Polycom – Unleashing Power in Human Collaboration

At a time when organizations in almost all the verticals are looking forward to incorporating better collaborative tools in order to do more with lesser effort, Polycom, the global collaboration special is focusing its effort towards helping organizations, realize the full potential in secured – voice, video and content collaboration solutions.

In this special spotlight on Unified Communication and Collaboration, ChannelDrive.in speaks with Minhaj Zia, Managing Director, Polycom- India & SAARC about the company’s current focus and why UCC is important for enterprise today.


What is the broad UCC strategy for Polycom today?

Polycom helps organisations unleash the power of human collaboration.  More than 400,000 companies and institutions worldwide defy distance with secure video, voice and content solutions from Polycom to increase productivity, speed time to market, provide better customer service, expand education and save lives.  Polycom and its global partner ecosystem provide flexible collaboration solutions for any environment that deliver the best user experience, the broadest multi-vendor interoperability and unmatched investment protection.

How big would be the UCC market in India? And what would be your market share here?

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) the Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) market in India saw a marginal growth of 3.8% in 2H 2013 as compared to 2H 2012. Polycom is the global leader in open standards-based UC&C solutions. At present, Polycom remains the only pure play unified collaborative solutions provider and we stand to gain as enterprises, governments and educational institutions increasingly recognize the productivity-enhancing benefits of video conferencing.

How is the organization targeting the enterprise community on UCC? Please share your go to market strategy on UCC?

The perception of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) as a solution for cutting travel cost has evolved manifolds as the professionals and business enterprises have acknowledged the magnitude of solutions it has to offer. Unified Communications not only help in reducing travel costs, but also telecom bills and IT administrative costs. UC&C streamline all communication needs through one device or channel. According to frost & Sullivan the size of the unified communication market in India was $465 million in 2010, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11 percent till 2017 with increased adoption by SMBs. Ongoing proliferation of 3G and broadband internet services in India is primarily driving the Unified Communications Market in India. Further, the rising adoption levels of enterprise mobility and the presence of abundant smart hand held devices in India also happen to push the market by a large extent. Owing to the presence of the public sector and as well as the SMB market space, the UC vendors in India are poised to reap substantial benefits in the ensuing years.

Polycom India has revamped its go-to-market. It has evolved a new sales model—Polycom Led, Partner Led and Distribution Led. Also, we are working with a few partners who will soon launch cloud based offerings using our technologies where the cost of video conferencing will be as low as Rs 3,000 per annum per user. Most recently Polycom announced Polycom RealPresence One which in essence allows the customer to select a subscription based model for their video solutions needs.

What are some of the big challenges that UCC can solve for an enterprise today? What innovations are being driven by Polycom today?

We believe our key achievements in India have been to grow the video-collaboration market, by creating competitive solutions that continue to cater to the emerging trends in the market and we will continue on the same route in terms of developing future-ready solutions.

For instance, healthcare organizations face challenges in three areas; delivering quality patient care, streamlining care delivery processes, and improving business processes. These challenges are compounded by an environment with many time-dependent critical processes, multiple modes of communication, and many mobile caregivers and other workers with widely varying availability throughout the day. Healthcare organizations across the country are adopting and leveraging unified communications (UC) solutions that can consolidate systems and solve communications challenges encountered on a daily basis.

UC applications improve workflow and collaboration between clinicians and administrative staff, yielding increased productivity and efficiency. And all communication can be stored and archived to the cloud to become part of the patient’s record for future use. Unified communications tools are compatible with multiple devices and multiple platforms. In a hospital setting with a wide variety of devices, this benefit is particularly important.   Other reported benefits include physician time savings, better patient care, and improved patient communications.

In the Education sector also there is a huge demand for Unified communications. A growing number of educational institutions are turning to unified communications to address some of the challenges faced by this sector, realizing the benefits of implementing visual e-learning practices. Collaborative education brings teachers, instructors, lecturers, students and content providers together face-to-face, regardless of location and time, providing the richest educational experience available outside a classroom to enhance their curricula, stimulate interaction between instructors and students, and improve learning. Unified communication solutions deliver borderless education, optimizing productivity and improving operational efficiency.

Please share some of the trends that are set to reshape the UCC landscape in the coming months?

According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, Unified communications (UC) technologies adoption in India is set to change with adjustments in India’s telecom policy. The segments of the market researched and covered in this market insight are hosted services for audio, video, Web conferencing, call center, email, and voice. The market verticals covered include government; Internet technology (IT) services; banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI); media, retail; and manufacturing.

Mobile, social and visual communications are reshaping how people communicate and collaborate. With organizations becoming increasingly fragmented, departments more flexible and employees more mobile. Some of the major trends that one can look forward to in enterprise unified communications in  are:

  • Mobile Connectivity: Becoming smart computers, smartphones and media tablets will soon overtake PCs as the most common business tool.
  • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): Bring your own device (BYOD) means fewer mobile devices to carry and maintain. As BYOD takes firm root, managing, securing and controlling personally owned mobile devices as well as their applications and information will be a major focus for organizations in 2013.
  • Cloud based solutions: As companies look to shift IT costs to a predictable operational expense, not a periodic and big capital investment, cloud services, hosted solutions and managed services are taking fast flight. Cloud has captured the imagination of businesses of all sizes. Most of the small and midsize businesses (SMB) use cloud services today. Web hosting and email top the list today, but in 2013 one can expect collaboration and IP telephony to migrate to the cloud.
  • Social customer service emerges- Companies are looking to successfully integrate social media into their traditional sales, service and support channels can open up the conversation in new and exciting ways.
  • Videoconferencing: Video conferencing is no longer an immersive experience with a telepresence system in a fancy boardroom. People are videoconferencing right from their mobile phones, tablets and laptops for casual collaboration.
  • Virtualization: Most organizations have virtualized many applications and servers in their data centers, but they have been slow to virtualize UC applications. But with today’s mature solutions, companies can virtualize communications and collaboration applications without concerns about the impact to smooth business operations.

What are some of the challenges that lie ahead when it comes to realizing the full potential of UCC segment?

Polycom looks forward to helping customers deploy visual collaboration successfully and expand the scope of visual collaboration by integrating business functions by making them realize Polycom’s proposition.

We are also facilitating ways to help prospects adopt visual collaboration technologies with the most optimum roadmap and architecture.    When you consider that Polycom has a strong heritage and focus in audio and visual collaboration, and that these solutions are at the heart of what we do, we are well placed to partner with our India based customers to help them meet their business objectives.

How do you look at the competition in UCC today? Why should an enterprise go for your solutions?

Polycom’s USP is that it offers easy-to-use, interoperable video solutions that are backwards – and forward -compatible and deliver the best Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). We take a partner – centric approach to delivering the most complete video solutions—with the most flexible delivery options. We are not only propagating an open and interoperable platform that allows all vendors to work together for the benefit of enterprises, but also lowering the total cost of ownership for them by using up to 50% less bandwidth.

To expand the reach and ROI (return on investment) of video investment, Polycom provides the broadest support for industry standards and protocols, and forward- and backwards-compatibility with millions of systems. We also provide integration into popular UC platforms including Microsoft, IBM, HP, Cisco, Avaya, and Siemens. Our ROI calculator can be found here.

What are some of the big growth verticals that you are looking at?

In every industry and across each sector, video conferencing is increasingly recognised as a mission-critical business solution. Video collaboration is reducing time-to-market, increasing customer service, accelerating emergency responses in government, and streamlining decision-making.

Polycom has emerged as a preferred partner across sectors including Government (for projects in the space of tele-justice), Manufacturing, Education (in collaboration with international universities) and Healthcare (enabling telemedicine solutions). Additionally, we have a strong suite of solutions powered by the Polycom RealPresence Platform that delivers collaboration tools to large, medium and small enterprises.

With the makeshift in the technology space where mobility has become a key, Polycom’s key focus areas- apart from the above mentioned – will be IT/ITES, since they are the early adopters of technology shifts

How can an enterprise look at reducing their overall cost of running operations after deploying UCC solutions?

Advancement in technology is making virtual interactions not only a less expensive replacement for physical meetings but also a superior one. Virtual meeting and event technology can easily facilitate the two objectives of the meetings .i.e. exchange of information & networking. The convenience, increased productivity, and cost savings of video conferencing makes it an inevitable replacement for physical events. Technological advances have driven live meetings to incorporate better peer-to-peer and audience-to-presenter interaction.

It is useful for all companies, but small enterprises are benefited more as those companies cannot afford a lot of travel cost for each and every project they own. In other words, we can say that it is very economical to use video conferencing and at the same time, productivity is enhanced. Face-to-face meetings will always hold more importance in any sort of business, but you cannot be physically present everywhere and in such cases, video meetings will serve the purpose efficiently. All these factors will drive the demand for video conferencing in coming times.