Business/E-Business
Commentary
2/9/2011
12:20 PM
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Polycom Connects To Cisco

Since the turn of the millennium, open interfaces and support for industry standards have been the norm in all industries, except for video conferencing. But that is changing as Polycom has decided to support a Cisco Systems Inc. telepresence interface.

Since the turn of the millennium, open interfaces and support for industry standards have been the norm in all industries, except for video conferencing. But that is changing as Polycom has decided to support a Cisco Systems Inc. telepresence interface.Polycom plans to add support for the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP), an open source project that Cisco sponsored. With that capability, Polycom video conferencing systems will be able to interoperate with Cisco systems. While an improvement, it is unclear if the level of interoperability delivered will match what is available when small and medium businesses rely on equipment from just one vendor.

During the past few years, use of video conferencing has swelled. Consequently, companies have found the proprietary barriers among different devices vexing: they want to be able to mix and match different device. In January 2010, Cisco announced TIP, and LifeSize and RADVISION pledged to support the interface. In the spring of 2010, Polycom began working with companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, HP, and Avaya, to form the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF), whose goal is improve the level of interoperability found in multimedia collaboration systems. As a result, two sets of specifications have been developed.

In sum, vendors seem to understand the need to make it easier for customers to mix and match telepresence equipment. However rather than one standard, two are emerging, which ultimately will continue to limit the level of interoperability found among different products.

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