Carousel has long been a partner with Polycom, implementing its audio and videoconferencing systems for our customers. So it was gratifying to be recognized as System Integrator of the Year in North America at Polycom’s TEAM Polycom Partner Awards in Orlando earlier this month. Carousel has also been named a Platinum Level Polycom Choice Partner, a designation that shows we’ve made the investments in technical expertise and go-to-market capabilities required to address the complex needs of today’s UC customers.
Dan Hofferty, Carousel’s national sales director for visual communications, is at the front lines of some of the most exciting work we’re doing with Polycom – meaning enterprise video solutions. Fresh from the TEAM Polycom event and the new partner designation, we thought this would be a good time to catch up with Hofferty to get his thoughts on the most important trends he’s seeing in the video communications space.
Video is Coming to a Tablet Near You
“Mobility is still a big piece of the video puzzle,” Hofferty says, and in one area in particular: tablets. He calls it the “bring your own tablet” movement, with more and more end users looking to do video on their tablets. Video system makers like Polycom are planning for it but it requires more than simply a client for the tablet, Hofferty says.
“If users are outside the corporate network, how does that affect their ability to call into the conference room inside the corporate network?” he says. “There’s some planning involved there.”
Specifically, you need some sort of gatekeeper registration system, like the Polycom Converged Management Application (CMA), which provides a simple dialing plan, among other features. You also need firewall traversals built in, so users can dial in from wherever they may be so long as they’re registered with the gatekeeper.
Adding Video to Unified Communications
“You’ve got users on Microsoft Lync, IBM Sametime and the like so you need the ability to integrate those and be able to do video calls from different platforms,” he says. “And you need to provide a consistent user experience among all the platforms, so you don’t have to worry about what device the user is on, which presence system they’re using and so on.”
Managed Services Offer Help for Integrating Video
Given all the rapid change taking place, managed services are playing a large role in helping customers keep up, Hofferty says. “It’s something companies are looking for, having integrators help them manage and monitor their equipment, and provide them metrics on uptime, packet loss, latency and jitter,” he says. “More and more companies are relying on experts to monitor the equipment so if the settings on a device change or a projector has a lamp light that’s starting to fade, it never becomes an issue that negatively impacts the business.”
Such managed services provide a proactive approach to maintenance, he says. Integrators can also offer some hand-holding if required. If someone walks into a video conferencing room but doesn’t know how to use the equipment, there’s a number to call for help, like a video concierge service.
“Video is expanding so rapidly, and it has finally reached a tipping point in the enterprise. Business people literally want video at their fingertips,” Hofferty says, noting Polycom recently released a client for the iPhone 4S. “And it has to be as easy as making a cell phone call.”
If you need help getting your video house in order, you can’t do much better than contacting http://www.carouselindustries.com/contact”>Polycom’s System Integrator of the Year: Carousel.