Video conferencing is without doubt a time and money saving facility for today's businesses. But it comes with a lot of excess baggage in the form of wires and other paraphernalia. It also exposes the slow bandwidths and low IT skills of these small outfits.
The Huawei TE30 is being touted as a plug-and-play all-in-one video conference solution which tries to fill all these gaps. It is not much bigger than a high-end HD webcam, but comes with the codecs, camera and microphone array all built in. But is it as easy as the company touts it to be? Are there really no cables?
Yes, the TE30 can be set up in under five minutes and you just need a single wire for the same. The HDMI out and LAN connections all end up in a connected box down the line. But you can do without the LAN cable for instance as this has a Wi-Fi option too, easily latching on to the wireless network. Huawei has loaded this device with a new 3D user interface that is quite easy to navigate and understand. But one needs to have a good grasp of the IP addresses within your organisation to be able to connect with colleagues in other locations. Thankfully, there is a wizard to handhold you through the first installation with displays being projected on the connected LCD.
You can give IP addresses names to use the unique voice dialling facility. It could easily pick up my accent as I placed a call to an address in Bangalore. The device uses Video Motion Enhancement and H.264 HP compression to give video quality even at 512 kbps. Even at these speeds you can use the remote to control the camera at the other end. The pan and zoom functions works smoothly. The zoom quality also highlights the camera which gives good detail even in low light conditions.
The picture quality is really good and the microphone captures sounds within a six-meter radius. Since audio quality is often a problem hampering the success of video conferences, the TE30 comes with the ability to add up to three additional microphones. Huawei claims the system is inter-operable with other standard endpoints like Lync2010 and Skype.
Huawei, which has just entered the enterprise segment in India, is wooing small business with its new compact offering. However, they have not yet divulged the price of the device, which they claim is at least 15 per cent cheaper that other solutions for the same audience.
Disclaimer: The quick review was done at a Huawei experience centre and we have not conducted actual tests.