Polycom adds hardware to Microsoft’s Communications Server

Handshake, Agreement

Polycom and Microsoft are deepening their existing relationship by integrating Polycom teleconferencing products into Microsoft's forthcoming Communications Server (CS).

By combining CS 14 with the Polycom CX series of endpoints the companies hope to offer a tightly integrated Unified Communications (UC) environment. The agreement sets the path to consolidate voice, data, video and applications into a package that can link between desktops and into the boardroom seamlessly.

The deal strengthens Microsoft's software by adding the hardware links that it needs. Brent Kelly, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research said the ability to offer a packaged solution will add to its attraction rather than forcing adopters to handle the integration themselves.

He said: "Our research shows that nearly 70 per cent of the companies considering a unified communications solution are thinking of deploying Microsoft Office Communications Server."

"These enterprises need seamless integration and interoperability between Office Communicator on the desktop and personal, group, and telepresence video solutions, like those offered by Polycom, for executive offices, meeting suites, and conference rooms."

Neither company has specified the length of the contract, other than to describe it as a multiyear agreement. During this time, additional interoperable products will appear to further incorporate Polycom's existing and future video conferencing endeavours.

CS 14 is the working title of the current Microsoft software under development, expected to appear as CS 2010 before the end of this year, bringing it in line with Microsoft Exchange 2010.

Polycom has partnered several companies, including Cisco, HP and IBM.