The needs of the office today are not the same as a few years ago and the equipment in rooms, if more than five years old, does not have the intelligence to enable scalable and pervasive remote meetings. HP and Poly have been laser focused on addressing the challenge of hybrid work, as demonstrated by their most recent announcements.
This week at InfoComm 2023, HP subsidiary Poly rolled out new video and audio products with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven capabilities. The new products enhance HP’s portfolio by focusing on better experiences in workspaces and home offices. HP acquired Poly for $3.3 billion in 2022, significantly boosting its capacity to provide solutions for hybrid work.
AI-Equipped Video Bar
The first significant product launch is the Poly Studio X52 video bar, an upgrade to the best-selling Studio X50. This new model comes with a 4K, 20-megapixel (MP) camera, offering higher video quality at even greater distances. The X52 has a narrower field of view (95 degrees) compared to the X50 and overall better picture quality.
The video bar also comes equipped with Poly DirectorAI, an intelligent camera technology that automatically adjusts the camera frame depending on the speaker, group, or individual participants. Poly introduced these new features to enhance the quality of video conferences and diminish the echoes often experienced in rooms with hard surfaces like glass, explained Bob Knauf, Poly’s senior product marketing manager, during a news briefing.
“The glass wall has been a big challenge for customers installing video conferencing units. We’ve taken an approach where we’re adding a perimeter within a room. We’re also adding sound reflection/reduction, which will use algorithms to reduce sound reverberation, making conversations clearer and more understandable,” said Knauf.
Now that employees are returning to the office, businesses need to consider the equipment in meeting rooms. Not all rooms are designed for virtual meetings, and remote participants can often experience echoes or poor audio quality, even when high-end equipment is used. Poly’s AI capabilities can adjust audio to ensure everyone hears crystal clear audio. In some cases, remote participants could experience better sound quality than in person.
The upcoming X52 will be certified for Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet at the time of its release. Moreover, Poly is working towards achieving certifications for BlueJeans by Verizon, GoTo, and RingCentral. Although the timeline for these certifications is yet to be determined, Poly’s goal is to cater to all customer needs and enhance interoperability across various platforms, according to Natalia Herrera, senior director of global alliances at HP.
A Boomless Headset that Works with Teams
Poly also launched a noise-reducing headset that enhances the audio experience. The Voyager Surround 80 UC headset offers up to 21 hours of talk time, automatic call answering, and comfortable design features. Its unique “boomless” design doesn’t have the protruding microphone traditionally seen on headsets, making it more comfortable for users.
“Voyager Surround 80 UC is the first boomless headset to be certified under the Microsoft Teams Open Office standard. The headset offers premium noise cancellation for people around children, dogs, and those working outside of a traditional space. By adding this to our portfolio, we’re bringing more tools for the hybrid work experience,” said Herrera.
New Software and Support for Teams and Zoom Rooms
In addition to hardware, Poly has updated its Poly Video OS to version 4.1. This latest version improves participant framing precision and sound quality. It also allows for flexible room configurations and easier installation by connecting the Poly Studio E70 camera to the Poly G7500 system via an ethernet cable. This transition away from USB allows for longer cable lengths and lowers installation costs.
The Poly G7500 system, along with other products like the TC10 touchscreen panel, have been certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android. In larger settings, the Poly Studio E70 and HP Mini Conferencing PC have been Zoom-certified, providing users with an all-in-one solution. As for the TC10, which has been approved for use with Microsoft Teams, it allows users to control meetings and book rooms straight from the panel.
Support for IT Professionals
To support IT professionals, Poly has developed the Poly Lens platform for remote monitoring and managing Poly devices. Poly Lens now has application programming interface (API) integrations with companies like Ubiqisense and Vyopta, providing insights into workspace usage and meeting experience analytics. Ubiqisense will contribute insights regarding patterns in meeting rooms and shared spaces, while Vyopta will provide technology insights, space insights, and user insights. Integrated solutions from these partners will be showcased at the InfoComm 2023.
“These features and updates are being demonstrated in real-world settings and at industry events. The features are user-configurable, meaning they can be set up once and then left to operate automatically, making video calls more efficient and less distracting for participants,” said Knauf.
Global Availability in 2023
The Poly Studio X52 and Poly Video OS 4.1 are set to be globally available by late Summer 2023, with prices starting at $4,300. The Poly Studio E70, with Zoom’s Intelligent Director on Windows, will be available in October 2023. The Poly Voyager Surround 80 headset will be released in August, starting at $449.95. The Poly Lens App is now available worldwide.
Before the acquisition by HP, Poly innovation had slowed down as the company looked to establish itself after a massive amount of executive change. Since then, the combination of HP and Poly has had a laser focus on hybrid work, and the Poly division has had a steady drumbeat of innovation. Customers need to understand that the needs of the office today are not the same as a few years ago and the equipment in rooms, if more than five years old, does not have the intelligence to enable scalable and pervasive remote meetings.