Twenty-five years ago, Polycom introduced its iconic three-legged conference phone. Polycom is once again setting the standard for conference phone excellence by introducing new and updated conferencing solutions that meet the business needs for rooms of all sizes:
- Polycom Trio 8500: The Trio 8500 is a future-proof solution that delivers all the latest Polycom innovations today, including HD voice audio quality, Polycom NoiseBlock and hybrid registration and will be expandable to include video and content sharing in the future. The 8500 also includes a modern full color touch screen interface and Microsoft Exchange calendar integration, which makes joining a meeting as easy as one touch.
- Polycom VoxBox: VoxBox is an ultra-compact speaker phone that allows customers to experience Polycom’s HD Voice™ technology anywhere, anytime and with any device. The Polycom VoxBox will be available in select areas starting in October.
- Updates to Polycom Trio 8800: The Polycom Trio 8800 now allows participants to pair personal devices to share local content over USB, Airplay or Miracast and later this year will also support enterprise-class motorized pan-tilt-zoom (MPTZ) cameras that offer a broader degree of visibility for high-definition collaboration experience in larger conference rooms.
We spoke with Jeff Rodman, Polycom’s Co-Founder, CTO and Chief Evangelist about the new products and updates and what they mean for the company:
TD: Why has Polycom’s SoundStation been such a success in the market through all of these years?
JR: It starts with exceptional audio quality and ease of use. That’s what separates us. In 1990, when many were talking about video technology as the new wave, Polycom co-founders Brian Hinman and Jeff Rodman realized the market really needed to fix audio quality first. At that time, there was only one speakerphone with echo cancellation on the market, and it was priced at $2500 and its operation was manual and unreliable.
What made the original SoundStation so great – and why it still works so well today – is that the audio quality was superior and the echo cancellation – which lets both sides talk at once – was automatic. And the triangular design was intentional; it was only coincidental that it also looked cool. It was made that way because we found that with a triad of directional microphones we could intelligently adapt and steer the pickup pattern, and that lets it find and focus on the active talker and cut out most room noise and reverberation.
TD: How does the Polycom Trio 8500 compare to earlier units?
JR: While its familiar triangle shape provides a great Polycom HD audio experience, the Trio 8500 goes several steps farther. First, as you’d expect, it provides a sleek new design on a familiar product and offers enhanced HD audio (all the way to 14 kHz upper frequency, compared to 7 kHz in conventional HD Voice). It also incorporates Polycom’s NoiseBlock technology which eliminates non-speech background noise like keyboards clicking and dogs barking. And it has a range of up to 14 feet, which can be extended even farther with the addition of one or two Trio expansion mics.
This is the first time the industry has ever seen a fully flexible enterprise collaboration solution. This means that while the Trio can function as a simple audio speakerphone, with the addition of a Visual+ display module the Trio 8500 can host an HD or 4k display of any size for content or video, and by adding an inexpensive commercially-available HD video camera, it can become the vertex of an enterprise-grade video conferencing system. Polycom’s longstanding principles have always included interoperability and open standards, and the Trio 8500 interoperates with many of the leading platforms, making it a perfect complement to existing infrastructure that companies often have already.
The Polycom Trio 8500 and 8800 are the only certified Microsoft Skype for Business and Office 365 Cloud PBX conference phones on the market. But with all that, users find the Polycom Trio 8500 simple to use. The color touch display feels as familiar as a smartphone and with Microsoft Exchange calendar integration, starting a meeting takes only one touch.
TD: How is the Polycom Trio 8500 different from other conference phones on the market?
JR: Polycom Trio brings forth the legendary audio quality Polycom is known for and is setting a new standard for conference collaboration. Only the Trio 8500 (and 8800) offer NoiseBlock, which intelligently deciphers the difference between speech and non-speech noise and automatically mutes the microphones ensuring an uninterrupted flow of conversation.
Polycom Trio 8800, and now the 8500, are the only conference phones on the market that are Skype for Business certified. Polycom’s dedication to standards-based solutions also ensures Trio 8500 interoperates with most leading UC platforms. But what’s even more unique, is Trio’s multi-platform compatibility. The Trio family are the only conference phones on the market that are capable of registering to multiple platforms simultaneously. What this means is that with the number of ecosystems to choose from, Trio can adapt to your organizations changing needs. More to come later this year!
TD: What new features have been added to the 8800 and how do these features improve the experience for users?
JR: The 8800 allows participants to connect using your Apple® AirPlay® or Miracast® certified devices for wireless content presentation and later this year will also support enterprise-class motorized pan-tilt-zoom (MPTZ) cameras that offer a broader degree of visibility for high-definition collaboration experience in larger conference rooms. This crux of this is that Polycom extended new offerings will now serve rooms of all sizes – from the 8800 for larger rooms, to the 8500 for mid-sized rooms, and the VoxBox for huddle rooms and small personal spaces. The Trio 8800 also supports hybrid registration making it an adaptable solution for organizations that utilize multiple platforms and VaaS ecosystems such as Zoom, which we recently announced as a partner of ours.
What is the Polycom VoxBox? How will it help end users?
A: Polycom VoxBox is Polycom’s newest and most powerful entry to empower the personal and huddle workspace. VoxBox is a small full-fidelity speakerphone that fits in your work bag. Workers are more mobile than ever and “the office” can now represent everything from a professional office environment to a hotel room conference call. The portable VoxBox allows users to connect to a call anywhere and anytime via Bluetooth or USB. You’ll hear crisper sound and your colleagues won’t have to lean in to hear or be heard.