Video/Tele-conferencing...

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by one80, Jul 11, 2019 at 12:34 PM.

  1. one80

    one80 Member

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    Not sure if this is the right forum, but hoping someone can provide some guidance.
    I've been given the task of trying to fix our video/tele-conferencing which is a shambles, and I know nothing about it...


    We have a bunch of Polycom Trio 8800 products (conference phone, real presence box, eagle eye camera).
    We also have Skype for Business, which is not having much luck talking to the Polycom stuff.
    We don't seem to be able to get a voice number for dialing into the Skype meetings, nor will the Polycom dial out for a voice call.

    What is the easiest/simplest way to get our current Polycom equipment working with video conferencing and voice calls?
    Should we preserve with Skye for Business, or look at Zoom etc as someone has suggested?

    Any help will be much appreciated.
     
  2. Doc-of-FC

    Doc-of-FC Member

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    why continue with your Polycom equipment at all, when every PC has the capability of a webcam?
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    one80

    one80 Member

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    The office wants a "proper" video conferencing setup in our boardrooms, rather than a bunch of people grouping around a laptop.
     
  4. ir0nhide

    ir0nhide Member

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    Hate to be that guy, but if you don't know anything about it then you can always contract the works out to people who do.
     
  5. QuakeDude

    QuakeDude ooooh weeee ooooh

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    Okay, hopefully this is of help, as we were in a similar position.

    We traditionally had the Polycom set up as well (Group presence system). We also use Skype for business, but its been hit and miss trying to get VC's working through that. In the last couple of weeks we've made the jump over to Zoom - the guys have been absolutely fantastic with helping set it up. We purchased the polycom connector, so now we're using the hardware in the room with Zoom and its working well. Can't speak highly enough about Zoom right now (just in case it wasn't already evident lol).
     
  6. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    (1) Consider that a "proper" video conferencing setup in 2019 is a PC in a box with a webcam and a vendor's badge on the outside, and using all-software solutions delivers the same result. It's very rare to find any sort of "dedicated hardware" for anything as boring as corporate software today.

    (2) Things like this exist from multiple vendors:
    https://gsuite.google.com.au/intl/en_au/products/hangouts-meet-hardware/
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/skypeforbusiness/certification/devices-meeting-rooms
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-au/MicrosoftTeams/room-systems/index
    https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/across-devices/devices/category?devicetype=20

    If you're clever enough to cloud the rest of your corporate groupware, just jump on the bandwagon with their video products. You'll find the old fogeys still fuck it up anyway ("urgent support required in the boardroom - the COO can't operate the polycom again!") and your younger staff will all just remote join via laptops and phones anyway because they understand how to do basic communication over devices.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 9:33 AM
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  7. blankpaper

    blankpaper Member

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    I work for a vendor who sells video conferencing kit. Won't say who because I personally hate our video offerings, but I would suggest a good sit down and work out which features you need from video conferencing, e.g. integrations (calendars, recording tools, presentations, display units, remote users, PSTN, public SIP URIs, outbound dialing, conf bridge physical locations, etc) and use that to filter out products/services that don't match. It's really common for customers to only look at the video transcoding functions and forget the rest of the user experience and end up disappointed.

    This might sound like me up-selling but it's also equally valuable to prevent you from buying shit you don't need and paying too much. Might even help you understand if you need to buy anything at all.

    Video conferencing isn't only about a PC with a webcam as mentioned above, it goes well beyond that and will continue to integrate into other business functions for better experiences and usability.
     
  8. Bradzac

    Bradzac Member

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    https://zoom.us/zoomrooms/hardware

    I'd recommend having a look at Zoom and using hardware that it supports. Also look into it's very recent security issue to see if it's relevant to your situation. We're a distributed team so we leverage video conferencing pretty heavily, and we tried a few before settling on zoom. It's better than hangouts, and I wouldn't even consider Skype as an option these days given how much of a piece of shit it has become.
     
  9. kbekus

    kbekus Member

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    I run both Zoom and Skype for Business using Polycom setups fairly extensively. If you're already paying for SfB then it's quite doable to get your config fixed... You'll want the SfB licences for the Polycom devices if you don't already have them.... also get calendar integration working so that you can invite the device to the SfB meeting and it can one-touch join. Dial in conferencing is a standard feature of SfB meetings... who provides your SfB? Is it voice enabled?

    Zoom will work fine too but it's going to cost in terms of additional licences. I note that the Zoom guys here in Aus are very helpful and keen to grow their business so you can lean on them for support. I've had to help multiple external parties join both our Zoom and SfB meetings and I find them about equally easy/difficult to get going on remote unknown hardware.
     
  10. Skitza

    Skitza Member

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    We have Skype for Business and it is rubbish compared to Zoom. We are now using Zoom for all video/audio calls company wide + intercompany/external and hopefully for sip/voice too. Such an awesome product that literally just works. Plus it integrates with our Crestron units too!
     
  11. chip

    chip Member

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    Zoom + NUC/uSFF PC + Logitech Group or Rally kit should give you an extremely cost-effective room fitout compared to a low-end Cisco/Polycom setup (eg boardroom for 12-18 users).

    this is good advice, although most of the cloud providers have got all of those things covered to a reasonable extent. Interoperability between whatever platform you choose and the 3rd parties your staff will be trying to call is another big one.
     
  12. kbekus

    kbekus Member

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    I personally hate using PCs as video devices... sure as shit it will be updating Windows when you need it one day for a critical board meeting and it will be down for 45 minutes. I know discrete dedicated hardware is very 70s, expensive and inflexible but for this purpose I prefer it. The COO will still fuck it up but at least I know it will work the vast majority of the time.
     
  13. chip

    chip Member

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    Maybe with Win7 devices in an unmanaged workgroup situation, but scheduling windows updates and managing a Windows client device fleet shouldn't be that much of a challenge in 2019. Even an org without any IT support should be able to select the Win10 update window and make sure the PC's always on.

    On job I did was replacing nearly 40 Polycom codecs with Zoom PCs as the TCO was nearly 50% lower*, and that's not including the savings from binning the on-prem H323/SIP gateway+MCU setup. For just Polycom annual maintenance on a each codec we could've replaced each PC + camera setup every 15 months, for example.

    (*including Windows tech time for configuring and managing them as appliances).
     
  14. olie

    olie Member

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    In addition to the recommendations listed here, we also fitted out our meeting rooms with a proper audio interfacing system.

    Bi-Amp TesiraForte controller + Beamtracking microphones + ceiling speakers

    One controller did 3 rooms for us, and oh my does it make the ability to hear the person on the other end of the line so much better and we never have the "can you please repeat that?" issue.

    We had a great installer/integrator as well.
     
  15. kbekus

    kbekus Member

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    yeah the above mentioned by olie is a factor to consider. I agree with you chip, discrete silicon for VC is a bit of an out there idea in this day and age, it's just that I see lame, hacked together PCs used for this purpose too often and the result is a crappy experience. You don't need to spend $100k+ to do a full immersive televideo experience but if your only budget is $80 for a webcam hooked up to a PC using an inbuilt speaker for audio then the result is gonna be shit no matter which VC platform is in use.
     
  16. Dr Kildare

    Dr Kildare Medic!

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    Another vote for Zoom. Great AU based CSM / account teams.
    Staff also love it which makes me look good :lol:

    Migrated from WebEx / mix of telepresence units (codecs) around 18 months ago.
    Were able to continue to utilise our existing Cisco codecs which now directly register to the Zoom cloud via their Room Connector (also supports Polycom)
    Major boardrooms have been converted to native Zoom Rooms along with any new / additional VC spaces.

    Regardless of the platform for larger spaces such as boardrooms ensure you invest it decent AV & ensure acoustics / lighting are up to scratch.
    More than happy to show you some of our spaces in you're based in Sydney / Melbourne one80
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019 at 8:36 PM

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