Polycom Solidifies Microsoft Relationship with CX7000 Room Video Conferencing Purpose-built for Lync
By Rob Arnold and Roopam Jain
Developed under codename “Rally”, the CX7000 Unified Collaboration System http://bit.ly/qf0yoK will help to round out the group collaboration offerings within Polycom’s portfolio of CX endpoints optimized for Microsoft Lync http://bit.ly/pkIhQ1, which already includes the CX5000 Unified Conference Station with 360 degree panoramic view and the CX3000 IP Conference Phone. Native support for Microsoft RTA and RTV protocols allows the CX7000 room video conferencing system to be implemented just as other CX endpoint directly connected to Microsoft’s flagship UCC platform via plug and play install without requiring additional drivers, and to be centrally managed via Lync utilities.
The CX7000 kit, which includes appliance and peripherals (microphone array, camera, keyboard and mouse) will be offered at a suggested list price of under $10,000. That should make it a very attractive option for distributed sites, executives, and remote users seeking a cost effective, easy to use video conferencing solution that truly behaves as a native Lync endpoint.
Lync users will also benefit from a familiar UI experience and the simplicity of native integration with Exchange and Active Directory. Integration with SharePoint and Accordent video-on-demand will enable a powerful collaboration suite for Microsoft and Polycom customers. In addition to support for premises-based solutions, these capabilities will also be offered as part of Office 365 cloud-based services for user environments that are looking to outsource collaboration.
CX7000 supports 720p/30fps for point-to-point calls. However, it will only support SD quality video resolution for multipoint video due to Lync MCU limitations issues. Customers wanting HD in multipoint may choose to deploy the Polycom HDX solution with RMX bridging, which provides full RTV and true HD multi-point calling with continuous presence. Yet, deploying HDX with RMX bridging to get high definition video presents a tradeoff of other features. For example, Lync features such as collaboration, IM, and application sharing will not function in an RMX call. In addition, deploying RMX will not present the same seamless management and provisioning as is supported with CX7000 deployed as a Lync end point. Since CX7000 is optimized for Microsoft’s RTA and RTV proprietary protocols, there are also some capabilities such as Lost Packet Recovery which will not be available. Finally, the suggested sub $10,000 sticker for the CX7000 kit does not include displays (one for real time video and a second for collaboration/content sharing) that would be needed to support the full scope of rich multimedia conferencing capabilities.
Developing a strategic relationship with Microsoft to offer integrated voice and visual communications for the OCS/Lync environments has been a key focus area for Polycom. The multi-year partnership with Microsoft has been very beneficial to Polycom which has been outpacing competition in sales and customer growth in recent quarters. Polycom has remained in step with key initiatives to evolve Microsoft’s UC portfolio. CX7000 gives Polycom a unique opportunity to push deeper into Lync environments and a stronger opportunity to leverage Microsoft’s channels in selling its videoconferencing solutions.