Polycom Talks Up New Collaboration Tools For Microsoft Lync


Polycom Tuesday extended its long-running partnership with Microsoft, unveiling a videoconference room system purpose-built for Microsoft's next-generation unified communications platform, Lync 2013.

The new Polycom Lync room system, which was launched at the Microsoft Lync 2013 conference taking place this week in San Diego, will complement Microsoft's latest UC platform with Polycom's video collaboration technology, allowing Lync 2013 users to leverage the technology natively on Polycom hardware, including table controllers, microphones and cameras.

Polycom said the room system also will build out the videoconferencing and collaboration capabilities of Lync 2013 with solutions for whiteboarding, application sharing and editing, and more.

[Related: Polycom Ignores Death Knell, Fights Back Against Cisco]

Ted Colton, group vice president at Polycom, said much of the Polycom hardware built to work with Microsoft Lync 2013, namely, its tabletop controllers and whiteboarding solutions, will be fully touch-enabled, underscoring Microsoft's own strategy around Windows 8 and touch.

"A big aspect of this is touch," Colton told CRN. "Microsoft has been pushing touch in a lot of their recent announcements, so these are touch-enabled environments. You have a touch panel to launch the meeting, and you actually have a touch whiteboard which you can collaborate on and share content."

Polycom also said that its latest HD video collaboration systems -- the Polycom RealPresence Group Series 300, 500 and 700 -- are now compatible with Lync 2013.

The Polycom-Microsoft partnership has been in place for more than a decade, anchored by more than 40 Polycom solutions optimized for the Lync platform. According to Polycom CEO Andy Miller, it's a long-standing partnership that has significantly benefited the Polycom channel.

"When I look at Microsoft and how it enhances what a traditional partner can offer, I think the difference is in what we call 'influence revenue.' The way Microsoft sells is very different than what a traditional Polycom partner is used to. It's a different go-to-market strategy, it's a process of sales through an enterprise licensing channel," Miller said in a recent interview with CRN.

"For our partners -- especially for the smaller partners that don't invest in Microsoft already -- the win rate of Polycom against Cisco is 80 percent when we're aligned with Microsoft software," he continued.

Polycom also unveiled Tuesday its RealPresence Content Sharing Suite, a new application for Polycom's RealPresence telepresence platform that will allow Lync users to share content through standards-based video collaboration devices, including room-based video solutions, or mobile applications on iOS- or Android-based devices.

While Lync users have always had the capability to view content as part of video streams, the new RealPresence Content Sharing Suite will allow them to share and view files, including documents and presentations, in a separate content stream. This feature, Polycom said, allows for that shared content to be displayed in high-definition and large-screen displays.

PUBLISHED FEB. 19, 2013