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August 06, 2010

Polycom Continues to Lead Industry by Participating in the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Web Editor

Editor’s Note: This article refers to a video interview shot in San Jose, Calif., as part of TMCnet’s “On the Road” video series. To view the entire library of videos from Road Shows and other industry shows, as well as product demos and interviews in our in-house studio, visit the TMCnet Videos home page.

As part of TMCnet’s “On the Road” video series, TMC’s CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) interviewed Jeff Rodman, co-founder and CTO of Polycom, a global leader in telepresence, video, voice solutions and communications.

During the interview, Rodman said that Polycom is one of the founders of the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF), which includes over 20 companies – such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard (News - Alert) – and who are all seeing the value of participation in the forum.

UCIF’s goal is to develop and identify priorities for cross-platform Unified Communications (News - Alert) and to develop a verification program so that customers can have confidence, when they buy UC solutions, they will play smoothly together.

“There are a growing number of platforms out there which did not communicate together,” Rodman said. “And they also all have different kinds of partial tool sets. They don’t all answer the same set of questions. So that customers, who are looking for a complete UC solution, usually can’t find an exact match.”

“This gives us a single uniform yardstick against which all vendors and tools can measure themselves,” Rodman added.

He explains that UC has been evolving rapidly. Companies have been acquiring different parts of the UC tool set at different times. There is a desire by some just to rip everything out and replace it all at once.

“That doesn’t work,” Rodman said. “The finance guys don’t like that because you have a whole bunch of unappreciated value that you have to throw out.”

Instead, different elements of UC should be able to communicate across different platforms, enterprises and networks, Rodman added.

Rodman says that the forum is not developing new standards. There are already great standards out there, he said.

“What’s needed is for UC to make some agreement on what are the basic standards to use,” he said.

Also during the interview, Rodman was asked about Polycom (News - Alert) often being the target of acquisitions. Rodman responded that those rumors have been surfacing for about 15 years.

“There’s always some company out there that is said to be looking at Polycom,” Rodman said. “That’s part of the fun of being here.”

But in reality, Polycom has acquired about six companies and is still looking to grow their business under the new CEO, Andrew Miller, Rodman said.

Check out the full video interview below:

Ed Silverstein is a contributing editor for TMCnet's InfoTech Spotlight. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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