Polycom Takes Video Conferencing to iPad, Android
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.