7 min Devices

HP wants to be a one-stop shop for hybrid workloads

HP wants to be a one-stop shop for hybrid workloads

When HP announced in mid-2022 that it was acquiring Poly, it was soon apparent that it had taken in a unique asset in doing so. Together, as one entity, they offer everything from conference cameras to laptops. As a result, the aim is that companies are able to turn to HP for all their needs, whether they are in the office or not.

On our visit to HP, it quickly becomes clear that hybrid work is a core focus for the company. Unlike Google and Twitter, for example, they don’t want to be too stubborn regarding office visits. Managing Director HP Benelux Koen van Beneden talks about the importance of flexibility in this area. For example, an employee should also be able to have repairs done at home rather than just in the office. This line of thinking seeps through all of HP’s product stories, but also at Poly.

Like HP, Poly has a long history. For example, in its previous appearance, Plantronics (Poly originates from Plantronics and Polycom) provided the communications equipment for the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing mission. Customer Experience Manager Jonas van der Kaaij Olsson astutely refers to it as “an early form of remote working.” Today, it offers all sorts of headsets, cameras and other hardware to make meetings run smoothly. It is an area that HP itself has not yet had much to do with.

Looking to the future, we can see that HP and Poly are still working on integration. The current Dutch Poly premises in Hoofddorp will become vacant, with Amstelveen soon to be the joint base of operations for the Dutch branch of HP and Poly.

Combining forces

The sum of Poly and HP is expressed as follows: where HP specializes in compute, print and display, Poly’s strengths are to be found in peripherals. A quote for a large organization can thus already contain almost all the features it is looking for.

On the occasion of the media visit, Poly gives us a demo of Poly DirectorAI, including all sorts of patented features to improve conversations. These include highlighting specific participants, enlarging the windows for people who are speaking and other nifty features.

The demo needs some lead time, but soon we will see the features in question in practice, namely with a Teams call. On the video front, the DirectorAI solution can track speakers within an office and frame them so that we see only the head and torso. Also, when multiple people are present, we can split the image as if everyone had their own Teams connection. All of this works with some delay, but that delay is actually an intentional one: too much switching of speakers and camera tweaks leads to chaos.

Another impressive feature has been christened the Acoustic Fence. This allows talking individuals outside the office or passing cars to be filtered out. Van der Kaaij Olsson demonstrates it by simply standing further outside the defined “fence”. We can still hear him through the wall, so it’s not a ruse. Keyboard and mouse clicks can also be removed by software.

Not all workplaces are as well lit as others, but Backlight Compensation should get the best out of the camera images. As for FOV, the latest Poly Studio X52 is equipped with a view of 90 to 95 degrees, which is less than before. They chose this to improve the sharpness of what comes into focus because offices tend to be mostly very deep and not too wide.

Currently, Poly relies heavily on a dongle to work on PCs. We can expect HP hardware to avoid this minor suffering in the future.

Integration, research

On the HP side, Category Manager of Notebooks at HP Benelux Andreas van Puyenbroeck cites U.S. research to back up the focus on hybrid work as a key selling point. 47 percent of those surveyed there prefer hybrid working, topped by 32 percent who don’t want to go to an office at all.

That means a greater reliance on video conferencing. 75 percent consider video and audio quality important. That rather begs the question of why 25 percent don’t think so, but the point is clear: A party like HP needs to have these things sorted in order to adjust to consumer demands.

It will take some time to complete the integration of Poly into the HP product line, though. After all, 2023 is a refresh year for HP, with externals where they themselves challenge us to look for the visual differences.

Help in the background, to avoid hassles

The changes within HP’s laptop offerings are subtle. They tout the importance of security, boasting about having security at the BIOS level. HP Wolf Security thus starts as early as the boot process and can restore an old save state of the BIOS settings if tampered with.

As for power management, the company wants to ensure that the battery lasts as long as possible. A well-known fact is that lithium-ion batteries actually suffer a lot from charging to 100 percent: optimal durability is achieved by going to 80 percent. Previously, the HP Battery Shield therefore decided to charge to this level, much to the annoyance of many users. Therefore, it now chooses to show this 80 percent as 100 percent. You can adjust this in the HP Power Manager, but be aware that the battery thus suffers extra. The curious nature of this form of charging cell causes this problem in the first place, rather than HP messing with it. However, there does not seem to be an ideal solution to this given our societal longing for a full charge.

A somewhat more straightforward innovation is HP Adaptive Color, which gives users the same impression of the display in any lighting scenario. It highlights a mainstay that HP clearly holds dear: technology in the background to support the user.


Another issue HP puts a lot of emphasis on is sustainability. As a printer giant, it tries to offset its own carbon footprint by planting trees among other initiatives. We also hear about the innovations HP supports in the field of 3D printers. By replacing old technologies such as mould-injected plastic with these, organizations can avoid having to maintain a large inventory of spare parts at all times.

Those who start talking about sustainability may quickly think of initiatives such as the Fairphone and the Framework laptop. Here the unique selling point (USP) is not so much the performance level or even the price, but the modularity and thus replaceability. Is HP heading in that same direction?

Partly. Van Puyenbrouck points out that the keycaps in HP laptops are at most 65 percent recycled, because beyond that percentage it is not reusable again. Smartphones are a lot less recyclable than we would like, with similar issues regarding low yields from recycling.

However, everything but the display is replaceable by the end user, assuming they have some technical prowess. Ultimately, a party like HP has Customer Support for this as well.


HP’s message is all about hybrid work. As far as we are concerned, the story is clear, with Poly still getting some time to be incorporated into the HP ecosystem. The product lines are already complementary and offer several trade-offs, but both sides are dealing with many partners. Poly is platform-agnostic, just as HP is open to Windows and Linux, Zoom and Teams, and every conceivable USB device under the sun.

This year’s presentation explicitly had a distinct “Poly piece.” A story that aligns with HP’s, but still has its own voice. One does well to cherish it, because the brand recognition of a brand like Poly is also worth a lot. Within HP Benelux, this seems implicitly clear. It is up to the tech giant as a global player to make it an ever better integration over time.

Also read: HP and Zoom launch turnkey conferencing solutions