Polycom's UC app for Samsung's Galaxy Tab is one of several steps Polycom is making to expand the reach of its UC solutions through partnerships.
Polycom officials, in their increasing competition with
Cisco Systems in the unified communications space, are relying partners to
expand the reach of their technology.
Polycom on Nov. 8 announced that Samsung will embed
Polycom's standards-based video applications on to its upcoming Galaxy Tab
tablet PC, a move officials said will benefit corporations and consumers alike.
In addition, Polycom is expanding its partnership with BroadSoft to offer
service providers a BroadCloud Video-enabled UC cloud offering that they in
turn can offer to their business customers.
Company officials also announced that they will better
address the consumer, mobile and SMB markets by creating technology based on
the H.264 SVC (Scalable Video Coding) standard for current and future
The latest offerings illustrate Polycom's commitment to both
working closely with partners in pushing solutions onto the market and in
leveraging industry standards, according to company Chief Technology and
Strategy Officer Joe Burton.
"It's a heterogeneous, diverse world," Burton said in an
interview with eWEEK.
Enterprises have already invested a lot of money into their
current communications infrastructures, he said. What they don't want to do is
be asked to tear up what they already have to install new products. Instead,
they want their new solutions to work with what's already in place, whether
that's from Polycom or another vendor, he said. Interoperability is important.
For Polycom, the key is to have its solutions support such standards as H.264
and H.323 for audio-visual communications, Burton said.
Increasing interoperability within the UC space has been a
key issue for vendors. In May, Polycom joined a number of other vendors,
including Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Juniper Networks to create the UCIF
(Unified Communications Interoperability Forum) (/c/a/VOIP-and-Telephony/Microsoft-Polycom-HP-Create-UC-Interoperability-Group-761403/
a group aimed at creating interoperability between vendor solutions using
currently existing standards.
That announcement came five months after Cisco unveiled its
TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) (/c/a/VOIP-and-Telephony/Cisco-Looks-to-Expand-TelePresence-with-Protocol-New-Apps-540055/
a proposed standard for interoperability between telepresence and video
communications systems. Cisco expect TIP-which has gotten the support of
Radivision, among others-to become an industry standard. However, Polycom
officials said they are wary of any protocol effort that is being directed by
such a large vendor like Cisco.
Polycom will make H.264 SVC available to a wide range of
companies, including Avaya, HP and Microsoft, for free in hopes of expanding
the support for the standard, a move that will make video communications more
freely available now only to enterprises, but also SMBs and consumers. Burton
said he envisions the H.264 standard helping bring a host of new
devices-including consumer electronics like televisions and gaming consoles-to
Polycom will eventually support other protocols, including
TIP and Jingle, the company said.
Microsoft is among the first companies to sign up to adopt
Polycom's H.264 products, with the initial focus on desktop video
In addition, Polycom and Samsung announced that Polycom will
develop video communications apps for the Android-based Galaxy Tab tablet PC,
due out later this year. Burton said the Galaxy Tab will be the first of a
growing number of Android-based mobile devices that will get Polycom apps,
which will enable users to participate in video communications on their
devices. Polycom also plans to get its apps onto mobile devices running Microsoft's
Windows Phone 7 as well as Apple products.
"You start to get the real ... effect of communications
anywhere," he said.
The Samsung deal falls in line with Polycom's overall
strategy, according to Sudhakar Ramakrishna, general manager of the company's UC
products and chief development officer.
"Polycom's differentiated strategy is to deliver innovative
UC solutions on partners' mobile platforms, as opposed to creating proprietary
systems," Ramakrishna said in a statement.
Company officials see a great opportunity to get their
products onto mobile devices. According to IDC, tablet shipments will grow from
7.6 million units this year to more than 46 million units in 2014. In addition,
annual smartphone shipments now exceed 1 billion a year.
Polycom's expanded partnership with BroadSoft is designed to
give service providers cloud-based business-to-business telepresence and
high-definition voice solutions to offer their customers. It combines
BroadSoft's recently announced BroadCloud Video hosted services and Polycom's
HDX telepresence systems and VVX 1500 business media phones.
BroadSoft and Polycom already partner on a hosted telephony
system that includes BroadSoft's BroadWorks telephony platform and Polycom's HD
Voice desktop and conference phones. The new offering brings video into the
mix, Burton said.
The hosted UC space is an important one to Polycom and its
competitors. Wainhouse Research expects the market to grow to $6 billion by