For many years, we had Polycom videoconferencing units in our conference rooms. They did a great job of connecting a group of people in one city with a group of people in another. They sat on top of great big screens, and everyone could easily see and hear one another. They worked exactly as we expected.
Unfortunately, the Polycom units were expensive. Each setup required an expenditure of a few thousand dollars. The Polycom units worked smoothly but always required some network tweaking to get them going, so there was always a bit of a hassle involved. All in all, however, I can’t say enough good stuff about the Polycom products: I highly recommend them.
Over time, we drifted away from the conference room to conference room setup. As we distributed our team, we gravitated toward Skype, and we frequently use its group videoconferencing tool. We can instantly pull together a small group, with each person using his or her respective laptops and webcams, and conduct our meeting from a variety of locations. It’s a good solution for us.
One shortcoming of Skype involves group conferencing like we did with the Polycom units. When you’ve got a group in one location speaking to a group or an individual in another location, it’s less than ideal. For instance, we might have a group in a conference room conducting a deposition of a witness in another location, and Skype can be challenging.
Here’s an example scenario: The court reporter, two lawyers, and two clients might be in a conference room in Raleigh, and the witness is in Charlotte. The witness has Skype set up on his laptop and is good to go. The conference room has a laptop and webcam set up, but they’re sitting at one end of the conference room table, and the small screen is difficult for everyone to see. We could theoretically hook the laptop up to a big screen, but then we’re dealing with cables and settings, and it quickly gets complicated. Additionally, the camera on the laptop is in one spot, and everyone is looking away at the big screen so you lose that sense of eye contact. It gets awkward.
Some law firms have set up semi-permanent conference room Skype setups using a dedicated computer and webcam, but it’s a significant expenditure on technology and appropriate shelving.
This is when we start to miss the Polycom units.
However, there is a solution.
It’s called telyHD. It’s a Polycom-like unit for Skype. It has everything you need built right into a box that sits on top of the monitor, just like the Polycom unit. The telyHD contains a camera, a microphone, and an Ethernet port. It has wireless connectivity, and it connects via an HDMI cable to your monitor. It’s a very quick and easy setup, it looks professional, and, best of all, it costs just $249. It even comes with a remote control.
The telyHD has a neat feature that allows you to share photos while you’re videoconferencing. You can load the photos from an SD card or a USB drive. It’s a great way to share images during the deposition and have everything—the live video and the images—on the screen simultaneously.
With the telyHD, you’re able to talk to users with Skype on their computers or other telyHD units. For firms with offices in several locations, it makes sense to put a telyHD in each office. The calls are free. Of course, you’ll require an Internet connection in each location.
The telyHD looks like a great replacement for the Polycom units. At this price point, it makes sense to put one in several of your conference rooms. This is a sweet solution for videoconferencing at a reasonable price.