Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | August 10, 2017 |


Polycom Introduces 'Device as a Service'

Polycom Introduces 'Device as a Service' Program gives Internet telephony service providers the ability to offer subscribers the option of swapping out, canceling, or returning their IP phones without penalty.

Program gives Internet telephony service providers the ability to offer subscribers the option of swapping out, canceling, or returning their IP phones without penalty.

The rise of the cloud as a preferred application delivery model has been well documented over the past several years. The cloud has grown in popularity because it creates choice and emphasizes flexibility, which is the opposite of the old IT model that had businesses locked into certain communications technology for up to a decade or more. For example, UCaaS lets buyers pick and choose the services they want, decide who they want to deliver them to, and pay for what they use on a monthly basis.

But the cloud hasn't applied to one element of UCaaS -- the actual IP phone. Businesses typically need to pick a phone and stick with it through the term of their contracts. If a company decides the phone it bought isn't the right one any longer and wants to swap it out, the answer is something like, "Too bad, so sad." The experience is similar to what happens on a personal level when you purchase a cell phone and you're stuck in that dreaded two-year contract. You purchased the new BlackBerry thinking it's all the rage, but then decided an iPhone would be better. No problem, just wait two years and upgrade!

DaaS Differentiator
Polycom this week introduced a device-as-a-service (DaaS) pilot program that can bring greater flexibility to the IP phone decision. The DaaS pricing model brings greater flexibility to service providers and their subscribers.

Other DaaS programs available today require the typical long-term commitment. Polycom's program, however, operates month to month, with subscribers having the option of upgrading, downgrading, canceling, or returning the phones with no penalty. The DaaS offering also includes a full replacement program for phones that fail within the first seven years.

This should be good news for Polycom's Internet telephony service provider (ITSP) partners and their customers as it takes the risk out of phone selection, giving companies the ability to adopt higher-end phones they might otherwise have avoided. IP phone prices can vary greatly, and while some of the features on the higher end ones might be appealing, who wants to take the risk of buying phones that have features no one uses? Nobody, that's who, which is why decision makers will typically defer to a lower-cost model when presented with several options from which to choose. Now businesses can try out higher-end phones for a few months, decide if the choice is worth the premium, and, if not, swap out for less expensive models.

This also puts the onus on the ITSP to check in with the customer a month or two after inking the contract to make sure it is indeed getting the most value out of those shiny new IP phones. And, if Polycom happens to release some new models partway through the contract period, the customer can upgrade to the latest technology with no fees or penalties. This is ideal for businesses that want to ensure they always have the "latest and greatest" equipment in the hands of their end users.

Tipping the Balance
Polycom has definitely put its money where its mouth is, making almost its entire phone line available through the DaaS model. This includes all the VVX business media phones as well as the RealPresence Trio and widely deployed SoundStation IP5000, IP6000, and IP7000 conference phones. Service pricing depends on the cost of the selected phone, but starts as low as $2.65 per device/month for a phone retailing at about $100.

The financial benefit to the ITSP is massive, removing the burden of having to purchase, own, and keep phones in stock. Polycom has had the lion's share of IP phones sold through ITSPs, but Yealink has been coming on strong. DaaS should keep the scales tipped toward Polycom for ITSPs looking at Yealink phones.

From Polycom's perspective, you might look at the DaaS program and think the company is doing this out of desperation, as the "as a service" model puts the financial risk on the vendor. Equipment being returned or early upgrades can greatly eat into margin. However, the third-party intermediary is actually doing the financial engineering, so Polycom's margins on the DaaS phones is the same as it is with upfront purchasing.

The pilot program is currently available to Polycom's ITSP partners in North America, and my understanding is that the company has gotten a commitment from six partners and has another three or four in the works. I would expect Polycom to expand the DaaS offering to Europe and other regions as the program matures, as well as to start including video endpoints. Polycom's Debut videoconferencing solution aimed at the midmarket seems like a no-brainer for DaaS.

Customers are adopting the cloud because they want flexibility and choice, but UCaaS endpoint programs typically offer very little of either. Polycom's DaaS model brings flexible, software-like pricing to IP phones.

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
Zeus Kerravala on Google+


June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

May 23, 2018

If Cisco is a critical strategic supplier for you, then its vital for you to understand the most recent announcements around Webex Teams, and how to build your migration path for the next generatio

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.