Polycom announced Wednesday that its room and desktop videoconferencing systems have been integrated with IBM Lotus Sametime to offer business customers a fuller range of unified communications tools.
Unified communications with videoconferencing added in are seen as ways to quicken collaboration in organizations and reduce travel.
Features such as instant messaging, presence and click-to-call in Sametime version 8.5.1 can be extended to include room and desktop videoconferences that run on Polycom gear, said Mark Roberts, Polycom's vice president of partner marketing.
The integration requires only software, and if a customer already runs Sametime and uses Polycom gear, there could be no added cost for the initial set up, Roberts said. In the future, the integrated unified communications capabilities between IBM and Polycom could be sold to businesses by IBM services personnel or telecommunication providers as a service in a cloud, he added.
"A fair amount of companies out there want this, but the question is how to do it in an elegant fashion and with minimal risk," Roberts said in an interview.
Polycom said the integrated system will interoperate with a broad number of standards-based telepresence and videoconferencing systems in use today.
Polycom named HB Communications as a partner offering the integrated system to businesses.
Roberts said the Polycom-Sametime system does not support videconferences and unified communications integration to mobile devices over wireless networks, but that support is envisioned at some point.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.