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On Monday October 8, Polycom held a technology day in New York. At that event Polycom outlined its vision, strategy for the near future, and a bevvy of new products to support its new approach. Polycom’s vision of ubiquitous video collaboration is similar to that of most other video vendors, but its approach is much different.

Talking about ubiquitous video is certainly much simpler than delivering on it, as it requires cooperation from the rest of the industry. Once every vendor is on the same page, video will go through that “rising tide” that we’ve all being waiting for. While I still don’t think the industry is there yet, I believe what Polycom announced puts them in a position to capitalize on that rising tide, whenever it occurs.

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The promise of fully interoperable, enterprise-wide video has been much more a vision than a reality over the past decade. Why? Because it’s a really hard problem to solve.

H.323 has been around since the late 90s, and both the market leaders, Cisco and Polycom have subsequently submitted proposed standards to help bring interoperability to video. Additionally, there are a number of cloud-based video providers such as Vidtel, BlueJeans and Glowpoint that have built robust service offerings to help solve the interoperability challenge. Despite these efforts, video interoperability remains limited, albeit much better than it used to be. In fact, today my Cisco Callway end point connected to Polycom, Vidtel and Cisco, so there is progress being made.

On Monday, startup Vidyo released the VideoWay service, which the company is positioning as the panacea to all business video problems. According to a blog on the Vidyo website, “VidyoWay addresses ALL three factors of cost, complexity, and limited connectivity for legacy devices to remove the barriers to enterprise visual collaboration more effectively than any other solution in the market.” Let’s read that again: “VidyoWay address ALL factors that limit connectivity.” Not bad for a startup considering much bigger companies have been working on this challenge for years.

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