Polycom has just announced the release of the latest firmware for the RealPresence Trio, the world's first smart hub for group collaboration.There are lots of new features (links to videos below), but I think that it is worth mentioning the new Skype for Business UI. It may not seem like much, but in my opinion, having a familiar user interface is important for two key reasons.
Firstly, when it comes to collaborating and meetings, people do not want to spend time learning a new UI for every device and in each location that they choose to join a call. Providing a consistent UI will ensure that when people walk into a room with a Polycom RealPresence Trio, they will recognise the familiar Skype for Business UI, already understand the simple workflow to join a meeting and feel comfortable using the single click to join calendar invite. People want to focus on the meeting ahead, not on setting up a meeting. The new UI helps ensure that joining a meeting is a simple process, wherever you may be.
Secondly, if users are familiar with using the new UI, then they will feel more comfortable using the device and meeting space for collaborating. Ultimately this helps organisations drive adoption and usage of the technology they have invested in.
As I said, it may seem simple, but the easier it is for us to collaborate, the quicker we can make decisions and the more successful we will be.
See the new features here, including, but not limited to:
I recently attended the Westcon Imagine events in Australia and New Zealand had the opportunity to present the findings from Polycom’s latest ANZ WPOTF report. It was a great opportunity to discuss Polycom’s focus on the workspace, experience and workflow and how our innovation in these areas are helping employers and employees collaborate more effectively.
At the recent Imagine 2016 event in Auckland, there were many topics discussed, not least of which the power of collaboration and where we’re going in the future.
James Ware, Polycom ANZ senior manager of Alliances and Cloud Services, spoke about the workspace of the future.
“There is no longer a standard meeting room,” says Ware. “It’s all about open plan and opening the office up to collaboration - we’re seeing a real focus on the huddle room.”
A ‘huddle room’ is essentially a smaller, more connected version of the boardroom. Typically, they include a screen, a phone system and a central surface with around four seats or less and businesses use them for quick and insulated private calls.
“While there might be a large number of boardrooms, it’s a relatively small number when compared to huddle rooms,” says Ware. “We estimate about 1% of the world’s huddle rooms are in Australia and New Zealand, which equates to around 450,000.”
Traditional office space is shifting toward a more open, more shared and more affordable combination of public and private collaboration spaces around the world. It has never been more important to enable people to create their own workspaces via secure connections from anywhere, on any device. There is no doubt that across Australia and New Zealand, there is a large increase in the use of global teams and in tasks that require cross organisational collaboration. This is where regular video conference calls become crucial. However, while traditional phone calls and conference systems do a great job of transmitting the audio you want to be picked up, they also do a great job of picking up unintentional noise.
“Think about the guy in the back noisily eating the packet of chips, the people working from home with enthusiastic children and barking dogs or even just the general day-to-day noise of an office,” Ware says. “It can put a strain on any meeting - and even bring them to a halt.”
It’s clear that modern organisations need to find a way of making the dramas of distance disappear – fortunately, Polycom has the answer with their latest line of products.
“Our NoiseBlock technology automatically blocks background noise from any meeting, meaning the guy in the background can continue happily eating his chips – no one else in the meeting will hear a thing,” Ware says. “Furthermore, we also offer the ability to utilise an ‘Acoustic Fence’, whereby you can hold the meeting from noisy locations such as your car, a coffee shop or on the train and all noise around you within the fence will be blocked.”
Wainhouse Research and Polycom conducted surveys from Polycom’s existing customers regarding their thoughts on the video-enabled workspace – here are some of the results:
94% said it increases efficiency and productivity
87% said it accelerates decision making
87% said it reduces travel costs
35% said it reduced franchisee training
“What we want to do is unleash the power of collaboration for organisations, and it’s all centred around three key features – workspace, experience and workflow,” says Ware. “We want to enable people to create their own workspaces via secure connections from anywhere, on any device.”
According to a survey from Polycom, more than 48% of ANZ employees would use video conferencing more frequently if it was as simple as using a personal device – and that is what Polycom has achieved, with a simple user interface that links seamlessly with various platforms and where you literally have to just click to join.
A guest post by James Ware, Senior Manager, Alliances & Cloud Services
‘We are in the (enter business type here) business; we are not in the business of running data centres.’
Sound familiar? This is a statement that we are hearing with increasing frequency from customers. Evidence would point to Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) customers being early adopters of technology, and cloud service adoption is no different. We lead the way, with many in the ANZ market rapidly adopting a cloud-first strategy. While there are plenty of organisations that still run infrastructure on their own hardware and manage their own data centres, we’re continuing to see an upward trend (that hockey stick effect) of organisations that have decided to outsource to cloud service providers in order to better focus on their core business.
And then there are organisations that only wish to outsource some services, and who want to retain the rest. The fact is that customers are looking for options and as vendors we need to provide customers with consumption choices. There are multiple cloud consumption models, and services can be provided from a private cloud, public cloud or utilising a hybrid solution.
Benefits of cloud video services It wasn’t too long ago that the very idea of a video conference was challenging. We have come so far by removing the ‘clunkiness’ involved in hosting or participating in a video call – the IT intervention to initiate the conference, the complexity, the poor connections, and the costs involved were just some of the issues.
Video has become natural and intuitive as both a social and enterprise tool for collaborating. With users connecting visually via a multitude of devices and environments, moving to cloud-based services was only a matter of time.
Here are 4 key benefits of moving to the cloud:
Increased flexibility: Cloud-based video services offer customers flexible consumption models. A cloud solution offers the flexibility to scale up or down as customer demand changes, and customers can adopt a ‘pay as you grow’ model towards video deployments. Flexibility on consumption allows organisations to focus on successful adoption without the fear of over or underutilisation.
Budgeting and Asset Lifecycle Management: Consuming video-as-a-service means that what was once a capital expense is now a simple operating expense. Not only are projects more cost-effective to budget for, but if the right service provider is chosen, other benefits like access to the latest software upgrades are automatic – no more sweating assets to build your capex business case!
Reduced complexity and access to the latest features: Video experts managing a cloud video service can focus on providing customers with the latest features and best service. Customers can focus on collaborating effectively and having a great experience.
Fast adoption: Delivered via the cloud, video services are immediately available for customers to test and consume. With simple set up and management, customers can evaluate solutions and move to adoption much faster.
The Polycom Advantage
Customers are looking to Polycom and our partners for advice on moving applications and services into the cloud.
A major consideration for Polycom and our customers is that not only should we be offering consumption choice, but for successful end user adoption of collaboration services, maintaining a consistent experience and integrated workflow is critical to success. Integrating cloud video into existing workflows, and providing a consistent experience across traditional video conferencing devices or emerging devices such as tablets, desktops and phones is important. Polycom has built these considerations into the design of various consumption offerings and support services.
Choosing a vendor with experience at all stages of the video evolution matters most; they need to offer thought leadership and more importantly choice. Polycom is very pleased to be working with the partner community that delivers a variety of services, so whether you are looking for vanilla or cookie cut solutions, we have a nice selection on the menu.
Polycom will be present at multiple events for the remainder of 2015. Come and talk to us, we would be very interested to learn about your journey to the cloud and equally provide you with some excellent options should you want to get a taste of cloud based video services.
Upcoming events: Come meet with us at the following events to learn more about how Polycom can provide you the collaboration solutions which are right for your business: -
Integrate 2015, Melbourne 25th – 27th August 2015 Microsoft APC, Gold Coast 31st August – 3rd September 2015 Ignite NZ , Auckland 1st – 4th September Telstra Vantage, Melbourne 22nd – 23rd September HINZ, Christchurch 19th – 22nd October Ignite Australia, Gold Coast 17th – 20th November
An Australian guest post from James Ware, Strategic Alliance Manager for Microsoft, and Phil Clapham, Solutions Architect:
Polycom is attending Microsoft TechEd Australia for the fifth year in a row. We are excited to be at both the Melbourne and Sydney events on 7-9 October and 27-29 October 2014 respectively. Following our engagement with the Microsoft partner community at Microsoft’s Australia Partner Conference (APC) a few weeks ago, TechEd Australia is an excellent opportunity for customers to talk directly to Polycom about their current and future UC requirements. As always, our focus will be around demonstrating and discussing the broadest set of UC solutions for Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Office365 and discussing our long term strategic relationship with Microsoft and how we can help customers communicate and collaborate more effectively.
TechEd is an opportunity for customers to see the latest technology. This year will be particularly interesting with lots of conversations around Microsoft Office365 and Microsoft Lync 2013 and the 40+ solutions that Polycom has for this rapidly growing market. We will be showcasing the CX8000 (Lync Room System) and RealPresence Platform. The CX8000 is not just a room based video device, but a solution that turns a meeting room into a Lync collaboration space. For teams that want to collaborate rather than just 'share' content, the CX8000 provides a fantastic experience whilst being very simple to use.
As well as showcasing the latest technology, we are also very excited to be able to demonstrate our solutions within an ABW (Activity Based Working) space. We understand that customers are looking to us to provide guidance around not just our technology, but technology adoption, user scenarios and how they can create great collaboration spaces. The ‘host desk’, ‘café’ and ‘meeting room’ will be three user scenarios where we will be demonstrating our solutions:
Microsoft and Polycom have built a strong foundation for video on Lync as a platform by leveraging our marketing and development relationships that started more than five years ago (read more about the relationship here). In previous years we have gone to TechEd with a variety of hardware including RMX bridges, DMA call control servers and Polycom Room Based Endpoints. This year we are very excited to be showing the CX8000 Lync Room System.
Long before the Lync Room System was conceived Polycom developed the CX7000 room system which was based on a Polycom CPU, Windows Embedded with a Lync 2010 client and all Polycom Microphones and EagleEye Cameras. This product was way ahead of its time, so much so that Microsoft adopted the concept and released a LRS ODM specification which developed into the Polycom CX8000.
At TechEd, we will have the CX8000 coupled with the CX5100 Centre of Room camera and microphone, for the most unique Lync Room System experience in the Lync ecosystem – all leveraged off Office365.
In addition to the CX8000, Polycom will be demonstrating the VVX range of Lync-enabled handsets based on Polycom UCS 5.1 firmware recently qualified by Microsoft. Additional accessories will also be on display for the VVX such as the 720p cameras and expansion modules (sidecars). VVXs coupled with Plantronics headsets will be available for TechEd attendees to experience the very best HD sound quality, so please come by our stand in either Melbourne or Sydney and experience the CX8000 and VVX handsets for yourself.
If you are attending TechEd Australia this year, please come and visit our stand in Melbourne or Sydney. We would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your UC strategy and to share with you our vision around the future ways of working, whether you prefer to work at a hot desk, in a café, or in a meeting room. We look forward to seeing you there!