Polycom, the video collaboration technology vendor that last year made a strategic shift toward a more software-centric approach, is taking what officials are calling the next key step by having its RealPresence Mobile application shipping preloaded on the new Motorola Droid Xyboard tablet.
Polycom officials said the RealPresence Mobile software will be demonstrated this week in the Motorola booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The demand for video collaboration technology continues to rise rapidly as businesses look for ways to reduce costs-including travel expenses-increase employee productivity and open up new ways to communicate with workers, partners and customers. Now, much of that effort is moving onto mobile devices, particularly, with the BYOD (bring your own device) trend at businesses.
At the CTIA show last year, Polycom and its competitors, including Cisco Systems, ShoreTel and Vidyo, took steps to make their unified communications and video collaboration technologies available on Apple and Google Android-based tablets and smartphones.
For its part, Polycom in October made its RealPresence software available as an application on Apple's iPad and Android-based tablets from Motorola and Samsung. Essentially, the application, which is available from the Apple App Store and Android Market, lets Polycom users communicate with any other standards-based video communication device. It supports up to 75,000 devices and 25,000 concurrent sessions, and can be used as an on-premises solution or accessed via the cloud. Mobile workers can participate in corporate high-definition videoconferences through their tablets with colleagues who are using everything from tablets to immersive video room systems.
Surendra Arora, vice president of business development for Polycom, said customers are continuously telling him and other company officials that they want to move in this direction.
"Almost every company we have sold into has said, -Let's do [mobile video communication] with either an Android tablet or an iPad," Arora said in an interview with eWEEK. "The customization of IT is upon us."
Users seem to be embracing it, he said. In just over two months, the RealPresence application has been downloaded more than 25,000 times.
Now Polycom's technology is a standard feature on the Xyboard, a 10.1 Android-based tablet from Motorola that went on sale Dec. 12. Becoming a standard feature on every Xyboard sold is further validation of Polycom's software strategy, Arora said. He also said it highlights a key differentiation between the directions Polycom and Cisco are traveling. Cisco offers a number of mobile video collaboration solutions for third-party systems makers, but also has invested in developing its own Android business tablet, the Cius.
Polycom, on the other hand, sells its own video collaboration hardware-and last year bought Hewlett-Packard's video communication products-for offices and conference rooms, but for the mobile world, has decided instead to focus solely on partnering with the likes of Apple, Motorola and Samsung, Arora said.
"Software is where we think we can create" clear differentiation from Cisco and others, he said. "Cisco's kind of looking at the same thing and acknowledging that this is the way to do it."
Polycom has ensured that its RealPresence technology can be easily used by workers on mobile devices, requiring nothing more than a user name and password, Arora said. "We want to make videoconferencing as easy as email," he said.