If you work from home and find you need hours of video conferencing with clients and coworkers, a home conference room can be invaluable. A home conference room can be an offshoot of your home office or a dedicated space for conferencing. Your needs for internet, lighting, and privacy dictate the best possible area to create this space, but this can have a wide range of costs.
The national average range for creating a home conference room is between $500 and $1,500. Most people spend around $1,000 for a high-quality webcam with a microphone, lighting, high-speed internet, and dedicated web conferencing software. This project’s low cost is around $250 for those using their integrated webcam, with basic internet, noise-canceling headphones, and standard room lighting. The high cost is $5,000 for a state-of-the-art webcam and microphone setup with integrated lighting, noise-canceling headphones, ethernet connection, and dedicated web conferencing software for up to 40 users.
|Video Conferencing Equipment Price|
|National average range||$1,000|
Your exact conference room needs vary based on your business and location. You may not need to invest in noise-canceling headphones if you have a soundproof room. If your room has lots of natural light, adding additional light might be unnecessary. For many people, the addition of good lighting, an external webcam with a microphone, and high-speed internet can make the difference between a conference call that can be difficult to one where you come across clearly. The materials many people require for this project include:
|Room Component||Average Costs|
|Conferencing Software||Free - $500/per year|
|Microphone||$10 - $50|
|Good Lighting||$10 - $300|
|Webcam||$30 - $125|
|Noise-Canceling Headphones||$30 - $300|
|High-Speed Internet||$300 - $4,000|
Working from home can be difficult if you do not have reliable internet service. While typical internet speeds may be fine for video streaming or sending emails, you need better speed for daily conference calls or sending large attachments to coworkers. Many internet providers offer different rates for customers who need higher bandwidths. Most providers offer a range of speeds. Some are only available in certain locations, but many have a range of bandwidths and costs.
To video conference, you need 600kbps (dedicated). There are 1,000kbps in 1mbps, and most providers start at 6 to 40mbps, depending on your region. If you need to run applications during a conference call or have other people using video conferencing, you need higher bandwidth.
It is not uncommon for a household to require a minimum bandwidth between 20 and 40mbps for conferencing, working, and schooling needs. If there are more than 2 people downloading videos, running software that you share with coworkers during the conference call, and running conference software at once, you may have higher bandwidth needs.
Another way you can increase your speed is with a dedicated ethernet or hardwired line. While WiFi can give you good speeds, an ethernet connection provides a better experience. This costs about $3,800 to set up.
Your internet provider dictates what your ultimate bandwidth and total monthly costs are. Depending on where you live, you may have multiple or only a few choices for internet providers.
You may be offered a range of choices and costs for your bandwidth. Not all bandwidth speeds are available in all areas, and costs vary by region. To find out which bandwidths are available to you and their costs, call your local provider for more information.
|Provider||Bandwith Range||Average Costs/Month|
|Comcast/Xfinity||15 - 2,000mbps||$29.99 - $79.99|
|Cox||10 - 940mbps||$29.99 - $99.99|
|Verizon||200 - 940mbps||$39.99 - $79.99|
|AT&T||100 - 940mbps||$49.99|
|CenturyLink||40 - 940mbps||$49.99 - $65.00|
|Spectrum||200 - 940mbps||$49.99 - $99.99|
|Starlink||150 - 300mbps||$99.99|
Xfinity high-speed internet costs between $29.99 and $79.99 a month, ranging from 15 to 2,000mbps. This is broadband internet or cable internet. Xfinity is owned by Comcast and is their internet brand. They also offer phone and TV packages with their internet, and it is sometimes possible to get lower internet bills by bundling with their TV or phone packages. Xfinity sometimes caps the amount of high-speed internet you can use per month. If you exceed this cap, you can be billed at a higher rate.
Cox costs between $29.99 and $99.99 per month for high-speed internet with speeds of between 10 and 940mbps. This is also a broadband internet provider. They offer services like cable TV and phone. Like Comcast, they offer bundles that may help you save money. Cox is not as widely available as Comcast/Xfinity and is not often found in rural areas.
The cost of Verizon high-speed internet is between $39.99 and $79.99 a month, ranging from 200 to 940mbps. Verizon’s high-speed internet is sold under the name Fios. This is a fiber-optic network rather than broadband. You can use Fios for internet, TV, and phone service. Like other providers that offer multiple services, you may find bundles that lower the cost. Fios is currently available in 9 states and may be more reliable in areas that see frequent power outages. Fios is currently available in 9 states.
AT&T high-speed internet has one fixed price for their services at $49.99 a month with speeds of between 100 and 940mbps. This cost is for the internet only. AT&T also offers TV packages and bundles. Getting TV with the internet may lower your overall costs than if you purchase separate plans. AT&T is also fiber-optic rather than broadband. This means it may be more reliable in areas that see power outages. AT&T internet is not available in all areas. Find out if it is available at your address.
CenturyLink high-speed internet costs between $49.99 and $65 a month, ranging from 40 to 940mbps. CenturyLink provides a wide range of services for residential and business use. This includes digital and fiber internet. They also have TV and phone bundles. Like other companies, they also offer discounts when you purchase multiple services. CenturyLink is not available in all areas.
Spectrum high-speed internet ranges from $49.99 to $99.99 a month, offering speeds of between 200 and 940mbps. Spectrum is a broadband or cable provider, and they offer high-speed cable internet with TV and phone service. Like many companies, you may receive a discount on your internet if you bundle these services. Spectrum is not available in all areas.
Starlink costs $99.99 a month once it leaves beta testing and is widely available. This satellite-based internet service provides speeds up to 300mbps and is expected to be available some time in 2021. There is a one-time deposit of $99.99. You also must purchase the relevant satellite equipment at a further cost of $500. Starlink is still in beta and not available in all areas. You can pay the deposit for preorder in all areas, with the understanding that it will be widely available in the future.
Lighting is an incredibly important part of video conferencing. The correct lighting makes sure everyone can see you properly, while ensuring you have a good view of the screen without a glare. Ensure your light source is coming from in front or above you and not behind. Avoid having your back to a window or artificial light source because this can cause you to appear silhouetted on the screen.
Sitting facing a window is a good option, but if you need artificial light, you have several choices to ensure you have the right light in the correct location.
|Light Location||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Laptop||$10 - $40|
|Desk||$10 - $50|
|Overhead||$20 - $100|
|Wall||$25 - $300|
Laptop lights cost between $10 and $40 each. A laptop light offers good illumination where you need it. There are several kinds, depending on the amount and light you need. Small lights are available that plug into your USB port. Larger lights are available that clip onto your laptop’s top, above its built-in webcam. These offer the most direct light, while a USB light may offer more diffused light.
Desk lights average $10 and $50 each. A desk light or desk lamp offers versatile lighting. Positionable lamps adjust the amount of illumination when you are on screen. When not conferencing, you can also use them to illuminate your keyboard, paperwork, or other desk work. They come in a range of sizes and styles, so it is easy to find one that works with your office decor.
Lighting for your home office ceiling costs between $20 and $100 per fixture. Overhead lighting is tricky for video conferencing. Ensure it is right above you. If the light is slightly behind you, it can end up casting your face into shadow. The idea is to get an overhead light that creates equal lighting through the room or installed right above or slightly in front of you. This way, the light can shine on you rather than the back of your head.
Wall lights for a home office range from $25 to $300 per fixture. If your desk faces a wall, a wall light can be beneficial for video conferencing. If the light is on the wall in front of you, it can cast light directly onto your face. If the light is behind you, this prevents any shadows that can occur. It can also eliminate any odd shadows that may happen from desk lamps or other task lighting. Do not put the wall lights on either side or behind you. These can put shadows onto your face during video conferencing that makes it hard to see you.
You also have many options for the light type you choose. Like the lighting used elsewhere in your home, the lights for video conferencing vary in style, shape, energy efficiency, and intensity. What works in one scenario may not work well in another. While you can use general office lighting, some specific types work better for video conferencing.
|Lighting Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Ring||$15 - $40|
|Panel||$40 - $80|
|Cube||$60 - $150|
|Wand||$60 - $150|
Ring lights cost between $15 and $40. There are several kinds and sizes of ring lights. You can have a ring light that attaches right at the top of your laptop. This is one of the most efficient because it casts light directly on your face. Other ring lights can be used as desk lamps. They are larger and sit on your desk. They give more illumination, but ensure they are positioned properly to avoid shadows.
Panel lamps range from $40 to $80. A panel lamp is a type of desk lamp. The light is a large flat panel that provides even illumination. They are more adjustable than a ring because you can often raise or lower them. This can mean that they give you slightly better illumination, without as much risk of shadow. Because these lights are bright and situated at eye level, they can cause issues for those with light sensitivity. They do not offer any shade or glare reduction.
The Lume Cube video conference light system costs $60 to $150. Lume makes a wide range of lights in their Cube line. These range from small lights in a cube to much larger setups. Some setups sit on an easel some feet from your computer. They offer light from a much wider angle and distance. For those who sit some distance from their screen, need a wider shot, or more consistent illumination, these setups are very beneficial.
Light wands cost between $60 and $150. These are innovative ways to add color and light to any video display. They are less practical for day-to-day office conferencing, but they work well for video creation. The light wand is a thin LED light that comes in a range of colors. They can be placed anywhere, including on top of your laptop or desk. The key to using one for good video conferencing lighting is to not place it below you. This can cause shadows to be cast upward. Placing them slightly above you and behind your computer helps color correcting if you have a background that washes you out.
Many laptops and computers have built-in microphones. But they may not give you optimum performance for daily video conferencing. For everyone to hear you clearly, you may want to invest in a separate microphone.
Microphones come in two distinct types based on how they pick up sounds. One can pick up all sounds around you, while the other is more selective. The one you choose depends largely on how you work and how much ambient sound there is.
|Pick-Up Pattern||Average Costs (Material Only)|
|Omnidirectional||$20 - $40|
|Cardioid||$20 - $65|
Omnidirectional microphones cost between $20 and $40. These microphones have many forms, from flat discs that sit on the table to flexible gooseneck styles. An omnidirectional microphone picks up sounds from all around it. In this way, it is like a reverse surround sound system. This is a good choice if you pace or move away from your computer while conferencing. However, if you live in a household with ambient and background noise, this microphone also picks that up.
A cardioid microphone averages $20 to $65. These microphones are more selective in what they pick up. They are designed to detect what you are saying, but only in a certain range. For that reason, most cardioid microphones are designed to be worn on the speaker. There are some desktop models, but the most common systems have several components. The microphone clips to your shirt, and wires connect it with the system to enhance the sound.
You also have a choice of how it is placed and used. There are many microphones, from simple gooseneck styles to more elaborate ceiling mounts. Some types require things like drilling into your desk or ceiling for proper mounting. If you do not plan on working from home long-term, you may be best served by one that allows you to move.
|Microphone Type||Average Cost (Material Only)|
|Gooseneck||$10 - $65|
|Speakerphone||$60 - $220|
|Boundary||$70 - $200|
|Ceiling||$400 - $700|
A gooseneck microphone costs between $10 and $65. This is a simple microphone that works well for those near their computer. These microphones typically plug into the USB port on your laptop or computer. They can bend or move closer or farther from you, depending on your needs. They can be either omnidirectional or cardioid, depending on the style. They also come in many sizes, so you can purchase a larger version if you are particularly soft-spoken.
Speakerphones average $60 to $220. These microphones work best if you need sound output from your computer. They also work without the visuals, so this is the best equipment if you want to have a conversation with coworkers without being seen. They connect via USB or Bluetooth. They are designed like boundary microphones to sit on the desk. They usually have buttons that allow you to make or answer calls.
Boundary microphones cost between $70 and $200. Boundary microphones can be omnidirectional or cardioid, depending on the style. This is a small microphone that is frequently called a condenser. It is designed to sit on of your desktop, usually fairly flush with or close to the surface. These microphones are most often used when you want to get the sound from the full room. They are designed to pick up ambient sounds and are most often used for sporting events and music performances.
Ceiling microphones range from $400 to $700. These microphones mount from the ceiling and hang down a few inches to feet above you. They can be single or grouped, depending on your sound quality needs. These are not very commonly used in homes or conferencing. They are designed for recording, including music or videos. They need to be sized correctly to your space to ensure you receive the correct sound pick-up.
Another thing to consider is the webcam. While most computers and laptops have an integrated webcam, you may get better performance from an external version. These can mount to your monitor or above and give you a much sharper picture. If you do a lot of conferencing regularly, high resolution can help you come across more clearly and offer people a better view. While integrated cameras have no costs, external webcams have a range of associated prices.
|Webcam Type||Average Costs (Material Only)|
|External||$20 - $125|
Internal webcams come with your laptop and have no additional cost. Internal webcams are usually suitable for the occasional video call or conference. They can sometimes lose definition, however. This means you may appear blurry or fuzzy on the screen. The picture may flicker and have more difficulty with lighting and picking up nuances in lighting and facial expressions. If you only need to have video conferencing occasionally, these may work for you. If you need daily video conferencing for your job, you may want to upgrade.
External webcams cost between $20 and $125 each. An external webcam sits beside your computer or mounts to the top of your laptop or monitor. They can have integrated lighting and microphones or just the camera. Because this is their sole purpose, they offer much better clarity and picture than integrated webcams. With features like lights and microphones, an external webcam can also take up less space while giving you better performance. If you need to move away from your screen for some reason, you can reposition the external webcam to track you while you are away.
If you do a lot of video conferencing for work, you may want to invest in good software. Most software platforms have a free option, which may be good for occasional use. However, if you do a lot of daily conferencing or lead a team for more than 45 minutes at a time, you may want to pay for a dedicated plan.
There are many types of video conferencing software. However, they are not all compatible with one another. If your office uses Zoom and you purchase software for another company, you cannot join the conference.
Another thing to consider is many of these platforms are free for you to use if your company purchased the room or a dedicated hangout address. If that is the case, you need to use the link and password they provide to access the conference, along with the free version of the software you download.
|Microsoft Teams||$5 - $20/user/month|
|BlueJeans||$119 - $167/year|
|GoToMeeting||$144 - $192/year|
|Zoom||$149.90 - $300/year|
|Cisco Webex||$162 - $323/year|
The cost of Skype for Business is $2 per user per month. This means that if your team has 10 users, you pay $20 per month. Skype for business is one of the lower-cost options for a cost-per-user platform. Skype is free for regular use and has some conferencing options in this version. Skype also has other plans and options available. These include things like unlimited phone calls.
The cost of Microsoft Teams ranges from $5 to $20 per user per month. If you have 10 members on your team, you pay between $50 and $200 per month. They have three plans - basic, standard, and E3. All plans include some cloud-based storage. They also include all Microsoft software included in Office. This can be beneficial for businesses that use Office already and have few employees who regularly need to conference. The amount of cloud storage and other benefits increase with each tier.
Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts) costs $8 per user per month. If you have 10 people on your team, you pay $80 per month. This is for the business model. They have a free version available for individuals to use. They also have an executive-level plan, which has pricing on an individualized basis. You can have up to 150 participants at a time, and each meeting can last for up to 24 hours without restriction.
BlueJeans ranges from $119 to $167 a year with three plans. The standard plan hosts up to 50 participants and costs $119 a year. The Pro plan hosts up to 75 participants and offers host recording at $167 a year. They also have an executive plan available. This has customized pricing and options, so you need to call and discuss your needs to find the costs that fit your situation.
The cost of GoToMeeting is between $144 and $192 a year. Like most platforms, GoToMeeting offers three tiers. The professional plan can host 150 participants and costs $144 a year. The business plan hosts up to 250 participants and costs $192 a year. They also offer an enterprise plan. This is a premium plan that can host up to 2,000 participants. Costs are calculated based on usage and your needs, so call to find your rate.
Zoom ranges from $149.90 to $300 a year. They have a free version that hosts up to 100 people but ends at 45 minutes of use. From there, they have three separate plans, each with additional options. These cost $149.90 for their small team plan, $199.90 for their small-to-medium business plan, and $300 yearly for their United Business plan. Each plan increases the number of users you can have at once. They also offer features, such as cloud recording and company branding, so that you can choose the level that fits your needs.
Cisco Webex Meetings cost between $162 and $323 per year with four different plans. This starts with their free plan, which allows one host and have up to 100 participants. They also offer a starter plan at $162 a year with up to 50 hosts, with longer meeting times. Their business plan can have up to 100 hosts and costs $323 a year. They also offer a customizable plan that allows you to add the features you need. These costs are bespoke and calculated based on your needs.
There are many times when you may need to use noise-canceling headphones when video conferencing. If you share a space with your spouse or children who are also working or studying from home or have pets or outdoor sounds that intrude on your concentration, noise-canceling headphones help. They reduce the sounds around you so that you can focus on the call. Some headphones may also have built-in microphones so that you can make yourself heard in noisier areas. Noise-canceling headphones cost between $30 and $300, depending on the style and features.
Zoom Rooms cost $500 per year per room. A Zoom Room is a dedicated meeting space that can have up to 10 coordinators or hosts. They support up to 1,000 participants or 10,000 webinar viewers. They also include features like whiteboards, light control, 3 displays, and unlimited cameras. If your team relies heavily on meetings or you are a business that offers teaching throughout the day, such as a karate dojo or dance studio, a Zoom Room can be a big benefit. Once you purchase the license for the room, you can use it anywhere, so you can lead your team easily with customizable features and branding options whether you are at home or in the office.
While you can create a perfect home conference room with ideal lighting, sound control, and equipment, many people may only need to use a home conference space temporarily or occasionally. In this case, you may want to make some changes to the space to improve the conference’s quality.
Start with lighting. Whenever possible, move your lights or setup so that the lighting is in front of you and not behind.
Take a look at what is behind you. Remember that whatever is behind you is also on-screen, so move things or arrange them so that they are not distracting the person you are conferencing with.
You should also make sure that the sound levels on your computer are adjusted for your liking. Ensure you can hear the other speakers, and they can hear you.
These few basic tips can improve your video conferencing before you spend money on upgrades.
When working from home, you may not be protected by your employer’s security measures. If this is the case, you may want to invest in a VPN or virtual private network. This keeps all your transactions and conferences secure. A VPN costs $60 to $80 a year, depending on the plan.
If you find that your computer lags or cannot handle your video conferencing and other applications, you may need to upgrade your RAM. This is the processing power your computer needs to run many of today’s applications. Additional RAM costs $25 to $55 to upgrade the basic laptop.
Adding an ergonomic mouse and keyboard can make working and typing at home much more comfortable. If you do not have a full office setup, you may not have your hands and wrists in the optimal position to work comfortably for long. Adding an ergonomic setup for $90 to $300 can reduce muscle fatigue and strain.
If you have a dedicated home office, you may want to invest in soundproofing to reduce outside sounds. Soundproofing can be added to any existing space and costs $1,000 to $2,500 on average.
Zoom offers some of the most customizable options, including brand management. They also offer features like whiteboards that other platforms do not.
Look right at the screen or the speaker. Do not look at the camera because this can cause your gaze to appear as though you are focused elsewhere.
There can be many causes of this. In mirrors and photos, you are posing and not speaking, while on video, you are animated, which is different from how you normally see yourself. Or, it could be poor lighting casting a shadow.
This depends on your needs. For short calls or few users, Zoom is an excellent platform. Skype is also good for personal use. You may need to try one or two to find out which fits your needs best.