Guest Blog by Tim Britt, Channel Account Manager, UK
In 2014, the worldwide VoIP service market hit just shy of $70 billion. Growth in business VoIP services was a key driver for the market, resulting in a three per cent growth compared to the previous year. Hosted VoIP seats in the UK grew by more than seventeen per cent in 2014. Polycom and Gamma have jointly felt the benefit of tapping into the demand for voice as part of a complete services offering.
“The partnership with Gamma has grown strongly over the last two years,” says Tim Britt, Channel Business Manager at Polycom Europe. “We both spotted a trend that provided great sales opportunities. Voice isn’t dead, not by any stretch of the imagination.”
Global voice traffic grew 5% in 2012 to 490 billion minutes; 34% of which were VoIP. But customers want voice to be part of a unified communications and collaboration environment, and in order to derive the best value from UC&C there are three key features that end users need; quality, reliability and ease-of-use.
When selling a service, quality is the key differentiator, and Polycom’s HD voice is the best quality possible for a hosted VoIP offering. Offices are changing, we’re seeing fewer senior staff sitting in private rooms and fewer cubicles. The rise of open-plan hot-desking means that the Polycom VVX 410 is a great choice; it has Acoustic Fence built in, which means that the phone automatically lowers background noise. When it comes to phone calls and audio conferencing, end users expect to be able to hear each other clearly, no matter what their working environment might be.
From a service provider point of view, reliable endpoints are the key to a successful deal. Phones with high fail rates eat away at profit margins as they require repairs, replacements and a lot of additional customer service activity to retain the client. Polycom’s VVX 410 has one of the industry’s lowest fail rate making it the most reliable cog in the machine that is UC as a Service. That means that Gamma’s partnership with Polycom can be as beneficial as possible, as the service provider doesn’t have to deal with the costs associated with repairing and replacing broken units.
Lastly, the phone is the element of the service that is physically in front of the end users. They need to be able to get to grips with it quickly. That means a simple user interface and seamless interoperability with the rest of the UC&C environment are critical to adoption within the end user organisation.
For these three reasons, the leading service providers know that the right endpoint is the difference between a happy customer and an ongoing code red. “We include Polycom VVX 410 handsets as standard in our Horizon service because we know that they are the right vessel to deliver our service,” says Lee Mansell, Horizon Product Manager at Gamma. “The Polycom brand is globally recognised as a mark of quality and that’s a product we want associated with our Horizon service. Brand recognition is very important. We don’t want to add time and cost to the sale in trying to convince the customer of the quality and reliability of a phone from an unfamiliar company. We don’t have this problem when we sell Polycom. As our presence in the hosted market continues to grow, we have found that many enterprise accounts have a firm requirement that Polycom is part of the offer. Aside from all these benefits, the level of technical support we receive from Polycom makes them an attractive partner.”
We highly recommend our video partners work with Gamma to deliver UCaaS. Gamma’s Horizon platform is a great way of incorporating a hosted VoIP service into your video collaboration offering. According to industry analysts, the UCaaS market is predicted to continue growing at 10.5% CAGR until 2020. That represents a huge opportunity for Polycom’s partner community.
Special Guest Blog by Glynn Jones, VP EMEA Channels and Advanced Technology Group
The recent announcement of the Polycom VVX101 and VVX201 entry level phones now complete the VVX Business Media Phone portfolio. With a full range of entry to executive level phones, the VVX portfolio delivers value to cloud / hosted voice service providers and enterprise customers alike. Supporting integration to both open SIP voice platforms such as Broadsoft, Genband, Metaswitch, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence and Alcatel-Lucent Rapport for Enterprises along with Microsoft Lync / Skype for Business markets, Polycom offers increased value to the business voice market.
The VVX range has been extensively tested by Microsoft and certified for Lync/Skype for Business, which means the VVX Business Media Phones can be deployed with confidence into Microsoft Lync / Skype for Business environments. Please note, the VVX 101 Business Media Phone does not support Microsoft Lync / Skype for Business.
If we take a closer look into the hosted voice market, we can see it is growing at an incredible rate. Transparency Market Research (TMR) forecast that the global Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services market will expand at a 9.7% CAGR during the forecast period of 2014 to 2020, and is projected to be worth US$136.76 billion by 2020.
The majority of issues such as security and reliability, which once hampered cloud adoption, have been or are being addressed and service providers of all types have broadened their VOIP application capabilities and expanded their overall portfolios. As a result, the subscriber base of the global VoIP services market is expected to reach 348.5 million by 2020¹.
In EMEA, we are seeing an increase in hosted / cloud based voice service providers (SPs) with a number of new entrants. Polycom is well positioned to support the hosted voice SP customers with the complete Polycom VVX Business Media Phone portfolio, allowing hosted voice providers to offer:
Lower cost per seat/cost per user allowing for service differentiation (competitively priced bundled services)
Better margins for hosted services – quicker return on investment to return on asset
Extremely reliable handsets with greater customer satisfaction
Minimal customer complaints to the SP’s call centre – industry leading reliability
Close relationship with Tier 1 hosted platforms, resulting in reduced lab testing and ensuring a faster time to market with new services.
This will drive competition among the hosted voice providers to create new innovative VOIP services, which, inevitably, can only benefit customers.
Each year, Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference brings together over 10,000 of some of the brightest minds in the technology industry. All partners of Microsoft, all working together to make business more efficient, more intuitive and even more fun.
Last week was no different. Polycom has been privileged to be a partner of Microsoft for over a decade. Constantly working together to improve efficiencies and generate productivity in the workplace, Polycom and Microsoft have developed solutions that are built and qualified in the Lync environment. In fact, our work with Microsoft, which includes our CX8000, a Lync Room System, has played a big role in Polycom gaining the highest rating by Gartner for Group Video Systems.
What we had in the booth
Polycom was once again a proud sponsor of the event.
The main element of our booth display was the CX8000 Lync Room System and CX5100 – our unique, center-of-the-table 360-degree HD voice and video device for Lync. Many who came to our booth mentioned that they were using the original roundtable, the CX5000 and were eager to upgrade to the new and improved HD solution.
As usual, our VVX phones generated much interest as many inquired about the different functionality of the devices – from our VVX300 (an entry level HD voice quality device) to the VVX600 (multiple features that include video, HD voice and an instant access directory).
Meeting capture – particularly for training or new hire videos – and ability to access and dissect transcripts for key messages were the two most favorably received applications of our Video Content Management solution.
Cloud party a big hit:
In partnership with Plantronics and Sonus, Polycom sponsored an event on the roof deck of the W Hotel in Washington. We were pleased and honored to have more than 500 attendees attend, including influential Microsoft Partners, as well as Lync Marketing, Engineers and Sales Teams from Microsoft as well as members of the media as well.
Generating a movement:
Polycom is proud to be joining Microsoft on two programs that are truly remarkable:
Operation Smile – A charity designed to help children around the world who have facial abnormalities, Polycom is working in conjunction with Microsoft to offer support for this cause
CityNext – Polycom has been accepted into Microsoft’s CityNext program, which is designed to positively impact cities and communities through the use of technology
The Polycom and Microsoft partnership continues to be an important one for businesses everywhere. We’ve been honored to collaborate with Microsoft to address key business challenges along the way.
And stay tuned. Microsoft and Polycom have more coming!