With its UC Board, Polycom is adding whiteboard capabilities to its room-based video collaboration offerings.
Polycom is adding another capability to
its room-based video conferencing solution, enabling participants to better
leverage the whiteboards that are common in conference rooms.
Polycom's UC Board, announced Oct. 27,
is integrated with the company's RealPresence Room HDX offerings, enabling
users to write on a whiteboard in one room and have participants in other
locations see what is being written.
According to Polycom officials, during
meetings, some people will get out of their seats and start writing on a
whiteboard. In a video conference scenario, there was no easy way for people in
other locations to easily see what was being written, short of moving the
camera to more closely see the whiteboard or to take a photo of it and project
it to the other participants. Having to do this hampers the collaborative feel
of a meeting, they said.
With the UC Board, what's being written
in one room on a whiteboard will appear on the screen of other participants.
"The Polycom UC Board is the first
integrated video collaboration solution to make sharing whiteboard content as
easy as picking up a pen," Sudhakar Ramakrishna, executive vice president
and general manager of UC solutions and chief development officer at Polycom,
said in a statement. "That's great news for organizations of all kinds
looking to bring remote employees and customers in a sales presentation,
brainstorm, planning meeting, or training class with clear access to all the
visual content being presented and discussed."
The UC Board is the latest innovation
from Polycom in the hotly contested video collaboration space, which includes
not only Cisco Systems but also such players as Logitech's LifeSize
Communications business, Radvision and Vidyo. It's a market that research firm
Infonetics Research says will see double-digit growth at least through 2015,
and one that Cisco is the leader with 52 percent revenue share, followed by
Polycom at 25 percent, according to Wainhouse Research.
Polycom has been aggressive in building
out its capabilities, including launching an ambitious software strategy and
bringing its video collaboration capabilities to Apple's iPads and
Android-based tablets. In addition, Polycom this month bought video
collaboration software maker ViVu
Its rivals also are extending their
portfolios, including expanding their technologies
onto mobile devices
. Cisco on Oct. 26 rolled out a number of new additions
to its TelePresence line
to grow the reach of the solutions to SMBs, which
in the past have shied away from the vendor's immersive video collaboration
products due to price or the belief that it was a closed environment.
According to Polycom officials, the UC
Board leverages a wireless stylus and receiver to enable meeting members to
write on a whiteboard in one location that remote participants can view on
their screens. A compact infrared sensor is attached to a whiteboard and stylus,
and it's plugged into the Polycom video communications system via a USB
connection. As users write on the blackboard, the image is streamed to other
participants. It works with any standards-based system, including tablets,
according to the company.
Polycom officials said they see
multiple applications of the technology, from doctors working with patients who
are in another location to remote students doing class work.
The UC Board is available immediately,
starting at $1,999.