What Companies Should Consider Before Using OWL Labs Products for Their Conference Rooms

Bruce
6/15/24
3.9
min read

We have compiled various user reviews from the internet to provide an overview of the experiences people claim to have had with the Meeting Owl from Owl Labs. Here are some of the common themes and opinions shared by users:

As the landscape of office meetings and remote collaboration evolves, the tools we use to facilitate these interactions become increasingly critical. OWL Labs' Meeting Owl has gained some traction for its 360-degree camera and innovative design, promising to revolutionize conference room setups. However, despite the initial appeal, numerous users and experts have raised substantial concerns regarding its practical application in professional environments. Here are several compelling reasons why companies should reconsider investing in OWL Labs products for their conference rooms.

1. Subpar Audio Quality

One of the most crucial aspects of any conference room device is its audio capability. Unfortunately, the Meeting Owl falls short in this regard. Users have consistently reported that the microphone quality is substandard. According to user feedback, "The mic is bad, the speaker is bad and the camera is bad. Not only that, the 360 capture makes no sense when everyone at the conference table is looking at the TV at the front of the room and not towards the camera." For businesses, clear and reliable audio is essential to ensure effective communication, and relying on a device with poor audio can lead to misunderstandings and decreased productivity.

2. Ineffective 360-Degree Camera

While the 360-degree camera feature of the Meeting Owl is innovative, its practicality is questionable. The concept of capturing the entire room might seem beneficial, but in practice, it often results in awkward angles and poor focus on speakers. Users noted that "The people sitting in the room with the Owl are looking at the other participants on the display(s) at the front of the room while the camera from the Owl is looking at these people from the table. When people at the table are talking towards the displays, the Owl is shooting the side of their head." This setup leads to a disconnect for remote participants, who struggle to follow the conversation and miss crucial facial expressions and cues.

3. Limited to Small Room Usage

The Meeting Owl is only effective in small rooms with a few participants. Feedback indicates that "The Owl is good if everyone at the table is looking at others at the table. The connected guests see you all looking toward the camera. When only a few people are in the room, they look at the display, and Owl gets the side of their head." For larger rooms or settings with more participants, the device fails to capture the entire meeting effectively. As businesses grow and meeting sizes vary, investing in a device with such limitations is not practical.

4. Inferior Video Quality

Despite claiming to support 1080p resolution, many users have found the video quality of the Meeting Owl to be subpar. One user pointed out that "The video quality for the Owl Pro is unbelievably bad. Take the cheapest webcam Logitech makes and put it up next to the Owl Pro and it will look 2-3 times better." Grainy and low-resolution video defeats the purpose of having a high-tech conferencing tool, as it hinders the ability to see participants clearly and reduces the overall meeting experience.

5. Complex and Flawed Setup

Setting up the Meeting Owl can be unnecessarily complicated. Initially, the device required a mobile app for pairing, which many found to be a design flaw. Although a desktop app was later introduced, the initial impression left users frustrated. One user mentioned, "When they say 8ft apart for the owl pros they mean it. Don't forget the mobile app to pair them. Because why would you be able to do that on the computer." A user-friendly setup process is crucial for any technology aimed at improving efficiency and productivity.

6. Better Alternatives Available

For the same price point, there are more reliable and effective alternatives available. The Logitech Meetup, for instance, has been recommended by several users as a superior option. One user stated, "In my opinion, the Logitech Meetup is a much better solution at a similar price point." Additionally, professional-grade solutions from brands like Poly and Sennheiser offer more robust and reliable performance for conference rooms of all sizes.

7. Inconsistent Performance

Users have reported inconsistent performance with the Meeting Owl, particularly in larger rooms. Some users have found that the device struggles to focus on speakers accurately, especially when there are untreated surfaces in the room. One user shared, "The camera will struggle to lock onto the speaker. I have seen significant performance improvements with each FW update, so make sure they are connected to wifi from the get-go." Reliance on frequent firmware updates and inconsistent performance is not ideal for a professional setting.

Conclusion

While OWL Labs' Meeting Owl brings innovative ideas to the table, its execution falls short in several critical areas. From poor audio and video quality to impractical 360-degree coverage and a complex setup process, the drawbacks outweigh the potential benefits. For companies seeking reliable and effective conference room solutions, exploring other options like the Logitech Meetup or professional-grade integrated av systems from Poly, Logitech, Crestron or Sennheiser would be more prudent. Investing in technology that consistently performs well and enhances the meeting experience is essential for maintaining productivity and ensuring seamless communication.

Disclaimer: The opinions and reviews presented in this article are gathered from various sources on the internet and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website. We encourage readers to conduct their own research and consider multiple sources when making purchasing decisions.

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/CommercialAV/comments/r0gzp7/leadership_wants_an_owl_pro_camera_for_conference/

https://www.reddit.com/r/CommercialAV/comments/1b8fllk/client_purchased_a_meeting_owl_3_do_i_tell_them/

Bruce
6/15/24
3.9
min read