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Polycom Pano Review: Connecting Everyone in the Meeting Space

Read our Polycom Pano video conferencing review

We’ve all been there. You’ve spent days, weeks even, preparing an important presentation. You’re due to give it to the whole assembled staff, at a board meeting, or perhaps as part of a pitch to a key client.

The big day arrives, you are all ready to go with your presentation safely stored on your laptop. And then disaster strikes. You can’t connect to the giant screen in the room that has been booked. Your laptop has HDMI but the old system is still running 3-RCA. You have Miracast but you need Apple Airplay.

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This is always a risk whenever people travel to give presentations or take part in seminars. Travelling to see clients, inviting suppliers in to pitch, hiring a neutral venue for a conference or workshop. Everyone is so caught up in what software platforms people are using and checking they are compatible with the hardware available, they forget the basics of getting connected in the first place.

Polycom Pano
The Polycom Pano is a universal adapter for wireless content sharing in meeting rooms.

Enter Polycom. The US hardware vendor has found a niche for itself as the world’s largest pure-play collaboration specialist. Across voice, video, content and conferencing, if you need a solution to help people share and work together effectively, Polycom probably has it covered.

Connecting devices to room systems is no exception.

The Polycom Pano is the ultimate universal adapter for meeting room systems. Whatever laptop, tablet or smartphone someone is carrying, the Pano will connect them. And while this is great for saving presentation fails, it is also idea for enabling more effective collaboration, by allowing multiple screens to be shared at once both within a room and with remote participants.

What can it do?

Polycom bills the Pano as the easiest way to share content at work. Simplicity is the key – the Pano is effectively a wireless adapter to connect devices to external screens.

Predominantly a meeting room solution, what makes Pano different is the fact that you don’t need any special apps or software to connect. As soon as the Pano detects Airplay, Miracast or Bluetooth capabilities on your device, it will invite you to connect with a simple click or touch. If your device doesn’t happen to have any of those, there is a Pano App for Apple OS and Windows which establishes a connection via WiFi.

The real power of Pano is its flexibility. For straightforward one-to-many presentations, it provides the reassurance of high-quality wireless connections. Anyone can walk in and share content on a screen, in 4K resolution.

But Pano is also intended to boost collaboration. Multiple users can connect at once, and up to four screens can be shared on a communal screen. Documents, images and videos can be displayed, all in HD quality. Teams can review, discuss and compare multiple resources at once, speeding up decision making and involving more people in important conversations.

Polycom Pano wireless collaboration
The Pano allows content from up to four devices to to be shared on an external screen at once for enhanced collaboration.

In addition, Pano can be turned into a fully fledged multi-touch collaboration endpoint. With a compatible Polycom touchscreen connected via USB, it provides an infinite whiteboard canvas cast onto participants devices. Participants can jot down their ideas on their own device or on the touchscreen, and, if you are using the Pano App, save what they like to come back to later. The touchscreen also enables group editing and annotation of shared content with a magic pen.

Finally, Pano’s uses are not restricted to people sharing the same meeting space. It will also connect with Polycom’s RealPresence Group Series video conferencing systems, so those connected via Pano can extend the collaboration to remote contacts anywhere in the world.

Despite the ease of connecting and sharing content, the system is designed with robust data security in mind. A revolving PIN system means users have to agree to a connection for each session, to make sure nothing can be accidentally displayed from previous connections. All media streams are encrypted to protect against risks from system hacking or malware, and the integrity of user’s devices is secured using online banking-style protocols.

What do we like?

The concept behind Pano is brilliantly simple – to break through the proprietary barriers of Airplay and Miracast and let anyone share their device via an external screen, including those who don’t have devices enabled for either. The compatibility with video conferencing platforms adds another dimension, creating a seamless continuum between the meeting room, digital collaboration and remote video communication.

Who is it for?

Any business which wants to make it easier for staff to present, share content in groups or connect devices instantly for video collaboration sessions can benefit from Polycom Pano. It is simple and straightforward for businesses of all types and sizes to install and manage, with enterprise deployment packages available for IT teams to install the app efficiently across large organisations.

What is it compatible with?

The Polycom Pano connects devices that are embedded with Apple Airplay, Windows Miracast or are Bluetooth enabled. It extends collaboration to video conferencing by connecting with Polycom’s RealPresence suite of video conferencing products – RealPresence Immersive Studio, RealPresence Immersive Studio Flex, RealPresence Group Series, RealPresence Centro and RealPresence Trio 8800 Collaboration Kit.

Where can I buy?

Polycom products are available in the UK through global tech distribution specialist ScanSource Imago. The company offers dedicated support and focused expertise on all Polycom solutions. Contact your nearest reseller, or visit the ScanSource Imago website.

 

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CommsTrader Opinion

Adapters are under-appreciated things. It is difficult to fully grasp the value of a small box that lets any device connect and share content on your meeting room screen until you have been the one that has not been able to share.

But Polycom Pano is much more than that as well. As a collaboration tool, it is a deceptively clever idea. There is a lot of hype around team messaging and content sharing, but that ability to project multiple types of content that a group of people are talking about onto a big screen has perhaps been overlooked. Then with the additional options to connect to a touchscreen for live annotation, or integrate with Polycom’s video conferencing systems, it becomes an important link in creating a true synergy between meetings, conferencing and collaboration.

 

  • Look & Feel
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Summary

An ingenious way to overcome proprietary barriers to wireless content sharing on big screens.

4.3
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Written by Paul Newham

Paul Newham

Hi I'm Paul, I specialise in technology, covering telecoms, cloud and IT infrastructure and digital marketing.