When you hear the phrase “Zoom Bar”, you probably think of a speedy spirit establishment. As it turns out, Zoom, the company behind every social distance company call ever, finally has some specifically designed hardware available to complement your virtual meetings–as long as you have $2500 to spend.
The Zoom Bar–actually called the “Neat” Bar, a name that references the company who developed the thing–isn’t officially affiliated with Zoom; however, Neat points out on their website that the bar is “designed for Zoom” with specific features clearly being tailored for the video conference platform.
Those features are actually what makes the hefty price tag seem reasonable.
Let’s get one disclaimer out of the way: If your business doesn’t already use wide-scale video conferencing–or if your video conferencing setup is anything more than a janky mess–the Neat Bar may not be for you. However, anyone hoping to integrate Zoom into a more central role in their company should stick around–employing the Neat Bar might be the professional touch that your conference room needs.
The Neat Bar in and of itself is, at first glance, a sound bar coupled with a video camera; the setup accompanying it includes something called the Neat Pad, a tablet that serves as a controller and one-click sign-in interface.
However, the marketable aspect of the Neat Bar is what’s found inside.
The Neat Bar boasts a dedicated internal chip to process video calls–no computer is necessary, and while the system itself doesn’t include an optimized screen for the call presentation, Neat makes it clear that the Neat Bar is compatible with any HDMI display. The bar will also detect and “awaken” for new visitors; for example, if the conference room is empty and someone walks in, the display will turn on and ask for sign-in credentials.
The Neat Bar itself has a variety of other features, the bulk of which are listed below:
- CO2 and humidity monitoring
- Ambient noise-cancelling and voice amplification
- Smart-zoom on whomever is speaking
- “Optional” meeting scheduling through the included control pad
- Fanless cooling
- Integrated power supply
In theory–and, according to Neat’s examples, preferentially–you could use the Neat Bar in a dedicated conference room and run remote meetings autonomously all day long. Again, this may not be an investment for everyone, but anyone looking to migrate to a more virtual-based conference model–especially in the wake of COVID-19–should give this invention a closer look.