Polycom Seeks To Simplify Videoconferencing

Two of the offerings focus on desktop users, including the new Polycom PVX videoconferencing software and Polycom WebOffice 7.0, an upgrade to the vendor's videoconferencing portal that adds integration with Microsoft's Windows Messenger.

Polycom is also launching ReadiManager LX100, its first scheduling and management appliance.

With Polycom PVX, the vendor is providing a software-only videoconferencing solution that enables users to use a laptop or desktop PC and a Web camera to participate in conferences with the same levels of audio and video quality available to group videoconferencing system users, said Maggie Smith, director of product marketing at Polycom, Pleasanton, Calif.

Polycom is relying on its solution providers to bundle peripherals such as USB-compliant Webcams and headsets with the software to create complete solutions, Smith said.

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"We're asking them to create the SKU and present it as a single product to the customer at a single price," Smith said.

Polycom's WebOffice 7.0 desktop application represents the first deliverable to stem from a recently announced development and marketing agreement with Microsoft. With the upgrade, Polycom is enabling users to view presence of videoconferencing users and launch video calls on demand through the Windows Messenger interface. WebOffice supports multi-point calls to SIP, H.323, H.320 or PSTN endpoints.

Polycom's new ReadiManager LX100 management appliance enables users to schedule rooms, videoconferencing systems and people through Microsoft Outlook or IBM Lotus Notes.

"[As organizations grow], they're dealing with issues of how to book and schedule. This simplifies the interaction with end users for all devices," said Mark Roberts, vice president of product marketing at Polycom.

The appliance also monitors network devices and notifies administrators of potential problems.

Polycom PVX is available now starting at $149 per seat. WebOffice 7.0 is slated for release on Oct. 30 for prices ranging from $200 per seat for a five seat license to $25 per seat for 5,000 seats or more.

Also at the conference, managed videoconferencing service provider GlowPoint is demonstrating new services launched Monday. GlowPoint's new Video Call Director is a family of two new services that aims to make video calling as easy as making traditional voice calls, said David Trachtenberg, president and CEO of GlowPoint, Hillside, N.J.

"The only way [videoconferencing] is going to be integrated into the mainstream of business communications is if it is as easy and spontaneous as something they're already used to, which is the telephone," Trachtenberg said.

GlowPoint's new Video Call Mailbox provides voicemail for video systems that run off of its videoconferencing network. Unanswered video calls are forwarded to the mailbox, where callers view a personalized message and can record a video or audio call. Subscribers are automatically notified via e-mail when new messages are received.

The service is available for an introductory price of $19.99 per month per mailbox.

Video Call Director also includes Video Call Assistant, a free service that helps users deal with calls that are not completed. Solution providers reselling the service can customize Video Call Assistant with their own branding, Trachtenberg said.

GlowPoint's new services are available now.