Polycom is revamping its product line in an attempt to kick-start multimedia conferencing.
The company hopes that enhancements to its products, including support for H.264, a new technology for achieving enhanced video quality at lower bandwidths, will provide a unified voice, video and web conferencing experience for users.
Polycom acquired competitor PictureTel last year, and has been working to merge the two product lines.
Andrew Hug, vice president of technical services at Polycom, said: "Polycom has been making step-by-step improvements. But the reason for some of these was not apparent until now."
He claimed that H.264 achieved twice the quality of the previous H.263 standard, or halved network costs at the same quality.
This is included in a new signal codec which also features embedded streaming. Hug said this allowed users to participate in internet-based video conferences.
New products in the Polycom Office suite include:
- MGC-25 entry-level multipoint control unit supporting H.264 video technology and unified voice and video.
- Polycom Conferencing Suite 5.0 scheduling and management software, adding scheduling via Microsoft Outlook and network bandwidth reserving for point-to-point meetings.
- WebOffice 5.0 web collaboration software integrating with business-quality video.
- SoundStation VTX 1000 conference phone.
- IPower 5.0 video codec, supporting H.264 along with embedded streaming and conference recording.
Hugg explained that most products would be available before the end of March, but that one or two could be delayed till April. The wideband conference phone is not expected until the end of the second quarter.
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