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HP teams up with Polycom on telepresence

The worldwide deal, which supercedes a previous relationship with Tandberg, will see HP improve interoperability between its Halo products and Polycom's line-up

HP has expanded its relationship with Polycom to resell the company's entire line of video-conferencing and telepresence products, and will work with Polycom on improving interoperability between Polycom's technology and HP's own Halo telepresence tools.

The expanded partnership will see Polycom's video and voice unified communications (UC) products and standalone products delivered as part of HP's Unified Communications and Collaboration Services lineup, the companies said on Monday.

The deal is the latest in a line of moves by Polycom to strengthen its partnerships in the industry to make it better able to compete against Cisco, which is in the process of acquiring Norwegian telepresence giant Tandberg. In January, for example, Polycom announced a deal with Juniper Networks to create a joint telepresence and video-conferencing offering.

Cisco's acquisition of Tandberg was announced in October and is expected to be complete in the first half of this year.

HP said it would drop a previous relationship with Tandberg in favour of Polycom. HP, which competes against Cisco in the server and networking markets, said the move strengthens its ties with other Polycom partners, including Avaya, Broadsoft, IBM, Juniper, Microsoft, and Siemens.

HP will be reselling Polycom's products for Avaya and Microsoft UC environments, as well as a line of Polycom voice over IP (VoIP) phones optimised for Microsoft's Office Communications Server (OCS), Polycom noted on Monday.

The three new Polycom handsets include the CX500, designed for public areas, the CX600 desktop phone and the CX3000 conference phone, Polycom said.

HP has existing UC ties with Microsoft, having last year unveiled a four-year plan to collaborate on UC products and services, with an expected investment of up to $180m (£120m) into product development and services provision.

Polycom said it expects revenue from the HP deal will begin to appear in the second half of this year.

Industry observers have predicted a significant uptake in video-conferencing as a result of unstable economic conditions. Last year Gartner predicted high-definition based video-conferencing systems would replace 2.1 million airline seats annually over the next three years, costing the travel industry $3.5bn per year.