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Ever wonder why your expensive telepresence and video conferencing
system sometimes doesn’t have sharp, high-definition video quality or
audio latency issues? Polycom says blame the telecommunications

Polycom says the major obstacle to quality video conferencing
adoption resides in the carrier networks. The carriers, Polycom says,
do not ensure quality of service across their peering points. As
telepresence and video conferencing traverse carriers such as AT&T,
Verizon and BT, the lack of bandwidth allocation results in lower
quality video and audio that lowers the utility of the technology.

“A lot of people do use video conferencing, but there’s no guarantee
of quality of service. With telepresence, you need to guarantee the
quality of service,” says John Bartlett, a consultant in Polycom
Service Division.

Polycom is partnering with regional telecommunications carrier
Glowpoint to provide an intermediate solution to the multicarrier video
quality-of-service problem. Until carriers resolve the business model
and technology issues of guaranteeing high-bandwidth, high-quality
video transmissions, Glowpoint will act as the aggregation point
between disparate video carriers. In essence, Glowpoint will create
virtual peering points between carriers to ensure quality video reaches
the user endpoints.

“The acceptance of video conferencing as a business tool is the same
as the telephone and e-mail. It will happen in time, but you have to
have the interconnectivity because it’s not useful if it’s only within
a single enterprise’s network,” Bartlett says.

Glowpoint’s Telepresence interExchange Network (TEN) enables
subscribers to make secure video calls and telepresence connections
across the public Internet and ISDN endpoints. TEN gives users ease of
use, quality and security required for business-class video
conferencing without incurring the cost of high bandwidth services or
dedicated networks, says Howard Reingold, director of product
management at Glowpoint.

Polycom is not bundling the Glowpoint service with its products or
providing incentives to solution providers for selling TEN
subscriptions. The value to solution providers, says Bartlett, is the
ability to provide customers with a service that has quality.

Polycom user experience with a high quality, less expensive video
conferencing service will lead to expanded use of video conferencing.
And that, Bartlett says, will spur increased sales of Polycom equipment
and services through solution providers.