Google is about to make office conference calls smarter than ever

Series One
(Image credit: Google)

As employees begin returning to the office, many organizations are planning for a mix of remote and in-person work environments where video conferencing software will be used to communicate between teams which is why Google has introduced its new Series One meeting room kits for Google Meet.

Through the company's partnership with Lenovo, each Series One kit will include a regular or extra large 4K smart camera, a compute system, a smart audio bar and either a 10.1-inch touchscreen controller or remote depending on the size of the bundle.

The Compute System in Series One is purpose-built for Google Meet on Chrome OS which makes it easy to install and keep up to date. All of the equipment and software used in Google's new meeting room kits are securely managed through the Google Admin console and this includes device setup, status checks and minor issue resolution without ever having to visit the room itself. In order to help organizations monitor room utilization and maintain safety protocols when returning to the office, each kit also has the ability to anonymously sense the number of room participants and visits.

Power is delivered to the Compute System and Smart Audio Bar using a single power architecture with Power-Over-Ethernet. At the same time, a color-coded cable management system for components helps reduce cable clutter and simplify installation. However, as room sizes change, kits can be expanded with additional mic pods as well as an add-on audio bar for room-filling, stereo sound.

Series One room kits

While Google's new offering appears to be similar to Microsoft Teams Rooms devices at a first glance, there is one big difference. The company's Meet Compute System and Smart Audio Bar from its Series One room kits leverage the same technology used in its data centers.

Both devices feature a Coral M.2 accelerator module with Google Edge TPUs that allow for AI-powered audio and video processing. Series One devices are capable of taking advantage of future machine learning innovations while maintaining both high performance and reliability for AV workloads. The Coral Edge TPU also enables multi-channel noise cancellation technology called TrueVoice which allows for every voice to come through loud and clear while filtering out distracting sounds such as sirens, typing and more.

In a blog post, hardware lead for Meet devices at Google, Milton Ribeiro explained why Coral's low power processing is perfect for meetings, saying:

“First, the Coral chip’s low wattage doesn’t produce enough heat to require fans for cooling. No fans mean no extra noise to clutter up meeting audio. Second, low-power processing enables the new system’s minimalist, hassle-free setup. It runs on power over Ethernet, or PoE, reducing the number of cords and freeing up power outlets.”

Businesses interested in outfitting their conference room with a Series One meeting kit can reach out to Lenovo about pricing and availability as neither it nor Google have announced these details yet.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.