Polycom is to buy HP's Visual Collaboration unified communications business, including the Halo line of products and managed services, the companies announced on Wednesday.
HP and Polycom also said they were establishing a "strategic relationship" that will see Polycom serve as HP's exclusive partner for telepresence and "certain video [unified communications, or UC] solutions, including both resale and internal HP deployments". Polycom's video applications will also become available on HP's WebOS platform, as found in Pre smartphones and the TouchPad tablet.
Polycom and HP have worked on interoperability between their telepresence products for more than a year. The financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
"This announcement is a truly groundbreaking development in the UC industry, creating a path for Polycom and HP to offer customers an end-to-end UC solution with an unparalleled user experience, interoperability, investment protection, and ease of deployment," Polycom chief Andrew Miller said in a statement.
HP strategy and technology chief Shane Robison said the partnership would lead to "greater service and product opportunities", and would allow HP to focus on its cloud ambitions.
The agreement between the companies will see Polycom handle the software technology and UC infrastructure side, while HP will take care of the marketing and reselling of Polycom's products. The companies hope the deal will close in the third quarter of the year, subject to regulatory approval.
This announcement is a truly groundbreaking development in the UC industry.– Andrew Miller, Polycom
Polycom also announced on Wednesday that it was forming a new industry interoperability organisation, the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), with service providers. The group intends to establish a "global standards-based, multi-vendor, multi-network visual communication exchange", Polycom said.
The exchange would support telepresence and room-based systems, as well as desktop and mobile clients. Service providers that are signed up to OVCC include Airtel, AT&T, BCS Global, BT Conferencing, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, Global Crossing, Glowpoint, iFormata Communications, Masergy, Orange Business Services, PCCW Global, Telefonica, Telstra and Verizon.
According to Polycom, OVCC's first task will be connecting the standards-based video systems in use today, but it will then work on making non standards-based systems interoperable.
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