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Polycom Launches OTX 300 - New Modular Group Telepresence System

June 7, 2010 | Howard Lichtman
OTXimages_05[1].jpg
The Polycom OTX Group Telepresence System

Today Polycom announced a new modular group telepresence system: The Open Telepresence Experience 300 or OTX 300.  The new system is a three-screen, six-seat telepresence environment based on their HDX video compression platform that uses an implementation of H.264 High Profile video compression algorithm requiring up to 50% less bandwidth than competing telepresence and videoconferencing platforms.  The use of H.264 High Profile means a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as some customers will able to deploy HDX-based solutions like the OTX 300 using less bandwidth and potentially not require a re-engineering of their network to support telepresence at higher bandwidth with rigid Quality-of-Service requirements. In addition to the press release announcing the OTX 300, Polycom also published a separate press release with their estimates comparing the Total Cost of Ownership of an OTX/HDX deployment vs. Cisco TelePresence.

Environment
The new OTX 300 features six primary seats that face three 65 inch LCD displays with minimized bezels surrounded by a frame to give the illusion of facing a seamless image. The three screens are mounted on an architectural front wall that conceals the speakers and provides an improved acoustical environment as well.  Polycom is offering an optional rear wall that improves the acoustics of the room and gives a unified look and feel to multi-site deployments.

Polycom_OTX_Environment.jpg  Polycom's Optional Rear Wall Improves Acoustics and Provides A Unified Look & Feel

The OTX is also available with an optional lighting kit that provides both direct and indirect light to further improve the visual experience.

Polycom_OTX_Collaboration.jpg

The system also features three 21.5 inch data collaboration monitors that are recessed in the table along with power and data connections for each participant.  In addition to the primary seats the OTX 300 has four additional seats so the room can be used as a traditional meeting room as well. During traditional meetings the screens and the data collaboration monitors can be used to display content from a laptop.

The cost of the Polycom OTX is $289,999 for the base package and $44,999 for the optional rear wall and lighting kit and does not include chairs.

Polycom is going to be showing off the OTX at the InfoComm 2010 Conference and Expo, June 9 - 11 in Las Vegas (booth N1806) and will be deploying it to 30 Polycom offices world-wide starting with New York City, Andover, MA, London, San Paulo, and Melbourne in Q3.    

Telepresence Options Publisher Howard S. Lichtman's Thoughts and Analysis

The Polycom OTX 300 is a beautiful new telepresence environment that demonstrates a trend that I have long been writing and commenting on: The never-ending and continuous improvement of telepresence solutions and environments.  The OTX is more evolutionary than revolutionary but features a number of important, thoughtful, and capable improvements over Polycom's other modular telepresence offering the TPX 306HD.  The system uses less bandwidth, has a better environment especially with the optional acoustical back wall, smaller bezels between screens, and even pushed the data collaboration monitors back to give participants more room to work while in the environment.

What I Liked

H.264 High Profile & Lost Packet Recovery - Polycom has gotten the bandwidth required for 720p, 60fps video down to 1MB per screen which opens up this capability to sites where bandwidth cost would have made telepresence prohibitively expensive. Lost Packet Recovery helps improve the experience over best-effort networks which also impacts TCO for many. 

The Environment
- As covered above, Polycom has improved the look, feel, and overall environment significantly over the TPX.  I especially like the multi-purpose environment with the ability to further improve the environment with the rear acoustical wall and lighting package.

My Wish List

Display - While Polycom has reduced the size of the bezels and added a frame that improves the illusion of a more seamless display, I would be remiss if I didn't make my usual and customary plea that I make on the release of every new three screen group system:  Will someone please get us "Out-of-the-box" and develop a low-cost, high-quality seamless panoramic display technology with eye-contact...









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