Polycom Adds Scanners to SpectraLink Handsets
Solution providers selling into the healthcare and retail verticals may see some real opportunities in two new handsets from Polycom. The UC and telepresence vendor’s 2007 acquisition of SpectraLink gave it a stable of robust cordless and Wi-Fi handsets, and Polycom has since added to the lineup with new models that address specific needs. The latest two models fit nicely into the retail and healthcare verticals – one for its design as a constant-use phone and the other for its integrated barcode reader.
The SpectraLink 8400 series features voice and data over wi-fi capabilities, enabling companies to leverage existing networks and provide employees with real-time connectivity for data applications. The Polycom SpectraLink 8440 is designed to deliver the mobile voice and application access needed in 24-hour environments through easy-to-switch battery packs, while the SpectraLink 8450 features an integrated barcode reader, enabling voice, data application and data capture from one device.
The handsets work with 802.11n and legacy flavors of wi-fi, enabling robust yet reliable voice and data capabilities over the corporate network and extending the mobility capabilities of workers. It features an XML-based application platform for out-of-the-box access to enterprise productivity applications, and can integrate with Microsoft Office Communications Server to provide instant messaging and presence capabilities.
For solution providers, the handsets fit a niche that regular handsets or even smartphones can’t, said Ben Guderian, vice president of wireless solutions at Polycom. The scanner on the 8450, for example, is industrial grade and built for constant and heavy use. “Barcoding is becoming very critical in healthcare with electronic medical records and medication administration, and scanners are available on smart phones, but it can take a while for a smart phone to power up, and that wouldn’t cut it in healthcare.” Plus, he said, healthcare workers need something that can read barcodes that may not be flat, such as on wristbands – something smartphone scanners are incapable of doing.
Retail environments – and, indeed, any environment that does a lot of barcode scanning – would also be a good fit for these handsets. Best of all, they integrate with most industry access points and PBXes, so companies don’t have to perform a full-scale rip and replace to use the technology. “It’s a compelling ROI in that it doesn’t cost a lot to put these in but they improve the way people do business,” Guderian said.
While the handsets won’t be available until the second quarter of 2011, Polycom hopes solution providers will start priming the pump with their customers. “We made this early announcement to hit the sales cycles right and get the ecosystem in place, as well as ready our channel,” Guderian said.