Polycom Employee

Twenty five years ago I was a Lieutenant in the US Navy. After my schooling and sea-duty onboard an aircraft carrier I was offered the position as VTC Officer based in the Hampton Roads, VA area. My first question was…what the heck is VTC? I quickly learned it was short for video teleconferencing! Sounded good to me and at least it did not get underway, like my former ship! 


The Navy was greatly affected by reduced budgets and a huge responsibility for training thousands of personnel. We had the idea that using collaborative technology could produce a competitive advantage for us and allow us to “do more with less.” Thus, video conferencing implementation for Command and Control Communications and Training during 1990 was our primary goal to save resources, create military advantages and increase readiness. Planning the network, assigning room configurations, selecting locations, training users and basic operation was the first order-of-business during the months that followed. Next was implementation, testing, making transitions from traditional communications and the grand opening. As a pioneer in the industry, our popularity sky-rocketed quickly because we followed key steps according to a standard operating procedure (SOP) to ensure successes. 


But, everything was not roses for us back then and I sure do wish we could have used 2015 technology with the quality, connectivity and features available today. The following are some of the more interesting topics of past and present utilization:


1990 Era Technology                               Today                      Lessons Learned
Cyber security threats low                        High                        Certifications required
Content slow                                               Fast                         People + Content adoption
Quality poor                                                 High                         Increased adoption
Failure rate high                                         Low                          Increased adoption
Cost high                                                     Low                          Increased adoption
Traditional rooms                                      WPOTF                    Increased adoption
Mobility - forget it                                        BYOD                       Increased adoption
Desktop – forget it                                     RPD                         Increased adoption
Bridge MCU – complex                           VMR’s                       Increased adoption
Audio quality poor                                     High                         Increased adoption
Data Rate @ 56 Kbps                             HD                             Increased adoption
Standards – none                                    High                          Increased adoption
Cameras on tripods                                Automated               Increased adoption
Recording with VCR’s                            Media Suite              Convergence/adoption
Reliability low                                           High                           Increased adoption
Size of technology large                         Small                         Increased adoption
Integration – forget it                               Key                             Increased adoption
Service – forget it                                     Key                             Increased adoption
User experience poor                            High                           Increased adoption
ROI high                                                   High                           Increased adoption


So, to sum it up, over the last 25 years everything is much better for Defense, Government, Public Sector applications and the Collaboration Industry in general! Today, this similar SOP and successful techniques are still active with Department of Defense Collaboration Networks!    The key take away from this BLOG is - even with the poor quality and obstacles of the past, ROI continues to be HIGH! Expect continued automation, quality, ease-of-use and adoption! 


This blog is part of a series of 25 blogs that take a look at how Polycom has transformed industries and business functions.

These blogs are a variety of retrospective, current and visionary perspectives with the common thread of unleashing the power of human collaboration. Follow the hashtag #Polycom25 on Twitter for tweets about this significant anniversary in our history.



US Federal Government Market Director, Industry Solutions and Market Development, Polycom, Inc.                   

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