Polycom Offers Customizable Telepresence Solution

Polycom is unveiling its ATX 300 offering, designed to enable businesses to work with audiovisual integrators to create customized telepresence environments based on Polycom technology. Polycom officials say this differentiates ATX 300 from the turnkey solutions rivals like Cisco and Tandberg offer.

Polycom is making the telepresence experience for businesses customizable.

Polycom on Nov. 17 unveiled its ATX (Architected Telepresence Experience) 300 solution, which is designed to let businesses create a telepresence environment that fits their particular situation.

Joan Vandermate, vice president of marketing for video solutions for Polycom, said in an interview that the top telepresence vendors-her company, as well as Cisco Systems and Tandberg-currently offer turnkey high-end offerings, where businesses buy and deploy whatever is included in the package.

"We've seen that customers like the immersive [telepresence] experience, but sometime a turnkey solution doesn't fit with their environment," Vandermate said.

With Polycom's ATX 300 offering, businesses can work with audiovisual integrators to create a solution that better fits their needs. They can choose everything from the size of the screen and the lighting to the acoustics, furniture and d??«cor, Vandermate said.

In addition, enterprises can incorporate their own furniture and components as a way of reducing the overall cost of the telepresence solution, she said.

Customization can be useful in particular verticals or across enterprises, Vandermate said. For example, health care organizations can use the ATX 300 solution to create an interactive operating room setting, while educational institutions can use it to create interactive distance learning scenarios. Enterprises can use it to build their own R&D environments; manufacturing facilities can set it up for remote quality assurance uses.

Vandermate said Polycom has been working with various integrators for about a year helping to customize its telepresence technology on a per-case basis. Officials decided to incorporate that customization capability into a product.

Like its rivals, Polycom has seen a huge surge of interest in telepresence and other video collaboration technologies as businesses look for ways to reduce costs, including cutting their travel budgets.

Cisco officials believe video will be a key technology in the overall $34 billion collaboration space. Cisco is currently offering to buy Tandberg for $3.4 billion to bolster its video conferencing and telepresence capabilities.

Other vendors are looking for ways into the business. Logitech earlier in November announced that it is buying LifeSize Communications, another video conferencing company, for $405 million.