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Polycom, Alcatel-Lucent Partner on UC

Polycom is making its VVX business media phones interoperable with Alcatel-Lucent's Rapport for Business cloud UC platform.

Polycom partners with Alcatel-Lucent

About two weeks, Polycom rounded out its lineup of VVX business media phones with the introduction of two new devices aimed at the entry-level market. Now the company is teaming up with Alcatel-Lucent to make them available as part of a larger open communications platform.

Polycom and Alcatel-Lucent on Aug. 4 announced a partnership in which Polycom's VVX phones interoperate with Alcatel-Lucent's Rapport for Enterprise software-based collaboration solution, which the company unveiled in April.

The alliance means that enterprises can shed their legacy PBX phones for newer devices that use Polycom's UC (Unified Communications) Software and are based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), according to officials with both companies. They also let customers take advantage of the trend toward software- and cloud-based collaboration.

The VVX phones already integrate with open SIP voice platforms from the likes of Broadsoft, Genband, Metaswitch, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence and, now, Alcatel-Lucent's Rapport for Enterprise, as well as Microsoft's Lync/Skype for Business, according to Glynn Jones, vice president of channels in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the Advanced Technology Group for Polycom. In a post on the company blog, Jones also noted the growth of cloud-based communications.

"The majority of issues such as security and reliability, which once hampered cloud adoption, have been or are being addressed and service providers of all types have broadened their VOIP [voice-over-IP] application capabilities and expanded their overall portfolios," he wrote.

Jones pointed to reports from Transparency Market Research that are predicting that the worldwide VoIP services market will grow 9.7 percent a year between 2014 and 2020 to $136.76 billion by the end of the decade. The global subscriber base for VoIP services will hit 348.5 million by 2020.

Alcatel-Lucent, which is in the process of being bought by Nokia Networks for $16.6 billion, rolled out Rapport for Enterprise less than a year after selling the bulk of its enterprise business—including its PBX unit—to Chinese investment company China Huaxin. The company's UC platform is aimed at private cloud environments, enabling voice, chat and video conferencing services on a single platform for an array of applications, Websites and connected devices. Alcatel-Lucent officials have said businesses can save as much as 50 percent on the cost of their communications infrastructures using Rapport for Enterprise.

"The combination of Alcatel-Lucent Rapport for Enterprise and Polycom's broad portfolio of open SIP devices creates a powerful alternative for large enterprises who are struggling to make their business communications more agile," Fran Heeran, senior vice president of Alcatel-Lucent's Communications and Collaboration Business Unit, said in a statement.