Polycom debuts open APIs for RealPresence video, mobile platforms

Polycom is updating its RealPresence video collaboration and mobile platforms with a focus on the user experience, total cost of ownership, and multi-vendor integration.

Polycom is expanding its unified communications portfolio with the intention of making video collaboration an essential -- if not routine -- business practice.

"Video collaboration is becoming more and more ubiquitous," said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, president of products and services for Polycom. "Our goal is to make it even more ubiquitous and accelerate the speed at which it becomes ubiquitous."

Specifically, Polycom is updating its RealPresence video collaboration and mobile platforms with a focus on the user experience, total cost of ownership, and multi-vendor integration.

This whole solution targets two markets: enterprise and service providers. For the enterprise set, the updates are designed to enable IT administrators to more easily deliver and manage video collaboration across the organization. At the same time, the upgrades are touted to enable service providers to be able more easily and cost-effectively deliver Video-as-a-service at scale.

Polycom is rolling out new open APIs across the RealPresence platform to drive video adoption and encourage higher ROI rates. Some of the APIs offer integration capabilities into business processes such as resource monitoring, conference control, and provisioning/scheduling video sessions.

"Many customers want to do scheduling in different ways," said Jim Kruger, Polycom's senior vice president of global solutions marketing, while stressing the value of the new APIs. Kruger also pointed towards a new online developer community that will provide additional support for the APIs and other new features.

On the mobile front, Polycom is also one of many enterprise tech companies that are trying to meet the BYOD trend head on.

One key enhancement for the system as a whole is the new Resource Manager, which is scalable to manage up to 10,000 devices with better manageability and multi-tenancy for service providers.

Additionally, the RealPresence Mobile 1.3 software update includes expanded device support for the latest iPad as well as more HTC, Samsung, and Motorola devices running Android.

The update includes a far-end remote camera control function that allows users to really zoom in on the person on the other end of the video chat. An example of where this might be useful would be in the healthcare field. A doctor could zoom in on pupils of patient's eyes for a check-up.

Polycom is also sponsoring an upgrade program in which it will bring its own professional service in to perform the installation, upload and configure its software, and transfer licenses over without the customer having to do much at all.

Video: "The language of business"

Ramakrishna explained the company's goals for its latest releases during a demo presentation on Thursday afternoon at the Polycom's new headquarters.

Essentially, they boil down to how Polycom UC solutions "are changing lives, enabling people to save lives, and making people more productive," according to Ramakrishna.

Last year, Polycom generated $1.5 billion in revenue with more than 400,000 customers -- 95 percent of which belong to the Fortune 500.

But Ramakrishna specifically highlighted the growth of the video collaboration space as a whole produced 576 milllion video calls in the last year -- both business and consumer-generated.

Essentially, he described that video is becoming the "language of business." Some of the contributors to the growth of this market are other growing sectors -- primarily social, mobile and cloud.

Ramakrishna put it even more simply: "The generation coming up is not shy about seeing one another."

Thus, Polycom is building out its RealPresence platform with the intention of offering its services in a more scalable and secure fashion. However, at the same time Polycom also wants to make its platform more seamless without customers having to worry about what is going on under the hood.

"We should eliminate the need for end users to know who is connecting who and who is supporting who," Ramakrishna remarked.

David Piekarski from McAfee's global telecommunications operations unit, joined the demo presentation via video call, reiterated the importance for getting collaboration solutions to market as soon as possible.

"We need to move quickly because the world and threats in the world move quickly," Piekarski asserted, explaining that the expanded RealPresence platform should help McAfee be able to more richly integrate both new and existing Polycom solutions into day-to-day worklife while encouraging real-time interactions.