Polycom Focus on User Experience

Following their recent acquisition of Obihai Technology Comms Business Magazine talks to Glynn Jones, Vice President, Channels and Advanced Technology Group, EMEA at Polycom about significant events in 2017 and what the future hold for the company.

What were Polycom’s major highlights of 2017?
2017 was a good year for Polycom. Our new CEO, Mary McDowell, inspired us through the transition from a public to private company, and we saw great results as we closed the year. For me, the highlights were around our ecosystem approach, including the new partnerships with Zoom and BlueJeans . Looking at competitors as partners opens a new world of opportunities for Polycom, and it ensures we continue to deliver the best possible experience to our customers. We strengthened our alliance with Microsoft, and developed the Microsoft Skype Room (MSR) solution, as well as the partnerships that enable us to take this to market. We also launched new products such as Polycom Pano and the new RealPresence Trio 8800, and developed new entry-level products such as Polycom VoxBox; which expands the addressable market for conference phones. Our latest technology RealPresence Medialign continued to thrive and has been very well received.

How will the acquisition of Obihai Technology affect your channel offerings?
The acquisition of Obihai will significantly expand our reach in the VoIP market, and cater to businesses of all sizes, including SMBs.

Obihai brings great expertise that will allow us to expand our voice offering, particularly around SIP. This gives the channel new and exciting solutions to work with as we incorporate and develop Obihai’s technology into ours.

How will the acquisition impact Polycom’s market position?
With the strategic addition of Obihai’s best-in-class software and talented development team, we know that Polycom will continue excelling in the global voice market. Obihai’s technology and expertise will allow us to expand our portfolio to include new and complementary technologies for the service providers. The team of software developers from Obihai will improve our agility and allow us to continue to tackle the SIP market from our position of strength.

What will the next generation of video, audio and content sharing look like?
We expect that most developments will be made around the user experience. For boosting business productivity, UC vendors need to make sure that user workflows are adapted to agile ways of working. Collaboration solutions are, and will continue to evolve further to feel like a natural extension of the work experience. New developments such as voice-activated technology are a part of the trend nowadays and it promotes no-touch experiences. Extending this into the video conferencing technology, for example, will help people interact with each other, share content, discuss, and brainstorm without worrying about what remote control to use or what button to press each time. We demonstrated just that with Amazon’s Alexa for Business recently.

How critical (important) is human-2-human communications when compared to M-2-M comms?
Human-to-human communications is the reason we do what we do. People need to be able to talk to each other, see each other and share their work with each other. It is the reason Polycom, and any UC vendor, exists. Before we even knew that machines would need to communicate with other machines, people were already talking to each other. It is important that our devices work in sync, and M-2-M communication is important for that – but at the end of the day, what really matters is the people. If two machines can communicate perfectly, but the people using them struggle to hear each other, their conference call is a failure.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine