With the pandemic being rapidly contained across the six GCC countries in particular and the wider Middle East region in general Poly is on a singular mission to ensure that employees returning to brick-and-mortar offices after an enforced and prolonged work-from-home experience induced by the pandemic, or, who are now adhering to a hybrid work model, have access to the best pro-grade and easy-to-use communication solutions.
The California-headquartered global communications company designs and engineers premium audio and video communication devices, including headsets, video and audio-conferencing devices, and desk phones, as well analytics software that work seamlessly with all of the world’s leading video and audio-conferencing services, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc.
In short, Poly (formerly Plantronics and Polycom) aims to connect people seamlessly, with incredible clarity, at any time and wherever they may live or work, on-site or off-site, anywhere in the world.
Poly is a premier exhibitor at Gitex Global x Ai Everything – the world’s biggest tech show of the year – taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from October 17-21, 2021, and where the multinational company is showcasing its latest communications solutions, including world-class offerings such as Poly DirectorAI technology which uses AI and machine learning to deliver real-time automatic transitions, framing and tracking. Also featuring at the Poly pavilion at Gitex Global 2021 are NoiseBlockAI and Acoustic Fence technologies that block out unwanted background noise.
In an exclusive interview with MENews247, on the sidelines of Gitex Global 2021, Sonal Bisht, UK-based Head of Corporate Communications for EMEA at Poly, pores over how the pandemic has impacted verbal and non-verbal communications, the key role the Middle East is playing in Poly’s global rollout and how noise rage in in-person work environments is an issue that simply cannot be swept beneath the carpet.
Excerpts from the interview:
MENews247: How has the pandemic dictated a change in the workplace and what solutions is Poly showcasing in this regard at Gitex Global 2021?
Sonal Bisht: We [Poly] like to call it ‘the evolution of the workplace’. We think that the future of work is hybrid work. Hybrid work is an element of work all right, but it is also about what workers want, and what employers must deliver in this regard.
We recently conducted a research report, the ‘Evolution of the Workplace’, that polls the answers of 7,261 hybrid workers based in the UAE, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Poland, and which throws up interesting results.
This groundbreaking study reveals that workers today want balance, they want inclusion, and they want support. They do not expect to be simply told to work, they do not expect to be told to work from home and just be handed the technology to do so. They want to be immersed in the culture.
But equally, companies and employers must deliver equality. In fact, equality is needed from a business perspective. Think about putting people next to each other. When people meet, that is meeting equality, that is collaboration. It is about enabling your workforce; it is about giving them the solution.
It is about establishing the agenda? What time do I start? What time do I stop? And, how many meetings are too many meetings? And, what is my corporate culture? It is also about understanding the personas. One could be a working mom while a colleague could be into running. The colleague, who is passionate about running, could be needing a different kind of headset, or different kind of video equipment from that of the working mother.
What we are showcasing at Gitex Global 2021 is really the evolution of the workplace. In effect, we are highlighting and presenting what kind of technologies and solutions developed by Poly are available to employers, to enable their workforce to evolve and adapt to the post-Covid era.
MENews247: How can one experience Poly’s latest offerings at Gitex Global 2021?
Sonal Bisht: We have a unique Poly Experience Centre at our pavilion and where our visitors can learn about and immerse themselves in our latest innovations.
MENews247: What are the premier AI-driven solutions that Poly is launching at Gitex Global 2021?
Sonal Bisht: We are launching two next-generation video conferencing solutions; the Poly Studio E70 and the Poly Studio X70, both especially suited for creating a noise-free office environment. The new devices feature Poly DirectorAI technology, which includes Acoustic Fence and NoiseBlockAI that upgrade the video collaboration experience and generate meeting equality by bringing pro-grade audio and video to large workspaces.
The new devices also complement our current product range and which now encompasses small and medium, through to large meeting rooms and large conference rooms. The Poly Studio video conferencing lineup delivers broadcast-quality video to meeting rooms, allowing participants to be seen and heard clearly, regardless of the participants’ location.
The Poly Studio E70 is a first-of-its-kind intelligent camera, specifically designed for large meeting rooms and capable of delivering life-like video, with state-of-the-art audio features, and packed with advanced analytics. The Poly Studio E70’s dual cameras, each with its own 4K+ sensor, are boosted by pinpoint-accurate speaker tracking and professional-quality group framing from Poly DirectorAI technology, resulting in an unparalleled video experience, perfect for hybrid working environments.
The ability to seamlessly transition between a wide-angle and narrow lens means that everyone in a large meeting room is seen in sharp detail, while added security is built-in with a motorised, integrated electronic privacy shutter. The Poly Studio E70 connects easily to Poly G7500 and Poly Microsoft Teams Room on Windows for streamlined deployments.
Delivering life-like video with dual cameras, each with its own 4K+ sensor, the sleek all-in-one plug-and-play Poly Studio X70 video bar is ideal for large conference rooms and is a beautifully engineered, premium videoconference solution that combines razor-sharp 4K video with boardroom-filling audio produced by two-way stereo speakers, aluminum cone tweeters, and advanced bass ports. Equipped with an AI-driven camera array and video interface the video bar deploys NoiseBlockAI and Acoustic Fence technology to prevent distracting noises and side conversations from interrupting meetings.
MENews247: How is Poly positioned in the Middle East region?
Sonal Bisht: We have double-digit growth in the [Middle East] region; essentially in our home market of the UAE. We are growing steadily in the region, even though as a company, we recently came together, having evolved from Plantronics and Polycom. We became Poly in March 2019.
We are mindful that when Dubai-backed Virgin Hyperloop made history in November 2020 by completing its first successful human passenger tests in Las Vegas the two test passengers and mission crew members all wore and used Poly Voyager headsets. So, there you have Poly with a true Middle East connection! We are definitely making an impression, as you can see.
MENews247: What are the salient statistics pertaining to the UAE in the recently released ‘Evolution of the Workplace’ report commissioned by Poly in regard to noise rage and the evolution of the workplace?
Sonal Bisht: Our study focuses on how noise rage is poised to affect employees’ productivity as they increasingly head back to the physical office or follow a hybrid model, after a prolonged work-from-home experience, and especially after being used to isolated and quiet environments for over a year.
Our study also outlines the evolution of the workplace and changing employee attitudes to the 9-5. In effect, the report shows that 37.2% of UAE employees are more concerned about noisy phone calls and meetings, while 31.60% are worried about their noisy colleagues. Some 36% of the employees polled across the UAE also indicated that they will most likely get fed up if their noisy colleagues break their concentration.