You have probably seen in the press that Microsoft has unveiled yet another collaboration tool – the Surface Hub with its state of art front facing cameras and noise emitting microphones.  Through the launch of the its large screen Surface Hub devices, Microsoft promises to transform the way groups of people work together as the Surface Hub could replace traditional whiteboards in offices, homes and schools with full connectivity to the range of Microsoft products.

So what does this mean for Polycom? Will the Surface Hub replace the Lync Room System? 


From my perspective, the new addition to the Microsoft collaboration suite is an ideal opportunity for us. As for replacing Lync Room System, I believe the Surface Hub will only serve to complement existing solutions as it further drives true room based collaboration.



It’s no secret how successful the Polycom / Lync partnership has been over the years, and the use of Lync throughout businesses particularly the enterprise means that organisations have already invested a fair amount in infrastructure, endpoints and training for employees in order to ensure that the Lync workflow is integrated into the business processes.  


I am excited about the new possibilities and potential sectors that could open up for us through a solution like the Surface Hub, we have seen great success through Lync Room System installations and our own Room Systems for Lync drive by our Group Series products, we anticipate further joint success moving forwards.   Think of the possibilities of extending Surface Hub with our audio / video capabilities?  That would be awesome!


Lync Room System or CX8000, is what it says on the tin - a room collaboration solution - purpose built to deliver visual collaboration capabilities coupled with the CX5100 centre of the table camera, LRS can ensure a productive meeting experience where everyone is seen and heard.  On the wall touchscreen a solution like the Surface hub then further enhances this environment. 



I would even go as far as to say that this truly compliments our ethos of creating a true workplace of the future, through enabling collaborative workspaces, workflow and a high quality experience. It’s almost like we planned it!



With Skype for Business now generally available, a new era in workplace communications has arrived...to learn more about how Skype for Business can impact your organisation watch our 'Connecting Skype for Business in your video environment' webinar to gain valuable insights from our experts


Polycom_Booth.jpgEach year, Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference brings together over 10,000 of some of the brightest minds in the technology industry. All partners of Microsoft, all working together to make business more efficient, more intuitive and even more fun.


Last week was no different. Polycom has been privileged to be a partner of Microsoft for over a decade. Constantly working together to improve efficiencies and generate productivity in the workplace, Polycom and Microsoft have developed solutions that are built and qualified in the Lync environment.  In fact, our work with Microsoft, which includes our CX8000, a Lync Room System, has played a big role in Polycom gaining the highest rating by Gartner for Group Video Systems.



What we had in the booth

Polycom was once again a proud sponsor of the event.

The main element of our booth display was the CX8000 Lync Room System and CX5100 – our unique, center-of-the-table 360-degree HD voice and video device for Lync. Many who came to our booth mentioned that they were using the original roundtable, the CX5000 and were eager to upgrade to the new and improved HD solution.


As usual, our VVX phones generated much interest as many inquired about the different functionality of the devices – from our VVX300 (an entry level HD voice quality device) to the VVX600 (multiple features that include video, HD voice and an instant access directory).



Meeting capture – particularly for training or new hire videos – and ability to access and dissect transcripts for key messages were the two most favorably received applications of our Video Content Management solution.


Cloud party a big hit:

In partnership with Plantronics and Sonus, Polycom sponsored an event on the roof deck of the W Hotel in Washington.  We were pleased and honored to have more than 500 attendees attend, including influential Microsoft Partners, as well as Lync Marketing, Engineers and Sales Teams from Microsoft as well as members of the media as well.


Generating a movement:

 Polycom is proud to be joining Microsoft on two programs that are truly remarkable:

  • Operation Smile –  A charity designed to help children around the world who have facial abnormalities, Polycom is working in conjunction with Microsoft to offer support for this cause
  • CityNext – Polycom has been accepted into Microsoft’s CityNext program, which is designed to positively impact cities and communities through the use of technology

The Polycom and Microsoft partnership continues to be an important one for businesses everywhere. We’ve been honored to collaborate with Microsoft to address key business challenges along the way.



And stay tuned. Microsoft and Polycom have more coming!



The continuing advancements of today’s collaboration technology make it possible to transform virtually any place in the world into an ‘office.’  These days, my ‘office’ is much more mobile, since I’m usually working on wireless from my laptop, tablet or phone rather than a traditional desktop computer. I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to feel tethered to a desk.


Unified Communications, like Microsoft Lync, has also made us more productive and efficient. For most, instant messaging and VoIP calls have become second nature but for many, video is still in the early adoption phase.


So, how can we make video easier to access and more intuitive? Enter: Lync.


We’ve been working with Microsoft for a long time. So long, in fact, that we have the broadest set of solutions in the industry that are optimized for and interoperable with Lync (40+ options). In my role as a Marketing Program Director for Microsoft, I’ve learned about the challenges organizations face with video adoption. The solution, though, can be simple. Especially for organizations that have Lync, these tips can make a world of difference in speeding adoption and usage of video. The employees in the organization will be glad for it, because the ROI can be tremendous.


The Challenges to Adoption:


Customers we’ve met with have shared three distinct concerns about video:


  • Quality of Performance

  • Limited Leadership Buy-in

  • Interoperability

The quality is paramount to adoption. Steve Lohr of the New York Times reported in 2012 (two years is an eternity in technology) that even the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds – is too long to wait for a web page to load. We’re spoiled and impatient!


A lack of buy-in and support can prohibit adoption. In some circumstances, leadership is not prepared for the changes UC can bring to an organization or they may lack the type of high-level, long term UC vision. In addition, smaller companies struggle with limited IT support.


Users need to connect to be able to connect with suppliers, colleagues and customers outside of the walls of their organization. Interoperability with other video platforms is paramount to adoption.  



Our Recommendations:


To avoid the above uncertainties, we offer three recommendations that will make your video adoption seamless:


  • Ensure your network is video-ready

  • Have Adoption & Migration Plans

  • Identify Critical Success Factors and Measure Your Progress

Bandwidth plays an extremely important role in video conferencing. There is a strong correlation between how well your network performs and the success of your video solution deployment and adoption.  Introducing video to your network, you’ll want to understand the impact, bandwidth requirements and utilization in advance.


As mentioned earlier, application performance is absolutely critical to success. Having a plan – or plans – will ensure the end user is prepared, trained and approves of the experience.  Make sure your adoption plan includes…


  • …a communications plan: what are you rolling out?

  • …a training plan: how do your employees use it?

  • …a migration plan: when will employees transition?

  • …a support plan: who can help if something goes awry?

  • …an operations plan: which includes a series of tests to ensure proper bandwidth is available

Most importantly, after implementation, ask for user feedback – especially for early adopters. Understanding employee pain points and correcting them will allow them to gravitate faster toward embracing video.


Poor video performance can be a direct result of device challenges and limit your success. Consider assessing all performing devices – in the office and at home – to ensure they are Lync qualified and compatible.


Finally, measure your success! My colleague, Russ Colbert, recently published a byline in Federal Computer Week on the adoption of video in our Federal Government. Russ noted the Navy was one of the early adopters of video collaboration and his superior would ask him every day to estimate the return on investment. Positive ROI will help build support from senior leadership.


This is an exciting time for collaboration. To think we can travel around the world without leaving our office! Face-to-face collaboration is changing our business world, making us more collaborative, more productive, and more efficient while improving work-life balances. Video will soon surpass email and instant messaging as the most desired means to conduct business.


Is your business ready?

Microsoft Lync is rapidly becoming the de facto application for organizations to connect their employees through presence and IM. When you add voice, video and content collaboration capabilities to Lync, the value to organizations is clear: one tool, one resource for virtually all of your unified collaboration and communications needs to drive productivity and engagement.


Many companies partner with Microsoft to add their voice, video and content capabilities to the Lync platform, and Polycom is one of them. For more than a decade, Polycom and Microsoft have been working together to improve unified communications experiences. Polycom uniquely integrates our solutions natively into the Microsoft Lync platform—all with the same look and feel of the core Lync experience with added features and functionality. In total, we provide more than 40+ solutions that integrate directly into Lync today, so people can choose just the right communications and collaboration solutions that fit their organizations needs.


Microsoft recently announced their 2014 Partner of the Year winners and finalists, and Polycom was honored to be named one of two finalists in the Communications category. This is a very competitive space and we were thrilled to see our commitment and investment in the Lync platform pay off with this recognition. 




Given the fact that Microsoft received more than 3,200 nominations across 46 award categories, we are honored to be recognized.  The Polycom and Microsoft is stronger than ever.  Polycom and Microsoft continue to develop solutions—like our Lync Room System, Polycom CX8000 and CX5100—that are changing the way people communicate.



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