Polycom Studio is the all-in-one video bar that connects to your laptop or room PC. Polycom Studio takes the frustration out of the meeting experience and replaces it with simple plug-and-play connectivity to virtually any ecosystem, including Microsoft Teams, Skype, Cisco WebEx, and Zoom. Designed for huddle rooms and other smaller meeting spaces, this product is the first of its kind for Polycom and Plantronics.
Delivering the best audio experience in its class, the 12-foot microphone pick-up and powerful stereo speakers deliver sound with amazing lifelike clarity that fills the entire huddle room space. On the video side, 4K resolution is just the beginning of a truly natural visual experience that includes features such as automatic speaker tracking and automatic group framing.
To take a first look, Leila Lewis, Corporate Communications Manager, sat down with the Polycom Studio Design Team to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Polycom Studio. Nathan Yang, Senior Director of Experience Design; Tony Duys, Distinguished Engineer; User Research Manager Diana Castles; Researcher Lauren Hamilton; and Senior UX Designer Rene Cardona offered insight into the newly-released video bar.
Leila: How is Automatic Speaker Tracking and Automatic Group Framing special in Polycom Studio?
UXD Team: Speaker Tracking means you don’t have to mess around with the remote control to get the camera to focus on the person who is speaking. In Studio we went further by combining both automatic speaker tracking and automatic group framing to make it an even better experience. Not only can it zoom in 5x for a closeup of the speaker’s face, but we also eliminated the distraction of a moving camera. By placing the camera lens inside the unit, meeting participants don’t get distracted by physical camera movements. Instead, subtle lights appear right above the camera, indicating whether it’s capturing the right of left side of the room, for instance. This way, users get subtle visual cues that they are seen, without the distraction of a moving camera.
Leila: Ok, I now understand Automatic Speaker Tracking. Why would a meeting need Automatic Group Framing?
UXD Team: It’s almost as if you have a human video director in the room, arranging the camera in a way that looks good to the far end. Group framing intelligently does this by detecting where everyone is in the room and getting rid of empty space surrounding them, so that the group is framed nicely without large empty spaces filling up the frame—all automatically.
Leila: Many people don’t realize how much thought goes into designing the mute button of every Polycom conferencing device. Can you provide insight on Studio’s mute feature?
UXD Team: Think about how many times you’ve panicked for a split second because you thought you forgot to mute,or talked for 30 seconds straight before realizing you were on mute. Or tried to mute but hung up instead. Accidental mishaps with the mute button have caused too many people embarrassing conferencing moments.
This is not an issue with Polycom Studio: we designed the mute button to stand out with our iconic triangular shape, and there is no doubt what your mute status is – an entire panel of lights turn red when the system is muted! Coupled with the audio tone confirming that the system is on mute, customers are much less likely to stumble through awkward halts in conversation while on a call.
Leila:What would you say to people worried that cameras are ‘always on’?
UXD Team: The user experience doesn’t end when everyone on the video conference says goodbye and hangs up. Awareness about privacy in the presence of our smart electronic devices is heightened these days —people want assurance that the camera is actually off! Giving our customers this peace of mind was part of our thinking in the design process, which we deliver by employing a mechanical shutter. With Polycom Studio, you can physically close the shutter to cover the camera lens. It’s a physical way to show that no, your video conferencing device is not spying on you and no, you don’t have to tape a sticker over the lens. This mechanical shutter is completely separate from all internal electronics, so even a hacker can’t open it.
Leila: Describe what design considerations were made for people with disabilities.
UXD Team: The audio tones described earlier were implemented in part to address users with visual impairments. In designing the remote control, we also took special care to ensure that the visually impaired could participate in their conferences with confidence. It’s subtle, but small design aspects such as concave and convex-shaped buttons on the remote control provide tactile feedback.
Additionally, Polycom Studio can be mounted above or below a wall-mounted monitor, and we ensured that it mounts in accordance to ADA standards; it won’t protrude too far into the room. It’s a slim unit designed not just to be compact enough for huddle rooms, but for individuals with disabilities to have a great conferencing experience as well.
Leila: Tell me how you decided on the rectangular shape.
UXD Team: Brands are strongest when the products and experiences are cohesively designed (think DeWalt tools, Porsche cars, etc). All of them carry a distinct look and feel that instantly identifies that brand. When a user sees the Polycom look,they see a trusted brand with a rich heritage that delivers some of the best auditory and visual experiences. We want our entire portfolio to be cohesive and aligned with Polycom Trio. Polycom Trio is an iconic and blockbuster product (the fastest-selling conference phone in Polycom history), so we stayed true to that linear and precise aesthetic.