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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.

Telepresence vs Video Conferencing

Telepresence vs Video Conferencing

Few companies today operate within a single space. In some industries, more than half of workers are remote.

82% of these workers say they need to collaborate with others to do their work; if over half of these people work off-site, your video conferencing room quickly becomes the most valuable piece of real estate at your organization.

Even if you already have a conferencing solution in place, upgrading to a system designed for your use and space has numerous benefits, from easier use and faster problem-resolution to improved productivity from distraction-free communication.

As AV technology evolves and improves, the options available on the market do too; today, there are hundreds of viable products and options which can produce highly functional conferencing solutions.

“Telepresence” is one such invention.

Telepresence – Sci Fi to Reality

Telepresence began as a science-fiction dream in the 1960s: what if you could attend meetings and interact with people as if you were actually there, but from anywhere on the planet? Since the 1990s, numerous breakthroughs in AV technology have made this idea closer and closer to reality.

We don’t (yet) have the option of projecting holographic images onto thin air, but we are getting remarkably close to creating the exact sensation of speaking to a group of people as if you’re all in the same room. With telepresence technology, participants in the conversation will look and sound as if they’re sitting right next to you.

Telepresence vs. Video Conferencing: What’s the Difference?

Telepresence conferencing provides the most high-definition experience possible during video conferencing. While “video conferencing” and “telepresence” are often used interchangeably, the underlying technology is slightly different.

Video Conferencing

Modern video conferencing provides crisp visuals and reliable, clear audio, over IP or internal networks.

While video conferencing works very well for many companies, one area where video conferencing can fall short is when presenting entire conference rooms of speakers with the same level of clarity you’d see if you were all in the same room. When participants are farther or closer to the microphone(s) and camera(s), most systems have a hard time portraying them with equal clarity.

Video conferencing solutions flatten whatever room you’re in – wherever that is – and portray it as is. When more than two or three people are participating in a video conference, it can quickly become difficult to distinguish who is speaking. They also require more end-user involvement in the operation, and can therefore also be more prone to glitches if improperly configured.

Telepresence

Telepresence conferencing provides the most high-definition experience possible during video conferencing.

“Telepresence” refers to tools which allow participants to feel as though they are actually in the same room as whoever they’re talking with.

One way to think about this is as a built-in, room-specific situation. Telepresence solutions take into account the dimensions, lighting, and acoustics of the space and replicates them accurately instead of just capturing data from a camera and microphone and reproducing it exactly.

Some solutions may replicate the appearance of the room on each side to create a more immersive experience – same chair in each room.

Telepresence solutions adjust the video to provide accurate, clear focus on each participant, even at a large conference table.

They also adjust the sound, with embedded spatial audio so that it’s always clear where sound is coming from. Instead of confusing sound coming from each participant on top of another, it becomes obvious who is speaking at all times.

In short, all people are clearly visible, and the focus doesn’t vary depending on how far they are from the screen. You’ll also hear them the same way you would in the room, instead of at varying volumes depending on how far they are from the mic.

Finally, telepresence doesn’t generally require as much end-user configuration, headsets, or other devices; this makes them easier to operate day-to-day, but also less portable.

Which is Better – Telepresence Solutions or Video Conferencing?

In general, you will see the best quality and realism using a telepresence solution.

However, if you plan to regularly change which rooms are connected, it can be extremely costly to set up telepresence solutions in each room you’ll be using.

Cost is the biggest drawback in a telepresence solution. Simple video conferencing solutions can often be installed for as little as 5% of the cost of a high-end telepresence solution.

Interoperability may also be an issue if you need to communicate with others using multiple different vendors or solutions.

Just like high-definition movies, you’ll only see the quality supported by the lowest common denominator. (Think of watching a movie from the 1960s on a modern television set, or watching a HD movie on a 1960s television). A video conferencing solution communicating with a telepresence solution will only present the maximum quality supported by the lesser-quality equipment.

You’ll still be able to communicate as long as there’s a basic level of compatibility, but you’ll get the most bang for your buck by pairing two telepresence solutions.

The bottom line is that if your business relies on closing distances and impressing clients with the visuals etc., telepresence will provide the most impressive and realistic, high-definition solution. However, if you operate in many locations or are a smaller business, video conferencing can fulfill many of the same needs.

Regardless of your needs, VSSi will work with you closely to develop a visually stunning and highly effective conferencing solution to bring members of your organization to you. Check out our recent installations here, or get in touch to schedule 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.

 

Why Should Businesses Integrate Video Conferencing Systems into Their Workplace?

Why Should Businesses Integrate Video Conferencing Systems into Their Workplace?

It is widely known fact that an image is worth more than thousands of words. A crisp HD video conferencing powered by Visual System Solutions & Integration is a pointer to that fact. A lot of businesses, for instance, are interested in presenting a product to their international sales executives or solve a problem with their clients. With video conferencing, businesses have found an audio visual means of revealing their products to their team members as well as solving their client’s problems by audio visually taking them through the steps involved in the problem-solving process. Broadly speaking, there are many benefits associated with using video conferencing for your business but we will discuss some of the benefits below:

Cost Effectiveness

Businesses have two major responsibilities which are to reduce cost and to increase revenue. As far as cost reduction is concerned, the role of video conferencing cannot be overemphasized. Video conferencing has made it possible for businesses to be present in many locations at a point in time without leaving the four walls of the office. When you do an estimation of what you will incur on traveling to these locations, you realize that the traveling cost is far higher than what you will incur on video conferencing.

At Visual System Solutions & Integration, we offer your business video conferencing solutions that are compliant with existing infrastructure. We possess software that can be downloaded and aid virtual meetings on your smartphone, PC and other devices.

Relationship Enhancement Through Effective Communication

When video conferencing solutions are used, you can visualize the facial expression as well as the body language of your employees and clients. This brings about a collaboration that is quicker and highly effective, thereby enhancing a relationship. Provision of a platform by video conferencing where businesses can have meetings with officers around the world creates a situation through which employees feel they are closer to the head office. From the wholesaler/retailer’s point of view, manufacturers can be spoken to wherever he is and he can be shown through audio-video means the exact prototype he must reproduce in crisp HD quality. This improves the relationship between manufacturers and wholesalers/retailers and in the long run impacts on the level of sales.

It Aids Telecommuting

According to research, over 75% of employees love to embrace a working plan that is more flexible. This more flexible working condition is telecommuting. Video conferencing has so much aided telecommuting to the extent that workers at home can maintain the connection with co-workers and clients. This has aided businesses with the provision of more comfortable work environment which has, in turn, led to retention of company’s top talents.

Better Staff Training Experience

Before the advent of video conferencing, it was very difficult to organize training sessions for employees. Members of staff of business establishments had to travel to training centers, lodge in hotels and travel back after each training session while employers had to book training venues, arrange for hotels and approve traveling bonuses. However, since the advent of video conferencing, staff training has taken another dimension as thousands of employees can be trained simultaneously regardless of their locations. Rather than being crammed inside one venue, employees can be seated in front of their personal computers or other audio visual devices and be part of the training session. Video conferencing has also made it possible for employees to record the whole training session and watch it over and over again.

Improved Recruitment Process

According to a research carried out by Redshift Research, video conferencing ranks third in human resources business communication channels. Through video conferencing, the possibility of consummating job vacancies quicker and leveraging on opportunities to contact prospective employees around the world has increased. Job interviews are now done through video conferencing and it allows the interviewers to communicate better with the applicants wherever they are located.

With a host of video conferencing solutions, Visual System Solutions & Integration offers a potent way of enabling conferences or video contents to be streamed live or shared across the globe. Visual System Solutions & Integration has made it possible for customers, partners, employees, business owners and students to use video conferencing to interact with other people anytime, anywhere.

To learn more about Visual System Solutions & Integration’s video conferencing solutions, click here.

Download Visual System Solutions & Integration‘s brochures, click 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