Polycom Drives Down Telepresence Bandwidth Costs with OTX 300

Polycom continues to grow its telepresence offerings in the face of growing competition from the likes of Cisco and LifeSize, most recently with the unveiling of its OTX 300 system. OTX is designed to offer full telepresence capabilities while using half the network bandwidth as competing products.

Polycom officials are continuing to position themselves as a lower-cost video conferencing alternative to Cisco Systems, announcing June 7 a telepresence solution that offers the same capabilities while using half the network bandwidth.

Polycom announced its OTX (Open Telepresence Experience) 300, which brings full video collaboration capabilities-including 1080p video-using half the bandwidth of comparable systems from competitors, according to company officials. That helps drive down the total cost of ownership, they said.

Polycom will demonstrate the OTX 300 at the InfoComm 2010 Conference and Expo in Las Vegas June 9-11.

The OTX 300 comes as competition in the telepresence space continues to grow. Cisco has bulked up its portfolio with the recent $3.4 billion acquisition of rival Tandberg, and Logitech has jumped into the mix with its $405 million purchase of LifeSize Communications. Meanwhile, vendors like Radvision and Vidyo continue to grow their offerings.

Cisco officials say the global telepresence market could grow to $10 billion over the next few years.

For Polycom, a key to driving down bandwidth usage is its implementation of H.2.64 High Profile, a new standards-based video compression technology that company officials say is only offered currently through Polycom products. The H.264 High Profile technology means that businesses can run a full-featured immersive telepresence system that lowers the cost of network bandwidth and doesn't require costly upgrades to the network.

"We estimate a mid-sized enterprise will spend up to $2.1 [million] less in the first year of a typical Polycom telepresence deployment-including equipment, bandwidth, services and maintenance-versus a comparable deployment from Cisco," Polycom President and CEO Andrew Miller said in a statement.

Demand for video collaboration technologies, including telepresence, is increasing as businesses look for ways to improve productivity, grow collaboration between employees as well as with partners and customers, and drive down travel costs.

Video in collaboration environments is still gaining steam in businesses, but analysts expect the demand to steadily increase. Issues such as video quality are being resolved, according to Roopam Jain, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan.

"However, biggest challenge is around bandwidth availability which needs to ease up and the networks have to become more video ready," Jain said in an email to eWEEK. "Network management aspect is an area where we expect to see considerable developments which will enable wide scale desktop video deployments."

Along with the use of the H.264 High Profile standard, the OTX 300 also offers tight integration with other UC (unified communications) platforms through the Polycom Open Collaboration Network. The OTX 300, which will begin shipping in the third quarter, will support integration with Microsoft Office Communications Server R2, Exchange and Outlook.

Polycom also is looking to drive down the cost of the room experience, with front and modular rear walls, a new light package and improved acoustics and visuals, according to officials.