Sound & Stage brings you the full rundown of the best videoconferencing products on the market.
Polycom’s RealPresence Experience High Definition (RPX HD) telepresence system is undoubtedly one of the most impressive videoconferencing technologies available today, despite its premium price tag.
The system is custom-designed as per individual client requirements and combines high definition video technology with a stereo surround-sound system.
The unit is modular and is easy to install and can be moved between different facilities as required.
The 24:9 aspect ratio of the RPX 200 is designed to offer users the greatest visibility of the remotely location. As users enter the suite, colleagues can be seen in full view at the remote location. Even if they move to the second or third tiers of the presentation area, users remain in full view.
Middle East Polycom distributor: FVC (UAE, Lebanon, KSA, Egypt, Morocco).
Despite the decision by Sony Japan to close its videoconferencing business in Europe in 2009, the technology division has retained its presence in the Middle East and Africa.
Combining 1080i high definition capabilities and a high frame rate of 60 fields per second, Sony’s PCS-XG80 videoconferencing system offers impressive live video quality.
The system is back-compatible offering users the flexibility to choose to connect with HD video quality through high bandwidth connections or by using their existing legacy SD systems over IP and/or ISDN. The PCS-XG80 also features BrightFace technology, which is designed to improve video quality in poorly lit environments as well video annotation and RF remote features.
The PCS-XG80 is an expansion of Sony’s current HD PCS group systems range and incorporates many of the functions and features of the PCS-HG90.
From PowerPoint and animations to live DVDs, it allows users to share PC data in HD at 30 frames per second.
A dual stream functionality enables users to send two separate streams of live HD data in parallel. This allows the live camera view and a second data stream, such as a PowerPoint animation, to be displayed simultaneously in HD on two different screens or projectors at the remote site.
With the six-site multipoint conferencing capability, users can call up to five additional sites at any one time. The system also features multi-language support for 20 different languages allowing users to easily navigate through the menus. Wide-band stereo audio also enhances the overall meeting experience for users, delivering crisp and clear sound.
Distributor: Sony Broadcast and Professional Middle East.
Following the finalisation of Cisco’s takeover of Tandberg last month, the two companies revealed plans to integrate their respective videoconferencing technologies and streamline their product lines, leveraging their strengths under a new business division known as the Cisco TelePresence Technology Group.
Cisco has confirmed it is developing an open architecture that will provide greater interoperability with Tandberg and third-party systems. This integrated architecture will extend standout features such as One Button to Push and Continuous Presence, as well as integration with leading unified communications platforms.
These developments spell good news for customers of each company and should address ongoing speculation Cisco was planning to withdraw certain Tandberg products from the market following the takeover.
The Cisco TelePresence System 3000 series, including the Cisco TelePresence System 3000/3010 and Cisco TelePresence System 3200/3210, will remain at the top of the new product pile, while Tandberg’s mid-market personal systems will continue to be made available, as will its Profile Series of meeting room technologies.
Tandberg’s C-series MXP codecs, set-top systems, PC video and high-definition cameras will serve as the basis for the new open platform. These offerings will continue to be available to integrators and their customers who choose to purchase customised systems that interoperate with current and future Cisco, Tandberg and third-party systems.
While the fate of the existing Tandberg-Barco high-definition videoconferencing platform remains uncertain given Cisco’s aforementioned takeover of the former company, industry speculation suggests Barco will most likely embrace Cisco’s open platform architecture, which is currently under development (see previous page).
In the meantime, customers still have the option of purchasing the Tandberg-Barco developed 1080p HD tele-collaboration solution. The platform enables multiple desktop applications and productivity software, such as SAP, to be integrated with telepresence to deliver complete situational awareness.
The videoconferencing package consists of Tandberg’s C90 Telepresence Engine and HD cameras, integrated with Barco’s user-friendly XDS Control Centre software suite.
The multi-windowing software runs on a variety of Barco platforms, including LCD panels, projectors and single- or multi-channel projection systems. The latest of these is the XDC-3000, a single-projector 10 megapixel display system that allows users to visualise multiple sources simultaneously in their native resolution.
Polycom’s RPX HD is becoming increasingly popular with academic institutions and major corporations operating in the Middle East.
The Qatar Foundation-associated Georgetown University School of Foreign Service was the first organisation in the region to install the videoconferencing system in early-2009.
In the interim period, five more examples have found their way into regional organisations, despite the technology’s extravagant price tag.