At the Enterprise Connect technology conference this week in Orlando, Fla., the companies jointly announced the Rich Media Communications Solution, which takes Polycom RealPresence solutions for videoconferencing and deploys them in an enterprise on HP networking equipment and with HP technical services. The combined platform would deliver Microsoft Lync to the enterprise customer.
Unified communications refers to a collection of technologies increasingly used by people to communicate and collaborate with each other to get business done. Communications include voice, video, e-mail, chat, instant messaging and document sharing. Because video is one of those elements, and often uses the most bandwidth, the need for the network to support the demands of video, and of UC in general, is important.
"Video is going to be in the top five drivers of network upgrades for the foreseeable future," says Mike Nielsen, director of solution marketing with the HP Networking business unit. "We are seeing a number of RFPs come through that indicate that video delivery with high-def videoconferencing, as well as unified communications solutions, will be the key drivers [for IT spending]."
But the complexities associated with rolling out a Lync installation have slowed some projects, says Kowshik Bhat, global solutions marketing manager for HP Networking.
"If you look at it in terms of the Lync licenses, a lot of them have been purchased, but very few of them have been deployed," he says. "What we hear from our customers overall is the complexity of bringing all the solutions together and providing a unified view to the user." Often, Lync deployments are incomplete because of customer difficulty deploying certain features or integrating them with solutions from other vendors, says Forrester analyst Henry Dewing.
"The expansion of Microsoft’s relationships with HP and Polycom in the unified communications and collaboration market enables HP to offer a complete portfolio of UC&C capabilities and services that compete favorably in the market," he states.