This week at Zoom’s Zoomtopia event, Poly announced two Zoom-certified additions to its family of video conferencing solutions, the Poly Studio X70 (new) and the Poly Studio E70 (newly certified). Zoomtopia is Zoom’s annual video conferencing event, where it announced new innovations in the video call solution space. Earlier this year, Poly announced a suite of new audio and video solutions for remote workers, which I covered here. I have written earlier in the year on the Poly Studio E70 and my complete thoughts of it, and the X70 is its more complete sibling with few differences. These devices are Zoom certified with features that are specific to many of the new solutions Zoom announced at Zoomtopia.
Following last year’s accelerated use of remote work, the video call solutions space has many new gaps of opportunities waiting to be filled. Businesses and employees are embracing this new era of hybrid work, and companies like Poly are here to provide some of the best video call solutions on the market. Let’s take a look at what Poly’s new video conferencing solutions have to offer and how they, alongside Zoom’s new service offerings, stand out from the crowd.
The Poly Studio E70 and Studio X70
The Poly Studio E70 and Studio X70 feature dual 4K cameras with NoiseBlockAI and Acoustic Fence technology for background noise suppression and steering. By webcam standards, the 4K sensors in these solutions should be excellent and looking at the lenses, there’s no comparison. The NoiseBlockAI addresses one critique of mine with the Poly Studio E70—the 4 MEMS microphones potentially struggling to pick up clear audio from participants in the furthermost parts of the conference room.
Both come with light, monitor, and shade controls from Poly’s TC8 screen. Poly says this integration comes from its partnership with Extron. I was given a preview of the Poly Virtual Control, and it looked smooth. I don’t have many details on it, but it should have a clean and straightforward interface if it’s anything like the Poly Lens app. The Poly Studio X70 and Studio E70 also have a privacy shutter and an air quality control sensor. NoiseBlockAI blocks noise using machine learning algorithms, and the acoustic fences capture voices in a specific area. I also have to say that the Poly Studio X70 and Studio E70 are aesthetically beautiful devices, which is essential for the look and feel of the room.
Both video conferencing solutions feature Poly DirectorAI technology that uses AI and ML for real-time automatic transitions, framing, and tracking. Poly calls DirectorAI the brains behind its “cutting-edge” video experience. DirectorAI is a differentiating solution for Poly when it comes to video conferencing devices. From what I have seen from competing solutions, Poly has the current lead on this vector. You have to experience it to get it.
Both devices are Zoom-certified to support Zoom’s new Room Smart Gallery. Zoom Room Smart Gallery uses AI to create individual feeds for in-room participants on a video conferencing call. Rather than a remote worker seeing colleagues on one feed, it uses an AI to track each person’s face and movement in the room to create multiple feeds from one feed. Room Smart Gallery can use multiple cameras, and people can leave the room, and it adapts to their movement.
After hearing about DirectorAI in the Poly Studio E70 earlier in the year, I had my doubts. My first impression of DirectorAI’s framing transitions was that it would be difficult to follow along if the camera is continually transitioning from person to person. I use a camera for my video calls and podcasting that uses AI to frame my face. It frames my face slowly rather than a quick jolt. Seeing as DirectorAI functionality in Zoom calls would be to frame people for a separate feed on Zoom’s Room Smart Gallery makes sense. Poly says the AI can send three unique video streams to frame up in-room participants to remote attendees. In other words, the cameras can focus on one person in a room who is speaking, two people who are having a conversation, or a crowd of three.
The difference between the Poly Studio X70 and the Studio E70 is that the Studio X70 is larger and Poly says it is ideal for rapid deployment in any office. The Poly E70 has a smaller, more compact design and is ideal for custom-designed rooms. The Poly Studio E70 is designed for medium to large rooms and does not have the stereo speakers that the Studio X70 does. The Studio X70 features “boardroom-filling” stereo sound with two-way stereo speakers that have custom-tuned bass. It would have been fairly easy for Poly to make one solution and not the other. Although both solutions are similar, the X70 is a plug-and-play solution. In contrast, the Studio E70 is better for rooms with other equipment like ceiling speakers or speakers running through a large display. Choosing between the two will not be on quality or value but on which solution fits the room you are trying to fill.
Both solutions have Zoom certifications, with Microsoft Teams certification coming soon. The Poly Studio E70 has a starting price of $3,499, and the Studio X70 has a starting price of $6,999. Both devices are available worldwide and include a Poly Lens device support service. The Studio X70 and Studio E70 are joining Poly’s suite of video conferencing devices, including the Poly Studio P Series and the Studio X30, and Studio X50. You can read my coverage of these devices here and here, respectively.
Poly’s DirectorAI and Zoom’s new Room Smart Gallery are helping to solve what I consider the biggest issue with hybrid work. Both solutions tackle the same problem of making remote workers feel more inclusive by focusing and separating on people during a group feed. It has all the right specifications and AI-enhancing technology that create an immersive experience for conference calls.
The biggest hurdle I see the Poly Studio X70 and Studio E70 jumping over is the difference in rooms that these devices will address. Every room will have a different floor plan, ceiling height, number of people, chairs, tables, and acoustic layout. Poly’s DirectorAI is made to address these diverse variables and adapt to the room. If Poly can continue to improve on its DirectorAI, the experience will continue to get better and better. All that to say, the DirectorAI and the NoiseBlockAI are impressive technologies that are currently unmatched in the video conferencing solutions space. I say currently as the competition is coming, albeit from vertical stack vendors. The future of the conference room will have multiple camera units working in tandem. I am impressed with the start.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.