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September 15, 2011
Communications and collaboration company Polycom is eager to shed its reputation as a purely hardware vendor in favor of being a software-focused communications provider. To that end, the company has revamped and renamed its UC Intelligent Core product set and added to its partner ecosystem.
“This strategy release is around the direction Polycom is headed,” said Jim Kruger, senior vice president of solutions marketing at Polycom. “If you look at how people perceive us, they look at us as a hardware company. But what we’ve done over past year up to today, our direction has shifted quite a bit – the innovation and differentiation we’re driving in the marketplace is all software-oriented.”
To help get folks thinking more along the lines of that innovation and differentiation, Polycom has ditched the UC Intelligent Core moniker in favor of the new Real Presence Platform, which encompasses the components of the UC Intelligent Core as well as the technology Polycom acquired from its purchase of Accordent Technologies earlier in 2011.
“Or recent acquisitions including Accordent were pure software plays,” Kruger said. “As we move forward and look at areas like cloud, mobility and social networking, those are all software-oriented. With this announcement, we are utting our stake in the ground around our strategy.”
The name change, he said, is an effort to reposition the technology as a platform, which would get users and developers thinking more about it as something they can build upon. “It has a different connotation and we’re calling out where the value is in the platform, and that is in the software,” Kruger noted.
The Real Presence Platform includes the following technologies:
Universal Video Collaboration – provides multipoint bridging capabilities (also known as the RMX line)
Video Resource Management – provides IT managers and service providers the tools to provision deploy and manage video assets on their network (also known as CMA)
Virtualization Management – sold with Polycom’s communications bridges to virtualize bridge resources (also known as DMA)
Universal Access and Security – Polycom’s existing video border proxy that sits beyond the firewall and enables users to make calls out safely and securely
Video Content Management – the technology developed by Accordent Technologies
Additionally, the company announced a partnership with social business media provider Jive Software to include high-definition video into Jive’s offerings.
“We previously made similar announcements with Motorola and Samsung in mobility space, and we’ll be making more announcements at the CTIA show in October (2011) around embedding our technology into applications like social networking platforms,” Kruger said. “This partnership is a combination of natural progression and customer demand – if you look at social networking most of the communication is text-oriented, and so the whole idea of looking at it from a UC perspective – being able to make communication more efficient in applications using within the enterprise – is now growing.”
Polycom’s change in strategy is indicative of the maturation of the UCC market and its growing commitment to playing nice with others. Indeed, Polycom has gone to great lengths to ensure its technology integrates with the technology of other vendors and in June 2011 created the Open Visual Communications Consortium to promote open standards and cross-compatibility between platforms.
Now, having the world think of its UC technology as a platform, Polycom believes, will help the company and its channel partners break into new markets.
“This gives partners an opportunity to uplevel their messaging and upsell to the customers,” Kruger said. “They will have larger deals because the platform piece will drive higher-margin dollars. Customers have many different options with Polycom – because it’s not a rip-and-replace, it’s an interoperate, partners can have that ‘keep your existing infrastructure’ conversation with their customers. It helps bridge the gap between those two environments – it makes the sale easier and now the platform conversation broadens the opportunity.”
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