Polycom recently announced the release of their new ground breaking products for the video collaboration market that will transform the future of video conferencing. The list of additional products comprise of: User Interface, Endpoints, RealPresence CouldAxis Suite and a Collaboration Server 800s.
After my initial viewing of the presentation, I was quite impressed with the direction Polycom has taken and think that their new User Interface seems to be relatively less complicated if compared to the existing versions. This is definitely a step in the right direction with usability being the highest priority. Although, I must be honest that this is the same thinking many other manufacturers such as LifeSize and Vidyo have been taking before this big announcement. The fact that we have access to most of the major brands gives us the opportunity to provide our customers with a more objective opinion.
So what did Polycom announce at the public announcement on the 8th of October 2012 at Nasdaq in the USA?
1. The Polycom RealPresence CloudAxis Suite.
2. New Group 300,500 & 700 Endpoints
3. The RealPresence Collaboration Server 800s (No information available)
What will the Polycom RealPresence CloudAxis Suite offer you?
The Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite is a first-of-its-kind software solution that brings contacts from all your presence-based apps into a global directory of participants that you’re able to drag and drop into a Polycom, business-class video collaboration session, allowing parties outside the organization to securely join the conference via a browser with one click.
After watching the presentation for the first time I was really blown away and couldn’t believe what I was seeing! You’re able to connect directly via Skype, Facebook, Google Talk and other business video apps to make an Enterprise-grade video call. That is amazing! Although looking closer you will notice that they are only able to send a link to these aforementioned business video app accounts that will allow you to join a VC meeting by being redirected to your favourite web browser. This means that the call is not made directly from any 3rd party application. I do however like that you’re able to use any web browser to join the video call, which is great compared to similar products such as LifeSize and Vidyo that require you to download software on your Windows or Mac device.
Another feature that I really like is that the clients presence information from the host of social and video apps are visible and those contacts are then imported into the Polycom global directory. It’s a great feature, but it is it really essential? Even thoughI’m always online on Skype ,that doesn’t mean that you can just invite me to join a meeting.
These are the key features
- Intuitive browser-based user interface makes video collaboration effortless as there is no software client installation required.
- The Global Directory includes Skype, Facebook, Google Talk and other UC application contacts.
- You’re able to invite anyone at any location to join your B2B and B2C video call with consistent high quality and security.
- All you need to do is simply drag and drop participants into a virtual meeting. It will then automatically send meeting invites to the participants via IM or email
- Share content with all participants and quickly collaborate with mobile, desktop, and room system users.
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Polycom RealPresence Group 300, 500 & 700 Endpoints
These new endpoints will be a great solution for small to medium size businesses wanting to use professional video collaboration tools for their business operations. The downside of the units is that they will not be able to use ISDN lines and only IP (Internet Protocol). This is a major concern because our broadband connections in South Africa are ADSL (Assemetric Digital Subscriber Lines) and does not work properly for video conferencing applications. It will definitely NOT work for calls at 720p or 1080p! Lets hope that SDSL (Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Lines) or 4G LTE are released in SA in the near future to allow these products to work effectively for smaller to medium size businesses. If you are a big organisation with a MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) infrastructure then there’s no need to be concerned. We can successfully deploy these and any other video communications products over your network if setup correctly by service providers.
So when will the new products be available in South Africa? After my meeting with the Polycom distributors last week I can confirm that they will start placing orders for the new Group 300 & 500 endpoints from the 15th of November 2012. I don’t believe we can start committing to exact dates before January 2013. These new products will first need to go through our own internal testing before we will supply these to our customers in 2013. All the other products are still not available and no fixed release date has been provided to 4ward-design or any other video communications integrators in South Africa.
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Stay tuned for more updates regarding these new and exiting products in the months to come.