Polycom Expands UC ‘Intelligent Core’ Lineup

Charlene O'Hanlon

August 2, 2010

3 Min Read
Polycom Expands UC ‘Intelligent Core’ Lineup

Polycom has released a new conference bridge and added functionality to its conferencing load balancer product – both elements of its ‘Intelligent Core’ for unified communications – in its ongoing effort to become the cream of the UC crop. Here’s the update.

The UC vendor introduced its latest RMX conference bridge, the RMX 1500, designed for environments that need a smaller conferencing solution than Polycom’s RMX 2000, previously its smallest bridge. The RMX 1500 can handle up to 30 HDTV video calls or 360 audio calls, compared with 60 HDTV or 720 audio calls with the RMX 2000.

All the RMX bridges now support the new H.264 High Profile standard, which provides high resolution at half the bandwidth, said Laura Shay, director of Group Product Marketing at Polycom. “This is beneficial for those who need to call at low data rates – with this new standard we can do very good video quality all the way down to 128 kbps,” she said.

Additionally, the bridges support Symmetric 1080p, which gives a videoconference user a 1080p viewing experience no matter how many other recipients are on the call. For example, Shay said, if six users are on a call and the screen looks like the set of Hollywood Squares (or The Brady Bunch, depending on your childhood), each square will have a resolution of 180p, with all the squares adding up to equal 1080p. Conversely, if only two people are on a conference call and both are visible on the screen, each square will equal 540p.

Polycom has also expanded the functionality of its DMA load balancer product, which manages all bridges on a company’s network and provides failover from one bridge to another in the event of failure or overload. The latest release includes support for the Tandberg Codian 4500, enabling users to have a mixed conference environment.

“We had a lot of customer requests for this support,” Shay said.  “They have invested thousands of dollars in their conferencing equipment and want to make sure they get the most from their investment.”

The support also provides an easy migration path for current Cisco/Tandberg users to migrate into a full Polycom UC environment later on, the company noted, with the added benefit of cost-savings through network flexibility, scalability and redundancy.

Vision Quest

Polycom is on a quest to become the leader in the unified communications space, and with every update hopes to pressure Cisco/Tandberg just a little more. Its Open Collaboration Network was the first salvo fired; subsequent partnership agreements with technology leaders including Microsoft, IBM, Avaya, HP, Siemens, Juniper and BroadSoft to integrate UC elements into the OCN have been an ongoing and steady stream of fire designed to put a major dent in Cisco’s armor.

The market seems to be noticing; Polycom’s second quarter 2010 net revenues were a record $295 million, compared to $231 million for the second quarter of 2009, an achievement which company president Andrew Miller attributed solely to its collaboration strategy.

“We generated record revenues and growth accelerated in the second quarter, which I believe validates Polycom’s strategic investments and confirms that our go-to-market strategy and innovative solutions are aligned with our customers and partners,” Miller said during the earnings announcement.

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