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Being deeply engrossed in the collaboration industry, you’ve probably heard this word: “Pervasive.” In today’s world, for any communications tool to be successful, it has to be pervasive. When you pick up your home phone, you expect to be able to connect with anyone else who has a phone – not just those you share a device model or service provider with.

 

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At Polycom, “pervasive” reflects a desire, a passion, and a goal of our company. Pervasiveness has driven new markets, added new technologies, and been responsible for the very foundation on which the communication industry is built. We create interoperability between our products and other companies by building solutions that can speak the many different languages – of translations and transcoding.  Why do we do it? It’s not to placate people. It’s not to “look good.” It’s a fundamental part of our strategy. It’s to drive pervasiveness so that our customers can connect to whomever they need to connect to. Our ultimate goal is making it seamless so that there’s no need to worry about who-has-what technology. This will build a stronger market.

 

 

A Rising Tide Raises All Boats

While we do have standards today – a good thing – by no means are we in the utopia that would exist in a homogeneous communications world. The standards that exist today are not pervasive and do not operate seamlessly. Many collaboration solutions operate in a closed system. They are built with implementation specific protocols or proprietary capabilities that attempt to lock the purchaser into buying more gear. 

 

There is a fatal flaw in this reasoning.  For the endpoint market to grow, we need interoperability – pervasiveness – to raise the tide. In the current market, we’ve reached a level where 5-6 percent of conference rooms are using video. And while it hasn’t completely plateaued, we’re hovering at that level. Companies feel that by offering a walled garden approach, they are protecting their future business.  In actuality, what it’s doing is stunting the market growth by not enabling the wider industry to grow as it should. More devices are coming to market today, meaning more ways to connect. Closed solutions will hinder the market. An open approach opens opportunities to more companies, more device makers, more vendors and lead to greater adoption.

 

What do you think about when you hear interoperability? Have you ever experienced a situation where interoperability would have better prepared your company for success?

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