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Let there be video for all - Polycom

Video communication promises many benefits but to date, firing up a link between yourself and any other party is nowhere near as easy as it is to place a phone call.

That’s something of which Polycom is well-aware and is taking steps to address: with the release of new software with quite a name (RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite), its ANZ MD Gary Denman claims substantial progress is made towards this goal.

“The question is how to make video truly ubiquitous and a primary platform of communication and collaboration," he says.

"Doing that required a fundamental shift in approach which recognises the necessity for integration; as with voice, no specific equipment should be required, there should be no need for users to know or care what the devices are between end-points, and the user experience should be consisten."

So what does ‘Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite’ do towards that goal?

An extension to the company’s RealPresence Platform, it brings enterprise-grade video collaboration to (and this is the really good stuff) Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, and other business video applications using a browser, which connects them to the video call.

That, claims Polycom, means more reliable and secure corporate video communication.

That’s all well and good (and yes, impressive), but do users really want to chat with colleagues, bosses and anyone and everyone else on a video link? It is arguable that people sitting at desks are comfortable with the balance of familiarity and anonymity provided by the good ‘ole telephone.

While the telephone won’t ever disappear nor even take a back seat in the immediate future, Denman says video does make certain calls more productive and shorter – especially conference calls, which he quite rightly observes can be long, drawn out and difficult to understand.

“Additionally, the need to ‘face-to-face’ with customers and partners is critical; while ‘pressing the flesh’ remains the best way to do that, high-quality video allows part of the bridging to take place.”

More so, he adds, in the ‘Asian century’, where cultural preferences tend towards ‘in-person’ interaction, greatly helped by video connections.

CloudAXIS Suite can be used by service providers to expand from offering Video-as-a-Service to Video Collaboration-as-a-Service, which adds applications such as recording and streaming, web conferencing, and digital whiteboards.

Companies already using the RealPresence Platform can use CloudAXIS to extend video collaboration to their supply chain and even to customers for B2B and B2C communcation.

Service providers can co-brand the experience, including the user interface, and create value-added enterprise or consumer applications.

That’s caught the eye of Gen-i; acting CEO Jo Allison says it is seeing interest from customers wanting video conferencing solutions without IT, performance or security headaches.

“CloudAXIS provides a browser-based solution that is simple for the user, but has the backbone and infrastructure to meet enterprise resilience, scalability, security and quality requirements.”

Polycom says CloudAXIS should be available to businesses and for service provider trials in Q1 2013.