February 23, 2021
Poly has developed its first home video conferencing devices to provide higher quality sound and video than consumer webcams. The new line of Poly Studio P Series consists of “professional-grade” personal video conferencing hardware and software. Its inaugural home offerings are now starting to appear in the channel.
At the low end, the new line consists of the Poly Studio P5 webcam, set to ship next month. A premium home video conferencing device, the Poly Studio P15, is available now. An integrated desktop solution, the P21, will ship next quarter.
The three systems will also support Poly Lens, a cloud-based remote management tool for troubleshooting, device updates and inventory control. Poly Lens also provides security and allows remote provisioning. Furthermore, they support the Poly Lens App, giving users control of camera and device settings and a variety of customizable features.
Long known for its focus on high-end video conferencing systems, Poly officials see strong demand for premium home conferencing devices. The company was in the early stages of developing hardware for remote workers before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Poly’s Brian Phillips
“We were working on it a bit, but everything was accelerated when COVID-19 hit and we realized we had to reprioritize our road map around this,” said Poly director of product marketing Brian Phillips. “We saw that the opportunity long term in the space was going to be so huge and we had unique value to add that we don’t think anybody else could match.”
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Analysts believe there is pent-up demand for improved home conferencing devices and capabilities.
“We’ve all been on calls where it’s easy to tell who has good cameras, microphones and lighting — and who doesn’t,” noted TECHnalysis Research principal analyst Bob O’Donnell, in a recent post. “Because of that, there are many more people who are interested in upgrading their videoconferencing hardware so that they can make a better impression among co-workers, colleagues and partners.”
Poly Studio P5 Webcam
Poly Studio P5 Webcam
The P5 is a webcam that offers 1080p resolution and a 4x digital zoom camera, priced at $129. It clips onto any display, connects to a USB port and automatically compensates for low light.
“We felt automatic low-light compensation was important for people at home because it’s a real challenge when you don’t have the bright fluorescent lights shining on you all day,” Phillips said.
It also comes with a USB-A port that enables users to connect wired and wireless headset dongles and speakerphones. The built-in microphone is directional, which Phillips said is more suited to home environments than webcams with omnidirectional mics.
“We wanted to make sure we had a directional microphone that’s focused on you, and not all the other chaos that’s going on around the house,” Phillips said.
The camera also has a built-in privacy shutter, which Poly’s research said was a critical concern among home users. Poly designed the P5 to work with GoTo by LogMeIn, Microsoft teams, StarLeaf and Zoom. The company will also offer four new headsets designed for the P5: Blackwire 3210 ($149), Blackwire 3325 ($179), the Voyager 4220 UC ($269) and the Sync 20 ($239).
P15 Personal Video Bar
Poly P15 Personal Video Bar
For those who require a more professional appearance, Poly’s new P15 is a premium home conferencing device that costs $595. Poly describes the P15 as a “Personal Video Bar” that has a removable monitor clamp. It is 17-inches wide and 3-inches high. It can connect to a USB-C port (also compatible with a USB-A input). The camera supports 4K resolution and has an image sensor, a built-in speaker and multi-microphone array.
The P15 lets presenters …
… move around, and the camera will pan, tilt and zoom to adjust to these movements.
“I don’t have to worry about staying in the center of the view or start futzing around with the camera itself to try to stay centered,” Phillips said. “It’s automatically going to sense where I am and adjust accordingly.
While the P15 has directional mics as well, it also has embedded software designed to filter out background sounds.
“It’s using software to actually cancel that out during your calls,” Phillips said. “So you can have distraction free conversations.”
The P15 is now available and is certified for Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
Studio P21 Conferencing Display
Poly P21 Home Conferencing
Next quarter, Poly will ship the new P21 home conferencing device, a complete system with an integrated camera and 21-inch display. The P21, priced at $815, is a dedicated system that connects to a PC’s USB connection. Poly refers to the P21 as a personal meeting display.
It appears that the P21 works best for those who work on laptops and don’t have a separate display. It can function as an extended display when it’s not in use for video conferencing. Others may want a dedicated display for their conferencing, Phillips said.
“The laptop just sees it as another display,” he said. “It has a lot of flexibility working with any app or meeting app.”
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