Audio and video conferencing solutions have come a long way in recent decades. Much of the technology available today would have been unthinkable just 20 years ago, and this sudden jump in functionality has left some businesses behind. But most industries are catching up and realizing the incredible power that conferencing options bring to a company's operations.
Modern conferencing solutions are scalable to nearly any degree, and can overcome the challenges long associated with the technology. Interfering audio, poor audio quality, poor camera position, compatibility and usability issues have largely been solved. As such, there is little reason for companies to avoid adopting conferencing solutions.
And what businesses should strongly consider its merits? Audio and video conferencing solutions are budget-saving powerhouses in that they render most travel, and the expenses that come with that travel, unnecessary. If employees are constantly jetted around the world for client and partner meetings, mitigating those expenses alone can be worth the investment. Further, conferencing speeds up collaboration, even among people working in the same building. It is much more efficient and engaging than traditional modes of communication and drives team cohesion and cooperation. Beyond the material benefits, there is an array of intangibles that conferencing technology offers.
There aren't many accomplished manufacturers in the audio and video conferencing space. Given the stop and start nature of the technology, product designers and builders have come and gone. One brand that has maintained its position in the industry, though, is Polycom. Any business in the market for conferencing solutions would be remiss if it didn't review Polycom's versatile and powerful product portfolio before making a decision.
Tech companies make heavy use of the word "solutions" these days, and though it may seem like a fancy way to dress up product offerings, the term has real meaning in this context. What works in a small office or huddle room isn't appropriate for a boardroom or training room. In other words, there isn't a single best approach to outfitting a business with conferencing technology, so solutions must be developed to tackle each company's specific needs.
That is a major design focus for Polycom, which has developed conferencing solutions for every conceivable collaboration space. From mobile professionals to teams of dozens, there is a suitable collaboration solution available. Specifically, this is what Polycom brings on the equipment front:
1. RealPresence Desktop and Mobile - Polycom's RealPresence is its line of conferencing products, and it can be scaled up or down to any degree. RealPresence Desktop and Mobile represents the smaller scale version of the technology, perfect for professionals who travel or need to collaborate directly from their desk.
Conferencing efforts can be managed with Polycom's RealPresence Web Suite, which bring RealPresence powerful usability features to anyone with an internet connection and a webcam. Alternatively, professionals can utilize RealPresence Desktop, which is designed to extend conferencing capabilities beyond the conference room. RealPresence Desktop comes with leading audio codecs, which improve audio clarity, SVC/AVC coding technology without the setup headaches, multipoint calling, directory services and extension dialing.
RealPresence Mobile offers these same features in an interface designed for either Android or Apple devices. RealPresence Mobile and Desktop are built so that users can easily transition from one to the other easily, so once a professional gets comfortable with it they can continue leveraging RealPresence technology no matter where they are.
Both RealPresence Mobile and Desktop come with Acoustic Fence, which intelligently determines what type of audio is coming from background noise. This audio is automatically suppressed so that it doesn't interfere with the conversation. SmartPairing is another primary feature, allowing meeting members to transfer a conference call from their mobile device to a room-based Polycom system, using nothing but a single gesture.
2. Room systems - Polycom has a deep selection of room systems, all of which are ideal for bringing several people together on a single call. Some of these room solutions include the RealPresence Medialign, the RealPresence Group Series and the RealPresence Centro, among others.
The Medialign is perfect for companies that need a simple, agile solution. The Medialign is an all-in-one conferencing package, a turnkey solution that brings a high definition screen (up to 70-inches), a virtual whiteboard, Polycom's EagleEye camera and producer technology, and a microphone array for top notch audio and room coverage. The Medialign is built into a mobile mount, so it can be moved from room to room easily.
The Group Series is more of a traditional conferencing solution, consisting of the EagleEye camera and producer technology, touch interface controls and a separate audio output that is placed on the desk. The Group Series is designed with several entry points, depending on the company's budget, and it allows businesses a bit more flexibility in which display or audio equipment they use with the system.
The Centro is a wholly unique and ingenious option in bringing teams together. The Centro offers 360-degree collaboration, with several displays arranged so that they can be placed in the middle of the room. The Centro makes for close, face to face collaboration, and allows people to comfortably sit in front of a display without being shoulder to shoulder with other meeting participants. The 360-degree camera ensures everyone can be seen, and its base is built with charging ports for various devices. This is in addition to the high quality audio and video technology that Polycom is known for.
3. Immersive telepresence - This is the major leagues. Polycom's immersive telepresence solutions optimize an entire room for conferencing purposes, and can work with large teams, including teams with dozens of people. Immersive telepresence is warranted when a company must have the most natural, cooperative and productive meeting, over any distance.
Lighting and acoustics are designed around the conferencing system, with ceiling microphones zoned so that they pick up audio from any spot in the room. Displays are capable of 4K Ultra HD output, and Polycom's most sophisticated camera and sound quality technologies are deployed for these systems.
This includes EagleEye facial recognition software, which immediately recognizes who is speaking and frames that person in view, so their body language and collaboration input are easily read and heard, no matter how far away they are from the camera. Further, SoundStructure is available with immersive telepresence systems, and they are much like the audio version of the EagleEye's facial recognition software. SoundStructure hones in on the speaker and adjusts audio inputs so that the speaker is always the easiest person to hear. All other sounds are blocked out.
With immersive telepresence, it's possible for teams to have rapid fire conversations with no confusion and no issues with recall or engagement.
Polycom's domination of the audio and video conferencing industry is due in part to its plethora of A/V solutions. From traveling individuals to large, high-priority teams, there is a Polycom solution that makes sense, both functionally and fiscally.