In the last year or so, Polycom has made significant advances towards challenging Cisco’s undisputed reign in the video conferencing market. Whether it’s preparing Apple and Android for the enterprise, gobbling up HP’s video conferencing business or opening up its RealPresence platform to 3rd party developers with the launch of new API, Polcyom has done most things right to compete with Cisco in the video conferencing business.
And yesterday, the company took another giant leap with the launch of RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite, a platform that can deliver a variety of added features such as whiteboarding within participants’ browsers along with the videoconference. Polycom is pitching CloudAXIS Suite to be a Video Collaboration as a Service (VCaaS) that will allow both large enterprises and service providers customized video conferencing services on private or public clouds.
There’s no doubt that Polycom needs to match its words with action, especially at a time when the video conferencing services market has virtually stalled and the company claims its new software suite will be worth $12 billion by 2015.
The USP of CloudAXIS Suite is that it lets customers use a Web browser and run video conferences with anyone on disparate platforms like Google Talk or Facebook Video Calling. It effectively serves as a proxy between other video services, taking information from these directories and broadcasting them via the cloud in a web interface. With CloudAXIS Suite, Polycom is aiming to solve the interoperability challenge and make ubiquitous video a reality.
“Polycom’s new solutions for the mid-market ensure that companies of all sizes can now benefit from the power of video conferencing while staying within their budget requirements,” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, President of Products and Services, Polycom. “Polycom uniquely understands that to video-enable your workforce requires you to be able to collaborate with partners, customers and prospects, all of whom may have any number of vendors’ video systems. That’s why Polycom solutions are the most interoperable in the industry, and we pride ourselves on our rigorously open approach. With Polycom, you can connect via the highest quality at the lowest overall cost with just about anyone, anywhere, using any system.”
RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite will be available to service providers and large businesses by the end of the first quarter, but Polycom will be running limited trial runs in the current quarter.
It would be interesting to see how Cisco reacts to this announcement. In 2010, Cisco scooped up Tandberg ASA for $3.4 billion deal and Polycom responded in style by scooping up HP’s video conferencing business.
However it’s early days and there’s no word yet on CloudAXIS Suite pricing till now, so it is impossible to say how Polycom’s new offerings stand up to the competition. None the less, if Polycom’s claims are anything to go by, 2013 will be an interesting year for the company and the video conferencing industry in general. What do you think?