Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
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Beth Schultz | April 29, 2015 |


Polycom Provides Real-Time Data on Video Ecosystem

Polycom Provides Real-Time Data on Video Ecosystem A new cloud-based services delivery platform provides analytics and asset management apps, plus a how-to video library.

A new cloud-based services delivery platform provides analytics and asset management apps, plus a how-to video library.

When it comes to video collaboration, Polycom would like to help enterprise IT managers get a little bit brainier.

Make that a lot brainier. In an announcement yesterday, the company introduced a number of services it says are in large part aimed at helping IT administrators make smarter decisions using data gleaned from their unified communications and collaboration ecosystems. An overriding goal is to get enterprise IT managers out of the reactive, break/fix mode.

"We want them to get to know their installed base better, and be able to put together a more predictive, proactive model," Jonathan Nikols, Polycom's VP & GM, Global Advanced & Managed Services, told me in a phone briefing.

The "headliner" of the announcement, Nikols said, is the new cloud-based Polycom RealAccess services delivery platform, delivered via the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model. Over time, the company envisions opening the platform to ecosystem partners -- if not some enterprises themselves -- for services creation via application programming interfaces (APIs) or software development kits (SDKs). For now, however, Polycom is the only company developing on the platform, he said.

In the initial release, available now, the RealAccess platform supports three services, as follows:

  • Asset management: Via this service, IT administrators get detailed insight into any endpoint registered in the Polycom infrastructure. Besides vendor and equipment type, information includes the software version in use, as well as the location of devices. IT managers quite often today manage their video assets via spreadsheets, and not to the granular level of software, serial number, and exact location that is possible via this service, Nikols said. In the future, Polycom will link the asset information to backend ordering and ticket systems to streamline IT processes even further. At a glance, IT managers would not only be able to see which assets are located where, but also what the entitlement and renewal status is on those endpoints, he added.

  • Analytics. This service delivers data and metrics on endpoint utilization, capacity, and performance. IT managers can get usage by hour as well as in other timeframes, such as weekly or monthly, and see activity by bridge, for example. "This is where the true value is -- in the ability to understand performance, usage, and adoption," Nikols said.

  • Video library: The goal here is to increase adoption via how-to training videos. The videos, on how to use collaboration tools, are available for on-demand viewing.

SCOR, a global reinsurance company, has changed the way it approaches asset and capacity management thanks to the RealAccess platform, said Laurent Chartier, global IT building manager for the company, in a press statement. "By giving us the information, resources and analytics we need, in simple and easy to access ways, Polycom makes our decisions easier and gives us clear feedback on their impact."

The Polycom RealAccess services delivery platform provides a dashboard from which IT managers can analyze video metrics such as use, capacity, and performance.

The RealAccess services delivery platform automatically starts collecting information from the RealPresence Distributed Media Application (DMA) management application, once Polycom has on-boarded an enterprise, Nikols said. Once all is set, IT administrators can access the RealAccess cloud portal and see their data in real time. Advantage and Elite customers that have the requisite DMA get access to the asset management and video library applications as part of their licenses; the on-boarding service costs $10,000. The analytics package is optional, and ranges from $19,000 to $40,000 a year depending on the number of MCU ports in use, Nikols said.

Besides the RealAccess services delivery platform, Polycom is now offering services aimed at helping companies install, implement, and set up the phones as they move to Lync Enterprise Voice. The Polycom VVX Services for Lync is targeted for availability this Friday, May 1; pricing is not available at the time of writing.

Lastly, Polycom has adapted its high-end managed services portfolio, typically used for large, immersive telepresence environments, for a "more addressable market," Nikols said. In other words, it is offering monitoring and management services for in-room video systems and endpoints. The portfolio also includes transformation services, for companies that are migrating from one video infrastructure to another.

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