Headset-maker Plantronics on Tuesday debuted its first entry into the huddle room video market with its new plug-and-play video bar, Polycom Studio.
Any company whose employees use PCs or Macs for video collaboration with services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Google Meet, Cisco Webex or Amazon Chime can get Polycom’s HD audio and video quality packaged into a portable USB device, Plantronics said.
Last summer, Plantronics completed its $2 billion acquisition of Polycom, creating a new company that offers a suite of products and services that span headsets, software, desk phones, audio and video conferencing, and analytics.
Chris Thorson, Plantronics’ senior director of product marketing, tells Channel Partners that segmentation is increasing in the video space, “so what this means for channel partners is if you’re out there selling any of these video-as-a-service platforms, formerly you were kind of locked out of that because you didn’t have a device that would play with it.”
“Now with Polycom Studio, you can plug in a USB to any of those platforms that are available and now … that customer set that you can really go after just suddenly grew,” he said. “So I think it is going to open up a lot of new opportunities for channel partners particularly.”
As for partners that traditionally have focused more on video conferencing, this is going to let them “get into the large number of huddle rooms that are being deployed,” said Brian Phillips, Plantronics’ senior manager of product marketing.
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“Frost and Sullivan estimates there are over 32 million huddle rooms now and very few of which have video,” he said. “But they’re expecting within the next three years that 70 percent of video conferencing rooms are going to be huddle rooms, so it’s a huge and growing market. And for a lot of our channel partners who historically focused on those midsize and larger rooms, this is going to open up new opportunities for them to get into that large mass of huddle spaces.”
Polycom Studio wirelessly connects to a corporate network allowing IT professionals to deploy and manage Polycom Studio units — across a few huddle rooms, a large campus or offices around the world. Customers can manage their Polycom Studios along with their other Polycom devices through the cloud with the Polycom Device Management Service for Enterprise or on premises with Polycom RealPresence Resource Manager.
“If you’re a partner who’s focused historically on selling headsets and maybe something like video conferencing seemed a little bit daunting or complex, Polycom Studio, because of its simplicity of the USB device, could give a nice entry point to that partner to expand their business more into the meeting room with video conference,” Phillips said. “Or maybe if you are a partner who’s focused more on selling IP phones at the desk, again, a nice, natural entry point to expanding your portfolio in the larger room.”
Polycom Studio will be available in North America, Europe and select additional countries later this quarter.
Last month, Tom Puorro, previously Cisco’s vice president of engineering, and vice president and general manager of its UC technology groups, joined Plantronics as its executive vice president and general manager of group systems. In this role, Puorro is leading the team responsible for audio and video collaboration solutions for the modern workplace.
In addition, Plantronics announced a native Microsoft Teams video conference offering in collaboration with HP. The bundle is available in the United States through shared distributors of Polycom and HP products such as Synnex and Ingram Micro.