With 25 years of history under its belt, workspace and video collaboration firm Polycom is still expanding globally and in the region. A recent change of CEO has spelled change, but creating a seamless collaboration environment is still its top priority. Marco Landi, President, Polycom, EMEA, took time out to discuss telepresence, security, and how the face of the workplace has changed.
There has been a great deal of growth and change in Polycom recently. Has that shifted the company’s path?
Like most IT companies, we have had a big expansion until 2008 or so, and then after the economic downturn we restructured and reorganised. Since Peter Leav came on as CEO in December 2013, we have refocused a bit, and reduced costs throughout the company. This has allowed us to focus more on R&D, so there are exciting new developments in our video, voice and infrastructure. There are going to be a lot of new products coming out across the board. We see our chance to increase our market share – we live and die through unified communication, and we see ourselves as the specialist in the field. We need to maintain that leadership as well as extend our portfolio. To do that, we need to make the experience as simple, intuitive and standardised across platforms as possible. The fundamentals are still the same – we support communications within an enterprise environment. Our aim is to enable companies to use telepresence and unified communications to improve their business processes and increase productivity and keep employees happy.
As a long-time player in the Middle East, how have opportunities and challenges evolved for Polycom in the region?
We have been in the region since the 90s, and have continuously been growing. Even through the crash in 2008, we were still finding opportunities. This region has two elements for us. The first is infrastructure investment – as businesses in the region put in new buildings and office space, it is a perfect situation for us to step in and provide support from the ground up. The second element is regional growth strategy. Governments in the region want to become a major player for commerce and business as well as logistics and education. They want to connect to the rest of the world and become a hub, and our products and services directly support that goal.
How is Polycom supporting enterprise mobility in the region?
We are a pioneer in the mobility arena with solutions that support smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. We offer our software Real Presence, free of charge, on tablets and smartphones. Real Presence gives everyone the opportunity to be anywhere at any time. Our company is based on the premise that communication should be seamless from any device, in any infrastructure, anywhere in the world. We want to enable video from any device, from the mobile phone to the tablet to the laptop to the desktop, and even to our large-scale products like the Immersive Studio. We are creating an experience that is the same quality, no matter what device is used. We embrace mobility – the workplace of the future is changing; it is no longer the office, it is anywhere you’d like to be.
What is Polycom doing in terms of security to protect potentially sensitive communications?
Security is one of our main strengths – it is what sets us apart from a consumer device or solution. All of our products are enterprise class – so we have a robust security infrastructure. We work with governments and even the military, so encryption is very important to us. Security of communication is key to our customers. Our products are enterprise-grade, and sometimes even military-grade. We realise that from enterprise to government and beyond, security must be robust and reliable.
There have been some recent developments with Polycom and Microsoft – can you elaborate on the partnership?
We have had a relationship with Microsoft for a long time, so our products integrate very well in a Microsoft environment. We recently took on Skype for Business. We have ensured that the user-friendly interface with which Skype users are familiar has been maintained, and have added enterprise-grade features and security. We are developing a number of products specifically for Skype for Business with the SME and SMB market in mind. We want the experience of collaboration to be seamless, and to even be an improvement on a face-to-face interaction. For example, our Acoustic Fence product eliminates ambient noise, so communication can be even clearer than in person. We see these features as a fundamental part of the user experience. We also have more than 40 video, voice and content sharing solutions interoperable or optimised to work with Lync. Polycom has the largest selection of enterprise-class high quality audio/video solutions interoperable with Lync 2013.