Hybrid work has become a mainstay in the modern workplace. An Accenture study shows that 68% of high-growth organizations have enabled hybrid workforce models (up from 63% in 2021). Collaboration device manufacturers and solutions providers have answered the needs connected to that trend, offering hot-desking solutions, technologies that make meetings more equitableand everything in between.
Hybrid work still has challenges because work-from-anywhere models must still deal with connectivity—from both human and bandwidth perspectives—and often, working “anywhere” leads to noise issues. The good news is that AI has brought about a new wave of innovation in the evolving landscape of hybrid work collaboration.
At InfoComm 2023, a professional audiovisual trade show in Orlando, HP Poly showcased its latest AI-powered audio and video solutions to enhance collaboration experiences from anywhere. In this article, I’ll highlight some of those announcements and show how Poly is addressing some of the challenges that hybrid work presents.
Poly up to the bar
At the event, Poly introduced the Poly Studio X52 all-in-one video bar for virtual meeting experiences in mid-sized rooms. Poly is certainly not a newcomer in the video bar space or with devices specifically built for hybrid work. The difference here is in the AI. Key AI features of the Poly Studio X52 include AI-driven noise cancellation and precise camera framing with its Poly DirectorAI smart-camera technology. Poly DirectorAI has several automated camera-framing modes such as group, speaker and people framing so that participants are seen whether they are participating in the physical meeting space or virtually. The Poly Studio X52 also has a 4K, 20-megapixel camera for clear visuals throughout the room.
The Poly Studio X52 is certified for Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, and has pending certification for native support with BlueJeans by Verizon, GoTo and RingCentral. All of this shows that it is a versatile solution for collaboration across multiple platforms, something that’s especially useful in shared workspaces where user requirements and preferences differ.
AI-based software updates
Poly also introduced new features and improvements to its Poly Video OS unified experience for Poly video conferencing devices. Besides the Poly DirectorAI features already mentioned, the OS 4.1 updates include perimeter and sound reflection reduction technology. These features help reduce noise and echo while also preventing capture of the faces of people outside of glass-walled rooms. It’s unlikely that industrial designers could have imagined addressing the challenges of incorporating remote workers when they built fancy glass-enclosed conference rooms, but AI has helped improve these meeting room experiences.
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Boom(less) goes the Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC
Poly also introduced the new Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC headset—the first boomless headset to receive Microsoft Teams Open Office certification thanks to its performance in noisy environments. The headset is designed to enhance employee focus and audio quality with its immersive rich audio and adaptive ANC (active noise cancellation) technology. The Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC headset has a Bluetooth connection, soft ear cushions and an adjustable headband. It features up to 21 hours of talk time, on-ear controls and smart sensors for automatic call answering.
I have not tested the Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC, but I have had some hands-on experience with the Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC pro-grade earbuds, and I found them to have exceptional sound quality, noise cancelation and comfort, so I would expect a similar experience with the Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC. You can read my Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC review here.
Reading the room
With the new cloud-based Poly Lens tool, IT admins gain control and visibility over devices, allowing for centralized management from any location worldwide. Poly Lens empowers admins to deploy, update and configure endpoint devices, and to extract valuable insights from a single endpoint or across thousands of devices, ensuring efficient and comprehensive device management.
Thanks to API integration with partners Ubiqisense and Vyopta, Poly Lens also now offers valuable insights on room occupancy, space utilization and meeting experience. Ubiqisense provides comprehensive insights into room occupancy, usage patterns and footfall across different office areas such as floors, meeting rooms, open spaces and shared desks. Meanwhile, Vyopta offers valuable analytics for space utilization, monitoring of unified communications devices, troubleshooting and optimizing meeting experiences.
These integrations into Poly Lens help organizations identify key issues, allocate resources and optimize user experience and ROI. I especially appreciate the resource planning that these platforms enable for reducing energy usage.
AI-enabled audio and video solutions will play a big part in the evolving workplace. Poly delivers immersive collaboration experiences, catering to the increasing demand for intelligent collaboration tools that bridge the gap between on-site and remote workers.
As I’ve come to expect from Poly, the company continues to deliver and improve on its collaboration devices. With the introduction of data mined from Ubiqisense and Vyopta integrations, I look forward to seeing how Poly will help customers further increase the quality of their workspaces and collaboration experiences.