Published June 15, 2010
Volume 18, Number 6

Polycom’s Unified Collaboration Solutions Emphasized in New Alliance  
Company Joining with HP, Microsoft, Others in Interoperability Effort

Polycom’s HD video garden and lobby (left) and product showcase (right) at the
Executive Briefing Center in Santa Clara. (Photograph courtesy of Polycom.)

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

Polycom has long been a leader in forging and implementing telepresence, the convergence of voice, video, and data in a single but interoperable (i.e., multi-vendor) system. The Hacienda-based company recently underscored its commitment to open, unified communications as a co-founder of a new non-profit alliance, the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF).

The goal of the alliance is to provide customers with standards-based, interoperable hardware and software that fosters seamless communication, regardless of the setting. Other UCIF members are HP, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, and Logitech/LifeSize. These worldwide technology leaders will be working together to facilitate the widespread adoption of unified communications solutions. Polycom’s collaborative approach will be further supported by an earlier agreement that its entire portfolio of voice and video technologies, including future joint technology development, would be sold by HP.

Telepresence continues to gain in popularity as the ultimate productivity tool. Obliterating geographic boundaries, it brings people together so they can collaborate at a pace previously possible only through face-to-face meetings, says Caroline Japic, Polycom Vice President of Corporate Communications and Customer Marketing. Using Polycom’s Open Collaborative Network, teams can connect from almost anywhere—the desktop, fully immersive meeting or class rooms, even mobile environments—without having to go through the cycle of emailing and awaiting a reply.

“The time-to-decision is so much quicker than even two years ago,” Japic comments. “We represent the new model of how companies will work moving forward.” 

The challenging economy has only boosted demand for electronic collaboration, making it one of the fastest growing areas in the tech industry. Under Polycom’s newly promoted President and CEO Andrew Miller, who just took the helm on May 10, company teams are completely aligned to focus on delivering “an  unparalleled suite of collaboration solutions for our customers,” Japic remarks. Among the many capabilities that set Polycom offerings apart are content-sharing, high-definition video, interoperability, robust performance, and “flawless interactivity.”

Telepresence has spawned amazing advances, especially in medicine and education, Japic notes. One Midwestern school district that had severe cutbacks in its Spanish program is using telepresence technology to reach multiple classrooms across the district with just one teacher, she relates.

Polycom’s unified collaboration space also presents an antidote to the plethora of disruptions, from flu outbreaks to natural disasters, which make business continuity such a huge issue today. For example, on Tuesday, April 20, with the volcano in Iceland erupting and airports in Europe shut down,“Polycom’s own corporate video network carried 4,991 video and gateway calls—the most ever in a single day, and twice the typical call volume.” One U.K. employee, stuck vacationing in Dubai, was able to “return” to work on time, thanks to the hotel WiFi service, a hastily purchased netbook with camera, and downloaded software that enabled him to tap into the corporate network. 

The company’s 50,000-square-foot headquarters at 4750 Willow Road is home to a staff of 155, roughly five percent of the global employee headcount of 2,800.  “We are a very dispersed operation,” notes Japic. “With our capabilities, we can hire the best people regardless of location.”  For more information, visit www.polycom.com.


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