Tag Archives: Polycom

Polycom VVX series adds four new desk phones

Polycom has expanded its VoIP endpoint portfolio with the release of four new open SIP phones. The vendor also launched a new cloud-based device management service to help partners provision and troubleshoot Polycom devices.

The release builds upon the Polycom VVX series of IP desk phones. The more advanced models include color LCD displays and gigabit Ethernet ports, unlike any of the previous phones in the Polycom VVX series.

The VVX 150 is the most basic of the new devices. Designed for home offices or common areas, the VVX 150 supports two lines and does not have a USB port or a color display.

The VVX 250 is targeted at small and midsize businesses, with a 2.8-inch color LCD display, HD audio, one USB port and support for up to four lines.

The VVX 350 is for cubicle workers, call centers and small businesses. It has a 3.5-inch color LCD display, two USB ports and support for six lines.

The most advanced of the four new models, the VVX 450, can host 12 lines and comes with a 4.3-inch color LCD display. Polycom said the phones are meant for front-line staff in small and midsize businesses.

The new phones rely on the same unified communications software as the rest of the Polycom VVX series, which should simplify the certification process for service providers, Polycom said. 8×8, Nextiva and The Voice Factory were the first voice providers to certify the devices.

Unlike traditional propriety phones, open SIP phones can connect to the IP telephony services of a wide range of vendors. This simplifies interoperability for businesses that get UC services from multiple vendors.

Polycom embraces cloud to help sell hardware

Polycom has launched two new cloud services in an attempt to make its hardware more attractive to enterprises and service providers.

Polycom Device Management Service for Service Providers, released this week, gives partners a web-based application for managing Polycom devices. This should help service providers improve uptimes and enhance end-user control panels. Polycom launched a similar service for enterprises earlier this year.

Polycom’s new cloud offering aligns well with the cloud management platform for headsets offered by Plantronics, which acquired Polycom in a $2 billion deal that closed last month. Polycom first announced the cloud services in May, prior to the acquisition being made final.

Eventually, Plantronics may look to combine its cloud management platform with Polycom’s, allowing partners to control phones and headsets from the same application, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill. This would give Plantronics and Polycom an advantage over competitors such as Yealink and AudioCodes.

“The endpoint market is fairly competitive, so wrapping management capabilities around the devices is an attractive means to provide a differentiated offering,” Lazar said.

Polycom, Crestron expand Zoom room video conferencing partnerships

Polycom has expanded its partnership with Zoom by adding support for Zoom Rooms video conferencing to its Polycom Trio conferencing phones and camera technology. Polycom announced the expanded partnership last week at InfoComm 2018, an audiovisual trade show in Las Vegas.

The Zoom Rooms partnership is available in three bundles to support different conference room deployments. The huddle room bundle includes the Trio 8500, EagleEye Mini camera and Dell OptiPlex PC. The midsize conference room bundle includes the Trio 8500, EagleEye IV MPTZ camera for HD video and Dell OptiPlex. The large conference room bundle includes the Trio 8800, EagleEye IV MPTZ, Dell OptiPlex and advanced speakers for higher-quality audio. The bundles will be available in July.

Polycom also announced new capabilities for the Polycom Trio to support the high-end room video conferencing capabilities required in large meeting rooms and auditoriums, such as facial tracking and dual-monitor support. The new capabilities will be available in a July software update to Polycom Trio and Group Series codecs.

In July, Polycom will support guest access in its Pano wireless content-sharing system to allow users to connect and share content through guest Wi-Fi systems.

Crestron expands interactive whiteboard collaboration

Also at InfoComm, Crestron debuted AirBoard, a network whiteboard-capture device that allows local and remote users to see whiteboard content on a main conference display and on personal devices. AirBoard is a camera with an arm that attaches to any electronic whiteboard with a mounting kit.

An Ethernet cable connected to the LAN is required for video, power and a secure connection to the network and Crestron ecosystem. Users can capture and share content via Crestron touchscreens and integrated devices.

Content shared through the AirBoard can be saved and sent to a central webpage or to invited meeting participants. Remote participants can access whiteboard sessions like they would with Crestron AirMedia, a wireless presentation service.

Crestron has also expanded its Zoom partnership to its TSW Touch Screen line for audiovisual (AV) presentation, conferencing and collaboration in larger, integrated meeting spaces. The partnership integrates Zoom with the entire Crestron ecosystem of control, such as its DM NVX video encoder/decoder and AV framework.

ViewSonic debuts interactive whiteboards

ViewSonic Corp. announced at InfoComm two new models in its ViewBoard interactive whiteboard IFP60 series. The new ViewBoard interactive whiteboards offer 4K video resolution and annotation software. The new models come pre-installed with ViewSonic vBoard collaboration software and ViewBoard Cast functions. ViewBoard Cast allows mobile devices to share content to the flat panels.

The interactive whiteboards include advanced annotation tools and enterprise-level security with AES-256 encryption. They also offer single sign-on and sign-off, as well as cloud-based portability to store and retrieve files.

The new IFP6560 is a 65-inch display that will retail for $4,999. The IFP7560 is a 75-inch display that will retail for $7,999. Both of the flat-panel displays will be available in July.

The ViewBoard also integrates with Zoom room video conferencing using Zoom’s API platform. The integration with Zoom allows users to connect Zoom credentials to ViewBoard software, conference calls and document sharing with remote participants.

Polycom cloud service simplifies device management

Polycom has released a cloud service for provisioning, managing and monitoring its desk and conference room phones. The hardware vendor’s latest attempt to penetrate the cloud market comes a few months before its proposed acquisition by headset-maker Plantronics is set to close.

Polycom Device Management Services for Enterprises (PDMS-E) is a web-based application for controlling Polycom phones from a single user interface. It will let IT administrators manage the settings of individual phones — or every phone all at once. It also will provide analytics on call quality and connectivity issues. The product is now available in North America.

Next quarter, Polycom plans to expand the capabilities of PDMS-E to include Polycom video endpoints and, eventually, the video endpoints of Cisco, Avaya and Lifesize. The vendor will fold Polycom RealConnect — its platform for managing interoperability between its devices and Microsoft Skype for Business — into its new cloud offering.

Also in the third quarter, Polycom plans to release a version of PDMS for service providers, aiming to help those partners improve uptime and enhance their customer portals. The service provider offering will make use of technology and partnerships Polycom inherited from Obihai Technology, which it acquired in January.

“Polycom makes great phones,” said Ira Weinstein, managing partner of Recon Research Inc., based in Coral Springs, Fla. “But the important thing here is for Polycom to have greater value and a stronger footprint in the enterprise, they need to add more value.”

The Polycom cloud service will provide provisioning, management and analytics tools that many businesses aren’t getting from their service providers, Weinstein said. And Polycom can provide more insight than anyone into its own devices.

But Polycom will need to battle against its own public image. “I don’t think the typical person in our industry sees Polycom as a cloud service provider,” Weinstein said.

In announcing PDMS, company executives said they would not comment on the company’s impending acquisition by Plantronics — a $2 billion deal that is set to close in the third quarter of 2018. Polycom has continued to operate as an independent company as the acquisition closes, said Amy Barzdukas, the vendor’s chief marketing officer.

Polycom cloud service extends hardware-based strategy

Polycom decided years ago to make its phones and cameras compatible with the software of a wide range of service providers, rather than build its own calling or web conferencing service.

In a conference call with reporters and analysts this week, CEO Mary McDowell said the company’s longtime strategy had proven to be successful, saying revenue had grown last year for the first time in six years. The formerly public company struggled financially in the years preceding its 2016 acquisition by private equity firm Siris Capital Group LLC.

With the release of PDMS, Polycom is looking to gain a foothold in the cloud market without directly competing with the software vendors that power its hardware, such as Microsoft and Zoom, said Rob Arnold, analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

“It’s pretty much a follow-through on what they said they were going to do last year: focus on device and not infrastructure,” Arnold said. “This way, they are not competing with their partners, and they are staying focused on the hardware and the devices, as they had mentioned.”

As phones become more advanced, with built-in video conferencing capabilities and touchscreen apps, businesses need better monitoring and management tools for those endpoints, Arnold said.

Polycom plans to expand its cloud offerings to include meeting room features, such as automatic attendance rosters, facial recognition and natural language controls.