August 20, 2007
I recently had the opportunity to ask Jessica Kersey, senior director of corporate communications with Polycom, about the green movement and how Polycom is helping companies transition into a new era.
Polycom delivers end-to-end, rich media collaborative applications for voice, video, data and the Web from desktop and mobile personal systems to the network core.
For more background on Polycom, please read earlier TMCnet coverage of the company here.
How is the green movement changing the way your company operates?
Polycom’s voice and video communications and collaboration solutions are the ultimate green technology as they enable dispersed workgroups in today’s global enterprises to meet and collaborate virtually, which reduces the need for travel. As the market leader in collaborative communications, we use Polycom technology more extensively than virtually any other company. This substantially reduces our need for travel and our carbon footprint as a company. In addition, we are modifying our manufacturing process and bills of material to conform to the various green initiative standards. Operationally we are encouraging our own employees to be environmentally friendly in a variety of ways.
Have customers been pushing your organization to produce more green products and services?
Yes, our customers are interested in understanding and actually quantifying the impact of collaborative communications on their businesses and want to ensure that they are purchasing Polycom solutions that are manufactured and certified green, as are our solutions.
How long has your company been focusing on providing green technologies?
Polycom was founded in 1990 and has been providing voice and video conferencing and collaboration technologies that reduce the need for travel for its entire history. All Polycom products are RoHS compliant and we will be WEEE compliant this year. We manufacture our products exclusively in ISO 14001 certified facilities and require our key suppliers to also be certified. We are currently certifying our entire product line as free of carbon-depleting elements. We also encourage recycling of legacy equipment. All Polycom facilities and internal activities are scrutinized to ensure they are environmentally friendly. Our employees are also encouraged to reduce their own personal emissions using Polycom technologies in the office and from their homes.
What pain does your company take away for customers?
Global organizations today believe they are remaining competitive and adding efficiencies by cutting costs through outsourcing, off-shoring and strategic partnering. In reality those business models, which have resulted from globalization, add distance to the workplace and actually lower productivity and efficiency by preventing people from collaborating and slowing decisions, innovations and response to ever-changing market conditions. Polycom creates top and bottom line value to organizations by improving performance and removing the distance in today’s globally dispersed companies. We do this by delivering the most lifelike and highly productive communications and remote meetings from anywhere to anywhere instantly. An added benefit of our solutions is that they can help companies align their business goals with a lowered impact on the environment.
What is the most effective green technology in your opinion?
The most effective green technology is one that completely eliminates the carbon in our atmosphere. Since such a technology does not yet exist, we believe video conferencing is as close to eliminating carbon as any technology available today.
What has surprised you most about the green movement?
The speed in which it has become a major topic to our customers.
Can you make one prediction about the green movement in five years?
Environmental responsibility, essentially a required check list item today but not yet fully understood, will become de rigeur in business to such a degree that consumers will use their pocketbooks to reward or put certain brands out of business. The byproduct will be a more efficient and pleasant work/life balance as well as an improved environment.
What will you be covering in your presentation at the Green Technology World Conference this September in Los Angeles?
Polycom has two sessions. One will discuss how incorporating a strategic initiative to increase virtual collaborative communications in your organization can lower your carbon footprint while increasing your global competitiveness and productivity. The other will discuss how using our technologies in one functional area — your data center — can have an immediate positive impact.
What do you want the industry to know about your company?
Businesses today are focused on improving their business processes, reducing enterprise operating costs, attracting and growing customer relationships and supporting competitive advantages. The technology budgets are going to investments in company data and telephony networks, remote teleworker solutions and video conferencing solutions. Polycom not only delivers market leading solutions for secure collaboration and mobility that addresses all four of these business issues, but also provides the technology that reduces business travel which is responsible for 18 percent of an enterprise’s carbon emissions.
Where will your organization be over the next 3-5 years?
Our technologies will be the collaboration engine for every network supporting every desktop, device and conference room while enabling and improving the virtual meeting experience.

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