Polycom Ties UC Offering To IBM Lotus Sametime

Polycom has partnered with IBM to integrate its voice, video and telepresence offerings with Lotus Sametime, IBM's UC and collaboration platform. It's the latest in a series of partnerships for Polycom to extend the reach of its UC capabilities into the customer bases -- and channels -- of several major IT companies.

Polycom's Unified Collaboration Solution for IBM Lotus Sametime is available starting this week. Polycom's infrastructure platform, the UC Intelligent Core -- which offers bridging, virtualization, scheduling, gatekeeping and various management controls for delivering video and presence -- is integrated with version 8.5.1 of Sametime using a plug-in. Within Sametime, customers can voice-call and videoconference, as well as message, using Polycom or other compatible end points.

"The opportunity for the channel community is very much around the workflow, the cultural impact and the aspects of what a UC solution means to an individual company," said Mark Roberts, Polycom's vice president of partner marketing. "We're investigating 'up-skilling' in both channel organizations, whether it's Polycom partners looking to understand the IBM aspect, or IBM partners focused on Lotus Sametime and looking to onboard Polycom solutions."

Polycom and IBM will be doing joint promotions around early customer wins and collaborating on the go-to-market strategy for the channel. IBM's partner-centricity -- and the fact that its desktop presence in business remains vast -- were both very attractive for Polycom, Roberts explained.

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"There are 140 million desktops out there that are IBM, and when you look at the applications being deployed on the desktop, the accounts they've got are huge in size," he said.

NEXT: UC Adoption Takes Off

UC adoption among enterprises and SMBs alike is taking off, Roberts said, citing research from Forrester that says 38 percent of enterprise and SMB network decision-makers are likely to make implementing or expanding a UC solution a top telecom priority in the next year.

The IBM partnership is the latest in an ongoing series of strategic alliances forged by Polycom with major networking vendors, as the company looks to counter competitive UC and video threats from Cisco Systems, LifeSize and a host of others.

Back in September, Polycom expanded its relationship with Microsoft to include product development and marketing around Polycom end points and Microsoft's forthcoming Lync platform, formerly known as Communications Server 14.