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Polycom is taking its enterprise video software to the tablet market
with the launch of RealPresence Mobile, which currently supports Apple iPad 2,
Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, with more mobile devices to follow.

The
vendor currently provides audio and video conferencing products from the
desktop up to the immersive telepresence room systems, and RealPresence Mobile
extends Polycom’s capabilities to the mobile world. According to Surendra
Aurora, vice president of business development at Polycom, the launch of
RealPresence Mobile is really about extending Polycom’s unified communications
features to software on mobile devices, in particular popular consumer tablets
that have found their way into the enterprise environment. However, the
software will also touch smartphones, as well as additional tablets, over time.

“The
idea really is we’re extending the enterprise safely, securely and easily to consumers,
who want to have their enterprise features while on the road,” Aurora said.

With
this software release, Polycom isn’t introducing new hardware. Instead, what
the company is doing is releasing software that will essentially turn mobile devices
from other vendors into Polycom devices so they can be included in Polycom’s HD
video collaboration systems. Powered by the Polycom RealPresence Platform,
RealPresence Mobile extends the vendor’s conferencing and collaboration
capabilities to mobile devices, and according to Aurora, the number of
supported devices will grow over time.

The
focus for RealPresence Mobile is on enterprise companies that have deployed
video solutions. Customers with Polycom endpoints will now be able to extend
their video communications, in particular, to mobile devices. End-users are
able to access the same infrastructure used by other Polycom endpoints and join
in on conferences.

Polycom
beta-tested the software with several Fortune 500 companies and has engaged
carriers worldwide to create demand for it. Although the software can be used
horizontally across the enterprise, Polycom also has a few key vertical
industries in mind for deployment, including healthcare, education, government
and manufacturing.

“Everybody
has been asking for it and is wondering when they can get it and when they can
start testing it,” Aurora said.

For
Polycom’s channel partners, the release of the software is a way for
salespeople to fundamentally change the discussion point around video, she
said. RealPresence Mobile provides video capabilities on mobile devices not
previously available through Polycom. End-users are able to log in and use the
same settings they’d use in the office via VPN firewall support, so Aurora said
it not only extends video communications and collaboration, but it does so
securely.

“When
we launch, if you have an iPad or a Xoom or a Galaxy Tab, you’ll be able to get
the application from the respective app store. The application itself will be
free for the end-user or the IT manager to encourage deployment in his or her
office,” she said.

Although
there’s no direct revenue from the sale attached for channel partners, the
channel plays a role in selling and deploying the infrastructure, as well as in
acting as a consultant. The platform enables customers to make more than
point-to-point video calls, so Polycom is seeing it as a differentiator in the
market.

“It’s
very channel friendly because they’re already selling our infrastructure, and this
application would be another client that the infrastructure manages. Training
the channel is really easy because we’re saying it’s another endpoint,” Aurora
said. It’s a software endpoint rather than a hardware one, she noted.

Polycom
RealPresence Mobile is available now for no cost to the end-user. It currently
supports three tablets, with plans to extend that support over the next several
months.