The Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference took place this week in Orlando, Florida. The annual event is an occasion for Microsoft, its partners, developers and IT professional customers to all come together and see the latest solutions from the tech giant. As a unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) industry veteran and former CEO, I wanted to share my findings and perspective on the Poly announcements from the event.
Poly has been a solution provider and partner with Microsoft for over 15 years, dating back to the Polycom(PictureTel) iPower and ViaVideo systems. Microsoft acquired Skype back in the 2011 timeframe. At that time, Skype was a pioneer and overwhelming leader in internet-based voice/video/messaging communications. Since then, there have been multiple iterations of Skype, with evolutionary improvements. Skype functionality now is included in Microsoft’s Teams collaboration solution. This partnership and legacy make Poly and Microsoft natural partners delivering optimized customer experiences (CX) for UC&C.
Microsoft Teams is propelling teamwork and collaboration in the digital transformation era to a whole new level. It creates a common workspace for real-time collaboration, including voice/video communication, messaging (chat), online meetings and file and app sharing, all in one place accessible to all team members. To get the picture, think about a single software application that creates an workflow environment where all team members can see common collections of files, calendars, schedules, specifications and status reports, and can communicate instantly with each other via email, chat, voice or video. Everyone is updated on all changes simultaneously regardless of their physical location. To configure a complete voice/video communication solution for Microsoft Teams, Poly offers a comprehensive device portfolio. See Figure 1 for the proof-point and a summary view.
At the beginning of the Microsoft Ignite conference, Poly announced numerous updates to its portfolio for Microsoft Teams users. The summary of the updates follows:
- The Poly Studio, a plug-and-play USB video bar for small huddle rooms, is now certified for Microsoft Teams. Key features are room-filling audio, a 4K HD camera with built-in speaker tracking and framing, as well as support for remote cloud management for ongoing updates and configuration. It is available worldwide now.
- The Poly Studio X-series, announced a few weeks earlier at Zoomtopia, consists of two video bars, the Poly Studio X30 and Poly Studio X50. The key to the announcement is that both are purpose-built appliances that will run the Microsoft Teams application natively. Key features include 4K Ultra high definition (UHD), advanced noise suppression and unmatched video production rules to improve all aspects of the meeting experience. Set-up requires a single power-over-ethernet cable. Users can choose to control the Studio X Series with the new Poly TC8 touch screen. See Figure 2 for Studio family positioning.The family will be available December 2019, with native support for Teams available in 2020.
- The Poly CCX series are business desk phones that combine sleek design and native Microsoft Teams functionality with premium voice quality. Each integrates Microsoft Teams contact lists, calendar, and meetings. The series includes three models (see Figure 2). The CCX 500 will be available in December 2019, while the CCX 400 and 600 will be available in January 2020.
- The Calisto 3200 is Poly’s first native Microsoft Teams 360-degree personal audio speakerphone. It allows you to take conference calls anywhere. A single button invokes the Microsoft Teams app on a PC for easy collaboration. It will be available December 2019.
- Voyager 4200 and 5200 Office Series are wireless headsets for in-office mobile professionals seeking versatile connectivity options to desk phone, smartphone, or computer. All are optimized for Microsoft Teams, and will be available in December 2019.
- Poly Managed Service is a hosted service that accelerates Microsoft Teams adoption in enterprises worldwide with a range of managed services to support enterprises on their entire Microsoft Teams journey. Services include identifying the most effective way for customers to migrate from legacy platforms to Microsoft Teams, the provisioning of endpoints and licenses, the end-to-end deployment of Microsoft Teams, adoption, training and change management. This Managed Service can work in conjunction with Microsoft’s calling plan or any Direct Route service offer, and is available now.
Combining new thought-leadership collaboration applications such as Microsoft Teams with Poly’s comprehensive audio/video endpoints and services creates a CX unlike any other. Reflecting on these recent updates and the current state of the UC&C market, I updated Table 1 below summarizing my thoughts relative to Poly’s current standing.
Over the past few years, the Poly video endpoint solutions had fallen back slightly from market requirements. The Poly leadership and product teams are rapidly updating and refreshing the endpoint products with meaningful customer features for the company’s entire portfolio. The Poly Studio family of endpoints and the rich selection of voice endpoint devices are very compelling solutions, especially in these native-ready modes of plug-in and ready-to-go. The UC&C endpoint market is larger than any time in history, bringing a large opportunity for device solution providers such as Poly. Creative and innovative solutions are a strength for Poly, and businesses ranging in size from SME to Global 500 will benefit from Poly’s “Full House” portfolio of Microsoft Teams-ready solutions.