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Poly Says Hello at Enterprise Connect

As CEO Joe Burton shared yesterday on No Jitter, the merged Plantronics and Polycom has a new name, Poly, which will use the assets of both companies to deliver solutions focused on making the experience of communicating and collaborating as rich as in-person engagements.
 
As a name, Poly has multiple meanings, and ties the current company to the past. The definition of Poly is “many” and indicates the broad portfolio of products that bring people together. The many reference can also allude to the breadth of smart endpoints that workers use to collaboration. Also, it’s an obvious tie back to the well-known Polycom brand, giving it an anchor to the past and that company’s rich history of innovation.
 
The new logo is also a poly-entendre, as it comprises three Ps merging, looks like one of Polycom’s famed speakerphones, and resembles a play button to indicate forward progression. Like so many companies today, Poly uses all lowercase letters in its logo to give the impression of a friendly company with approachable technology.
 
The joint company has a broad set of products that address all aspects of building a digital workplace. This includes not just in-room devices but also products like Habitat Soundscaping that can physically change in-office noise. Poly also has a growing services business that can help take the complexity out of understanding what to deploy where.
 
Moving forward, Poly will focus on four key areas:
  • Making workspaces intuitively work for everyone. Workplaces are filled with productivity-killing noises and distractions. Poly has a number of products aimed at cutting the audible distractions in open spaces and well as solutions that make huddle room meetings as effective as boardroom discussions.
  • Helping people collaborate, their way. For most businesses, there is no single collaboration solution. It’s commonplace to find workers using three or more services, so collaboration endpoints need to work across these seamlessly instead of making the person the integration point. Poly has a range of offerings that simplify the use of multiple collaboration apps.
  • Designing solutions that are mobile-first for the modern workforce. There aren’t many businesses today that wouldn’t describe themselves as being mobile-first. This has been a driving force in Plantronics headset innovation since its inception, and an area Polycom has put more focus on in recent years. The combined Poly should have a good understanding of every type of mobile worker type and have products optimized for each.
  • Advanced cloud services that help IT pros and users get more out of their devices. Through its cloud portfolio, Polycom had offered a set of device management services for helping IT pros understand utilization, device status, analytics, and more. It would seem sensible that, over time, Poly will bring management of Plantronics devices into this cloud service.

Both Plantronics and Polycom had very strong brand names so you might wonder why rebrand? When Plantronics acquired Polycom, the goal was to create a single company that could address all aspects of the digital workplace. Keeping two brands creates a division of products and can confuse customers. If Poly executes correctly, the single name and portfolio will make it easier for customers to keep the company top of mind when making purchase decisions related to their audio and video needs.
 
In addition to the new brand, Poly announced general availability of Polycom Studio (see my earlier post) and Plantronics Elara 60 Series, a slick dock that allows use of a mobile phone as a desk phone, as well as a number of product updates at Enterprise Connect. These include:
  • Eagle Eye Cube, a videoconferencing camera wth 4k sensors that is designed to work with many room systems, including the Polycom Trio with Visual Page and Group Series
  • Blackwire 7225, a new UC headset for open offices featuring a boomless design with active noise cancelling that lets people focus on the audio instead of background noise.
  • Plantronics Status Indicator, a wired presence indicator that sits on a desktop and connects to third-party UC platforms. This lets people in visual proximity understand if a worker is available or not.
  • New version of Polycom Device Management Service that supports and manages Studio. It also includes some new APIs for better control and management of large deployments.
In addition to the “poly” updates, the company announced the following third-party integrations:
  • lexa integration with Trio. For more details, read my previous post, on Amazon Web Services
  • New CCX phones for Microsoft Teams. The integration with Microsoft extends the Teams experience to the desk phone. These models -- the CCX 500 and CCX 700 -- have HD voice and a color display, and the 700 has a camera for integrated video calling for Skype for Business support.
  • Google Voice certified phones. The VVX x50 Series Obi Edition phones are the first IP phones to be Google Voice certified. Google Voice customers will benefit from VVX features such as crystal-clear voice and Acoustic Fence. This partnership is important for Google customers as it adds some legitimacy to a Google Voice that has been long on promise but short on delivering business quality features.
I’ll bid adieu to both Plantronics and Polycom and offer a warm welcome to Poly. There’s definitely a need for a company that can simplify the process of collaborating regardless of whether workers are at their desks, in a huddle room, or on the move without locking them into a single solution. The combined company has plenty of promise but success will be predicated on how tightly coupled the experience can be. The first salvo shows that both companies have continued to innovate… but now the work begins.