After over a year and a half of uncertainty, most companies’ return to office is finally happening. It has been great for me to see smiling faces in person over the last few weeks as I have traveled to meet several customers. While many workers are back in the office, the work environment will look different than it did 18 months ago. While I think we all agree the future of work looks much more hybrid than it did pre-pandemic, I believe there will be some challenges in crafting a continuous experience between in-person employees and those at home. While some enterprises see it as a challenge, many won’t until their employees experience it. Poly sees a significant opportunity to implement better collaboration devices for its customers experiencing hybrid work. Its new device, the Poly Studio E70, will seek to alleviate some of those challenges.
There will undoubtedly be some technological challenges for employees transitioning from 100% online meetings to a hybrid mix of in-person and online. Think of equality- the one sized box per person, regardless of level. That’s an issue. The conference room is also full of technical challenges so that a collaboration device implementation will be effective and straightforward. The Poly Studio E70 is an all-in-one camera solution with different FOVs, automatic framing, four microphones, and many other features that could alleviate many of the hybrid work issues to come. Let’s dig into the announcement.
Poly Studio E70
The Poly Studio E70 is Poly’s new webcam to provide an improved video conferencing experience for enterprise conference rooms. Although we are continuing to see many workers returning to the office, there will still be plenty of employees working from home a few days a week or for some indefinitely. This new hybrid work situation will cause some collaboration challenges for companies. Enterprises will need solid hardware and software collaboration solutions to maintain a high degree of productivity between in-person and home offices.
The new Poly Studio E70 offers a range of audio and video specifications, including 4 MEMS microphones, Dual Lens (120 & 70 FOV, 20MP 4K), motorized privacy shutter, automated camera framing, and advanced analytics. I like that Poly offered dual lenses with different FOVs because conference rooms size varies considerably. I have spent countless hours in conference rooms that range from housing four people to twenty people and everybody who’s remote should get a good look at who’s speaking. Being able to fit every participant in the frame is necessary.
I think its wise that Poly designed the device with a small physical footprint as well. The dimensions of the Poly Studio E70 are 12.6 x 4.0 x 3.5 inches. I would classify the device as relatively small for being a single device covering the entire conference room. It’s about as wide as a modern, 13” laptop, impressive.
The cameras Poly packed into the Studio E70 are impressive. With each coming having 20MP 4K sensor, I can only imagine that the picture quality will be excellent, especially by webcam standards. I’ll have to try it out myself to affirm for sure. I have had good experiences with Poly’s automatic framing capabilities on other devices, but I am interested to see how it works with multiple participants bantering back and forth. I could see that causing an issue. The integrated privacy shutters are a nice touch and offer a little more peace in terms of security.
I could potentially see the 4 MEMS speakers struggling to pick up clear audio from participants in the furthermost parts of the conference room. We are talking about large conference rooms close to 30 feet long, with the Studio E70 located at the opposite end of the conference room. I am not aware of many microphones that can provide good performance from that range, but I will wait for customer reviews to confirm.
We’ve come to expect functional collaboration hardware solutions from Poly. A critical area Poly could use to differentiate itself from the competition would be its software that powers its collaboration hardware. Poly DirectorAI is the software the powers the Poly Studio E70. Director AI uses a blend of AI and machine learning for automatic transitions, framing, and tracking of speakers during video conferencing calls. I love to see companies trying to tackle these types of problems, but there will likely be some kinks to iron out once enterprises roll out the new Poly Studio E70 devices and put them to the actual test. I like what I see on paper, but there is a different type of stress testing in a high pace, tech company conference room.
One potential challenge I believe Poly will have to overcome is the quick framing transitions as different attendees take turns speaking throughout the room. On the other side, the viewer could feel like their watching a music video with lots of swift movements instead of a meeting. I haven’t personally used the Studio E70 yet, but I look forward to checking out the real-world audio and video performance when reviews start coming out.
Like other Poly devices, users can manage the device from the Poly Lens app. Poly Lens can help with advanced reporting like counting meeting participants and reporting on CO2 and VOC levels. The Poly Lens app makes it much easier to deploy and manage the devices from an IT perspective. I have come to appreciate the app’s clean and straightforward interface throughout my use with other Poly devices.
There is a need for reliable, simple, and intelligent devices that improve collaboration experiences between workers in the office and to do it with equality in mind. Hybrid work is here to stay, and companies need suitable hardware and software for collaboration. After analyzing the Poly Studio E70 announcement, I am confident that there is tremendous value for a conferencing solution with a high-quality camera, varying degrees of FOV, advanced framing software, and more. I will wait on reviews to draw a verdict on the 4 MEMs microphone performance. My initial thought is that it will be tough to pick up clear audio from participants furthest away from the conference room camera.
The Poly Studio E70 seems to be a step forward for improving collaboration between in-person and home office employees. If there is any company to solve these collaboration problems we will face in the near term and the future, its Poly. If the company continues to integrate deeper with applications like Microsoft Teams, I believe that together, Poly will create better collaboration experiences for all workers.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.