Avaya, Polycom Partner on Desktop Video Conferencing

Companies plan to launch new products by the middle of 2004 that ease the use of video communications from PCs and, eventually, phones.

Telephony vendor Avaya Inc. and conferencing vendor Polycom Inc. are working to jointly develop by the middle of next year new products that make videoconferencing as easy as a click of a mouse on a PC.

The companies announced on Monday that the collaboration will focus on combining IP telephony and video communications for enterprises that are moving toward an IP infrastructure for voice, data and video.

The first jointly developed products will integrate Polycoms video capabilities with Avayas soft phone application so that users can initiate both phone and video calls from a PC or laptop, the companies said.

Future plans include adding support for video to Avayas desktop IP telephones so that with the press of a button, video can be added to a phone call, and typical telephony features such as holding, forwarding or transferring can be used with a video call.

The companies said they are trying to capitalize on a growing interest in desktop video conferencing, a market that remains nascent for now, and market the products for use on business PCs and in conference rooms.

"Video communication and collaboration technologies have the power to revolutionize workplace productivity in the same way voice mail, e-mail and Internet commerce have done," said Polycom President and CEO Bob Hagerty in a prepared statement.

The collaboration will bring together parts of Avayas MultiAdvantage Communications Applications Suite, including its IP telephony software, with Polycoms ViaVideo desktop video conferencing products, group video systems, MGC unified conferencing bridges and voice terminals.