The first thing that those have worked with Revolabs on meeting room audio solutions for years, since before Yamaha acquired Revolabs three years ago, will notice is that the CS-700 all-in-one huddle room collaboration solution is branded as Yamaha.
Let’s get back to that later and first focus on the product.
The CS-700, which is being officially unveiled at Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017, is specifically designed to support huddle room or small meeting space environments.
Yamaha chose to focus on small space solutions because that’s where meetings tend to be these days, says Revolabs senior product manager Holger Stolze. He cites research from Wainhouse that there are 30 million to 50 million huddle room type meeting spaces worldwide while there are only about 10 million board rooms, large meeting rooms and conferencing suites.
So the product development team set up to address environments for up to six participants, limited table space and issues related to the distance people sit from the display.
The Yamaha CS-700 looks like a simple soundbar, but the compact component has built in:
- All-in-one camera microphone speaker
- Automatic beam forming microphone array
- 120-degree wide angle HD camera
- Four speaker soundbar
- Remote manageability
- Screen sharing
According to Yamaha, the CS-700 brings together both Yamaha’s legacy of audio and DSP expertise and Revolabs demonstrated ability to solve meeting room challenges.
From a Yamaha press release:
[Yamaha CS-700] is the first solution of its kind to bring together comprehensive audio, video, and collaboration capabilities in a wall-mounted system. Combining Revolabs’ expertise in microphone technology, Yamaha’s leadership in loudspeaker engineering, and new high-quality video and screen sharing capabilities, the CS-700 provides an affordable, simple-to-install, high-fidelity system for successful teamwork from a single USB connection.
For clear, stress-free audio, the CS-700 boasts a beamforming microphone array, ensuring that every word spoken is perfectly captured and delivered to the far end. In addition, four speaker elements provide the highest degree of audio coverage for all the participants in the room. Through the integrated USB port, the CS-700 is ready to connect to the organization’s chosen unified communications platform, such as Microsoft® Skype for Business, Cisco® Spark, GoToConference™, Google Chromebox for Meetings™, Vidyo®, WebEx®, Zoom®, BlueJeans®, and many others. The unit’s special wide-angle video camera captures all meeting participants in the room, even those close to the camera. The optical solution ensures a high “pixel-per-face” resolution necessary for participants to recognize nuanced facial expressions that are vital to effective meetings.
Over the same USB connection to their laptop or tablet, users can seamlessly and intuitively join a meeting. This plug-and-play approach allows users to quickly get started without wrestling with disparate video, audio, and collaboration components in the room, thus eliminating complex steps from the process that can waste valuable meeting time or require the assistance of on-call IT staff. In addition, the CS-700’s integrated network management system allows IT staff to remotely manage each unit from one location, increasing service response and efficiency.
Branding as Yamaha, Not Revolabs
With the Yamaha CS-700 being released almost exactly three years since the acquisition of Revolabs by Yamaha, the huddle room collaboration solution is a nice reflection of the merging of two brands, according to Yoshi Tsugawa, director, Yamaha Commercial Audio Department, who is quoted in the press release.
“The Yamaha CS-700 is the first of many solutions that combine the market expertise of Revolabs with the product expertise of Yamaha to deliver excellent audio, video, and collaboration capabilities,” he says.
“The CS-700 is the first product in this initiative to demonstrate Yamaha’s commitment to the business collaboration market and improving the meeting experience at every level.”
Stolze points out that the CS-700 is the first Yamaha product his Revolabs teams has manufactured, working on the design and development of it.
“That means it goes through the full Yamaha quality manufacturing [quality assurance] and ensure that Yamaha’s processes are being followed,” he says.
From a technology point of view Stolze says the CS-700 reflects a lot of Revolabs’ product line technologies being brought together. Meanwhile, the product benefits from Yamaha’s immense brand recognition and reputation. “At Revolabs we’re [acknowledging], ‘How many have heard of Revolabs and how many have heard or Yamaha?’” he jokes.
Stolze goes on to explain that engineering expertise from both sides, including audio processing technology and a lot of complementary technology, led to the CS-700. He adds that since the CS-700 is a video product it marks a new space for both Revolabs and Yamaha.
“On the Revolabs side there is a fair amount of expertise from video conferencing companies that were founded and expanded here in Massachusetts [where Revolabs is located],” he says, noting that many Revolabs employees have roots in that field. “We also have camera expertise in house. We decided to apply that to this product and create this ultra-wide camera space that you can set and forget.”
In terms of product joint product development, “this is something that Yamaha has not done with any of its other acquisitions,” Stolze says. “We’re the first instance of Yamaha and their subsidiaries collaborating together to address this space. It’s because its’ a space that Yamaha has committed to and views as an area for growth.”
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