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January 15, 2013

AT&T, Polycom Partner on Multiscreen Cloud Video Conferencing

By Tara Seals
TMCnet Contributor

AT&T (News - Alert) is looking to deliver ubiquitous cloud-based video conferencing across a variety of networks and devices, thanks to a partnership with Polycom.

AT&T will sell the service, to be delivered for businesses and consumers using connectivity options that include the purpose-built AT&T Business Exchange for conference bridging, MPLS, Internet access options and wireless. Polycom (News - Alert) however brings the secret sauce to the table in the form of the Polycom RealPresence Platform, a software infrastructure for supporting interoperable, universal video across applications, devices and network protocols.

"Together with AT&T, we are reshaping and expanding the capabilities of cloud-delivered video communications, making it easier for businesses to connect and collaborate with each other," said Andy Miller, president and CEO of Polycom. "We’re creating video solutions for customers that are as simple, reliable and as universal as dialtone, so they can collaborate without worrying about vendor, device or network-specific restrictions. It just works."

AT&T will first incorporate RealPresence as part of the AT&T Telepresence (News - Alert) suite in the Business Exchange. The move is meant to counter specific barriers to usage by enabling on-demand virtual meeting room capabilities and a managed services play. The new strategy allows immersive rooms, multipurpose rooms and personal systems to be supported in 40 countries as part of a managed service bundle. This approach helps customers reduce their capital expenditures by providing the video equipment as part of the managed service for a monthly fee, while also helping to reduce the burden on internal IT resources, leaving customers more time to focus on business-critical activities.

AT&T also will provide its MPLS AT&T VPN service combined with Polycom video, voice and data communications within the AT&T Business Exchange. Conferencing will be enabled to and from 80 locations around the globe, including Polycom Customer Experience and Briefing Centers.

"Our goal is to lead the innovation curve by introducing solutions and services that make communications easier, anytime, anywhere, on any device," said Michael Bowling, CMO for AT&T Business Solutions. "The work between AT&T and Polycom will bring customers new capabilities, help expand their reach and use of video collaboration and ultimately deliver lasting impacts by transforming how they get work done."

Both companies are board-level founders of the Open Visual Communications Consortium, an industry body whose mission is to develop and support a ubiquitous video marketplace.

"AT&T and Polycom's announcement is a big win for customer choice and interoperability, and it will help accelerate video collaboration as businesses increasingly look to cloud-delivered options," said Zeus Kerravala (News - Alert), principle analyst at ZKResearch. "In addition, this agreement opens new revenue streams and business opportunities for AT&T, and demonstrates the momentum Polycom is having with service providers and in the video cloud market."

Edited by Rich Steeves

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