By Corey Moss

It was back in April 2018 that I wrote the story Plantronics, Polycom and the News – When the Pieces Come Together, and it Makes Sense, at a time when the general industry public had mixed reaction to the news of this announced acquisition by Plantronics. As I stated in the article, I wait a bit for the smoke to clear before writing any kind of piece where I will begin to provide informed insights beyond the news that’s released by the company itself. After Plantronics completed the acquisition in July of last year, I wrote another story The New “Better Together” Plantronics – Expanded Unified Communications and Collaboration Portfolio, Innovation and Vision as I detailed the “more to come” that ended my original article, with a message from CEO Joe Burton, and a breakdown of the new leadership team at Plantronics, which includes a very good friend of mine as well.

At the end of the year it was reported that Plantronics Cloud Solutions finished strong in 2018 for customers and partners – talking about Manager Pro v3.12, along with adopting Polycom Device Management Services (PDMS-SP) cloud solution.

A very convincing combined technology approach into 2019, and now, the introduction of a plug-and-play solution to transform small meeting rooms into “true centers for collaboration” – Polycom Studio.

The company has announced its first entrée into the huddle room video market with its new plug-and-play video bar. Any company whose employees use PCs or Macs for video collaboration with services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, or Amazon Chime will be able to “up their game” with Polycom’s legendary HD audio and video quality packaged into a portable USB device. 

It’s been specified how today’s open office spaces have resulted in an explosion of smaller meeting spaces, or “huddle rooms,” where groups of 2-6 can privately collaborate, often with coworkers in other locations. But of an estimated 32 million huddle rooms globally, only two percent of those spaces include equipment for video conferencing (1), which is becoming increasingly important for the mobile workforce. And, while the rooms may be small, the ideas that businesses are counting on coming out of those rooms are anything but. With the HD audio and video clarity that Polycom Studio provides, even the smallest of spaces can have boardroom capability.

“Polycom Studio lets everyone get in the game of quality video conferencing,” said Joe Burton, president and chief executive officer at Plantronics. “Polycom Studio is an important first step for newly combined Plantronics and Polycom to address the huddle room needs of the modern office.”

With a simple USB connection, any PC or Mac can leverage the power of Polycom Studio to elevate audio and video meeting experiences. Its patented NoiseBlock and Acoustic Fence technologies reduce or eliminate distracting noise from office environments for professional-sounding communications. Automatic speaker tracking focuses on whoever is speaking within an ultra-wide 120-degree field of view. With 4K resolution and 5x electronic zoom, Polycom Studio provides TV studio-like quality and experiences in a meeting.

“Enterprises around the world have come to understand the strategic importance of their smaller meeting spaces. In fact, we expect the number of AV-enabled huddle rooms to increase by 15 percent in the next 12-24 months,” explains Ira M. Weinstein, managing partner at analyst firm Recon Research.  “With the release of Polycom Studio, Polycom can finally bring its decades of experience in high quality video and audio to smaller rooms with lower budgets. And based on our initial testing, we think Polycom Studio will meet the expectations of even the most discerning huddle room users.”

For IT managers, Polycom Studio is easy to manage, and unlike most USB devices that give IT little or no visibility into what is being used or any means for management and updating, Polycom Studio wirelessly connects to a corporate network to allow IT professionals a “no touch” means to manage Polycom Studio units — across a few huddle rooms, a large campus, or offices around the world. Customers can easily manage their Polycom Studio video bars along with their other Polycom devices through the cloud with the Polycom Device Management Service for Enterprise or on premises with Polycom RealPresence Resource Manager.

Polycom Studio will be available in North America, Europe and select additional countries later this quarter.

(1) Research and Market, Global Video Conferencing in Huddle Rooms Market 2018-2022 – Looking Beyond the Hype, (per Plantronics)

With over 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent AV. Corey writes for the publication and hosts/produces podcasts – The AV Life, Convergent Tech Talk, Convergent Week and The AV Tech Trade. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers. Find him talking about a whole lot of things, tech and otherwise. On LinkedIn