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April 18, 2004

Polycom offers wireless conferencing

Polycom Inc will today announce its first wireless voice conferencing system, and its first dual-use desktop videoconferencing system that allows users to see their conferences and their PC desktop on the same display unit.

By CBR Staff Writer

The company said the new SoundStation2W will ship in the US in the next 90 days. It resembles the triangular SoundStation, but rather than plugging directly into the phone jack, it can talk wirelessly to a nearby wired base station or to a cellular network via a mobile phone.

The system is aimed either to be used in locations where a phone line would not normally be accessible, such as a construction site, or by companies that just want a boardroom less cluttered with wires, according to VP of voice communications marketing Jim Kruger.

This is definitely going to open up new applications and new markets for us, Kruger said. He said that versions that work with European and Asian standards and frequencies will be available at the end of the year and start of next year.

Kruger said the SoundStation2W has a range of 150 feet, and that the batteries can support either 12 or 24 hours of talk time or 80 to 160 hours of standby time, meaning they have to be recharged about once a week. AES encryption is used on the wireless part.

The company is also planning to introduce a new model to its line of videoconferencing products in May. The VSX 3000 is a personal system, integrating monitor, camera and microphones, that represents one step up from its low-end ViaVideo II desktop system.

Stacy Saxon, director of video communications marketing at Polycom, said the system is the first from Polycom that lets the user use the same monitor for videoconferencing as for their PC. The device does, however, require a separate IP or ISDN link.

The first version will allow users to receive non-video data, such as presentations, from other Polycom endpoints, and the ability to send will be added in a release later this year. The device allows two video streams to be displayed together on-screen.

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This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire

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