Polycom Promotes Unified Collaboration in Business

Polycom is promoting the adoption of unified collaboration among businesses by introducing industry standard H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) to current and future products.

The firm will make SVC available to companies such as HP, IBM and Avaya at no cost to broaden the use of the technology.

"We want to make unified collaboration ubiquitous across enterprises, SMEs, the public sector and consumers," said Polycom chief executive Andrew Miller.

"This technology has the capability to power video on systems ranging from immersive telepresence to desktop telepresence to mobile devices and game consoles in the home."

Microsoft will offer interoperability with the standard in its desktop products, as the first of a series partnerships with Polycom.

"Microsoft will be able to offer millions of desktop users the ability to connect intra-company and across companies with this technology," said Polycom chief technology officer Joe Burton.

"Microsoft is a critical element of our success and our customers' success, so our approach to SVC is to provide a technology that all our open collaboration network partners can work on."

Polycom envisions telepresence in the home becoming a major growth area as the capabilities of consumer devices develop.

"The power of consumer devices could leverage the SVC technology to give business the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with consumers in the home," he added.

Henry Dewing, an analyst at Forrester Research, believes that it makes sense for Microsoft to support SVC.

"Microsoft has always been a proponent of using encoding technology to optimise the use of network resources," he said.

"Its solutions must run across multiple heterogeneous networks meaning it cannot count on network-based services to deliver consistent bandwidth utilisation optimisation, so its support of SVC is not surprising."

Dewing added that details on the agreement are not clear, but that the companies will jointly push the ability for firms to interoperate as part of the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum.

Polycom also announced that its unified collaboration offerings will be made available on the Samsung Galaxy Tab as part of a strategy to broaden its mobile offerings for other platforms.

"We plan to develop real-time telepresence and content sharing for several mobile devices, including Apple, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7 and Android, and the Galaxy Tab is the first product we are announcing," Miller added.

Dewing believes that Polycom's mobility initiatives will be important as " mobility and video become a standard part of unified collaboration deployments around the world".

"Specific capabilities, like clearer communications from video, or the ability to seamlessly communicate while out of the office, are being demanded by business unit buyers to deliver better results or improve customer satisfaction, " he said.

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