Polycom Buys Video Collaboration Software-Maker ViVu

Polycom is expanding its software capabilities by buying ViVu, whose software will enable Polycom to embed HD video into Web-based applications.

Polycom officials are continuing the aggressive expansion of their video collaboration portfolio, grabbing ViVu, whose software will make it easier for Polycom to embed high-definition video into Web-based applications.

Financial details of the deal, which closed Oct. 14 and was announced Oct. 17, were not disclosed.

The ViVu acquisition is the latest step in Polycom's new software strategy, announced Sept. 14, which is aimed at enabling people to more easily use video collaboration as the primary way they communicate, regardless of network, carrier, protocol, application or device. Polycom will integrate ViVu's technology in the RealPresence Platform, its software infrastructure for video communication.

Polycom will be able to leverage ViVu's technology in a wide range of industries, according to Sudhakar Ramakrishna, executive vice president and general manager of unified communications (UC) solutions and chief development officer for Polycom.

"ViVu is a compelling acquisition for Polycom as their technology provides a scalable architecture to quickly deploy rich video collaboration for a range of Web-based applications for social, business and industry-specific applications, such as those for healthcare, finance and customer service," Ramakrishna said in a statement.

ViVu was among a number of smaller video collaboration vendors that saw the value more in software than hardware. With its software, users can instantly communicate over video in any Web-based application, regarding of the device in use. Polycom officials noted a wide range of possible applications, from customer service to health care to finance.

Polycom officials say they also intend to use ViVu's technology for embedding video collaboration into social business applications.

The video collaboration market is becoming increasingly competitive as businesses look for ways to leverage the technology to not only reduce costs by cutting such expenses as travel, but also to improve employee productivity and to enable greater communication with a workforce that is growing more mobile. In an Oct. 13 report, market research firm Infonetics Research said the market will continue to grow through the next few years, at least.

"For the first six months of 2011, enterprise telepresence and video conferencing equipment revenue is up 24 percent year-over-year, and we expect strong double-digit growth in 2011 over 2010," Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics, said in a statement. "Growth will stay in double-digit territory through at least 2015, thanks to demographic and communication trends favoring video, increasing acceptance of video among users, and specific use cases like tele-learning and tele-medicine."

Cisco Systems has been the top vendor in the space, and grew its capabilities last year when it bought rival Tandberg. Polycom grew its capabilities this summer when it announced it was buying Hewlett-Packard's visual communications technology, including its Halo telepresence technology. In March, Polycom also bought Accordent Technologies, which made video content delivery and management solutions. Logitech's LifeSize Communications also is a factor in the space.

A host of other vendors-such as Vidyo, Radvision and ShoreTel-also are making plays in the video collaboration market as software plays.

Many of these companies also are looking to expand their video collaboration capabilities to mobile devices, particularly tablets. For its part, Polycom on Oct. 11 announced RealPresence Mobile, HD video software that initially will run on Apple's iPad 2, as well as the Motorola's Xoom and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets-both based on Google's Android mobile operating system. The software will be available via apps in the Apple App Store and Android Market.