Polycom Introduces Polycom Media Center Solutions
Polycom recently introduced Polycom Media Center solutions, which integrate leading video communications systems with high-resolution displays, an advanced audio subsystem and elegant furniture design for a stylish conference room solution. In addition, Polycom announced a smaller, enhanced version of its industry-leading VS4000, rack-mounted video communications appliance for systems integrators and custom-room environments.
"With the Polycom Media Center, we are responding to our customers' requests for fully integrated video conferencing solutions that include everything they need for their conference room in a stylish design," said Ed Ellett, senior vice president and general manager of video communications for Polycom. "We are extremely excited about the performance, quality, overall design and unmatched flexibility of our Media Center solutions."
"The Polycom Media Center gives us the ability to match a complete, integrated solution with a choice of leading PC-based or appliance-based systems, which enables us to select the optimal solution for our specific needs," said Cathy Boswick, director of strategic telecom planning for Automatic Data Processing (ADP). "The overall design looks great and will be a stylish edition to virtually any conference room."
Polycom Media Center offers flexible, integrated solutions The Polycom Media Center represents the next step in integrated, packaged video conferencing solutions. Complementing the Polycom Executive Collection of sophisticated systems for high-profile briefing centers, the Polycom Media Center is designed for elegant conference room settings. The streamlined solutions combine a performance video conferencing system with large, XGA and TV grade displays (single or dual 32'') and a precision 270-watt sound system in a customized, mobile, furniture cabinet to create a quality video meeting environment.
The Polycom Media Center offers flexibility, enabling customers to combine the appropriate video conferencing system - iPower 9000, ViewStation FX, EX or VSX 7000 - with integrated solution packaging for a customized, functional, and stylish conferencing environment.
"The VS4000 is the leading video conferencing system for custom-room environments and we have made several enhancements to give systems integrators more connection options and several new features for simplified installation," said Ellett.
VS4000 enhanced for systems integrators and custom-room environments Polycom also enhanced its industry-leading VS4000 group video conferencing appliance designed specifically for system integrators and custom-room environments. Enhancements include:
- New, smaller form factor to easily fit into custom applications and conference room cabinets, carts and furniture
- Professional grade, standard BNC connectors for video input and output that enable integrators to "lock" camera and monitor connectors, and quickly and easily create custom cables for any application
- Cleaner, simpler installations and one-stop shopping for integrated video systems with full, integrated PowerCam support through a single connector for PTZ control, camera power and integrated IR control
- Pre-configured cable for Polycom Vortex integration makes combining premium quality video system and installed-room audio quick and easy
- Extended API support with additional API commands and pre-validated commands for Crestron/AMX controllers to ensure simpler implementation
TANDBERG adds Advanced Security in All Products,
Instant Messaging for Business-Quality Video and
TANDBERG recently launched two new set-top products, unprecedented security enhancements for all of its products and infrastructure, and upgrades to its management software that--for the first time--bring instant messaging to business-quality video. The new enhancements mark significant industry firsts that strengthen TANDBERG's technology leadership position.
- TANDBERG Management Suite 8.0 with support for Polycom MGC multipoint-control units
- TANDBERG Instant Messenger for one-click access to business-quality audio and video
- AES support shipping as a standard feature on all TANDBERG systems and infrastructure
- TANDBERG 770 and TANDBERG 990 set-top products for choice and flexibility
The TANDBERG Management Suite (TMS) is unique software that enables management of best-of-breed video networks. The multi-vendor management now provided by TMS 8.0 extends to Polycom MGC multipoint-control units as well as new video endpoints from other vendors. In addition, TMS 8.0 integrates with Microsoft Exchange to allow users to manage meeting schedules and to make reservations for video systems.
Additionally, when users need to initiate ad-hoc video meetings for discussions with colleagues or customers, TMS 8.0 enables TANDBERG's new presence technology to deliver real-time business-quality video with one click of a mouse. Similar to today's popular instant-messenger products, TANDBERG Instant Messenger (TANDBERG IM) extends beyond text-based IM methods and lets users hold business-quality voice-and-video sessions with others instantaneously.
Through TANDBERG Management Suite 8.0, TANDBERG IM integrates with existing work environments and tools such as MSN Messenger to provide a familiar interface and integrated access to everyday office applications. The technology detects the presence of an IM user and alerts members of the messenger's buddy list that users are online and available for video discussions.
As we've seen in our customer base, IM is becoming more predominant in corporations. Adding business-quality video takes our customer's enterprise communications to the next level. The one-click simplicity of TANDBERG Instant Messenger makes widespread ad hoc visual communications possible like never before, said Andrew Miller, chief executive officer and vice chairman of TANDBERG.
TANDBERG, following up its recent announcement of H.264 support across all products and infrastructure, announced it also will support the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) as a standard feature across all its products and infrastructure. Products will begin shipping with AES included, and existing products can be upgraded for free with a service contract. TANDBERG is the first vendor in the industry to extend this level of security to customers as a standard feature across its product line.
All of TANDBERG's products can encrypt voice, video and data in both point-to-point and multipoint calls and over any network. With many industries relying on video for day-to-day communication, the necessity for secure video extends beyond the public sector into health care, financial services and manufacturing environments.
Since we are the biggest natural-resources company in the world, our customers expect us to provide the most advanced technology available, said John Doolittle, Communications Engineer at BHP Billiton, the world's largest diversified resources company. Knowing that TANDBERG's video solutions are the most secure in the industry provides great comfort to our customers who share critical information with us on a daily basis.
Also available today, two new products join TANDBERG's line of set-tops: TANDBERG 770 (link to 770 page at IVCi.com) - a model that sets the performance standard for entry-level enterprise set-tops--and the TANDBERG 990 (link to 990 page at IVCi.com) that offers maximum-performance capabilities. These new models join the TANDBERG 550 and TANDBERG 880, complementing the company's current set-top offerings.
Enterprise customers are seeing the value of visual communication throughout their organizations for faster decision-making and improved teamwork. With today's announcement, TANDBERG is the undisputed leader in set-tops to provide these customers with cost-efficient and flexible solutions, said Miller.
Set-top products are ideal for distributed team environments that need easy, turn-key video solutions. With the addition of the new set-tops, TANDBERG now provides a broad spectrum of tools for team environments of all sizes and budgets.
Video Court Visits Could Save Millions
By MIKE JOHNSON - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin counties could save millions of dollars a year by using video conferencing for certain court proceedings instead of having all defendants appear in person, according to a new state report. Proponents, including the Badger State Sheriff's Association, which contributed to the study, say it would reduce transportation costs, create a more efficient use of criminal justice resources and enhance public safety.
Others, though, are wary that the unchecked use of technology in courtrooms could erode the rights of defendants - especially their right to confront their accusers in person, which is embedded in the Bill of Rights. "The danger is that it will restrict the access of a defendant to the courtroom," said Sam Benedict of the Waukesha region of the Wisconsin public defender's office. "The worry is some categories of people - accused murderers - won't get to appear in court at all."
According to a December report by the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, an investment of $1.5 million would be required to equip county courthouses and jails with the technology. But that would save more than $2.3 million statewide in the first year alone, the report says. Milwaukee County, for example, could save more than $327,000 a year; Racine County, more than $116,000; Waukesha County, more than $113,000; Ozaukee County more than $46,000 and Washington County more than $30,000, it says.
The saving is based on a best-case scenario and would require that all parties in the 72 counties - judges, prosecutors, defendants and others - embrace the technology for use in non-evidentiary hearings, such as arraignments and motions. Although a number of counties have held video appearances, some officials admit that judges and others may be reluctant to move away from appearances in person.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske, a Marquette University Law School professor, sees several advantages in video appearances. "The criminal justice system, in particular, incurs astronomical costs to transport prisoners and to force expert witnesses - particularly state-employed psychiatrists and psychologists - to leave their workplaces to appear in a courtroom in another part of the state," she said.
"Many courtroom appearances only take a few minutes. It makes no sense to move an incarcerated defendant to the courthouse for that brief, non-adversarial appearance," she said. But she, too, sees drawbacks. Confidential consultations between a lawyer and client realistically have to occur in person, she said. And even if they are together at another site, "the attorney is not in the courtroom to see and experience everything else that is going on." Sheriffs favor moving toward video court appearances because it would reduce transportation expenses and improve safety and security. "We've had cases across the state where inmates have escaped during transport. Officers also have been injured," said Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki. "That could be averted by video conferences."
Video conferencing is already available in at least one courtroom in about a third of county courthouses and nearly half of all county jails, according to the report.
In Waukesha County, video conferences have been used primarily in mental health commitment cases, said Michael Neimon, court administrator for the judicial district that includes the county. But on Dec. 17, a prisoner at the state's Supermax prison, now formally known as the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, in Boscobel appeared in Waukesha court via video in connection with a threat against a judge, Neimon said.
Neimon estimates it would have cost the county $1,200 to transport Anthony Dwane Turner, 18, for what amounted to a 12-minute appearance. In November alone, Waukesha County transported 30 prisoners from other institutions to the county for hearings at a cost of about $12,300, he said. "Every day we're transporting people around the state, many times for a relatively brief hearing that could be accomplished through a video hearing," said Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin, who worked on the state report. Milwaukee County Circuit Chief Judge Michael Sullivan said he is open to the technology but is skeptical about the projected savings. "Prisoners will still have to be transported at some point, and defense attorneys still will want to meet with their clients," he said.
Others trying it
Wisconsin is not alone in exploring technology's use in courtrooms. In Williamsburg, Va., William & Mary Law School and the National Center for State Courts have set up an experimental courtroom to determine how technology can best be used to improve the legal system. Each year, Courtroom 21, as it's called, conducts a mock trial using the latest technology, including videoconferencing, sophisticated PowerPoint presentations and virtual reality re-creations. "We're finding technology lets you do things you can't do with real cases," said William & Mary professor Fred Lederer, who directs the program.
"It eliminates distance. It lets you have witnesses appear from overseas," he said of the benefits. But the real question, he said, is: Are you changing the process? "Is the use of technology good or bad? Is it causing trouble? So far, the answer is no," Lederer said. Still, Geske, of Marquette, said there is no substitute for having everyone in the courtroom for critical proceedings. "There is a difference between watching a witness testify in a courtroom and watching that person on a television screen," she said.
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