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 Jeff Adams, DE.
Q: What was your career path to Polycom?
Jeff: I started in the telecommunications and teleconferencing industry 20 years ago. After a series of acquisitions, my company was acquired by Polycom. I have now been here 11 years doing telecommunications software development, audio/video conferencing and more.
Q: What are your areas of expertise?
Jeff: I have a wide breadth of experience in conferencing, signaling, API development. I’ve written code and developed software for my whole career; I have a background in security, networking, telecom protocols and more. Today I work on Polycom’s cloud developments (like RealPresence WebSuite), the RealPresence Distribution Media Application (RPDMA, Polycom’s gatekeeper and call server infrastructure), and RealPresence Access Director (RPAD, for NAT/Firewall traversal).
I’m also working on a few big up-and-coming solutions which I am very excited about.
Another main focus of mine is on service provider deployments. In order to be truly successful as a DE, you need real field experience in addition to the more theoretical knowledge to develop a great product suite that will work for the customer.
Q: What do you credit as the reason for being promoted to DE?
Jeff: I have a great team and they certainly help. I’ve been lucky enough to act as the voice of my team in the interface across various sites. You could say that I’m the most outgoing of the geeks. My work with customers has also been a big part of my success. Supporting successful deployments is an important part of the job.
Q: What inspires your work?
Jeff: I enjoy working with the technology and with our teams. I love solving problems and building the largest scale telecommunications systems possible. It’s all about stretching the boundaries of ‘possible’; delivering new modes of content sharing and visuals. I love it.
Q: Tell us about some of the most memorable moments of your career?
Jeff: I love working with customers on site. One of our customers, a large global online marketplace, presents a very challenging environment for us. We support their systems through events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday and it can be a challenge to make sure that everything goes smoothly. But it’s something we do every year, and we only get better at it.
The release of a new solution is also always a memorable experience. You work super hard on a product and when they roll out for the first time it’s amazing to see that amount of work get brought to market. It’s huge for everyone involved.
Q: Describe your approach when working with customers, sales people and partners?
Jeff: Honesty and respect is important. We are honest about what we can and can’t do, our strengths and weaknesses. The best customers are the ones we have saved from the biggest challenges, where it has been difficult finding the right solutions, but we have worked through the tough times and found great success. These situations aren’t always the fault of either party; technology systems are complex, and it’s challenging. Working together with the customer to overcome these challenges is what creates the best partnerships and the best systems.
With partners like IBM, Videxio and others, the approach is pretty much the same. We work through complex problems to find the best integrations and logical abstractions. We build something great. And we build something bigger and better than either of us could do alone.
Q: How do you work with partners and sales teams to address customer needs?
Jeff: No matter what, we listen to the customer. Listen to them and listen beyond what they ask for to deliver what they need, which isn’t always the same thing. We build solutions to address complex issues and to enhance the workplace experience.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Jeff: I am an avid telemark skier. I love to cook and am a classically trained chef. My specialty is Italian food. I also love spending time with my kids and my family.