An interesting back story behind the Cisco acquisition of Tandberg is that Cisco had to make sure Cisco's open source and free TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) protocol was used. The EU wouldn't approve the acquisition of Tandberg without Cisco agreeing to use this protocol. There have been obvious concerns (including my own) that Cisco/Tandberg could create a proprietary telepresence platform that locked out third-party competitors. Cisco and Tandberg just made an announcement stating advanced multiscreen telepresence interoperability with each other as well as other third-party systems, by integrating the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) on Cisco's newly acquired Tandberg TelePresence Server.The fruits of that effort are now realized with today's announcement from Polycom. "For companies trapped in a Cisco closed environment, Polycom announced today that its UC Intelligent Core solution will break down the barriers of that closed system by enabling interoperability with Cisco TIP (Telepresence Interoperability Protocol) and others." said Polycom.
They added, "Companies sitting on older Cisco systems don’t want to give up that investment, but they are looking for the ability to have those interoperate with new systems from Polycom thanks to dramatically lower total cost of ownership. A mid-sized enterprise will spend up to $2.1 million less in the first year on a typical Polycom telepresence vs. Cisco’s."
Polycom explained, "Significant innovations in the Polycom UC Intelligent Core platform will soon enable customers to deploy multi-vendor UC solutions and protect their investments in legacy third-party systems. The innovations continue Polycom’s commitment to UCEverywhere by Polycom, a strategy for seamlessly connecting communications across the continuum of consumer, mobility, SMB (small to medium businesses) and the enterprise, regardless of platform or network. These same innovations enable Service Providers to deploy open cloud-based UC telepresence services, giving customers the capability to communicate outside their organizations and across their supply chain to suppliers, partners and customers."
“Cisco customers have told us for years that they’ve been imprisoned by a closed telepresence platform that builds a wall around their UC environment and keeps out non-Cisco users. Today, all that changes,” said Andrew Miller, CEO, Polycom. “With its unparalleled support of open standards, the Polycom UC Intelligent Core solution liberates these customers and gives them more options for collaborating and expanding their UC environments than ever before, without having to sacrifice their existing systems. Breakthroughs like this are fundamental to our vision of UCEverywhere.”
The ability to deploy Polycom solutions alongside competitors’ systems can deliver dramatic total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) savings. Polycom estimates that a mid-sized enterprise will spend up to $2.1 million lessin the first year on a typical Polycom telepresence deployment – including equipment, bandwidth, services and maintenance costs – versus a comparable Cisco telepresence deployment.
Motorola Mobility has Polycom telepresence systems deployed today. “Telepresence provides tremendous value to our business in terms of improved collaboration and productivity, but that value would be much greater if we were able to easily connect our Polycom telepresence systems to B2B partners with Cisco telepresence systems. We are elated that Polycom will release new software to enable that connection, to protect our multi-million dollar investment, to reduce our ongoing operating expenses, and to provide us the opportunity to continue to deploy Polycom telepresence systems,” said Walter F. Oswald, corporate vice president and CIO, Motorola Mobility.
Standards and open interoperability are also the foundation of Polycom’s portfolio of strategic alliances. This set of important alliances, comprised of some of the world’s leading UC and enterprise software providers, is known as the Polycom Open Collaboration Network™, and includes Microsoft, IBM, HP, Avaya, Juniper, BroadSoft, McAfee and Siemens. These joint Polycom partnerships are critical to providing customers with the ultimate flexibility, best-of-breed solutions and investment protection.
Jeff Prestel, CEO BT Conferencing said: “BT shares Polycom’s commitment to unified communications and allowing customers to easily connect across telepresence networks. Interoperability is critical to growing the telepresence market and providing greater value to businesses all over the world. Allowing customers to easily connect between Polycom and Cisco increases the productivity of employees, reduces carbon emissions and lowers travel-related costs.”
Polycom’s standards-based solutions and Polycom Open Collaboration Network partnerships are driving interoperability, especially in video and unified communications, to provide greater customer flexibility and long-term value. According to a Jan. 21, 2011 Network World article, “Gartner slams Cisco's single-vendor network vision,” analyst firm Gartner, Inc. states that businesses should leverage multi-vendor networks rather than a single vendor approach. The research firm concluded that enterprises can significantly cut down on their costs and even reduce complexity of their operations with a multi-vendor strategy, resulting in cost savings of roughly 15 percent to 25 percent over a period of five years.
Polycom plans to support interoperability with TIP beginning in Q2 2011.