Poly announces new enterprise-grade collaboration devices for hybrid working
Earlier this month, Poly launched two new professional-grade collaboration devices, the Poly Studio R30 and Poly Sync 10, to enhance collaboration experiences in a hybrid work environment. Lately, many Fortune 500 companies continue to roll out return-to-office plans globally. Even with a return to the office imminent, the future of work continues to be hybrid in nature, which puts a lot of pressure on companies to create great collaborative experiences between in-person and remote workers. As I said a year ago, the hybrid will be more difficult than ranged or on-site. It’s hard to create a great remote experience where employees feel engaged outside of the office.
It was great to be back in person, attending events and interacting with clients, but collaboration devices allow me to instantly connect with my employees and clients when working in my office. ‘Austin. I’ve tested and written about many Poly collaboration devices over the past few years and generally had a good experience with them. I wrote a review on the Poly Sync 20 late last year, and you can read the review here. I also wrote about how Poly was first to market with Teams and Zoom certifications for devices, and you can read that article here. Let’s take a look at Poly’s new device announcements and what it means for hybrid working.
The challenges of collaboration in a hybrid environment
One of the challenges of a hybrid work environment is producing a consistent, quality conferencing experience across many different room sizes and configurations. There is no one-size-fits-all collaboration solution, as each room is different in size and has different acoustics. Whether in your home office or in the office, every conference space needs custom audio and video solutions designed just for it. Poly is committed to solving the nuisances brought by the various audio and video environments. It’s not a problem that can be solved with hardware alone, as smart software to manage cameras and audio is just as important.
Poly Studio R30
The new Poly Studio R30 is designed for meeting rooms or small group spaces, two terms Poly uses interchangeably. Since meeting rooms are typically cramped, users need a wide-angle camera to get multiple subjects in frame, and Poly did just that with the Studio R30. The Poly Studio R30 is already certified for Zoom meetings, with Microsoft Teams certification coming in June. Let’s take a look at some of the specs that make it an ideal solution for meeting rooms.
Poly Studio R30 Specifications:
● 4K camera with 120 degree field of view at 30 FPS
● Poly DirectorAI smart camera technology to frame topics and track presenters
● Advanced audio with NoiseBlock AI and Acoustic Fence to block out unwanted background noise
● Features of Wi-Fi devices for remote IT management
● End users have the ability to customize their workspace settings.
The first thing that strikes me about the Poly Studio R30 is 4K video with 120 FOV. The large FOV can squeeze all participants into the frame, which has been a challenge in the meeting room in the past. Depending on the settings the user prefers, Poly DirectorAI can frame everyone in the room, frame an individual speaker, or follow a presenter. Although most video calling solutions are unable to stream in 4K at the time of this writing, the Studio R30 shoots in 4K so that when using the DirectorAI features at 4x power zoom, the camera can follow with clarity.
DirectorAI is designed for groups and includes features that make video conferencing more inclusive for those in the room and on video. It includes Poly’s acoustic barrier, NoiseBlockAI. The acoustic fence goes where only voices from a certain area around the Studio R30 are picked up. I saw a demo of Poly’s Acoustic Fencing and was really impressed with how it cut off the speaker’s voice mid-sentence every time it came out of the Acoustic Fence. DirectorAI also brings features for group framing, speaker framing, and presenter tracking.
Poly Studio Acoustic Fence Demo – YouTube
A common theme I’ve seen in the digital transformation of businesses, in this case of the way companies hold meetings, is that technologies like video conferencing aren’t there to simply mimic the traditional way of doing meetings. He’s here to make it better and overall a more productive experience for all parties. For video conferencing, the challenge comes from the diversity of hybrid workflows, and I think that’s what Poly achieves with many of its DirectorAI features. I understand how boring and uninviting meetings have become because there is only one model in the video call meeting: share your screen and browse a PowerPoint. With presenter mode, the camera follows the presenter, allowing the presenter to do more on their side of the camera during a presentation. I think it allows the presenter to present more as they walk around the room, expressing more non-verbal body language.
I think the R30 has a place in the Poly video bar portfolio. It’s a more customizable experience than the X30 for larger rooms than the P15 can offer and more affordable and suitable for smaller rooms than the Studio (USB). The Studio (USB) originally covered the small to medium sized room solution in the Poly video bar portfolio. Poly’s decision to market the Studio (USB) only as a mid-size room solution and then fill the small-size room void with the Studio R30 is overall strategic. I think it’s easier for companies to decide what to get based on room requirements. I will say that I don’t think Poly should limit the Studio (USB) to just medium rooms, but rather market it as a small room video solution for those who might resize rooms in the future.
The price of the new Poly Studio R30 is $799.99. A Small Room Kit is available for Microsoft Teams Rooms for $2,099.
Poly 10 Sync
The second product released by Poly was the Poly Sync 10 USB speakerphone. I was excited to see this device added to the Sync line as I tested its bigger brother, the Poly Sync 20 over a year ago. year. You can read my full review here. The new speaker comes with either USB-A or USB-C, depending on the model, and Bluetooth. Poly says the Poly Sync 10’s smart microphones are designed to follow the speaker, not the noise.
Poly Sync 10 Specifications:
● Crisp audio
● Two-in-one portable speaker and music speaker
● Plug and play USB-A with a USB-C adapter
● Status light bar
● IP64 protection for dust and water resistance
● Slim portable design
I usually opt for a pair of noise canceling Bluetooth headphones for conferences in hotels or anywhere outside of my typical office setup, but I see the value in having a speakerphone that can pick up your voice from 7 feet away and allow you to conference without covering your ears. I like that when I connect to a Zoom or Teams call, the device automatically joins the conference. There’s also a light bar that indicates if you’re in a meeting. The Poly Sync 10 is a smaller, more portable version of the Sync line which includes the Sync 20, Sync 40 and Sync 60. I think there is a need for a portable conference speakerphone with a long battery life drums.
I believe Poly made the Sync 10, expecting people to travel with it. It’s even more compact than the Sync 20, which I thought was an ideal size for a home office. It is IP64 dustproof and waterproof, making it a versatile little device. I would be interested to see how well this device performs on the road. It obviously wouldn’t work on the plane, but I imagine using it in a hotel room with a laptop. If Poly wanted to take this dubbing as a speaker seriously, I could see it including a battery so it doesn’t have to hug a wall to use as a speaker.
It supports Poly Lens, has a dedicated Teams button, and is certified with Microsoft Teams and Zoom. It features a high-performance 50mm music speaker and dual-microphone steerable array, a larger speaker than the Sync 20. Poly says it doubles as a speaker and of a music speaker, which I find believable from my experience with the Sync 20 and intriguing. I imagine it replacing a speaker I’d bring in my bag on trips, and rather than adding it to my back full of devices, it would just replace it.
The Poly Sync 10 USB speaker is available to buy now for $99.99.
I like the direction Poly is taking its video conferencing solutions in that it provides a solution for the different ways we work and collaborate in the hybrid world. The Studio R30 takes the Studio (USB) into the average room level while avoiding the target market of the Studio X30 as an all-in-one solution. Alongside DirectorAI and its partnerships with Microsoft Teams and Zoom, it’s hard to complain about Ploy’s full suite of video conferencing solutions.
I’m very interested in trying the Sync 10 on the road. Seeing how Poly made it an even more compact Sync 20 with a larger speaker, I think it would be a useful addition to my on-the-go workflow. Poly continues to improve its collaboration devices, and the Poly Studio R30 and Sync 10 are no different.