Cisco Rival? Juniper Networks, Polycom Partner

Juniper Networks (JNPR) and Polycom Inc. (PLCM) have announced an alliance focused on improving the reliability, cost-effectiveness and quality of the customer experience for telepresence and video conferencing services.

Scheduled for release in mid-2010, the alliance will deliver an intelligent service provider solution that enables assured-quality managed video services over a converged network. As the industry’s first “conferencing-aware” network solution, it will help drive costs out of the delivery of high-value telepresence and comprehensive video conferencing managed services by allowing service providers to maximize the capabilities of their existing network, said the companies.

In addition to the benefits for service providers, enterprise customers will also have more control over how services are delivered, while increasing the business value of those services by enabling telepresence and video conferencing traffic to run over the same networking equipment as other applications with assured quality. By providing enterprise customers with highly reliable and cost-effective managed service options to support enterprise-wide telepresence and HD video conferencing deployments (telepresence, room and desktop), the solution can drive collaboration, increase productivity and reduce costs. This is because the managed service model can deliver a faster return on investment for customers through lower upfront costs and predictable ongoing operational costs for video services, while it also provides capabilities for secure business-to-business collaboration.

The solution will combine network infrastructure systems from Juniper with telepresence and video conferencing systems from Polycom. Specifically, it includes the Junos Space network application platform and its subscriber suite that includes policy and identity services, the MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers, and SRX Series Services Gateways with integrated routing and security for streamlined enterprise connectivity. Key Polycom components include Polycom telepresence systems and visual communication infrastructure products, including the Polycom Distributed Media Application (DMA) that centralizes call control and provides further failover redundancy.

Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said in a memo to clients that this pairing could rival Cisco’s video and collaboration effort. In addition to Cisco’s pending acquisition of TANDBERG, “Cisco has achieved successful market acceptance of its TelePresence video conference solution for the enterprise that is soon to be in field trials for the consumer market,” said White. “We believe Juniper will need to offer a broader product portfolio to compete with Cisco and today’s announcement is a good example of potentially more partnerships/alliances in the future. In typical Juniper style, we believe the company is more apt to partner versus acquire.”

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