Polycom Moves Signal Focus on UC Mobility, Interoperability

Conferencing vendor Polycom has made a number of strategic moves to gain a foothold as unified communications moves further into the mobility, SMB and consumer markets.

The company has forged an agreement with Samsung whereby Polycom will develop standards-based video applications to be embedded and distributed on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which runs the Android OS, as well as other Samsung smartphones.

The company also announced it has extended its relationship with Broadsoft to add Polycom technology to the cloud services providers BroadCloud Video unified communications offering, and is developing standards-based H.264 Scalable Video Coding technology for current and future solutions and UC initiatives to ensure interoperability with other vendors offerings.

Every customer and partner has its own specific set of issues why they cant deploy unified communications or get more out of the systems they have, but the real problems are around simplicity, ease of installation, cost and ubiquitous connectivity,” said Joe Burton, senior vice president, chief strategy and technology officer and general manager of enterprise and service provider at Polycom. We have been driving our strategy to figure out how to blow open the unified communications industry so it is massively easier to adopt, deploy and be integrated into business processes in such a way that drives human latency out of the process.”

As such, Polycom is making an end-run around business-to-business communication to enable consumer adoption of telepresence, working hard on ways to create demand outside the corporate network.

By incorporating Polycom technology into the Galaxy and other devices, users are able to connect with any standards-based telepresence and videoconferencing systems and applications. The technology will work on both 3G and 4G networks, for low-latency, high-resolution video, and will combine a directory and chat capability so users can easily find each other and connect.

Weve leveraged Polycoms expertise in providing a compelling unified communications experience in the enterprise setting and are now creating a voice and telepresence experience designed for consumers on several platforms,” Burton said. The Polycom-Samsung agreement is the first tangible piece.”

Channel partners will see real opportunity as tablets and the accompanying Polycom technology make their way into the enterprise, he noted.

Our belief is youll see many VARs and systems integrators that are going to see tablets already in companies and will see telepresence on those devices. They can connect the dots and figure out how their applications can take advantage of the Polycom technology,” he said. We are creating the ability for the VARs to build their applications and leverage Polycom in those scenarios.”

The agreement with Broadsoft, meanwhile, combines the BroadCloud Video hosted videoconferencing service with Polycoms HDX telepresence systems and VVX 1500 business media phones, extending the current offering beyond Polycoms HD Voice desktop and conference phones. Polycom is also offering service providers go-to-market support, sales enablement and demand-generation activities to help them market the hosted offering.

Finally, Polycoms standards-based H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) technology will help drive video communications market growth in the consumer space. SVC technology is known to deliver consistent, high-quality video and audio at any bandwidth and over networks prone to packet loss and congestion, enabling even greater opportunities for application developers to create custom apps that leverage Polycoms offerings.

Microsoft has announced its intention to adopt Polycoms H.264 SVC technology, noting that by integrating H.264 SVC technology within Microsofts broad solution offering, the two companies can make it easier for millions of people to leverage video communications within familiar Microsoft applications, said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of the Office Business Productivity Marketing Group at Microsoft.

Polycoms vision is to drive widespread UC adoption. It all starts with connectivity the technology must easily connect people together. Were starting from standards, and our next step is to determine how can we connect and integrate across the ecosystem of service providers,” Burton said.

Polycoms initiatives are designed to promote the industry as a whole, he added. To really step out in front and say, Here is the Polycom blueprint for answering these industry-wide problems, were working for the benefit of the entire industry. Its the rising tide lifts all boats concept.”

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