BrainYard News Briefs: Polycom Adds SMB Videoconferencing Options

Personalization for WordPress and Joomla. Secure email as a service. A new mobile and social promotions service.
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Polycom Introduces SMB Videoconferencing Equipment Bundle

Polycom introduced RealPresence Ready, a video collaboration solution optimized for small to midsize business.

"We're seeing a real surge in demand for SMB video," Laura Marx, senior director of SMB marketing for Polycom, said in an interview. Polycom wants to encourage that trend with a bundle of equipment that makes it easy to purchase, deploy, and manage business-grade video. RealPresence Ready provides a complete system that includes two Polycom HDX 6000 videoconference room systems, one Polycom HDX 7000 system, and five Polycom Telepresence m100 software licenses for desktop videoconferences. While businesses can always add to this assortment, it represents a good starting point for organizations that are just introducing videoconferencing, she said.

Polycom RealPresence Ready is available today in North America with prices starting at $17,999 and service options starting at $2,385.

Polycom is providing cloud service options through partners including 8x8, as well as BroadSoft and Telesphere as another option, particularly for companies seeking to avoid the capital expense of purchasing videoconferencing equipment. Options are important because "different SMBs want to access video in different ways" and have different philosophies about balancing capital versus operating expenses, Marx said.

Personyze Brings Personalization To WordPress, Joomla

The Personyze personalization service has introduced plug-ins for WordPress and Joomla, two of the most popular Web content management systems. When used with Personyze, the plug-ins let website managers present alternate versions of the content for each page to identified users based on 50+ demographic and behavioral metrics (including available Facebook data, platform data, and search keywords), to dynamically create multiple versions of the same Web page.

For example, Personyze works with data vendors like Rapleaf that can match an email address to characteristics like age, gender, and household status. So whenever visitors are identified by email, the site can customize content for them on the fly to match specific market segments.

"We want this to be something that can be more common, where anyone creating content for the site will be able to use personalization," Personyze founder and CEO Yakov Shabat said in an interview. The two open source platforms were picked because they are so widely used, and Personyze will be adding integrations for other platforms, such as one that's in the works for Magneto Commerce.

Perimeter E-Security Launches Secure Cloud Email

Perimeter E-Security, which provides hosted security monitoring and management services, introduced what it claims is "the market's first complete secure cloud messaging solution with support for Microsoft Exchange 2010." SaaS Secure Messaging 6.0 will be offered under the company's USA.NET brand.

"Any vendor can sell you a cheap mailbox," said Andrew Jaquith, CTO of Perimeter E-Security, in a statement, but this service meets a broad range of security and compliance requirements for a single price. Features include messaging, anti-virus and anti-spam, encryption, data leak prevention, business continuity mirroring, tamperproof archiving, eDiscovery, mobile management, collaboration, compliance, and review workflows.

Taking The Storefront Chalkboard Online

A social and mobile promotions website imported from Asia is seeking to make a splash in the U.S. by challenging daily deals sites such as Groupon.

Chalkboard (at got its start in Singapore, has been expanding in Asia for the past year, and claims to have more than 4,300 businesses participating. Rather than pushing businesses into offering deep discounts the way Groupon does, CEO Saumil Nanavati said he wants to provide a platform for more routine promotions. "It's like the chalkboard outside the restaurant advertising the soup of the day. We're taking the same concept that's been used for hundreds of years and bringing it to a digital platform, mobile, and Web."

Chalkboard charges a flat rate of 99 cents a day, "so we've made it affordable to any mom and pop shop," he said. Promotions are distributed to nearby consumers via a mobile app, and can be automatically cross-posted to the Facebook and Twitter profiles for the business, as well as displayed on the business's website or blog.

A reference customer from a bank in Kuala Lumpur, which he asked not be named, said by email that the Chalkboard service has proven valuable because of its geo-targeting, which makes it possible to connect credit card customers with offers from nearby businesses. The bank is offering the service to small and midsize businesses who cannot afford mainstream media, acting as an intermediary that buys the ad spots on their behalf. Since starting work with Chalkboard in March, the bank has run 500 promotions and received more than 3 million advertising impressions. "The Facebook social sharing results were also pleasantly surprising," the banker added.

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