Published March 18, 2003
Volume 11, Number 3

Polycom Starts the Year With Numerous New Products
Multiple February Announcements Raise the Bar for Video, Voice, and Web Conferencing
Video Station EX          Sound Station VTX
The VideoStation EX (above left) and SoundStation VTX 1000 (above right) are two of Polycom's
new products, designed to facilitate the company's vision of allowing its customers to
communicate without any barriers.

By George Walsh
Network Editor

Polycom Inc., a developer of video, voice, data and web conferencing and collaboration solutions headquartered at 4750 Willow Road in Hacienda, served up six new announcements in February regarding both new products and enhancements made to its current offerings. While Polycom may be best known for the star-shaped audio conferencing phones that are used in a large number of corporate conference rooms, the company has expanded its product line in recent years to include a number of different types of high tech audio and video communication products. Polycom employs more than 1,200 people worldwide and has regional offices throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia. 

“We started as a company that made speaker phones,” says Marcio Macedo, senior product manager for Polycom. “Then, we evolved through acquisitions into offering products that enable everything from boardroom video conferencing to desktop video conferencing. We also build management systems. So, when our customers deploy a very large number of video conferencing systems or ‘multipoint’ units, they can manage everything from a single screen that allows them to do upgrades, change the configuration, and make sure everything is running. Our overall vision is that we should allow our customers to communicate without any barriers.” Polycom’s multipoint conferencing systems provide for audio or video conferencing or integrated audio, video, and web conferencing over any network. In other words, users can participate in a conference session using a telephone (if voice communication will serve their needs) or using a network attached computer and a camera to include visual communication.

Enhancements to Polycom’s video conferencing and collaboration solutions include the industry’s first video system and multipoint control unit support for H.264*, a new video technology that delivers improved video quality over lower bandwidths. A multipoint control unit is basically the bridge that connects and manages all of the different voice and video components of the conferencing system (the multiple points of communication). Polycom also introduced the ViewStation EX video conferencing system and the Executive Collection, which are four new integrated video systems available in installed-room and free-standing designs.

Polycom also announced a new multipoint conferencing system and improvements to its complete line of MGC multipoint control units. The new product, called the MGC-25, includes full-featured audio and video multipoint control unit and gateway capabilities. Polycom has added unified conferencing functionality to its entire MGC product line that will create a single platform to let users combine audio, video, and web conferencing in a single meeting over any type of network. Unified conferencing allows a variety of different types of users, including those on cell phones, IP phones and those directly connected to the conferencing system over the Internet or a corporate Intranet to participate in the same conference session.

In addition, Polycom announced the SoundStation VTX 1000 wideband conference phone, which delivers high-fidelity voice conferencing through normal analog telephone lines. Other announcements include the Polycom Conference Suite scheduling and management system and a new service and support program. 

Despite the sheer number of Polycom announcements last month, rest assured that further developments are forthcoming. 

“We will announce more products later in the year,” Macedo says. “The R&D teams have been told to come up with many more features that we want to deliver. We’ll continue to come up with new products or new enhancements to the products.” 

In Polycom’s case, enhancing its product line means enhancing our ability to communicate, which is a powerful tool for any type of business.

       Polycom's MGC line allows users
       to combine audio, video, and web
       conferencing in a single meeting.


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