Polycom, bevy of carriers target telepresence interoperability

Polycom and a bevy of big name telecom service providers including AT&T, Verizon, BT, Telefonica and Telstra have formed a group to better connect telepresence and video conferencing systems via open standards.

Unified communications company Polycom and a bevy of big name telecom service providers including AT&T, Verizon, BT, Telefonica and Telstra have formed a group to better connect telepresence and video conferencing systems via open standards.

The group, called the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), is the video equivalent of peering network agreements. The general idea is that business-to-business video conferencing interoperability will allow carriers traverse various networks such as enterprise and mobile easily.

Sudhakar Ramakrishna, chief development officer for Polycom, said the OVCC reflects the reality that "no carrier can address all enterprise customers." With OVCC standards, service providers won't have to create their own peering agreements and have sticky subjects such as customer databases and revenue sharing agreements handled by the consortium's architecture. Simply put, the OVCC aims to make video calls as easy to hand off between carriers as voice communication.

Specifically, OVCC will feature global standards for multi-vendor, multi-network video exchanges. Polycom sponsored OVCC with a strong team of launch partners. These partners, which represent telecom companies around the world, will create a global video exchange.

The group has demonstrated a high-definition video call earlier this year. Service providers are hoping to use this video exchange to sell additional products. For Polycom, the strategy revolves around partnering with multiple companies to surround rival Cisco.

Andrew Miller, CEO of Polycom, said in a statement that the OVCC video exchange should open up applications for distance learning as well as healthcare. The rub is that OVCC is looking to launch initial capabilities in mid-2012. New members will be added starting in the second half of 2011.

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