Polycom is stepping up its competition with Cisco in the video collaboration space by buying HP's telepresence business, growing its partnerships with HP and Microsoft, and joining an interoperability consortium.
Polycom is buying Hewlett-Packard's video collaboration business and
expanding its partnership with Microsoft as it looks to bolster its competition
with Cisco Systems in the fast-growing visual communications market.
moves, announced June 1, came at the same time that Polycom officials said they
were partnering with a wide range of service providers-including AT&T, BT
Conferencing, Global Crossing, Orange Business Services and Verizon-to create a
consortium designed enable interoperability and connectivity across service
provider networks. The goal of the OVCC (Open Visual Communications Consortium)
is to enable greater business-to-business communication via telepresence and
video collaboration technologies through disparate devices and over various
a Webcast news conference, Polycom CEO Andrew Miller said Polycom's goal is to
meet the demand coming from business customers for better video collaboration
tools, open networks and greater and easier video collaboration with their
partners. For Polycom, the moves will quickly broaden its set of offerings and
its potential customer base, and grow the company's ever-expanding list of
partners, which executives said is a key differentiator as it competes with other
vendors in general and Cisco in particular.
clearly has Cisco in mind as it builds its video strategy," Forrester Research
analyst Henry Dewing wrote in a blog
. "It plans to compete with Cisco by offering a broad, more open set of
capabilities that even encompass interoperability with Cisco's own Telepresence
Interoperability Protocol (TIP). With HP, Juniper, Microsoft, and others as
partners, Polycom has aligned a remarkable cross-section of vendors to deliver
open, cost-effective video (and broader unified communications) solutions that
enable multivendor, cross-carrier, intercompany communications. Going toe-to-toe
with Cisco is a daunting challenge, but Polycom is ready to take it up."
the HP deal, Polycom is acquiring all of HP's visual communications business,
including its Halo telepresence products, as well as its managed services. In
addition, Polycom and HP are entering into a partnership where Polycom will be
HP's exclusive partner for telepresence and video collaboration products. The
two companies also agreed to put Polycom's video collaboration technology onto
HP's webOS mobile platform, which will include future smartphones and the
upcoming TouchPad tablet.
is that strategic relationship that is key to Polycom, according to Roopam
Jain, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan.
already owns all the technology components that HP's video conferencing
business brings to the table and probably in a much more robust way, so this is
clearly a potential customer acquisition and market growth move," Jain said in
an email to eWEEK. "That itself opens up immense opportunities for Polycom to
get access to HP's vast distribution channels and sales team to sell Polycom
gear to HP'S huge customer base. Considering that video conferencing despite
all the hype remains a significantly under-penetrated market, think of the all
the sales opportunities this could generate for Polycom among HP's current
customer base that's already investing in networking, storage and managed
Miller noted that HP's Halo products and managed services already touch 425
blue-chip customers in 36 countries. Shane Robison, executive vice president
and chief strategic and technology office at HP, said the company is excited
about the possibilities of Polycom technology on the webOS devices, which
should have later this year.
of these platforms [including tablets and smartphones] are new opportunities
for this joint venture," Robison said during the press conference.