Polycom unveils mobile videoconferencing system

Polycom, a videoconferencing provider based in Pleasanton, Calif., introduced a mobile system today that company representatives say will target military, public safety and justice officials; emergency responders; educators; and health care providers.

The Mobile Responder, based on the company’s VSX 8000 system, has a 17-inch LCD screen, a built-in high-resolution color camera, built-in speaker and microphone, and a single power supply but no battery power. The system comes in a 39-pound, rugged case that is water and sand resistant, and it also meets Federal Aviation Administration guidelines as carry-on baggage for commercial airlines.

Company representatives said users can set up the system in only a couple of minutes. The unit includes an IP connection and Advanced Encryption Standard software, and option interfaces are available, too. The system has only a few connection points for peripheral audio and video devices. The unit also comes with a remote control device.

The new product redefines mobility, said Eric Sotnek, Polycom’s business development manager. Before the Mobile Responder, he said most mobile videoconferencing systems were customized creations of various devices linked together and transported on a cart.

About five months ago, NATO officials said they needed a mobile product, he said. Because of technological advances, Polycom were able to develop a system that meets military and other specifications.

The system costs $19,995 in North America and $21,995 elsewhere.

Kristin DeProspero, who is the company’s government and justice director, said Polycom also provides grants assistance to organizations that may not be able to afford the system. She said the system could help with telejustice, telemedicine and distance learning applications in rural areas. But officials in those areas might not have the experience or expertise in writing successful government or corporate grants that could help them purchase a mobile videoconferencing system.

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