In a direct challenge to Cisco on video collaboration, Polycom just rolled out the RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite of software that runs in private enterprise clouds or public clouds.
With security protocols in mind, the software extends enterprise-grade video and content collaboration outside the firewall to other businesses and consumers. Specifically, the new product lets users add anyone on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk and other business video apps to their video conferences directly from a Web browser.
"We're removing the impediments that have hampered video collaboration from becoming ubiquitous by allowing our customers to easily add anyone with a browser to their video and content collaboration sessions with the highest quality, reliability and security," said Andy Miller, CEO, Polycom.
New Revenue Streams
Here's how it works: When users launch the RealPresence CloudAXIS client, it collects presence information from all participants who are online from the host's social and video apps such as Skype, Facebook or Google Talk and then imports those contacts into the CloudAXIS global directory.
The host can then drag and drop the names of participants they want to invite to the video conference. Once the host starts the call, invited participants receive a hyperlink in the chat window of their social or video app. With one click, they are immediately placed into the host's enterprise-grade, CloudAXIS video collaboration session via their browser.
With its new solution, Polycom is targeting partners and service providers looking to expand from offering Video-as-a-Service to Video Collaboration-as-a-Service. CloudAXIS adds applications like recording and streaming, Web conferencing and collaboration tools. That, in turn, creates greater customer value and new revenue streams.
Quest for Interoperability
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said the telecom industry is rapidly moving toward the cloud model and Polycom is helping to lead the charge.
"Polycom realizes -- and I think Cisco realizes this too now -- that we are never going to have ubiquitous video until these systems are interoperable with each other," Kerravala told us. "Interoperability has become the focus of almost every vendor now. Once you have interoperability it will create the rising tide that this industry needs."
Kerravala pointed to flat sales in the video collaboration market over the past year or so. He blames that, in part, on the lack of interoperability and the user frustration that goes along with it.
"The only way to kick start this market is to create true ubiquitous video where anybody can talk over video calls without having to worry about what client they are on," he said. "Polycom is delivering a groundbreaking solution addressing these critical factors, which we believe will eliminate barriers for adoption and significantly accelerate the use of video collaboration across any size enterprise or any industry."
Polycom plans to make available the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite to enterprises in the first quarter of 2013.