Congratulations to Polycom for winning the Enhancing Business Value through UC2™ Solutions this year! Their solution is a great way to extend the value of videoconferencing solutions that would otherwise be siloed. Historically, many companies invested in high-quality room-based video conferencing systems. The down side to these systems had been their cost and the fact that they required another similar end point to function, typically put in another conference room.
Polycom's solution allows you to leverage the video streams from a variety of sources now directly from Sametime.
These can be a mix of desktop or laptop webcams, Polycom videoconferencing end points, AND any other standards-compliant video endpoints. This is important, because if you've invested in room-based systems from other vendors (say Tandberg or Sony) who have not created their own direct integration with Samtime, you can still use Polycom's solution to integrate those systems with Sametime.
With Polycom's solution in place, you get true multicast video. The native video in Sametime leverages voice activated switching so that I only see the video of the currently active speaker, even if there are 10 people participating in the video chat.
With Polycom's solution, the video feeds from all participants are displayed simultaneously. This allows you to take in what is happening at the other locations, regardless of who happens to be speaking at the time.
For example, let's say you typically bring together board members into conference rooms at different offices where they then participate in the video conference. That involves some significant travel for some, and for those that can't get to those locations and have only the conference call to listen in to, their participation is significantly reduced. By adding Polycom's solution, board members at distant locations or those that are in the midst of other travel can still participate in the video conference by connecting in with their Sametime video from their desktops or laptops.
This is another great complimentary solution to the video capabilities in Sametime. So if you have room-based systems, and you're finally deploying video for Sametime, it is definitely worth looking more closely at Polycom's solution. For a small investment, you increase the utility of both the Sametime video and the room-based systems.