HP introduces Presence, a complete new line of products and services for video conferencing and hybrid collaboration.
Setting up a meeting room today is not done the same way it was done before. You now have to take much more account of external participants. At least, that is the expectation, even though in practice we see that many people just go back to the office. That is, we see the familiar traffic jams reappear on the roads. However, there will inevitably be more people working remotely than before the corona crisis, so as an organization you have to take that into account. At HP, this insight has led to the development of a complete portfolio of meeting room products. The products are all part of the new Presence line. Not only should they help organizations to set up optimal meeting rooms in terms of hardware, HP has also kept the IT side of things in mind.
Let’s first take a look at the products HP is announcing today. This starts with the basics. HP had been offering the HP Elite Slice for some time, a mini-PC aimed (among other things) at conferencing. The new HP Presence Mini Conferencing PC could be seen as its successor / replacement. At first glance, this appears to be a special version of the HP EliteDesk mini-PC. We don’t know all that much its specifications at the time of writing. However, it was mentioned during a briefing that you can easily switch between a Teams Room and a Zoom Room. Whether this means that it is also a real MTR or ZR device, which can therefore operate autonomously, was not entirely clear to us. What is clear is that the protection of the device and thus your meeting room is done through HP Wolf Security.
In addition to the mini-PC, HP also announces two controllers, the HP Presence Control and the HP Presence Control Plus. In addition to a display, these devices also have microphones and speakers. HP is particularly proud of what it calls AI-enhanced audio. By this, the company is referring to things like Auto Volume, Voice Leveling and Noise Reduction. The ultimate goal is to make and keep audio suitable for employees in the meeting room and at a remote location. For example, you can adjust the volumes of people who talk loudly and people who talk softly to each other. When a meeting gets a bit heated, the AI recognizes this, and makes sure remote participants can chime in audibly too.
When it comes to cameras, HP offers two flavors: the HP Presence See 4K AI Camera and the HP Presence Audio Video Bar. The first is a stand-alone camera on a base, which can rotate on that base. The second a soundbar with an integrated camera. The sensors and lenses in both devices are identical. They are 4K sensors that can deliver this resolution at 60fps. Both cameras also offer Speaker Frame. With this, you always see the speaker who is speaking at a certain point, picture-in-picture. Finally, both cameras feature a privacy mode. You can cover the camera or turn it away.
A final part of the new HP Presence line are the additional microphones and speakers to make sure everyone in the room and outside has the best experience possible. These go through life as HP Presence Hub and HP Presence Talk. The former is a device the size of the Presence Control, the latter are satellite microphones. The devices have a status LED that shows whether mute is enabled or not.
We’ve already touched on some of the standout features of the HP Presence products above. Think of the smart audio features and Speaker Frame. The latter, by the way, is not a static feature. HP has provided Speaker Tracking, which allows the camera to follow speakers through a room. HP deliberately added a small delay to this feature. This is to prevent the camera from reacting to every small movement.
One feature we haven’t discussed yet is what HP refers to as Meeting Ready. This allows you to start meetings quickly, by HP Presence automatically coming out of sleep mode the moment you walk into the room. You can then start a Teams or Zoom call with a single press of a button on the Presence Control. Furthermore, HP has added a guest mode. This works with any UC device. That’s useful if you have a meeting that’s not in the meeting room system or that goes through another platform, such as Webex or Meet.
Finally, HP has also added a handy feature that allows you to quickly report problems. This HP Presence Room Assistant is in the Presence Control products. It allows you to act very quickly the moment specific equipment is not working or there are other problems. HP promises that you can make such a report in two seconds.
IT needs taken into account
HP naturally approaches the world of the meeting room with quite a bit of baggage in its backpack in the area of IT management. The HP Presence offering is no exception. For HP Presence, HP also focuses on making the life of the IT employee as simple as possible. The ability to quickly report issues that we discussed above is actually already an example of this, but it goes further. For example, HP promises a very smooth installation. An example of this is a color coded installation process, so you can’t make mistakes (unless you’re color blind, of course). Every cable goes in the right jack. During installation, the audio calibrates itself, based on the specific room you’re installing HP Presence in.
In addition to specific features of the equipment, HP also provides some IT management services. First of all, there is HP Presence Manager. This allows you to manage all the equipment centrally. It allows you to see if there are updates and to decide when to perform the updates. The equipment also supports Windows Update and Teams Admin Center.
If you prefer to be more proactive about your conference rooms and the equipment in them, HP also has HP Presence Insights. This allows you to monitor the health of the devices. So you can also use this to proactively see if the equipment works correctly. It gives you insights into when devices stop functioning optimally.
Enhanced by HP Presence
In addition to the products in the HP Presence line-up, HP also made a point during the briefing we attended that all of this news is not limited to just the HP Presence devices themselves. That is, the algorithms that take care of things like Speaker Frame and Voice Leveling will also be available in other HP devices. For example, the new Elite Dragonfly Max and the EliteOne 800 G8 All-in-one already have upgrades from the Presence line on board. Apart from Speaker Frame and Voice Leveling, this also includes the HDR capabilities that are in the Presence cameras. This should ensure that you are always properly visible in meetings even from your laptop or all-in-one, whether you are dealing with backlighting or are in a very dark room.
Normally, the last subheading of an article about new products is ‘Price and availability’. In this case, that doesn’t make much sense, because HP hasn’t disclosed any of the prices yet. HP will communicate those by the time the products actually come to market.
HP has bundled the Presence products into packages. The first two are the HP Presence Small Space Solution and the Small Space Solution Plus AI Camera. These consist of the Presence Control and the Presence Mini Conferencing PC, in the second case supplemented by the Presence See AI Camera. Both are expected to become available in February 2022.
Other bundles are the HP Presence Small Space Solution plus AI Video Bar, HP Presence Medium Space Solution, HP Presence Medium Space Solution plus AI Camera, HP Presence Medium Space Solution plus AI Video Bar, HP Presence Large Space Solution. These consist of different selections of products based on their deployment. All of these are expected to be available in spring 2022. The same goes for the HP Presence Hub and the HP Presence Talk Satellite Microphones. The two PCs with the “Enhanced by HP Presence” features will be available in November 2021.