The industry is fairly buzzing over the announcements last week from Carousel Industry’s partner Polycom of a slew of new and enhanced video products, and with good reason. Polycom’s announcements are another step toward improving the quality and ubiquity of video, all the while making it easier to use.
Polycom Extends the Reach of Enterprise Video
First up is the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS suite, an extension that lets RealPresence customers extend enterprise video collaboration sessions to users who are employing video tools such as Skype, Facebook and GoogleTalk. As ZDNet reports:
Essentially, RealPresence CloudAXIS brings contacts from the user’s video presence-based apps into a global directory. From there, participants’ contact files can be dragged and dropped into a Polycom video collaboration session so that anyone inside or outside of the organization can securely join the conference from a browser window without having to install additional software.
That browser part is important – it means the remote users doesn’t need any special software to participate in the video conference, just a simple plug-in. Yet it’s still a secure session. Pretty cool.
Polycom Adopts Standards-based SVC Technology in RealPresence
Polycom also announced it is adopting the open, standards-based Scalable Video Coding (SVC) in RealPresence, which will foster greater interoperability with various video-capable devices – a crucial development in the BYOD era. Jim Kruger, senior vice president of Global Solutions Marketing at Polycom, explained it this way to The Var Guy:
“This is different than anything else on the market because ours is open standards — it’s free and natively interoperable with open standards technology. Plus, users get three times the call capacity with their existing software,” Kruger said. “That means they can support up to three times more endpoints without having to buy an upgrade to the system.”
Coinciding with the SVC announcement, Polycom announced a software-based multipoint control unit (MCU) that runs on industry standard x86 servers. The Collaboration Server 800s, Virtual Edition is great for mid-sized enterprises because, being software-based, it offers a much lower total cost of ownership. As Computerworld explains:
Traditional MCUs are appliances with large numbers of DSPs (digital signal processors) to convert the video. Software-based MCUs can run on standard x86 servers and be moved around in virtualized environments, [said Rick] Levenson [Polycom's group vice president of Unified Communications Endpoints].
Moving away from expensive, dedicated MCUs should help enterprises and service providers to scale up their videoconferencing systems more efficiently, [said Ira] Weinstein [an analyst at Wainhouse Research]. “This thing is chewing on video all day long, for every participant,” Weinstein said.
Polycom Improves, Unifies User Interface
Polycom also announced user interface improvements throughout its product line. Part of the idea is to make the UI consistent no matter what client device a user may be employing. That’s a nod to the need for simplicity in video solutions, and should be a welcome development for folks who may be at their desk one day but on the road the next.
Those are just some of the highlights of the Polycom announcement, which the company is calling the biggest in its history. Check out the whole story here or check out the webcast from the announcement here.