Polycom Launches Wireless Conference Phone, Video Display

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-04-19 Print this article Print

The conferencing vendor announces its first SoundStation wireless phone for audio conferencing and adds another personal video conferencing option aimed at executive offices.

Polycom Inc. on Monday unveiled its first wireless conference phone and launched a new video conferencing system aimed at executive offices. Polycom introduced the SoundStation2W, which allows wire-free voice conferencing. Based on 2.4 GHz technology, it provides a 150-foot range between the phone and the base station that plugs into an analog jack. The phone also can support a connection with a cellular phone, Polycom said. The wireless unit could fit well with small and midsize businesses that want to share a phone among multiple rooms, as well as in larger offices wanting to remove wires, said Jim Kruger, vice president of marketing for Polycoms voice communications group. It also makes sense in remote sites, where users can plug in a cell phone.
"Our larger enterprise customers [also] want to remove clutter from conference tables," Kruger said.
To address security, the SoundStation2W allows users to turn on 64-bit voice encryption and provides an authentication key between the console and base station. The SoundStation2W provides a standard 12 hours of talk time with an upgrade available for 24 hours of talk time. The wireless conference phone is set to ship in late June or early July in North America. Pricing was not released, but Kruger said it should run between $499 and $799 a unit. Along with the phone, Polycom launched its latest foray into personal video conferencing with the Polycom VSX 3000. It combines in one system a video conference codec with a built-in camera, microphone, speakers and a 17-inch LCD display. "It also doubles as your PC display," said Stacy Saxon, director of marketing for Polycoms video communications group. "You can use it for video conferencing but also have your laptop connected to it and toggle back and forth from an external display to video conferencing." Polycom is aiming the system at executives desktops as well as at remote offices and specialized offices such as a doctors office or educational resource room, Saxon said. It provides high-quality audio and video similar to the companys higher-end conference-room systems, she said. It joins ViaVideo II, launched last year, as one of two personal video conferencing products from Polycom. ViaVideo II, which appears like a Web camera, plugs into a PC or laptop. Read more here about Polycoms partnership with Avaya Inc. to develop new desktop video conferencing products for enterprises. Pricing for the Polycom VSX 3000, available in May, will start at $4,999 in the United States. Check out eWEEK.coms Messaging Center at http://messaging.eweek.com for more on IM and other collaboration technologies. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com messaging and collaboration news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for eWEEK.com, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for eWEEK.com. Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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