“Good enough” often isn’t quite enough to get an A grade in the business world. 2021 information technology is all about the user experience, and frankly, many of us are spoiled when it comes to using our daily tools. In this article’s case, we’re talking videoconferencing. We appreciate when we have a sharp video connection and picture, and we roll our eyes when the video and/or audio fades out into the internet hinterlands. We know what a crisp, professional experience looks and sounds like, and we don’t want to deal with anything less (unless we absolutely have to), especially when it comes to business meetings, when sales and dollars are often table stakes.
Most of us in the last year have come into regular use of Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, RingCentral and other browser-based videoconferencing software on our laptops, phones and tablets. For most meetings, these solutions are fine; we’re getting our work done in a generally satisfactory way. However, there is a new package of high-end, yet not terribly expensive, videoconferencing tools now available that nonetheless brings a higher quality experience literally into the picture–the type of tools that were once only used in offices.
‘Professional-grade’ personal video equipment
Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Poly (Plantronics, Inc., formerly Plantronics and Polycom) last week unveiled its Poly Studio P Series, something it describes as the industry’s “first professional-grade personal video conferencing equipment,” designed to improve the experience of remote workers. That takes in a lot of us.
The Poly Studio P Series includes the Poly Studio P5 Webcam, Poly Studio P15 Personal Video Bar and Poly Studio P21 Personal Meeting Display. Details are below.
The Poly Studio kits connect with other company products as needed by users. Bundles can include the new Studio P5 camera with Poly’s award-winning headsets or the portable Poly Sync intelligent speakerphone to set up a complete work-from-anywhere scenario. These personal devices combined with Poly Lens Desktop App and Poly+ paid subscription services bring hardware and software together into one package, in order to simplify device management.
Directional mics and cameras
“We know a thing or two about microphones, having spent a lot of years on headsets and conference phones,” Chris Thorson, Poly’s Senior Vice-President of Product Marketing told eWEEK. “We put in a directional mic to capture what you’re saying and not much else around you. And we’ve even put in a little dedicated USB port on the back of the (webcam) device, so that you can plug in your Bluetooth headset adapter and just connect your headset straight to this device, which gives you a little better quality and better range than you might get over your traditional Bluetooth connection in your laptop.”
A cool automatic feature of the Poly Video Bar is that when you’re in a meeting on camera and want to get up and, say, write something on a whiteboard, the camera has the “intelligence” to follow you and square up the video around your head and shoulders when you stop moving. It’s very much like having a human director on site.
“It’s even got 4K resolution,” Thorson said. “So you’ll notice that the quality is pretty good, even when it’s zoomed in–that’s the benefit of 4K. I can zoom it in full blast and I’ll still have 10 ADP-type resolution.”
Details on the new products
The new Poly Studio P Series includes:
- Poly Studio P5 Webcam: Personal webcam with camera optics optimized for video conferencing. Poly Studio P5 Webcam packs 1080p resolution and 4x digital zoom, comes with a built-in privacy shutter, directional microphone and integrated USB connectivity for headsets for audio plug-and-play connectivity.
- Poly Studio P15 Personal Video Bar: Personal video bar with powerful 4K clarity, automatic camera framing and a powerful integrated speaker and microphone array with advanced NoiseBlockAI technology to block outside noise.
- Poly Studio P21 Personal Meeting Display: Video conferencing display that includes everything for a premium video conferencing experience, including a 21-inch display, camera and audio all in one. Dynamic ambient lighting adjusts to illuminate and improve your appearance and overall video quality. USB connectivity frees Poly Studio P21 to work with any video app that runs on a PC or Mac.
- Poly Studio P5 Kit: The Poly Studio P5 webcam paired with your choice of personal device: A Poly headset or Poly Sync portable speakerphone. Users can choose from among four out-of-the-box combinations with corded or wireless headset options from the Voyager and Poly Blackwire families, in addition to kits that include Poly Sync.
Remote management: Poly Lens Desktop App and Poly+
Poly says it is looking out for remote workers and small business owners who might not have access to dedicated IT, or for the IT manager who is looking for ways to manage and support a fleet of remote workers’ technology. To do this, the entire Poly Studio P Series comes with access to Poly Lens device management service through the new Poly Lens Desktop App.
With the Poly Lens Desktop App, users are able to gain insights and manage a remote workforce from the cloud. The Poly Lens Desktop App also empowers users with tips about device setup, troubleshooting for the best possible lighting and camera placement–even ergonomics for the optimal workspace setup. Meanwhile, IT can manage data and insights for voice, video and headsets under a single pane of glass.
In addition, Poly also announced Poly+, an exclusive personal device support service that provides:
- enhanced 24/7 tech-support around the world, including phone, chat, web, and live video so you can have your own dedicated IT hero on speed dial;
- an extended three-year product replacement and overnight device replacement for support; and
- single-app support across compatible Poly personal conferencing solutions, so users can control their personal device settings, ensure up-to-date software and advanced troubleshooting tools.
All of these products will become available in April on Poly.com and with authorized resellers and select retailers worldwide. For more information on pricing and availability, go to Poly Studio P Series.