Polycom updates communications hardware, software

Polycom Inc. – a company that focuses on the convergence of interactive voice, video and data communications – has announced a preview of version of its ViewStation FX and VS4000 video communication systems. The company has also expanded its Visual Concert product line.

ViewStation FX 4.0 software enables ViewStation FX and VS4000 systems to support Polycom’s new Visual Concert family of collaboration products. The software also includes a patent-pending enhancement to Polycom’s IPriority Quality of Service (QoS) initiative that maintains audio and video quality over packet-switched networks when packet loss occurs.

It also offers improved audio and video through the implementation of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) G.722.1 and 60 fields per second (fps) standards, according to Craig Malloy, Polycom’s senior vice president and general manager of video communications. Plus, the new software features Polycom’s Application Real-time Enabling Network Architecture (ARENA) applications programming interface for custom-room deployments.

The Polycom Video Error Concealment (PVEC) technology maintains the quality of video communication calls over error-prone IP networks by immediately recognizing and taking action on video packet loss due to intense network activity, Malloy said. Before PVEC, video packet loss rates as low as one percent could render video communication unusable, he added.

PVEC, in conjunction with Polycom’s new error-resilient G.722.1 audio, makes video communications possible even when packet loss rates reach 10 percent, Malloy said. This functionality is programmed into the 4.0 software and works automatically and transparently, resulting in reliable video communications irrespective of network packet loss and congestion, he added.

Polycom OneDial, a feature of the Polycom PathNavigator, lets users place video calls and initiate multipoint conferences. This feature processes all of the complicated numbers, prefixes, codes, network choices and steps behind the scenes, transparent to the user.

ViewStation FX 4.0 software includes dual stream support for the latest collaboration products in Polycom’s Visual Concert family, the Visual Concert FX and Visual Concert DC. Visual Concert FX adds even greater functionality and flexibility to Polycom’s ViewStation FX and VS4000 video communication systems by allowing users to display live Mac or PC content during video calls, Malloy said. Visual Concert DC is a high-resolution document camera that allows users to display 3D objects, fine print or detailed graphics and even motion during a ViewStation video call, he added.

ViewStation 4.0 software allows end users to view four sites during a multipoint call on four separate monitors, enabling each of the end points to be shown full screen. In addition, a VGA monitor can be added to display high-resolution graphics.

Polycom’s ViewStation 4.0 software is due for completion next month. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced.

ViewStation FX and VS4000, the rack-mounted version of the FX, deliver TV-quality video implementing 60 fields per second interlaced video encoding for lifelike interaction and higher video resolution, Malloy said. The ViewStation FX and VS4000 contain an embedded multipoint control unit (MCU) to lets users make multipoint video communication calls at the touch of a button.

Visual Concert FX is due next month at a manufacturers’ suggested resale price of US$1,499. To use Visual Concert FX, customers must be running the ViewStation FX or VS4000 4.0 software that will be included with the product. Visual Concert DC is also slated for a November release at $7,499. To use Visual Concert DC, customers must be running the ViewStation FX or VS4000 4.0 software that will be included with the product.