Follow this 6-part Meet the Expert series that features Polycom’s six Distinguished Engineers. In these blogs, we learn more about who they are and what makes them exceptional at what they do.
Today, meet Bill Kruger, DE.
Q: What was your career path to Polycom?
Bill: I started with PictureTel back in 1986 (PicTel back then…), one year of out college after working for a year at a small company in CT (IPC Communications) building a small enterprise-class digital PBX. Videoconferencing is such a compelling technology and Polycom has been such great company that I’ve never lost my passion for either of them and so have never left.
Q: What are your areas of expertise?
Call Protocols (H.320, H.323, SIP)
Conferencing solution architecture
Q: What do you credit as the reason for being promoted to DE?
Bill: I’ve had the good fortune to have worked in all areas of our conferencing solution for quite some time. This allowed me to be a part of many of Polycom’s long list of industry leading product and solution introductions and has helped me develop the background to be able to continue to assist in product developments across the entire product portfolio.
I’ve always tried to be relentless in the pursuit of quality and of making Polycom products the best they can be, no matter what.
Q: What inspires your work?
Bill: Helping people communicate with each other across the planet: for work, for pleasure and for a general better understanding of one another. That’s a major source of inspiration for me.
Also, the recognition that, as far as we’ve come in this industry, there is still so much we can do to make our solutions better. It never gets old!
Q: Tell us about some of the most memorable moments of your career?
Bill: Probably the one event that still stands out as top for me was being on my first transcontinental video call a month or so after starting at Pictel. The call was from the lab in Peabody, MA to somewhere in California as part of a demo of PicTel’s first product (C2000). It just blew me away at the time to be able to see and hear someone in real time across the country – it ignited the passion that has continued to sustain my desire to work in this industry and with Polycom.
Being involved in creating and implementing People + Content has also been a highlight- the concept of allowing for multiple streams of media to be associated with a conference, each “tagged” with the role that it represents in the meeting, was a major step forward in improving the experience that users could have in a meeting. We’re still continuing to implement against this concept, increasing the number of streams that can be present and what roles they can have in the meeting.
Delivering HD video to the market was a big one, another huge step forward in user experience.
Bringing security best practices into our products has also been rewarding, as it has allowed our products to be used in markets that had been previously inaccessible to us and now represent significant revenue opportunities.
Q: Describe your approach when working with customers, sales people and partners?
Bill: Listen, mostly – try to understand what they want and why, in order to build them the solution that will address their needs.
Be accurate in explaining what our solution does (and/or doesn’t) do today and how it does (or doesn’t) address what they want. Honesty about abilities and possible limitations is important. This helps us work with customers to identify and close the gaps between what we have and what they want, gaining their trust and confidence along the way.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Bill: I love music. I am part of a church praise band and a community opera company. I also love anything outdoors; I’m always on the lookout for new places to hike, bike, ski, whatever!