Polycom Adds Tablet Videoconferencing

RealPresence Mobile, free app, runs on Apple iOS and Android devices.

Robert Mullins

October 12, 2011

3 Min Read
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Cisco Umi

Cisco Umi

Slideshow: Cisco Umi Takes Telepresence To The Home(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Videoconferencing system provider Polycom is joining a host of competitors and adding tablet computers to the array of desktop and room systems that can be used for participating in a video conference call. Its RealPresence Mobile software is available for a free download at the Apple App Store to run on the Apple iPad 2 and at the Google Android Market to run on tablet computers such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Motorola Xoom.

Polycom's CEO Andy Miller is scheduled to discuss the launch at the CTIA Enterprise and Applications 2011 conference in San Diego, Calif. In a preview of the application on an iPad for InformationWeek, Surendra Arora, vice president of mobility and business development, showed how RealPresence Mobile delivers all of the functionality of a desktop or room system, such as dividing the screen up to show all participants, adding video, documents or a PowerPoint presentation, muting and unmuting video and audio as necessary, and others. The app also includes a directory of people that a user can click on to add them to the call.

PolyCom is one of a number of companies competing in the market for video conferencing technology, which is often integrated with unified communications systems. Video conferencing infrastructure provider Vidyo last week announced support for iPads and the iPhone 4S. And cloud video conference service provider Blue Jeans Network links people on iPads, other tablets, smartphones, room systems, and even Skype in one meeting. Polycom also competes with other video system providers such as Cisco TelePresence and Logitech LifeSize.

[ Are you using videoconferencing? Read 75% Of Enterprises To Use Videoconferencing By 2013. ]

Recognizing the need for interoperability, Polycom RealPresence is based on industry standards such as the H.323 protocol or the session initiation protocol (SIP), said Arora.

"We obviously want you to buy our infrastructure and some of the additional features we have in the application like the directory services ... but fundamentally it's open, standards-based," he said.

Polycom is a founding member of the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), a standards body made up of system vendors and service providers. With the right standards widely adopted, interoperability will help generate growth in the video conferencing market, Arora said.

"Today we're a $2 billion industry, but if we want to grow from a $2 billion industry to a $10 billion industry, we're going to have break these barriers down," Arora said.

Polycom cited research from Gartner forecasting that more 320 million tablet computers will be sold in 2015 for a total installed base of 900 million units, illustrating the need to support Apple and Android tablets. Also, a GigaOm Pro research report says the number of people participating in video chats will grow 14 times by 2015 to more than 140 million.

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