Juniper Takes Aim at Telepresence With Polycom

New partnership aims to provide to competition for Cisco.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jan 25, 2010
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The market for high-end video conferencing, known as telepresence, is heating up this week. Networking vendor Juniper (NYSE:JNPR) and video conferencing vendor Polycom (NASDAQ: PLCM) are teaming up in a new joint effort to help service providers effectively deliver telepresence as a managed service.

The new partnership will provide a new competitor to rival Cisco and its telepresence offerings. At stake is a growth market for visual communication solutions, which Gartner has forecast to reach $8.6 billion by 2013.

"As enterprises look at broadly deploying video across the globe, some will not want to undertake the rollout on their own, instead they will look to service providers to deliver video as a managed service," Dean Schoen, vice president of strategic alliances at Polycom, told InternetNews.com. "The increasing adoption of high-definition telepresence means there are some bandwidth implications, and all of this really provides an opportunity for service providers to look at managed video services, as well as forward-looking at how to integrate with video with a unified communications offer, increasing the use and adoption of video services -- not just as standalone, but as part of an integrated application."

The Juniper-Polycom partnership will leverage existing hardware from both vendors as well as providing a new level of integration that previously did not exist between the platforms. On the Juniper side, the hardware includes the SRX service gateways and MX Edge routers. >From Polycom, the joint solution will leverage Polycom telepresence systems as well as the Polycom Distributed Media Application (DMA), which is a conferencing control and quality solution.

Schoen noted that Juniper and Polycom will jointly market and sell the full solution, but the actual fulfillment will come from each vendor's respective sales channel.

As opposed to the sorts of videoconferencing gear typically purchased off-the-shelf by enterprises, Shoen said there are some unique elements to the Juniper-Polycom integration.

"The unique thing about this integration is the dynamic ability on a call-by-call basis for the Polycom DMA to signal a bandwidth request to the Juniper hardware," Shoen said.

That bandwidth request will ensure that the network has the available bandwidth to properly provision the call for quality of service and user experience. Since the network -- both networking gateways and the service provider network -- are part of the solution, enterprises can also scale to meet requirements.

"You're linking the application with the network," Jerry Passione, director of service provider alliances at Juniper Networks, told InternetNews.com."In many cases today, the application is not aware of the network's capabilities and the network doesn't know anything about the application. So we're marrying the two, such that the network can dynamically respond as it needs to based on what the application wants."

Though Juniper and Polycom are now partners for the joint telepresence solution, that doesn't mean that they won't work with other vendors as well.

"This is not intended to be an exclusive deal and both of us feel strongly about supporting open standards and connectivity," Shoen said. "But we believe that if you use the combined Juniper-Polycom solution, it will be the best experience for the end-user."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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