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Seamless Video Conferencing Solutions: Polycom and Cisco Systems

Seamless Video Conferencing Solutions: Polycom and Cisco Systems

Compared to audio conferencing calls, video conferencing offers a clear leg up. With the right tools, a video conference can be as good as – and more efficient than – being there in person.

As more businesses catch on to the value of video conferencing, more solutions have entered the market, but few companies come close to challenging the two titans of the enterprise video conferencing space: Polycom and Cisco.

Polycom and Cisco Systems are the giant players in the industry for a reason: both offer highly functional and seamless video conferencing solutions.

Many of the features offered by both companies overlap; both offer reliable, high-quality video conferencing products. For maximum security, both companies also offer on-premise and IP capabilities for maximum security and flexibility. Their pricing is broadly similar, and both offer an extensive range of products.

VSSi can help you configure a solution which fits your exact specifications, and provide support down the road. But for now, here are some factors to keep in mind when beginning your research:

Cisco

Cisco systems are one of the first players in the video conferencing space, and is still the largest and most well-known. As an international conglomerate, they’ve been able to use their size to fund innovation and create a wide range of high-tech products.

For example, Cisco was a leader in developing 1080p and 4k resolution video options, and their current video conferencing solutions include audio triangulation technology to help filter out background noise.

Cisco focuses on the biggest enterprise clients; nearly all Fortune 100 companies use Cisco systems for video conferencing. They do customize their offerings by the size of the business, but their products can be more expensive and less streamlined for smaller businesses.

Polycom

Polycom competes with Cisco with its smaller, more nimble company structure. They focus on hospitals, universities, and entertainment companies. While there are a number of large enterprise clients on their list, they focus more on public organizations than the biggest Fortune 500 companies.

They offer ostensibly more personal services because of their structure, but their main selling point is interoperability with other vendors. Polycom’s video conferencing tools work with Microsoft communication products like Skype for Business and Office 365.

In other words, where Cisco offers a wide range of products which work well with each other, Polycom focuses on fewer products, but ensures that they are open and interoperable with multiple vendors. Since over half of enterprise businesses use more than one vendor’s AV equipment, this can be crucial.

Polycom also claims that all of their products are both forwards and backwards compatible, meaning that new versions of their products will still work seamlessly with the previous and future editions.

Closing thoughts

Whether Polycom vs Cisco video conferencing is ultimately a better fit for your business will boil down to preference and your specific constraints and needs.

If you already use Cisco systems products, or have a complex or very large organization, looking into an appropriately scaled Cisco video conferencing solution may be the best choice. If you’re a healthcare, education, or entertainment company, Polycom may offer products which fit more seamlessly into your existing AV architecture.

Regardless of what you choose, VSSi can help you choose, design, install, and learn to use AV solutions so that you end up with an easy-to-use and effective set of audio-visual tools and maximize the impact of your investment. To speak with a VSSi representative, click here.

 

The Best Wireless Presentation System for Your Workplace

The Best Wireless Presentation System for Your Workplace

Finding the Best AV Wireless Presentation System for Your Business

 

Wireless presentation systems are everywhere in business, and for good reason – new technology lets anyone broadcast presentations, multimedia content, or any video conferencing software ( Zoom, WebEx, Skype for Business, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting and etc.)  into conference rooms from anywhere in the world.

Wireless systems offer ever-increasing interoperability across multiple types of devices ranging from cell phones to tablet computers, with the added benefit of avoiding cumbersome corded connections.

There is an endless lineup of wireless presentation AV systems devices to choose from. The good news is that no matter your organization’s needs, you’re likely to find an option that works for you. The bad news is that it can be hard to sift through the options available to maximize your budget and find a solution which will perfectly match the specific functions needed by your business.

VSSi can offer you expert advice in a consultation, but here’s a quick run-down of how to start narrowing down your options and find a wireless presentation system which will work best for you:

 

How to Choose a Wireless Presentation System

How many data sources do you have, and how many participants do you need to support?  

Wifi presentation solutions do away with the age-old fight over the HDMI port.

However, depending on how many people will need to present at once, you may want to consider how many displays will be supported by your presentation solution. Some, like Crestron Airmedia, offer solutions with a “quad view” which can split the screen four ways.

Others are simpler, out-of-the-box options which let you wirelessly present whatever’s on the screen of your laptop with a dongle or other small device. Still others will let up to thirty devices connect remotely for high-tech, geographically spaced out conferences.

Do you want to support interactive presentations?

Depending on your needs, some advanced models offer presentation tools such as on-screen annotation, filesharing and other high-tech functionality.

It’s worth considering what level of interactivity you need, and which tools will add the most value to your team’s collaboration when searching for a presentation solution, as these features tend to add to the price tag of a wireless presentation solution.

What are your IT constraints?

If your organization segments Wi-Fi for guest and internal use, make sure you factor in these constraints when designing a Wi-Fi based presentation solution.

Depending on the type of content you will be using, it’s also worth consulting with experts at VSSi or on your IT team to determine the bandwidth required to stream multimedia content wirelessly. Images, PowerPoint presentations, and videos all require varying bandwidth.

 

What are the top wireless presentation systems?

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the top models on the market:

Barco Clickshare

The Barco Clickshare uses an app which works on Android and iOS devices. It doesn’t limit the number of connections by port (since it uses an app instead of a dongle or other hardware device). You can connect up to fifty people simultaneously and includes a moderation function to manage content sharing in large audience screen-sharing situations.

WePresent

WePresent is ready right out of the box. While less customizable that Barco Clickshare, and slightly smaller – it can support up to 64 participants – it’s an affordable, high-end rack mounted option which doesn’t require integrating numerous systems.

Clearone Spontania

ClearOne is cloud-based and minimizes impact on your company’s bandwidth, allowing for multiple people to access presentations and conferences remotely on a variety of devices.

ClearOne works particularly well in hybrid situations when people both access presentations from conference rooms and remotely participate using smartphones and tablets. ClearOne also includes interactive features such as file transferring and a virtual whiteboard.

Crestron Airmedia

Creston Airmedia solutions function similarly to Barco Clickshare, supporting up to thirty-two people simultaneously. Crestron also allows up to four screens to be displayed simultaneously and can present Powerpoint Files, documents, PDFs, and photos using any device which can support Crestron’s software. For those who can’t access the central display, presentations can still be accessed using a web browser.

Crestron and Barco both also offer advanced models which can scale up for massive conference rooms depending on your requirements.

 

Bottom Line

Wireless presentation system is increasingly relevant in the bring-your-own device era. Businesses across the board increasingly need a single integrated system to enable people to share content and presentations from their devices – whatever those devices happen to be.

Your IT infrastructure and business needs, such as the type of content you need to share, and with how many people, will affect which solution is best for you and your business.

VSSi has technicians ready to help you talk through your options and suggest solutions which will be the best fit for your needs. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing AV system or add an entirely new business solution, we can help. Check out past projects here, or contact us for a consultation.

Polycom vs Cisco Video Conferencing: Which Option is a Better Fit for Your Business?

Polycom vs Cisco Video Conferencing: Which Option is a Better Fit for Your Business?

Compared to audio conferencing calls, video conferencing offers a clear leg up. With the right tools, a video conference can be as good as – and more efficient than – being there in person.

As more businesses catch on to the value of video conferencing, more solutions have entered the market, but few companies come close to challenging the two titans of the enterprise video conferencing space: Polycom and Cisco.

Cisco and Polycom are the giant players in the industry for a reason: both offer highly functional and seamless video conferencing solutions.

Many of the features offered by both companies overlap; both offer reliable, high-quality video conferencing products. For maximum security, both companies also offer on-premise and IP capabilities for maximum security and flexibility. Their pricing is broadly similar, and both offer an extensive range of products.

VSSi can help you configure a solution which fits your exact specifications, and provide support down the road. But for now, here are some factors to keep in mind when beginning your research:

Cisco

Cisco was one of the first players in the video conferencing space, and is still the largest and most well-known. As an international conglomerate, they’ve been able to use their size to fund innovation and create a wide range of high-tech products.

For example, Cisco was a leader in developing 1080p and 4k resolution video options, and their current video conferencing solutions include audio triangulation technology to help filter out background noise.

Cisco focuses on the biggest enterprise clients; nearly all Fortune 100 companies use Cisco for video conferencing. They do customize their offerings by the size of the business, but their products can be more expensive and less streamlined for smaller businesses.

Polycom

Polycom competes with Cisco with its smaller, more nimble company structure. They focus on hospitals, universities, and entertainment companies. While there are a number of large enterprise clients on their list, they focus more on public organizations than the biggest Fortune 500 companies.

They offer ostensibly more personal services because of their structure, but their main selling point is interoperability with other vendors. Polycom’s video conferencing tools work with Microsoft communication products like Skype for Business and Office 365.

In other words, where Cisco offers a wide range of products which work well with each other, Polycom focuses on fewer products, but ensures that they are open and interoperable with multiple vendors. Since over half of enterprise businesses use more than one vendor’s AV equipment, this can be crucial.

Polycom also claims that all of their products are both forwards and backwards compatible, meaning that new versions of their products will still work seamlessly with the previous and future editions.

Closing thoughts

Whether Polycom vs Cisco video conferencing is ultimately a better fit for your business will boil down to preference and your specific constraints and needs.

If you already use Cisco products, or have a complex or very large organization, looking into an appropriately scaled Cisco video conferencing solution may be the best choice. If you’re a healthcare, education, or entertainment company, Polycom may offer products which fit more seamlessly into your existing AV architecture.

Regardless of what you choose, VSSi can help you choose, design, install, and learn to use AV solutions so that you end up with an easy-to-use and effective set of audio-visual tools and maximize the impact of your investment. To speak with a VSSi representative, click here.

 

IoT and AV Industry

IoT and AV Industry

In recent times, Internet of Things (IoT) has greatly established itself as part of everywhere conversation. IoT is a process that accumulates many things that exist in the world, puts them into a network and makes them connect to one another. These things are connected via sensors. One interesting thing about IoT and the AV industry is that both industries are in the same boat, as such, AV and IoT have worked perfectly together in the following areas.

Corporate Organizations

The corporate setting is a unique system that has incorporated IoT’s concepts into the audio visual settings owing to the fact that it is a system that is localized with all equipment located near one another. As such, the audio visual industry is greatly relied on by corporate organizations. The audio visual system is the heart of any corporate building in the sense that it provides a user with interface and knowledge about the way and manner clients interact with the corporate environment.

As an audio visual firm, VSSi provides the necessary interface between the building and the user. VSSi’s room schedulers provide indicators as to whether a room is occupied or not. At VSSi, touch panels are set such that they trigger boardrooms to be ready for meetings and the control systems of VSSi interface with the building systems and lighting.

Centralized Monitoring

IoT can be integrated into centralized monitoring system to discover the number of smart devices that are connected to a network. This will provide employers information about the number of people that are onsite every day. This information will help employees in knowing if the office space is being fully utilized if more desk spaces should be created and if more meeting rooms should be created.

Retail

In the retail setting, audio visual integrators in partnership with IoT have been able to deploy paging systems and background music with digital signage. As customers move through the mall, a Bluetooth beacon can be located at each digital signage that is displayed. The beacon will ping the environment for patrons that have downloaded the retailer’s app and have active Bluetooth. From there, the beacon will extract the patron’s purchase history and display related goods as well as other goods that might be of interest to the patron on the digital signage.

Security

IoT’s integration with the security field makes complete sense when it is tied to an audio visual integrator. Numerous information about emerging Mass Notification/Emergency Communication Systems (MNS/ECS) market has been provided by NSCA, manufacturers, and InfoComm. For these systems to provide intelligent information and offer solutions where there is a case of emergency, the skill set of an AV integrator is required.

Read more about 5 reasons why companies should use IoT in their workplace, click here

IoT Integration with Your AV Business

If you want to integrate IoT with your Organization’s audio visual equipment or AV business, Visual System Solutions and Integration is your best bet. Visual System Solutions & Integration (VSSi) provides ongoing support through PROactive IoT and AV integration through the provision of indicators with offers you detailed information about the level of office space or room occupancy. VSSi implements its professional support for audio visual integration with IoT by setting touch panels to prompt board room’s readiness for business meetings. The contract of VSSi allows for equipment maintenance at the top level of performance and guarantees the resolution of any technical issues that might emerge anytime in the future. The company’s highly-trained and knowledgeable technicians integrate IoT and AV equipment to provide you detailed security information and offer your business grade A solutions where there is a case of emergency.

Furthermore, VSSI’s audio visual integrators in collaboration with IoT will provide your business with paging systems and background music with digital signage which help in advertising new and/or useful products to customers in your office or retail store.

At VSSi, we provide IoT and AV integration with corporate and business organizations, worship centers, government establishments and healthcare centers.

Learn more about audio visual solutions with VSSi, click here.

 

What is the Best AV Solution for Your Company?

What is the Best AV Solution for Your Company?

It does not matter from where you operate whether from out of a corporate environment, a military command center, or automotive design department, audiovisual integration can help you effectively display complex data and detailed design files. These systems give viewers the ability to better understand and more accurately analyze displayed information. There are a great deal of advance audiovisual solutions from audio-video systems commonly seen in conference rooms and training rooms to CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) systems, for instance, for complex design apps. The best fit for your enterprise depends on a number of factors: space requirements, the data or information being displayed, and your budget.

Space

To provide the best AV solution for your company, it is important to understand that audiovisual integration relies heavily on understanding the space needed to utilize the system, the number of people viewing the display and a viewer’s distance from the display.

To clearly comprehend your specific requirements, your audiovisual integration partner will conduct a full-detailed consultation and site survey.

What information should be obtained:
  • Projection and viewing room sizes
  • Any existing audiovisual systems
  • Facility construction
  • HVAC and electrical infrastructure
  • Audio and communications needs
  • Seating requirements
  • Lightning
  • Accessibility

Information

The understanding what type of information you would like to have displayed on your system will definitely help to determine the best AV solution for your company. For instance, the right display and integration for an automotive company’s design team will differ from a corporate board sharing the latest annual report. Depending on the subject matter on display, solutions could range from commercial apps like an LED flat-panel display to more complex visualization systems like a front and rear projection PowerWall or Cave.

Budget

The cost of audiovisual systems vary based on the type of system selected, its apps, and the size of the space in which it is installed. A general commercial-grade AV system can cost as little as a few thousand dollars, while advanced visualization systems custom-integrated within your building infrastructure can be tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the specific needs.

An audiovisual integrator can provide different system options and pricing, varying on the budget. The decision-making process will depend on not only budget but also industry and installation requirements.

VSSi is a full-service audiovisual provider. From our initial consultation through design, installation, programming and long-term support, all services are provided in house by our extensive and knowledgeable staff. We know how to get the job done right, on time, and on budget. Contact us today! 

Also, you can learn more about VSSi AV Solutions by clicking here.

 

 

Should Your Company Invest into Preventative Maintenance Services for the Audiovisual Equipment?

Should Your Company Invest into Preventative Maintenance Services for the Audiovisual Equipment?

Advantages of Preventative Maintenance

Manufacturing companies that add maintenance recommendations for audio visual equipment add it for so many reasons that are good. Though preventive maintenance does have its productivity and financial costs, more often than not, embracing an approach that is proactive to maintaining audio visual equipment has unique advantages. Some advantages impact your business directly while other advantages affect your business indirectly. It should, however, be known that all these advantages boost a business’s profitability level.

Unplanned Maintenance Can Derange Productivity

One of the benefits of possessing a preventative maintenance scheme for your AV systems is that you can schedule when your equipment will be checked. Scheduled maintenance of equipment will in addition to improving equipment life avoid maintenance activities that are not planned during precarious times when you need your AV system to carry out business.

Also, preventative maintenance also decreases the chance of emergency repair calls that can heavily impact the productivity of your business.

A System That Is Unreliable Can Make You Lose Customers

If an element of your AV system ceases to work while it is being utilized by a customer or while helping a current or prospective customer, you can incur costs that are hard to document and these costs are in most cases more severe than the cost of fixing your system. For instance, imagine the set back you would encounter if you were trying to seal a lucrative deal with an important customer and it happens that your AV system went off while on a video conference with the customer and the AV system could not be restored immediately. You will not only miss an opportunity to convince the customer that the services you offer are top notch but encounter the risk of not earning the customer and other prospects trust as regards your business’s reputation. This is an unquantifiable risk you should endeavor not to encounter in your quest to maximize profit and create a good impression on all existing and prospective customers. Preventative maintenance is a cost-effective means of meeting your customer service aims and building your company’s public image.

Read more about VSSi Solutitions here.

Preventative Maintenance Makes Systems Work Better

AV systems are made to function in an unquestionable way that must be maintained. Updating hardware and software is an essential aspect of preventive maintenance. This update is a fundamental part of keeping AV systems functioning the way they were made to work. This also makes it possible for the equipment to operate at higher capacities, thereby allowing you to benefit most from your investment.  At VSSi, our preventative maintenance program will protect assets, keep systems functioning in optimum condition and help guarantee that extreme life expectancy is attained.

Maintenance Services for Your AV Business Needs

If you need maintenance services for your audio visual business, Visual System Solutions and Integration is your best bet. Visual System Solutions & Integration (VSSi) provides ongoing support through PROactive Maintenance Service Contract for your business needs to ensure your technical equipment performs at the optimum operational level. VSSi implements its professional support for audio visual and unified communication systems. The contract of VSSi allows to maintain the equipment at the top level of performance and guarantees the resolution of any technical issues that might emerge anytime in the future. The company’s highly-trained and knowledgeable technicians inspect your AV system and look for any AV problems that may arise.

Furthermore, VSSi ensures that technology works at optimum performance and will not create any problems in the future. At VSSi, a wide spectrum of AV services which avoids any technical interruptions at an opportune moment is offered.

Audio visual maintenance services offered by VSSi include preventative AV maintenance service, replacement of interconnects, system orientation training, software and firmware updates, audio and video systems, calibration and troubleshooting, management of equipment, upgrades, technical support, customized service agreements and 24/7 service support.

You maybe interested to read our other blog post Boosting Business Productivity with Huddle Spaces