This afternoon a plaintive beep in my ear told me that the battery on my Sennheiser DW Pro2 cordless DECT headset was nearly depleted. This when I still had a lot of my working day left. Looking across the room I saw a wired headset that I have been evaluating for some ZipDX applications. It was a Passport 21P Headset, fitted with a Plantronics DA40 USB Digital Adapter.
It was around a year ago that went on the hunt for a USB 3.0 webcam, only to find that they were essentially nonexistent. In my quest what I discovered was a range of products beyond the familiar consumer webcams. These are serious webcams for business, offered by companies like VDO360.
That companies’ initial product, the VPTZH-01 HD USB PTZ Video Camera, was novel for its VISCA compatible pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) capability. It was introduced at around $1399, a price that was heralded as a breakthrough at the time. Award-winning in fact. The current street price, as exemplified by Amazon, seems to be $999.
The VPTZH-01 HD USB PTZ Video Camera is a USB 2.0 connected device, with all that entails. The sensor is capable of delivering images up to 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p.) Most applications will only manage to access a 1280 x 720 pixel (720p) stream since they are taking uncompressed frames from the camera.
Applications that are sophisticated enough to setup the camera to deliver a stream of MJPEG compressed images will be able to get full 1080p quality for the effort. The MJPEG compression overcomes the bandwidth constraint of the USB 2.0 connection to the host computer.
This morning my normally tranquil home office was pierced by the sound of a neighbors lawnmower. The lawnmower, while aggravating, is just the lead-in to that most vile of power tools…the leaf blower. Leaf blowers should be outlawed.
All of this has thinking about noise. In even modest amounts, noise degrades our ability to communicate. Beyond simply annoying, it hampers productivity. Therefore noise has very real costs. Nowhere is this more true than in the case of conference calls or video conference calls. These are cases where extraneous noise should be avoided.
The classic conference call wisdom, good advise to this day, is that all participants to should diligently mute themselves when not speaking. People being what they are, many do not know of or act upon this belief.
When using a managed conference bridge, like ZipDX, the call moderator has the ability to mute a noisy participant, ensuring that their local acoustic reality doesn’t degrade the call experience for everyone. That’s great, but it really just allows the moderator to compensate for the fact that someone on the call is exhibiting poor conference call etiquette.
There are certainly a lot of SIP desk phones out there, with more coming every month, but I still like my Polycom VVX Series. I recently faced a task that involved creating some documentation of SIP device configurations. This gave me a chance to try a facility of the Polycom phones that I’d long known about, but never actually used…screen capture of the device menus.
The Polycom SoundPoint, VVX and SoundStation series devices running firmware v3.2 (circa 2011) or newer support easy screen capture using a web browser. That in turn makes creating pictorial documentation a lot nicer.
Earlier this weeks a new blog post over at VoIP Supply caught my attention. It’s a Q&A item that addresses the Phoenix Audio Quattro 3 USB conference phone and the Polycom RealPresence Group 300 video conference end-point.
The first question posed was in reference to using the conference phone with a computer to access online services like Skype. In his reply VoIP Supply blogger Nathan Miloszewski is right on the money, the Quattro3 USB attaches to a host computer as a generic audio device. That means that any software-based client application can make use of it, from Windows Media Player to Counterpath’s Bria , Skype, Hangouts…whatever.
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.