Display Hub to connect components. Rally Plus addresses larger meeting spaces with Rally Camera, two Mic Pods, two Speakers, and the Hubs. Rally systems can be further expanded with up to seven Mic Pods. A Rally Mounting Kit is also available to wall-mount the Camera and Speakers.
Logitech provided a base Rally video conferencing system for review that is the focus of this evaluation.
Rally Camera is a premium PTZ device finished in matte black with slate gray metal trim. Features include:
- Ultra-HD imaging at 4k, 1440p, 1080p, 900p, 720p and SD at 30fps
- Motorized pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ)
- 15x HD zoom
- 90o field of view
- 3 camera presets and carriage return
- Connection via USB-C
- Auto framing and wide dynamic range support
- Dimensions are: 7.19” height x 5.98” width x 5.98” depth
Rally Speaker features a high performance 3” driver with rare earth magnet and a suspension system to reduce vibration-induced camera shaking and associated audio interference.
- A single mini XLR cable connects to Rally Display Hub for both signal and power.
- Dimensions are: 4.05” height x 17.67” width x 3.15” depth
Rally Mic Pod supports a 15 foot audio pickup range through four omnidirectional mics that form eight acoustic beams, as well as:
- Acoustic echo cancellation
- Voice activity detector
- Background noise suppression
- Mute button with LED status indicator
Up to seven Rally Mic Pods can be daisy-chained together for coverage in large meeting spaces.
Rally Table Hub connects on-table components, such as computer and Mic Pod(s) to the Display Hub. The computer can also be connected directly to the Display Hub. Features include:
- Single CAT6 cable connection to Rally Display Hub up to 164 feet / 50 meters away
- Active speaker detection
- 12 Pin connector for Rally Mic Pod
- HDMI Type A pass-through to Display Hub (x2)
- USB Type A, B and C interfaces
- Power input
Rally Display Hub offers interfaces for connection to Table Hub and two displays.
- HDMI Type A (x2) (connects to displays)
- USB C (connects to Rally Camera)
- USB Type B (connects to meeting room computer)
- Mini XLR (x2)
- Powers one or two Rally Speakers
- Power input
Product Positioning and Availability
Rally fills out the Logitech meeting room system portfolio to address mid and large-size meeting rooms. Specifically, the base Rally system addresses mid-size rooms for up to 10 people in 200 square feet of space. Rally Plus (Camera, two Mic Pods and two Speakers) accommodates large meeting rooms for up to 16 people and up to 300 square feet of meeting space. Additional Mic Pods provide coverage for boardrooms with traditional or U-shape seating for 20-46 people in 500-1000 square feet of space. With modular audio, the Rally line is designed to deliver studio-quality video, unmatched voice clarity, and automation for better meetings with video conferencing applications that work with USB devices, including Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and others.
Logitech RightSense is a suite of automation technologies built into Rally that aim to create a better user experience. RightSight auto-frames participants regardless of their distance from the Camera. RightLight prioritizes faces over environment to render natural-looking skin tones. RightSound enhances vocal clarity by suppressing background noise, auto-leveling voices, and focusing on active speakers. While already available with other Logitech products, such as MeetUp, RightSight auto-framing isn’t scheduled to be available with the Rally family until early next year. The Rally base system that I evaluated will be available in late 2018 for a list price of $1999 through Logitech partners.
Rally systems are installable in two configurations: with the meeting computer located close to the display or with the meeting computer residing on the conference table. For this evaluation, I connected the Rally Display Hub to a 44” HD flat screen television and placed those items as well as the Rally Speaker on a standard-height credenza. A Windows PC, the Rally Mic Pod and Table Hub were positioned on my work table, which was approximately six feet from the credenza similar to the configuration on the right below.
Pro: Once the equipment was unpacked and inventoried, it took less than 15-minutes to install the Rally system. Illustrated installation cards with clear, easy to follow instructions and intuitive, linear layout of the connection interfaces on both Hubs make installation truly plug-and-play.
Con: While the Rally system automatically calibrates itself, customers looking for fine-grain manual control may want to use the Logitech Camera Settings application.The application provides access to Camera settings such as brightness, color intensity, contrast, auto focus, etc. After downloading it to my PC, the program sometimes failed to execute, displaying an error message before running properly on subsequent attempts.
Pro: Rally is designed to work with popular conferencing services, including Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, and Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business.I used the Rally system on Zoom, PGi GlobalMeet and Cisco Webex video conferences. All three services automatically detected the Rally Camera, Mic Pod and Speaker as peripherals connected to my PC, allowing me to select them under the settings menu of each service to use them in my meetings.
Pro: Rally Camera video quality and Speaker fidelity are outstanding. There were no issues with clarity in either regard. Mic Pod audio pickup was excellent and the device is unobtrusive on the table top.
Con: Because my installation was temporary, I didn’t mount Rally Table Hub beneath my table. Although not unique to this Logitech system, room conferencing layouts with the meeting computer placed on a table have tendencies to create a visible clutter of cables on the table. Rally offers single cable convenience between its Table and Display Hubs, however there is still a multitude of cables connected to the Table Hub (e.g., HDMI and USB connections to the computer, and USB connections to the Mic Pod). We strongly recommend heeding Logitech’s recommendation to under-mount the Table Hub to avoid these issues.
Pro: The small remote control that comes with the Rally system is a convenient way to control certain meeting aspects without leaving your seat. It easily connects to the system via Bluetooth Low Energy and offers two Camera preset buttons, a home (carriage return) button to return the camera to default position, as well as Speaker mute and volume toggles.
Con: At a starting list price of $1999, the base Rally system is competitively priced for the quality and functionality it delivers. However, there are lower-price alternatives that offer similar capabilities.
Pro: RightLight and RightSound technologies are already fully implemented. The upcoming availability of RightSight auto-framing will add value and round-out Rally automation capabilities to further enhance the user experience and allow users to focus on their meeting rather than on the technology itself. RightSense will also further set Rally apart from the lower-price alternatives mentioned previously.
Pro: With modular expansion options the Rally family provides a way for organizations to outfit rooms of different sizes in a standardized way, adding additional Speakers and Mic Pods as needed, and the ability to support single or dual-screen configurations.
Con: Logitech doesn’t provide a native management suite forRally. However, the system can be administered via Microsoft SCCM and other third-party tools, which we were unable to test, to manage the components remotely.
Frost & Sullivan’s Analyst Gauntlet has been in operation for a number of years. We have evaluated numerous video conference cameras and systems as well as various other collaboration solutions under the program. Overall, components are becoming significantly easier to install, configure and use with each passing year. Logitech Rally is certainly no exception to this trend—products like these, in combination with increasingly robust software-based services are aligning today’s business-grade collaboration solutions with user and business expectations. Above and beyond my expectations for ease of use is Logitech RightSense functionality, which does a lot of work for users, such as automating framing, lighting and PTZ adjustments to enhance the quality of experience. As such, Rally is an excellent complement to the user friendly, feature-rich cloud-based conferencing services that are experiencing healthy adoption rates in all market segments and global theaters. Organizations that are upgrading or expanding their room video conferencing system investments would do well to choose Logitech Rally, which offers the modularity to accommodate meeting spaces of differing sizes and layouts.
@LogitechVC#videoconferencing #collaboration #UComs
Sixteen + years of experience in enterprise communications markets. Particular expertise in: Competitive and market intelligence, Market trend analysis and forecasting, Solutions development, marketing, sales and service support strategies.