Webcam Video Conferencing…still bad for groups

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So a partnership between Polycom and Microsoft resulted in this, the Polycom Roundtable:

This video solution was announced at Enterprise Connect in response to Google’s Chromebox for Meetings. Now why would a company release a product to compete with another product that has no market penetration and has been panned as a bad entry in the video conferencing world? I don’t know either. Let's read on.

If you have ever tried to use a webcam for a video conference where you’re trying to capture more than one person, you quickly realize there are some problems. If you have two people at one site, they have to sit incredibly close together so the other side can see their faces or else they are tiny. Anything more than one person and the experience is poor to the point where you just may as well save bandwidth and call the person on the phone.

Here is a much better solution, for less, and allows for more than one person per side:

Asus VivoPC $240
Logitech ConferenceCam Connect $500
A year or two subscription to your favorite soft codec that’s not Skype or Hangouts. If you’re cheap, go get a free Zoom account.

I’ve used the Asus mini pc with Zoom, VSee and SeeVogh with good results. I’ve not used the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect however, but from what I’ve read it’s a great alternative to get a better experience over the webcam world. Plus it has noise cancelling capability which is just about nonexistent in Skype and Hangouts. When I say "just about" I mean it doesn't exist.

Webcams are simply not appropriate for board room video conferencing. Deploying these ‘solutions’ into the workplace will water down video conferencing to a less-than good enough experience. I'm not sure who Polycom is targeting with this. The marketing message says SMB, but I don't see it getting any traction in the conference rooms or huddle rooms of small businesses out there. In my opinion, this is going to be one of those products that people will use once or twice then it becomes the old "tv on a dessert cart" and gets locked in a closet somewhere. Net result of people trying what they think is 'video conferencing', them hating the experience, then never using it again. And we all lose when that happens.

@bryanhellard follow me on Twitter

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