Polycom is bringing Microsoft's Lync unified-communications platform from the desktop to a full conference room telepresence system.
Polycom officials at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles July 11 introduced the CX7000 Unified Collaboration System, a telepresence solution that offers Microsoft Lync built in. With the tight integration, Lync users will get the same UC experience they have on their desktops-including presence, instant messaging, online meetings and content collaboration-on Polycom's room-based video-collaboration product. They also get a familiar user interface, according to Polycom and Microsoft officials.
With tight integration between the Polycom and Microsoft solutions, customers get an intuitive interface, simplified UC experience and more seamless telepresence. The solution offers all the Lync features customers want (such as presence, instant messaging, online meetings and content collaboration) with Polycom's industry-leading room video-collaboration solutions in a single plug-and-play system. Polycom has raised the bar for UC with Lync through real-time, group document collaboration over video, which no other standard-based system enables today.
"The power of UC is to eliminate barriers to teamwork and bring people face-to-face," Andrew Miller, president and CEO of Polycom, said in a statement. "The new Polycom CX7000 room telepresence solution, custom-built to integrate with Microsoft Lync, takes the seamless, highly intuitive experience to a new level by enabling customers to connect and collaborate how, when and where they want."
Miller promised more joint UC offerings in the future. Polycom and Microsoft in August 2010 announced a partnership to jointly develop and market integrated UC solutions that include endpoints from Polycom and Microsoft communications technology.
Along with the CX7000-which had been code named "Rally" and will be available in the fourth quarter-Polycom also offers other CX endpoints that interoperate with Lync, including the Polycom UC Intelligent Core infrastructure, other telepresence offerings and voice endpoints. Polycom engineers are working to ensure that company devices, including the CX7000, will interoperate with Microsoft's Office 365 cloud-computing offering through Lync Online.
At the show, Polycom will demonstrate a number of other technologies that interoperate with Microsoft offerings, including the Kirk Wireless Solutions products, SpectraLink 8400 Series of wireless telephones, Polycom's Video Management Systems and the Open Telepresence Experience 100 solution.
The Microsoft alliance was the latest in a string of partnerships, including deals last year with Hewlett-Packard and Avaya.
Polycom has emerged as the top challenger to Cisco Systems in the highly competitive video-collaboration space. Cisco bolstered its business last year when it bought rival Tandberg. Polycom has since expanded its offerings, announcing last month that it was buying HP's visual-communications portfolio, including the Halo telepresence products.
For its part, Microsoft also has aggressively partnered with other video-communications vendors, including LifeSize Communications.
"The custom-built Polycom CX7000 system has been specifically designed for full integration with Lync," Kirk Gregersen, senior director of Lync for Microsoft, said in a statement. "It offers a compelling and intuitive collaboration experience that bridges UC and enables businesses to be more productive."