Highfive offers several "plug and play" options to enable video conferencing in your meeting rooms. These devices are the easiest way to enable a room with video conferencing and administer it over time.
However, you may want to provide your own hardware to use as a Highfive room. There are several reasons why this might be the right option for you:
- You have large rooms with customized built-in audio systems, which cannot be replaced by the audio from one of Highfive's plug and play options.
- You have already made a previous investment in room conferencing hardware that can be re-used with Highfive.
- You have a particularly small or particularly large room that will work best with a camera other than one of Highfive's plug and play options.
To provide video conferencing in these situations, Highfive can provide you will an application, Highfive Flex, which will turn a Windows or Linux PC into a Highfive room to use with your account. Be sure to talk with your Highfive account manager to enable Flex for your organization.
To create your own Highfive Flex room, you will need:
- A Windows or Linux PC meeting the minimum specifications described below.
- A camera to be used with the room that can be connected to the PC.
- A speaker output to be used with the room that can be connected to the PC.
- A microphone input to be used with the room that can be connected to the PC.
Minimum Recommended PC Specifications
|Form Factor||“Mini PC”|
|CPU||Intel Core i3 or i5|
|GPU||Intel UHD 620, 630 (or better, e.g. Iris Plus)|
|USB Connections||5 (For keyboard, mouse, camera in, audio in, and audio out. Using multi-purpose peripheral devices, as few as two could potentially be used.)|
|Operating Systems||Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise IoT, or a desktop Linux distribution (e.g. Ubuntu 18.04)|
Note: Intel brand CPU/GPU is not strictly required, and equivalents from AMD or another chip maker can be used.
Recommended Audio and Video Peripherals
As mentioned above, you will need camera, speaker, and microphone peripherals to complete the hardware for your Highfive Flex room. Any device that is recognized by the Windows or Linux operating system can be used for your room system. For large rooms with a built-in sound system, a USB output from the room's soundboard to the PC can serve as the audio peripherals. In a smaller room, a USB speakerphone device could provide the audio input and output. Many USB cameras for both large and small rooms are available and can be used.
The following are some additional considerations when selecting devices to use:
- USB devices are typically much more reliable and trouble-free than Bluetooth devices.
- High quality audio via Bluetooth is not well supported on Linux.
- Devices that have custom Windows drivers can often provide enhanced functionality, but can also introduce problems over time if the drivers are not maintained by the manufacturer or the update process intrudes on the user experience.
- USB and HDMI cord length limitations may restrict how you lay out your customized room, but HDMI-to-CAT5 and USB-to-CAT5 converters can often be used to get around these issues.
Highfive has tested a variety of peripheral devices to assure broad compatibility, including:
- Integrated audio and video conferencing devices (e.g. Logitech CC3000e, Logitech Meetup, Owl Labs Meeting Owl Pro, Yamaha CS-700)
- USB speakerphones (e.g Jabra Speak 810, Sennheiser SP20, Yamaha YVC-200, Yamaha YVC-300)
- Bluetooth speakerphones (e.g. Poly VoxBox, Sennheiser SP30)
- USB cameras (e.g. Huddly Go, Logitech C920, Logitech BRIO)
Important: Since your the processing unit for your Highfive Flex room must be running Windows 10 or a standard desktop Linux distribution, it is not compatible with all-in-one video conferencing devices that run their own operating system, such as the Poly Studio X series.
Setting Up Your Highfive Flex Room
Important: Highfive will require an appropriate license on your account in order to use it. Please contact your Highfive account executive if you would like to use Highfive Flex on your account.
To set up your custom equipment as a Highfive room using the Flex app:
- Plug in your room microphone, speakers, camera, and TV to the PC, and verify that the necessary drivers for your devices are installed.
- Set the resolution of your TV in Windows or Linux to 1920 x 1080 (full HD).
- Download and install the Highfive Flex app from https://start.highfive.com/install/flex/win for Windows 10 or https://start.highfive.com/install/flex/linux for Linux.
- Launch the Flex app and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the room setup.
- Type Ctrl-s within the Flex app to set the camera, microphone and speakers for the room as desired.
To keep your Highfive room running smoothly and safely over time, we also recommend that you:
- Set up a limited access user, without a password, that is automatically logged into the device upon startup.
- Set the Flex app to automatically start for the user from step 1.
- On Linux, the Flex app will do this by default.
- Set the operating system to “Do Not Disturb” mode, to suppress desktop notifications.
- Turn off or uninstall other automatically launched apps that could open unnecessary windows or otherwise get in the way of a smooth startup.
- Remove the keyboard and mouse from the PC, once setup is complete and automatic startup and shutdown have been verified to execute smoothly.
- Install the Highfive room on a VLAN that has access only to the internet, not your intranet.
Important: As this Highfive room is running on your own hardware on a standard operating system, unlike a traditional Highfive room device, you are responsible for the security and maintenance of the computer, as you would be with any other device on your network.
Once your Flex room has been set up, see this article for information on how to use it.