Polycom Offers Advice For Home Office Working

I’ve noticed that Polycom has been ramping up their use of YouTube in recent months. Their YouTube channel offers more that just product related clips. They have some interesting clips highlighting some of their more innovative ideas and the people who brought them about. 

Just this week they have added a handful of short clips featuring company co-founder Jeff Rodman offering some solid advice on issues related to using video in a home office. For example, this clip on lighting.


If you’ve been reading hereabouts over the past year you’ve likely encountered my own exercise in searching out better lighting.

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i-Bell: A Wifi-Enabled Video Doorbell From The UK

What a novel idea! A video capable doorbell that leverages your Wifi! It calls an app on your smart phone (iOS & Android.)  It’s like FaceTime for Fedex!

Seriously, this is the third such device that’s come to my attention. The ill-fated DoorBot, which was such a disaster for us,  was the first, followed shortly thereafter by SkyBell.  I’ve heard that some folks have had trouble with SkyBell as well.

While I have taken down our DoorBot, I would like it known that I am an optimist! I read the information offered by i-Bell on their web site and it gives me hope. They stipulate an HD camera with 180 degree field of view! This where DoorBot had an awesome VGA resolution camera!

Could it be that i-Bell will deliver a real, working solution to the home office worker who needs to reliably receive courier deliveries? While also safeguarding against random visitors pitching perilous products or belief systems. Given my recent experience, I’ve emailed the company a short list of questions that go beyond the details they offer online.

I remain hopeful that someone will consider something more than just a smartphone app as a client side solution. There’s no reason that someone ringing the hyper-smart doorbell can’t cause a call to arrive at my lovely, standards-compliant Polycom VVX-600….or one of Grandstream’s new GXV-3275s…video and all!

Review: The Logitech CC3000e Conference Cam – Part 1

logitech-video-conferencing-kit-cc3000e (300px)I’ve used a number of Logitech products over the years. Their business class headsets have been consistently improving in recent years. Their webcams have been best-in-class as long as I can remember. While the BCC950 Conference Cam is a great value in a webcam/speakerphone aimed at an office or small meeting room,  their new Logitech CC3000e Conference Cam is without a doubt their most ambitious effort yet. It’s a PTZ webcam & conference phone aimed at larger meeting rooms.

As opposed to a dedicated SIP or H.323 end-point appliance, the CC3000e, like the BCC950 before it, is just a USB-attached audio/video I/O device. Requiring no special drivers it is automatically configured when connected to a host PC.

Unlike the BCC905, it’s not an all-in-one unit. The device has several components;

  • Conference phone module
  • PTZ camera module with mounting bracket
  • Powered USB hub device
  • IR cordless remote control

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Lightning Strikes Beats

BeatsHeadphonesWhiteI’ve not been a fan of Beats by Dr. Dre. I’ve purchased a couple of their lesser headsets and found them wanting. So it was that the purchase of the company by Apple didn’t really rock my world view, although the sum involved brought with it a bright spotlight. Lacking for other information there was a lot of speculation as to the underlying logic. It was certainly a curiosity.

Apple’s recent announcement that they will be abandoning the use of the ubiquitous 3.5mm TRS plug for the lightning connector is however very interesting. While it doesn’t change anything about the performance of the products, this announcement casts a new light on the value of the Beats deal. It makes a certain amount of sense if Apple wants to take the whole realm of headsets beyond analog connections, even beyond USB connections.

Digital connections, whether USB or other, make a lot of sense. Such connections remove the variability of the hosts on-board audio interface. In the case of a computer, being at arms length from the internals of the device reduces the likelihood of noise induced into the analog stages of the electronics.

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Deal Alert Revisited: Logitech H820e Cordless Headset

I don’t normally like to repeat myself, but you may recall that about ten days ago I tipped you to a deal on the Logitech H820e cordless DECT headset? That deal, which was $79, eventually expired. Today I see that the same reseller is making the offer again. This time it’s priced at just $69, with no shipping!

Again, these are “recertified” devices with a 90 day warranty. They are USB plug-and-play, HDVoice-capable, Microsoft® Lync™ and Cisco® compatible. They should work with any soft client. Logitech also claims up to 10 hours of talk time and 300 feet of walkabout range.

This time I could not resist. I ordered a couple. One for me to try and one to be gifted onward.

VTech…Really? Yes, VTech!

vtech-vs704-erisstation“Well, surprise…surprise!” – Gomer Pyle, USMC

You might know VTech from the telephone aisle at your nearest big box retailer. The Vancouver-based company has been a powerhouse in the affordable cordless phone space. Also the kiddy-centric game console space. But did you know that VTech makes business phones? And conference phones, too…apparently.

I didn’t until I recently read something on No Jitter where Graham Williams, VP of Business Phones, was interviewed on the topic of Better Audio Conferences. This was followed up today by a First Look post from VoIP Supply that provides some info on their various business products.

The companies VS704 ErisStation Conference Phone, with four detachable DECT microphones, looks especially interesting.

Who says there’s nothing new under the sun?