Get Simple, Affordable HD Videoconferencing with Logitech ConferenceCam
The Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam is a USB-based HD video camera with an integrated speakerphone that's perfect for small-group videoconferences. And it's relatively affordable at just $250.
By Paul Mah, CIO
The Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam combines a full HD (1080p) camera capable of capturing 30fps with a business-grade speakerphone to provide a high quality video-conferencing experience. The ConferenceCam has a motorized-pan feature so you don’t have to constantly reposition the camera for the best angles. And it has tilt-and-zoom functionality that’s adjustable via buttons on the device or remote control.
To set up the BCC950 ConferenceCam you first connect the spherical camera to the speakerphone base. Next, you connect its AC adapter to a wall socket for power and plug the included USB cable into your desktop or laptop. The camera sets itself up automatically; you don’t need a separate driver or any further configuration because the gadget is compliant with the USB Video Class (UVC) standard, which also handles the H.264 video encoding. The ConferenceCam works with both Windows (XP and higher) and Mac (OS X 10.6 and higher) machines.
The device also comes with an additional USB power cable that plugs into the DC port on the ConferenceCam, which could be useful when additional power points aren’t readily available, though it will not work with a USB port or hub that isn’t meant for charging. Finally, a 9-inch eye-level extender can be attached to raise the camera. (See image below.)
The Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam with the included eye-level stand.
A side view of the ConferenceCam. Note the earphone/mic-out port on its side.
A photo of the speakerphone base without the webcam unit.
Using the ConferenceCam with Skype
I tested the ConferenceCam with Skype on my Windows 7 laptop, but it is also compatible with many additional unified-communications and web-conferencing applications, including Microsoft Lync, Cisco WebEx, Google Video Chat and FaceTime. The answer and hang-up buttons do not work on Skype by default, but a free plug-in can be downloaded from the BCC950 support page here to enable them. A blue activity light lets you know when the camera is active to prevent embarrassing moments.
The ConferenceCam works particularly well with small groups thanks to its relatively wide 78-degree field of view, which is further extended by the 180-degrees remote-controlled pan. The built-in autofocus eliminates blurry images, and the Carl Zeiss lens works well in low light situations. It does take a moment for the camera to focus though, and the zoom functionality is less than impressive.
Overall, the video captured by the high-definition lens in the ConferenceCam was of high quality, and the gadget is well suited for small-business and corporate use. The speakerphone is loud. But the excellent audio pick up means you can’t have another colleague nearby participating in the same video conference from their own laptop without a bad case of runaway feedback–unless both parties use headphones.
The eye-level stand helps position the webcam.
The included IR-based remote control for the ConferenceCam.
Conclusion: BCC950 ConferenceCam
The BCC950 ConferenceCam is a great webcam, but its price tag of $250 means it probably isn’t suited for everyday, non-business users. For small teams of two or three colleagues, the ConferenceCam is an excellent videoconferencing option. The Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam delivers exceptional value as a plug-and-play web conferencing solution for businesses and small teams.