The ABCs Of IP For Polycom Partners

The changes, which will include upping certification requirements while adding more benefits, are designed to protect partners that are driving business, said Don Trimble, vice president of U.S. channel operations at Polycom, Pleasanton, Calif.

>> 'We're taking our legacy resellers and helping them get into the networking world and understand the nuances of IP.'

"We're taking our legacy resellers and helping them get into the networking world and understand the nuances of IP," Trimble said. The shift is a critical one as Polycom strives to tie its videoconferencing equipment into broader IP communications solutions that bring voice, video and data together.

Polycom is also aggressively recruiting partners with expertise in VoIP or IP communications and collaboration, particularly those that work with its vendor partners Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Nortel Networks, he said.

Polycom plans to unveil details of the new certifications in August. One new element will be a requirement for Gold- and Platinum-level partners to achieve third-party certifications from some of Polycom's vendor partners or training through an IP class the company has developed on its own, Trimble said.

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"Instead of just a generic commodity where anybody can do videoconferencing, it's better to make sure partners understand quality of service, Layer 4 and 5 routing," said John Wrona, president of the Northeast region for Ronco Communications and Electronics, a Tonawanda, N.Y.-based solution provider that frequently sells Polycom technology in conjunction with VoIP products from Cisco and Nortel. "We welcome the certifications," he said.

The planned release later this year of co-developed products with Avaya and Microsoft should also help "kick-start" relationships with more data-focused solution providers, Trimble said.

Last week Polycom expanded its VSX line with three new group-conferencing models: the entry-level 5000; the 7000s, with support for TV or XGA displays; and the 7000e, a high-end rack-mountable system with dual monitor support. The new products are scheduled to ship this month with starting prices ranging from $3,999 to $8,999.