Polycom's Innovations Demonstrate Revolutionary Advance in Collaboration Technology
Polycom recently announced a variety of new collaboration technologies that amount to a Beamonesque leap forward in how businesses will conduct meetings. The need for human intervention to perform tasks like tracking users or controlling video equipment has been reduced, if not entirely eliminated.
San Jose-based Polycom develops solutions that allow companies and organizations with multiple offices and facilities spread out over a large geographic area to conduct meetings and collaborative sessions remotely.
Its objective is to make an online meeting experience as close to an in person experience as possible without requiring all attendees to be in person. The company has additional offices in Canada, the APAC region, Europe and the Middle East, and in the Latin American and Caribbean regions.
One of the latest innovations is the Eagle Eye Producer, which tracks user participation and uses built-in intelligence to direct the video camera. A demo video that Polycom created shows how these features would be used. Three people in a conference room at a main office were filmed by a Polycom camera. Intelligence tracked who they were and recorded them as attendees.
An IT admin in another room tracked attendance data in real-time while a remote attendee watched from a desktop monitor. Perhaps the most impressive feature of Eagle Eye is that when one of the attendees in the conference room stood up to write on a white board to illustrate a point, the camera focused in on that person the same way a human videographer would.
Anyone who has used online meeting software like GoToMeeting has had to endure sounds like babies crying or fire engines with sirens on full blast because of the remote attendee who forgot to hit the mute button. Those attendees without three-alarm emergencies or little ones needing a ‘ba-ba’ can still create distracting sounds from eating food, using a keyboard or shuffling papers.
Polycom created Noise Block technology that cancels out these annoying sounds. A similar technology, Acoustic Bubble, filters out noise originating from remote attendees. This would be a valuable feature when someone connects from a public Wi-Fi connection from a place like a coffee shop, where background noise is often a problem.
Meetings have often been an expensive and counterproductive undertaking for a variety of reasons. You have to factor in the labor costs of all who are in attendance as well as the utility costs of facilities being used and any software required to support remote attendees. Those costs are imposed before the hidden costs of presenters having to repeat themselves because of poor sound quality or video that doesn’t work right, if it works at all.
Polycom’s latest collaborative technologies address many of these issues. They won’t make a presenter or attendees stay on topic, but they will provide companies with the tools they need to make meeting time more productive.
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Edited by Maurice Nagle