Polycom Should Forget Marketing Gimmicks and Buy Vidyo to Survive

Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS

Following in the footsteps of Apple retail stores, Polycom will be opening its own retail outlets in high-end malls, as well as some Costco Superstores, says Wainhouse Research.

In a marketing scheme designed to cook up some chutzpah for a waning video conferencing product, Polycom will be teaming up with unlikely competitor Google (using data from Google’s Street View technology) to figure out just exactly where it should plant its new stores for maximum payback. These outlets will make Polycom’s video conference systems seem more user-friendly and give prospective customers a chance to

experience firsthand RealPresence, to test out the latest RMX devices, UC  Board, and mobile apps, and to practice setting up streaming / recording servers. In addition, customers will be able to have all their questions answered by certified video engineers at “the Presence bar” and to buy clever leather accessories for their room and personal video systems

Source: Wainhouse Research News & Views on UC and Collaboration

Polycom’s effort is not only expensive, but it’s trying to cover up the limitations of a previously successful but now out-of-date architecture. Infonetics reports that “revenue for nearly all dedicated videoconferencing systems declined in 2012, with some segments falling off significantly.” Even Cisco which still has the lion’s share of the video conferencing market is turning to software to bolster its collaboration offerings rather than depending on a dying TelePresence Room platform.  Meanwhile disruptive software-based video conference platforms such as Vidyo and Blue Jeans are growing at a fast pace and making inroads into changing video conference business.

So while marketing makes a great product more desirable, it can’t cover up a product people don’t want anyway. Who wants to deal with the firewall nightmares, complex servers, etc. that go with legacy video conference systems when cost-effective cloud video conference systems are available? Every day that Polycom doesn’t take real decisive action — not just putting out a marketing ploy — means less chance that they can pivot and thrive.

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Comments ( 2 )
  • milton
    Bryan Hellard says:

    Notice the date of the Wainhouse report.

  • milton
    milton says:

    Dear Bryan, sorry we should have been more clear 🙂 we thought people would assume this is fun in spirit for April 1 – since for Polycom to setup retail stores would be a pretty far stretch. btw, I do think Polycom should buy Vidyo (no joke :). Polycom is going through the classic innovator’s dilemma written by Clayton Christensen; Polycom is an extremely successful company and it has shaped video conference industry for a very long time. However, the world has changed. Their previously very successful business model will soon be replaced – but to make that tough call that the executives know they have to make, they would need to make a lot of employees, partners, and customers unhappy in the near term. This is why Christensen observed that while the executives know what must be done, but the corporate inertia makes it impossible to make that right decision. I do hope Polycom make the purchase – while painful in the next few months for them to adjust to the new model – the decision would make sure they continue to be the video conference leader for the next 10-20 years! 🙂

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