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Jason Bordujenko - Copy.jpgA guest post by Jason Bordujenko, Solutions Engineer, Polycom ANZ:

 

How often do you do a tune up on your video conferencing equipment? Is it as often as you would service your car? Keeping up to date with the latest security and feature enhancements is just like keeping a vehicle regularly tuned and serviced. 

 

Unlike a car however, keeping your Polycom video conferencing systems regularly updated not only keeps them running at their peak potential, but also unleashes regular updates to both system security (reactive) and new features (proactive). Just think what it would be like picking your car up from a dealership after a service and having new features and functionality that you can take advantage of!

 

The Polycom Support portal makes it easy to keep your video collaboration systems up to date; this is a one-stop resource to find out details about your conferencing systems and ascertain what the latest version of software is. If you don’t already have a login for the portal, you can easily create one in order to gain access to this information, by simply registering for an account, and selecting your relationship to Polycom (e.g. end user or consumer).

Don’t worry, we will keep your information safe and this is a great way for us to tailor the information that is provided to you so you are only presented with relevant information for your circumstances. 

 

Following registration, here’s a rundown of what you get access to:

 

If you are using a Polycom RealPresence Group Series system, you will get access to not only security patches as per our advice in the Security Centre but also new product features and enhancements. If you are an HDX customer you will receive product security updates only but may not be able to take advantage of some of the more recent feature developments as these are progressively being made available on the latest platform only to take advantage of the increased flexibility of the RealPresence Group Series hardware. For VSX customers it is highly recommended that you contact your local Polycom partner to talk about trade-in options to get onto the latest supported RealPresence Group Series hardware.

 

Specifically what features can you access on Group Series?:

In the major revision 4.2.0 software for RealPresence Group Series (January 2015) we introduced several major updates including significant improvements to Microsoft Lync 2013 functionality, SVC updates, CEC monitor control (switches CEC enabled HDMI screens on, and to the correct input automatically) as well as enabling the Polycom EagleEye Producer add-on capability. In the Polycom Labs area of the software we also included the Acoustic Fence experimental feature (allowing audio isolation when using a combination of ceiling and desktop microphones), updates to VisualBoard functionality (PowerPoint slide conversion, slide zoom and swipe navigation) as well as the NoiseBlock feature on incoming audio. Outgoing Keyboard Noise Reduction and NoiseBlock are now part of the core General Audio settings as they have been released in to general code from previously being experimental features.

 

Do you have >10 systems and don’t want to handle this on a per-system basis?

If you have a number of RealPresence Group Series endpoints that may need to be upgraded and no direct internet access from the endpoint itself, there is an option that may be useful which is storing a copy of the downloaded firmware on a USB drive alongside a master-list of serial numbers and activation keycodes then progressively using this to upgrade your fleet of devices. Alternatively, if you have multiple USB drives available you can make a master copy and push this to a number of drives and process multiple upgrades in parallel. All you need is a master-list of your system serial numbers, and access this page to get started (HDX and Group Series systems)

 

For customers who have outgrown individual or batch upgrades on a per system basis, there is a RealPresence Platform solution that can assist known as RealPresence Resource Manager (RPRM). With RPRM administrators can centrally provision, monitor and manage their entire video collaboration network. With dynamic provisioning capabilities, RPRM can easily configure and maintain thousands of video endpoints, across both hardware and software. This eliminates having a variety of software releases in the field, fixing end-user configuration mismatches, being uncertain about the quality of video being provided, and other typical management issues.

 

You want to gain access to the latest software but the Support Portal says ‘Available but not entitled’:

This error message indicates that the portal recognises your system serial number, however there is not a valid service contract in place to allow you to download the latest software. Polycom customer care services are available in multiple levels however while all valid contracts will give you access to download the latest software releases applicable to your system there are differences to the inclusions inherent with these contracts.

 

Premier Support is our entry-level service offering. It enhances your in-house resources with conferencing technical experts who are available to support your video collaboration usage. For selected locations Premier Onsite support is also available where you can request an onsite technician to respond to any hardware related issues that you may encounter.

 

Another extended support offering is Advantage level service which can be taken out on endpoints only, or across your entire endpoint and infrastructure deployment, to allow up to 24/7 service and more ingrained onboarding and customer analytics access.

 

Keeping up to date:

You can subscribe to our Support Notification Bulletins.  It is suggested to have your video admins on the Support Notification Bulletin list and your security admin on the Security Bulletins to ensure coverage on both new features and security fixes as they become available.

 

For more information on your local Polycom partner that can provide you the above services, please use the contact form on the Polycom website:

http://www.polycom.com.au/forms/contact-polycom.html

 

Happy upgrading!

 

 

 

A guest post by Jason Bordujenko, Solutions Engineer, Polycom ANZ:

 

Jason.JPGLast week, and indeed in the first week back from summer break for Chinese schools, I was fortunate enough to visit China alongside colleagues and Polycom customers Dr Myung-Sook Auh from the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, NSW and Joanne Tate from the Victorian DEECD Virtual Learning Project.

 

Our agenda was simple, to demonstrate the power of high definition video conferencing for cultural exchanges and development of global thinking among students.

 

The project was established by UNE under the Asia ConneXions program banner with funding provided by the Australian Government’s Broadband-Enabled Education and Skills Services (BEESS) scheme.

 

The objectives of the Asia ConneXions program are simple: to link students in schools across Australia with those in Asia, specifically Korea, Japan, China and Indonesia, through high definition (HD) videoconferencing for cultural and language exchanges and development of global thinking among students. The majority of these interactions are already underway and 70 Australian schools have signed up, facilitating regular connections with schools in these other countries.

 

China, however, has been a difficult country to address, with the adage ‘seeing is believing’ being truly representative of the impact of connecting kids through synchronous exchanges with HD audio and video. So far the only schools that are working with Australian schools in the Mandarin language part of the program are from Hong Kong and not from mainland China. It was our aim to change this with the week-long visit and demonstrate the true power of being able to defy distance.

 

The delegation visited the Polycom Beijing office for a demonstration of the latest technologies at the Beijing EBC before heading to Wuhan where a presentation to both students of Hong Jing Ling (red tie) Elementary School and other local schools in the area was undertaken using the Polycom RealPresence Group equipment. It was a resounding success with the kids enjoying a dialogue with the aid of a translator to the Asia ConneXions head office in Armidale, NSW. The event was even reported on China’s Education Television network on 4th September, 2014: watch it here.

 

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Wuhan is an exciting city with a forward looking agenda. Planning for the future of the city includes the amalgamation of nine independent city areas into a super city with the vision of being the most advanced municipality in China. The Polycom video solution was certainly at home in such a visionary place!

 

After Wuhan, the next city on the agenda was Shanghai, however after visiting such a metropolis as Wuhan, the goal was to focus on delivering the same life changing technology-assisted interactions to a more rural school setting.

 

After venturing over three hours by car out of Shanghai, we arrived at Rudong Juegang Elementary School where an eager bunch of students were ready for a multipoint connection involving both the team at UNE Armidale and Sydney Olympic Park where biodiversity scientists, Phil Straw and Dr Marianne Sheumack answered questions that the students in Rudong had regarding the native waterbirds that shared a migratory path from Australia to China and back again. I don’t think any of the Chinese teaching staff would have imagined this type of live access to international experts would be possible, before participating in the Asia ConneXions program.

 

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Next Steps

 

Wuhan City is planning to connect Wuhan students with students in Sydney through the Asia ConneXions program utilising HD videoconferencing technologies, as it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mayor of Sydney in May, 2014. Further school involvement in Beijing and Shanghai are expected to follow with schools and educational administration bodies in these areas gaining access to the relevant Polycom demonstration briefing centres in these localities.

 

It is hoped that stronger ties between mainland China and Australia will be built through primary and secondary students’ creative engagement with each other. These would not only be for language and cultural exchanges but also science education programs, such as medical, nuclear physics and environmental sciences as well as virtual excursions to a growing number of Australian cultural and educational facilities that are coming online with innovative video conferencing offerings.

 

Find out more about the Asia ConneXions program on the UNE website.

 

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Polycom Wuhan SE, Ricky Deng

 

 

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