NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Nearly every conference room that I can remember sitting in has had one. Triangular in shape. Strategically placed in the middle of a long desk, close to a hole for all the wires and connections. They're conference call speaker phones and the best known are from Polycom (PLCM - Get Report).
Over the years, the way we make voice calls has changed. For one thing, video teleconferencing has replaced voice conference calls in many instances. And, with Polycom's latest announcement on Monday, it's changing the parameters of how we can use its products.
This morning, the company unveiled a series of new video conferencing "endpoints", as well as version 2.0 of its Real Presence software for PCs and mobile devices.
As you might expect, the sleek, new HD devices will be better in every way possible - including HD (1080p resolution) image quality and better integration of portable devices like smartphones and tablets. Polycom's even boasting an upgraded SmartPairing technology, which allows for wireless connections between Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPads and their devices - plus the ability to control video meetings with tablets and transfer that call to a large screen with just one finger swipe.But the new, big deal, is that since the software utilizes the Internet's cloud, callers outside of corporate firewalls will now be able to use their favorite Web-based calling protocols such as Skype (MSFT - Get Report), Google's (GOOG) Google Talk or Facebook (FB - Get Report). Polycom says the new hardware products will be available by the end of the year. Its upgraded computer (version 2.0) software will be available next month and free mobile versions can be downloaded in November via Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) App Store and Google Play. --Written by Gary Krakow in New York. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.