The worlds of A/V and Video Conferencing have been on a collision course for over a decade. When companies decide on what to place into certain spaces within the workplace, there are many differentiating factors. Number of screens, microphones and speakers are just some of the factors. If the room is unique in a way that it does not suit a unit which was built for common sizes a integrator style video device is normally used.
For the last few years the leading model from Cisco has been the SX80 device which became a workhorse of the Cisco Collaboration portfolio. it is so good that it was the last device to receive a refresh! But no longer! The Cisco Room Kit Pro is here, what a powerful beauty it is. Introducing 4K output and input and ability to connect more screens, is just some of the things around this unit which make it a great step forward for video conferencing devices.
Lets dive into the comparison between the SX80 and where the improvements have been made!
Video Inputs: Room Kit Pro: 6 (5x HDMI, 1x 3G-SDI) vs SX80: 4 (3x HDMI and 1x DVI)
SX80 only has 1920x1080p60 inputs while the Room Kit Pro allows 3 inputs to accept 3840x2160p30 while the other 2 will do the same as the SX80 at 1920x1080p60.
This is a increase of 50% inputs! not including the quality increase with 4K coming to the table for content sharing and clarity of cameras. I almost forgot there is also 1 HDCP capable input!
Video Outputs: Room Kit Pro: 3 (2x HDMI 3840x2160p60 and 1x HDMI 3840x2160p30) vs SX80: 3 (1x HDMI 1920x1080p60 1x DVI-I 1920x1080p60)
While there is not any additional outputs technically the connection and output of the 3 connections are miles above the SX80 and will enable integrator to create more customer experiences without the need for additional third party hardware. In addition the Room Kit Pro has 2 ports which are enabled for HDCP output!
Audio In: Room Kit Pro: 8 Mic/Line In vs SX80 8 Mic, 4 Line In
Where the audio has really changed on the Room Kit Pro is the HDMI Input! there is now ARC support for HDMI Audio and also each of the mic inputs which are phoenix/euro block connectors can be line in unlike on the SX80!
Network: Room Kit Pro 5 (2x With PoE) SX80: 3 (No PoE)
Network has had a lot of work and I'm please to see the results of these efforts, On the Room Kit Pro there are 5 network ports will allow for easier camera control deployments or advance configurations with multiple Touch 10 control panels which were not possible with the SX80 without third party or additional devices.
With 2 ports having PoE the ability to direct pair a touch panel to the codec without a PoE Switch or Injector has gone! This allows interrogators to remove a potential item of failure in the user control portion of the device!
In addition Cisco has announced that the room kit pro will ship with WiFi and Bluetooth! Now these might be corner cases where you will want to run video over WiFi and probably wont be used for majority of installs but the WiFi hardware built into the platform will allow Cisco to potentially develop features around it which excites me!
Cisco has switched from the standard DSUB Serial interface into a Phoenix connector which is inline with industry standards of control devices and will allow for interrogators to create custom length cables for all purposes without soldering skills!
With Cisco adopting the Nvidia Chipset, which is also in the other Room Kit Series devices Cisco has enabled the Room Kit Pro and Large rooms to take advantage of facial recognition data along with noise suppression assistance which comes from the power AI which is built on the room kit platform! The Room Kit Pro comes with CE Software which has more features added with each release the powerful macros available allow intergrators to really let their minds run wild to create what ever they want!
The Room Kit Pro can be registered on the Webex Cloud as a Device or on your local Call Manager or Expressway Platform!
The Room Kit Pro keeps the slick white "Appleish" design that Cisco has with all current Room Kit Series which makes this unit really standout in the rack which is the most likely location where you will see one.
The difference is that to pack all this power the Room Kit Pro has got the Rack Height vs the SX80 has increased from 1 RU to 1.5 RU but I see this as acceptable and ability to remove other devices in the rack to achieve the some functionality should not make this an issue!
Overall this is massive step forward for the video conferencing, enabling the next generation of room and creating the #FutureOfWork