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10/29/2007
02:18 PM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
Commentary
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Notes from PUG: Video Conferencing Marches On

Last week, I had the pleasure of delivering a keynote address at the Polycom User Group conference. At the event, Polycom made two announcements that show the continued development and maturity of video conferencing around two key areas: telepresence and high definition.

Polycom’s new Telepresence Experience High Definition (TPX HD 306M) system is designed to be a more versatile, and less expensive, telepresence option. I demoed the system, and it looks pretty good—not as realistic as the company’s RealPresence Experience (RPX) technology, but good enough to serve the needs of most enterprises—for a smaller price tag ($199,000 list), and in a room that can double as an in person conference room for meetings the old fashioned way. (If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of telepresence, as well as what industries and job roles it’s especially well suited for, please download two whitepapers I recently wrote on the topic.

Polycom also introduced the HDX 8000 series of high definition systems designed to deliver what the vendor calls “UltimateHD” (to include audio and data as well as video quality) to small and medium-sized conference rooms. The company’s new patent-pending Lost Packet Recovery technology provides QoS for IP networks, ensuring that calls don’t lose quality, or stop working altogether, as packets get dropped over the network. The goal is to make video conferencing more viable for home office workers, remote offices and field applications. HDX Version 2.0 also enables HDX 9004 and 9002 systems with embedded multipoint capability to deliver HD continuous presence multipoint for up to eight sites.

Meanwhile, my keynote at PUG was on a slightly different topic—the changing face of video conferencing—and the audience of several hundred attendees were especially interested in learning more about how to support a dispersed employee base; almost two thirds of them describe their organization as being a “virtual workplace.” And after my session ended, several IT managers approached me, all with the same question: “How do I integrate my unified communications applications, my video infrastructure and my business applications?”

It’ a good question—and one we’ll all be addressing on this blog in the weeks and months to come. Today, HDX Version 2.0 enables integration with the Avaya Video Telephony Solution and Microsoft LCS 2005, making Polycom video collaboration capabilities instantly accessible within these UC environments. But the market is changing literally every week… which keeps things interesting, at least.

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