Polycom picks up HP’s Halo

HP halo

Polycom today confirmed it had bought Halo HP's flagship telepresence product for an undisclosed sum.

The unified communications company will pick up Halo, along with the rest of the Visual Collaboration portfolio, and will become HP's exclusive partner when it comes to telepresence and video unified communications offerings both internally at HP and commercially.

It is give and take though, as Polycom also confirmed it would integrate its own video solutions with WebOS, a prize from HP's Palm acquisition.

This agreement allows us to focus on executing our strategy in cloud computing and connectivity.

"We believe the combination of HP's networking scale and global reach with Polycom's expertise in video conferencing will deliver an unsurpassed enterprise video communication offering," said chief executive (CEO) of Polycom, Andy Miller.

"By connecting a broad range of video telepresence and other endpoints through the Polycom UC Intelligent Core infrastructure deployed on HP networking solutions and systems, we will help you capitalise on the underlying benefits of networking as the foundation for a superior video experience and tap the global services HP can employ to provide turnkey communications solutions."

A HP spokesperson added: "Customers will benefit from this transaction and alliance because they will receive the focus of two world-class technology companies through greater service and product opportunities."

"This agreement allows us to focus on executing our strategy in cloud computing and connectivity, while ensuring the long-term care of our customers and development of our services business."

Open video

The acquisition comes as part of a wider Polycom strategy to begin an open platform for unified communications companies to join together and deliver video over the cloud.

An impressive 14 service providers have already signed up to the Open Visual Communications Consortium, including Cable and Wireless, BT and Orange, with the goal of making it "as easy to communicate over video as it is to connect on mobile phones today."

By utilising all of the service providers globally, the Consortium hopes to be able to offer a common video platform for businesses to access from anywhere.

"The need for an inter-company UC federation, of which video and telepresence are critical components, has grown tremendously," said Rich Costello, senior research analyst at IDC.

"Progress around system interoperability is being made through industry forums and alliances, but true B2B interoperability will also require exactly this type of service provider inter-connectivity."

Microsoft next in-line

It seems Polycom has been bitten by the partnering bug and also announced it was teaming up with Microsoft, bringing together its telepresence offerings with Microsoft Lync for what Miller described as a "powerful yet simplified user experience."

Going under the codename of Rally' this product will also become the first integrated telepresence with Microsoft's cloud suite Office 365.

"I believe the agreements and announcements we are making today are just the beginning of a roadmap of innovative solutions for many years to come," concluded Miller.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.