Today, Google introduced the Google Meet Series One, a meeting room hardware that provides businesses with its artificial intelligence-based video calling capabilities. The Series One computing system and audio tape include the company Coral accelerator module with Google Edge tensor processing devices (TPU) for audio and video management. There are three types of One Series room sets: up to 6 people ($ 2,700), 6-10 people ($ 3,000) and 10-20 people ($ 4,000).
Wait. Isn’t Google already run special hardware for businesses using
Hangout To meet? Yes, but it was 2017. In October, as before the pandemic. Google is offering this new expensive video conferencing hardware in partnership with Lenovo as companies plan a safe return to the office in an age of social distance. The kits are supposedly built for large, sparsely populated rooms or many smaller meeting places.
Google is now in a virtual war of encounters with Microsoft and Zoom. Google Meet saw 100 million meeting participants in one day, saw Teams more than 200 million participants in the meeting, and Zoom has seen 300 million participants in daily meetings. (Unlike everyday active users, “meeting participants” can count the same user more than once.) Zoom is trying to expand the dominance of its video conferencing with hardware. In July, the company introduced special devices for remote workersand announced their video calls in August comes to Amazon, Google and Facebook smart screens. While Google still looks good when Zoom outperforms users, it draws a line of business. The company uses artificial intelligence to stand out: “One Series is equipped with the best of Google AI – people can join meetings in voice, enjoy studio-level sound with improved noise, and take advantage of smart features like auto-participant framing.”
Google AI for “more engaging meetings”
The first series features TrueVoice, Google’s multi-channel noise reduction and voice amplification technology. It’s similar to Google Meet AI cloud fighter, which we described in detail in June. “We use some of that technology, but we are actively processing this board,” TJ Varghese, the group’s product manager, told a press release. “And each microphone is processed separately so that we can really separate the human voice from the other noise in the room.”
The Smart Audio Bar uses eight beam-forming microphones, and the maximum set configuration can simultaneously process up to 44 channels in 8 milliseconds on board. Each microphone is processed separately to separate the human voice from other sounds in the room. This is a more complex task because in the meeting room, in addition to the usual sounds, there are often several people talking at different distances to each other. Google promises that distracting sounds, such as typing, mixing, and snacking, are “completely filtered, but the voices are perfectly clear.”
The One Series also features two 4K smart camera options developed in collaboration with Huddly. The smaller Smart Camera has a 12MP sensor, while the larger Smart Camera XL has a 20.3MP sensor with 4.3x zoom. High resolution allows digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) effects and auto-framing of participants, says Google. But the camera’s ability to frame people of different races is an unfinished job.
“Our goal as Google is to effectively create and display darker skin tones much, much better than traditional cameras,” Varghese said. “I think the industry has finally recognized and accepted it. We are actively working with partners to develop algorithms that could do this, so you will find out about your plan in the coming months. “
One Series meetings can be managed using a 10.1-inch touch screen (powered by a single cable) if you purchase a large room suite – a small room only has a rechargeable remote control. All sets support hands-free management through Google Assistant, so you can say “Hey, Google” followed by requests to start or end a meeting, turn on the sound, and more.
One Series room kits have the same technology as Google data centers built right into the computing system and audio tape, Coral M.2 accelerator modules with two Google Edge TPUs. Google says the inclusion of TPU means that the One Series will be able to “take advantage of future machine learning innovations.”
Smooth updating and management
In terms of this, Series One is “the first system we’ve developed from the beginning specifically for Google Meet,” Varghese said. However, like its predecessors, it’s built on Chrome OS, which means automatic updates over the air and hardware that always uses the latest firmware. IT administrators can manage kits through the Google Admin console, including device setup, health checks, and minor troubleshooting without ever having to visit a room. Each set can anonymously understand the number of room attendees and visits.
“We also do visual algorithms to determine the number of people in a room,” Varghese said. “We don’t do any face scans, so our algorithms are based on physical bodies, sound and other attributes, so privacy stays the same. What we will give customers to better understand the use of their rooms is what is especially sought after in today’s world. “
The One Series has a single power supply architecture with PoE (Power-over-Ethernet), a color-coded cable management system with RJ45 connectors, and is expandable. As the size of the room changes, the kits can be expanded with more microphone cases and an additional soundtrack for stereo sound. One-click sound calibration for room acoustics can automatically optimize system sound settings for different room sizes and surfaces.
More Google Meet hardware is coming
One Series room kits feature rounded corners, carbon or chalk fabric, and Google-branded industrial design. But Lenovo is bringing them to market. The kits have three years of Lenovo Premier support and five years of EOL support.
The devices will arrive in late October – Lenovo plans to share the exact date of its event in mid-October. But as the name of the Series One suggests, Google is building more Meet hardware.
“This is our exemplary design,” Varghese said. “In the future, you may see other partners in the future, but also other Series One products. So this is the first of a Series One device. “