Khristina Atwal
Polycom Employee

Guest Blog: Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director


Charlie James.jpgWe’ve had a busy first half of 2016, and during this period we made some exciting strategic announcements with Microsoft, such as our plans to certify the Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ and we discussed how this enhances the Polycom® RealConnect™ offering, in addition to its newest feature – the one click connection and 360 degree Roster View.


Customers are increasingly coming to us with the age-old dilemma of making different multiple video systems work together – seamlessly and simply. Polycom has cracked it with Polycom RealConnect.  Adopting Polycom RealConnect means simplifying communication by leveraging native Microsoft Outlook calendaring and bringing everything and everyone together through click to join across devices. 


There are several benefits as a result of implementing Polycom RealConnect for Skype for Business, such as improved engagement, driving adoption, information sharing, cross collaborating and greater interoperability. Want to understand how? Read on…



Customers simply want communication technologies to work together seamlessly and cost effectively. Until Polycom RealConnect was introduced Skype for Business video conferencing users could not meet or share content with participants using other video platforms, proving to be a difficult process for end users. To improve the user experience for our customers, Polycom RealConnect eliminates this barrier which ensures everything works together and provides each end user with the familiar communication experience they’ve grown accustomed to. There is no need to learn complex dialling codes or new platform behaviours, resulting in efficient use of business time and less on learning a new service. Additionally, the new enhanced Roster View enables every participant to be able to see who is in the room, on your screen so you share content as you would in a traditional meeting environment to ensure everyone is on board, productive and engaged throughout each meeting.



If you’ve recently added voice or video to your organisation as a collaboration solution, or you’ve had video for a while and you want to expand your deployment, you should work on a plan to make sure your employees use and embrace Polycom RealConnect. Depending on where you are in your adoption journey, you may require multiple steps to get from where you are today to where you want to be. Identifying technology champions within your organisation, optimising the workplace and training employees is just the start to creating your workplace of the future.


Skype for Business has become one of the most widely-used communication tools in business today. Polycom RealConnect allows Skype for Business users to connect seamlessly with users on other video solutions using a single workflow that makes the experience familiar for all users, regardless of what device they are using and it matters because adoption is reflective of ROI and it could be greatest way to achieving that ROI. Polycom RealConnect drives adoption.


Information Sharing

The information sharing ability ensures a higher level of engagement in real time, providing an opportunity to enable bi-directional content sharing (desktop, program share) across Skype for Business clients and legacy video endpoints, shown as high quality content stream in real time with all participants. Polycom RealConnect enhances the Skype for Business client user experience by enabling employees to better engage with the workplace without breaking the workflow, having to join a virtual meeting room or co-space



Cross border collaboration ensures there is inclusion of all meeting participants and everyone feels as though they are working together within a collective workforce, this improves levels of productivity and efficiency as well as reducing meeting times, a valuable tool for time management. Additionally, the ‘One click to call’ enables participants to join a Microsoft Skype for Business meeting from any device, in any location and with the newly added feature, Roster view, meeting participants are visible regardless of what technology they are using and another fantastic new feature is the panoramic, wide-shot to include those sitting in dedicated immersive rooms.



In partnership with Microsoft, Polycom offers the broadest portfolio of interoperable voice and video solutions designed for Skype for Business and Skype for Business online in Office 365. Polycom RealConnect technology can be enabled through Microsoft-qualified video interop solutions including the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform and the Polycom® RealPresence ClaritiTM collaboration infrastructure solution.


For further insight on Polycom’s solutions with Microsoft Skype for Business, visit Polycom’s website.


Follow the author @CharlieOJames

Khristina Atwal
Polycom Employee

Guest Blog: Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director


Charlie James.jpgWe’ve had a busy few weeks following the highly-anticipated Microsoft announcement at Enterprise Connect 2016. If you missed it, the news included Microsoft certifying the Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ as part of Project Rigel, and we discussed how this evolves the Polycom® RealConnect™ offering.


Our joint, strategic product development roadmap with Microsoft continues to grow and as part of that alliance, we recognise the forever evolving workplace of the future and what that looks like. Recent findings have indicated that 30% of American workers today are Millennials, and the way they work is changing the nature of the workforce. More efficient, round table style, collaborative teaming sessions preferred by the Millennials are replacing the formal, moderated meetings of Generation X.  Whilst there is a need to develop and cater to the workplace of the future, we also recognise that we must have in place trusted, reliable products, such as the Polycom® RealConnect™. We also understand the fundamental needs of our customers, which means further developing our product line-up with the launch of an industry-first cloud-based video interoperability service and our portfolio of Polycom room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business – also an announcement made at Enterprise Connect.


Polycom® RealConnect™ enables us to bring together numerous customers in one meeting to create their own experience. Delivering numerous key features, Polycom® RealConnect™ enables a single scheduling and dialing workflow that leverages Microsoft Outlook and includes a simple Click-to-join feature, for both Skype for Business clients and Polycom video endpoints, as well an enabling standards based endpoints for calendaring and click-to-join experience.  


Simplifying the process, the amalgamation of Polycom® RealConnect™ and Microsoft’s Skype for Business enables intuitive one-touch dialing which forms a connecting experience, and a native multipoint video and content sharing experience to preserve familiar user experience, which aids our customer’s through adoption.


Creating a seamless experience for our customers, Polycom® RealConnect™ has the capability of bi-directional content sharing, including Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which is sent to Skype for Business users for native content experience, and of course conferences are hosted on both the Skype for Business Server AVMCU and Polycom® RealPresence Clariti collaboration infrastructure, for efficient resource optimisation.


To learn more about Polycom® RealConnect™ and the Polycom, Skype for Business product solutions for the workplace, join myself and Microsoft’s Ian Woolner, Senior Product Marketing Manager, UK at Skype for Business on the 14th April 2016, 10:30BST for a live Polycom-Microsoft webinar. Sign up here to secure your place on the webinar http://bit.ly/1pH8eOg


For further insight on Polycom’s solutions with Microsoft Skype for Business (SfB), visit Polycom’s website.



Follow the author @CharlieOJames

There’s a lot of buzz around the imminent launch of Microsoft’s Skype for Business, and for good reason. The launch will be a rebrand of, but also an update to, the excellent Lync platform. The hype preceding this launch tells us one thing in particular; the business world loves Lync. 60% of enterprises are either considering or deploying Lync as its Voice Platform. Everybody wants Lync and its momentum is so huge that organisations that historically wouldn’t have considered it now recognise the value it can offer.


What does this mean for Polycom though? Well, 76% of all phones sold with Lync are Polycom endpoints. Polycom has 40+ video, voice and content sharing solutions interoperable or optimised to work with Lync. It’s because of this tight bond between Polycom and Lync that we launched the product everyone is talking about.


The pervasiveness of Lync throughout 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. Evidence shows that customers who have built the Lync platform into their processes in this way save up to 30 minutes a day, shrink project times by 10%, and increase proposals delivered and won by 20%.

But large enterprises are slow moving beasts, especially when it comes to IT.


Many organisations have legacy systems which predate the entry of Microsoft into the UC arena, and they aren’t going anywhere. They’ve ended up with siloed products and systems that don’t talk to each other. It reminds me of a scene from BBC drama Downton Abbey, when the Grantham’s become proud early owners of a telephone. Great, but as Mr Carson points out, they need to work out who else has one they can call!


Organisations are aware of the power of Lync beyond IM and presence and are keen to really derive the benefits of voice, video and content collaboration within this interface. They’ve bought Lync and now they want to drive usage and adoption of Lync, they don’t want to have their employees step out of that workflow. RealConnect enables this and luckily for existing Polycom customers this will be included as an automatic upgrade within their service contract.


Ultimately this is the way the UC, communications and technology markets are moving. Customers don’t want to be locked down into proprietary vendor solutions, they want best of breed solutions to work seamlessly. Within a UC context that means presence, IM, video, voice, content, scheduling and email is brought together by the Lync platform. The end user doesn’t care which vendor supplies what part, they just want it all to work together in an interface they understand. Users are beyond the days of mobile contracts that only allowed them to call others with the same operator. In the same way they expect any-network minutes they expect to be able to reach out to any of their contacts via any of the Lync communications methods. Thank goodness for RealConnect!


The on-demand webcast about Polycom's new breakthrough solutions is available for replay. Watch it now.

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