Video conferencing is fast becoming a popular tool for communications among a growing number of businesses. But few want to invest the money in deploying the hardware necessary to make enterprise-class video conferencing and collaboration. That’s why Polycom is teaming up with AT&T to roll out a new managed offering to its business customers.
Today, AT&T and Polycom are announcing a strategic partnership that will combine Polycom’s RealPresence conferencing and collaboration platform with AT&T’s network to enable businesses to use video for communicating with employees, partners, and customers in real time.
Polycom RealPresence is available either on-premises or in the cloud, giving customers a choice as to how they want to enable video conferencing between participants. Not only does the platform work with Polycom equipment, but the company has worked hard over the past few years to make it interoperable with existing teleconference equipment from partners and competitors alike.
It also supports multiple desktop and mobile platforms, enabling users to log in and video chat from outside a Polycom telepresence room. That includes connecting via Macs or PCs, as well as a growing number of mobile devices, such as iPads and iPhones.
As part of the deal, AT&T will add the Polycom RealPresence platform to its telepresence offering, which will provide virtual meeting room capabilities and video collaboration features with a low overall cost of ownership. Since AT&T customers likely won’t be buying hardware of their own, but leveraging managed services and bundles that include AT&T-based telepresence rooms and personal systems, these telepresence services will provide cost-effective ways to leverage video chat services.
Those services will be available in 40 countries for a monthly fee, reducing the upfront cost of introducing enterprise-class video conferencing. It also reduces the amount of tech resources they need to deploy in their own organizations, since the offering is completely managed by AT&T technicians.
In addition to the partnership bringing managed video chat services to AT&T customers, the deal also means that Polycom will leverage the telco for its VPN services. While its customers will likely be able to specify their own VPN provider if necessary, AT&T will become the preferred VPN source for Polycom video and data communications for more than 80 different locations around the world.