Rob Arnold's Blog

What Customers Want to Know About Polycom's Announcements

11 Dec 2012 | by Rob Arnold
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Today I attended a Polycom Experience Event, which took place at the company’s Atlanta executive briefing center. The event was organized to provide customers and partners details about the many product and service advancements Polycom made in October. Approximately 300 people joined, including those at a dozen Polycom sites, from the US and Canada. My attendance today was primarily to hear what customers and partners had to say.

I’d been through the presentation and demos with Polycom previously. Polycom spokespeople provided a shorter, yet still fairly comprehensive presentation today. To recap, Polycom categorized its advancements into four general areas (which I further summarize here): the next generation user experience and endpoints; next generation platforms; enabling the mid market; and B2B/B2C connectivity. The presentation was followed by demos of CloudAXIS Suite, Active Touch, Smart Pairing and other new solutions.

The event closed with a Q&A session, which I thought would be good to highlight for those that could not join the event. Following are my summarized and condensed notes from the session.

Q: What are the plans to build more advanced reception and concierge features into the Polycom solution set?

A: It is something we are looking into. The goal is to incorporate more telephony-like features into our video conferencing solutions to enable capabilities such as auto attendant routing, receptionist/operator console integration, and video mailboxes where it makes sense. We’d be glad to hear about your specific needs. Certain capabilities are in fact available today through customization.

Q: We have standardized on HDX endpoints. What’s required for our existing HDX devices to support the new capabilities?

A: The majority of new features can be supported on existing HDX endpoints after a simple firmware update to release 3.1.

Q: I was just approved to purchase an RMX 2000. Now there’s this new Collaboration Server 800s. What should I do? Should I continue with plans to deploy the RMX 2000? What is the difference between the two platforms?

A: The biggest question is what your usage plans are. The feature set supported by both platforms is nearly identical. The biggest difference is scalability, with RMX 2000 being more scalable. ISDN support is not supported in Collaboration Server 800s. Those are among the two main things you’ll want to determine – scalability and ISDN support requirements.

Q: I have investments in RMX. What is needed to deploy CloudAXIS?

A: The RMX is probably the biggest piece of the investment, and you already have that. There are several other components that you’ll need: Resource Manager, Access Director and the RealPresence middleware layer.

Q: With CloudAXIS where is the bandwidth use and how do you manage it?

A: External endpoints joining calls on the RMX bridge effectively take the place of one resource on that bridge. Whether someone joins a call using a Skype, GoogleTalk or Lync client, you can plan for capacity and bandwidth similar to how you would plan for Polycom soft clients.

Q: I already use Adobe Connect as a web conferencing platform. Now it appears CloudAXIS has content features – what are those features?

A: CloudAXIS in its first release will offer screen sharing, in addition to presence federation. In future releases you can expect further collaboration feature additions, however we do not at this time expect it to become a full-blown web conferencing platform. The origin of CloudAXIS is to facilitate B2B and B2C video conferencing that is easy to use and bridges the islands of users. That said, we will enrich the experience over time.

Q: Does CloudAXIS support static links so that meeting details can remain the same?

A: Yes. Actually, it supports both static links for ease of use and consistency for users or regular meetings where it might make sense. Dynamic creation of unique links is also supported for one time use, to ensure security and other requirements.

Q: If I’m in a Lync environment using video conferencing from PCs and Macs what advantages do I gain with these Polycom announcements?

A: You gain a lot. All of the new capabilities are compatible with Lync 2010 and upcoming 2013. the integration with Lync is native. There is no need for external gateways. Further, Polycom infrastructure raises the video conferencing capabilities for Lync customers to a whole new level with the deepest and broadest support in the industry.


Overall, it was the Q&A session that I found most enlightening. A number of customers in the telepresence room with me are already planning to implement some of the new solutions. I look forward to speaking with the customers that swapped business cards with me. It will be interesting to follow up with them once they have rolled out their new solutions.