Polycom CEO Isn't Worried About Skype

By Sean Michael Kerner | Jan 24, 2013 | Print this Page
http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/unified_communications/polycom-ceo-isnt-worried-about-skype.html

The market for video collaboration and unified communications is a very competitive one, with solutions at both ends of the spectrum. When it comes enterprise-grade needs, Polycom is attempting to grow its business with new solutions as it fends off low-end competitors.

Polycom reported its fourth quarter fiscal 2012 financial results on Wednesday. For the quarter, revenue was $353 million which is a 9 percent year-over-year decline. Moving forward, Polycom provided first-quarter fiscal 2013 guidance for revenue to be in the range of $330 million to $340 million.

For 2013, Polycom's plans include the availability of new cloud and virtualized solutions as well as expanding partnerships. One of the competitive threats that faces Polycom's growth are consumer technologies like Skype. During the company's earnings call, Andy Miller, President and CEO of Polycom, was asked specifically asked about the impact of Skype.

Miller noted that in his view, peer-to-peer free software options are fine for ad hoc calls.

"From a true enterprise experience, I think customers are voting with their wallet on Polycom," Miller said.

Miller noted that Polycom's CloudAXIS technology that will be available at the end of the first quarter satisfies all the elements of either cloud, virtualized or the ability to bridge B2C and B2B.

CloudAXIS is part of a new wave of Unified Communications (UC)solutions that Polycom announced in October of 2012.

"We announced the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite as an extension to the Polycom RealPresence Platform to let customers extend secure enterprise grade video collaboration to users of Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, and other business video applications via a browser," Miller said. "We believe this is a bold move for Polycom and a much-anticipated solution for our customers."

CloudAXIS is set for market availability by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

Partnerships

Miller also highlighted the value of strategic partnerships with Microsoft, AT&T and IBM as been key differentiators for his company.

"Desktop and mobile video are becoming increasingly important UC components that must connect the established landscape of voice and video solutions in the enterprise," Miller said. "We continue to work closely with Microsoft to make voice and video communications a pervasive seamless experience of complementary solutions in the enterprise, driven by Skype-Lync federation and combined with Lync to Polycom interoperability."

With AT&T, the Polycom’s RealPresence Platform is now part of the AT&T telepresence solution video infrastructure.

"While AT&T has been a reseller of our products for sometime, this announcement places the RealPresence Platform at the core of AT&T’s video business exchange infrastructure," Miller said. "This enables us to deliver on our joint vision of video and video interoperability, and true ubiquity."

When it comes to IBM, Miller noted that while his company has partnered with Big Blue in the past, the partnership will have a major expansion in 2013.

2013 priorities

Among the big priorities for Polycom in 2013 is to continue the push towards enabling virtualized infrastructure.

"In 2013, our plan objective is to virtualized core components of the RealPresence Platform for customers who choose to deploy virtualized solutions in the software defined data center environment," Miller said.

Miller added that there are some CIO that have data centers that are ready to be virtualized and some that don't.

"I believe that customers for the first time have a choice, a choice of platform-based versus software," Miller said. "They have a choice between a private cloud or public cloud and they have a choice between platform-based or virtual."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.