Polycom is an American multinational corporation that develops video, voice and content collaboration and communication technology. The firm employs approximately 3,800 employees and had annual revenues of approximately $1.4 billion in 2013. It is the largest pure-play collaboration company in its industry. The company also licenses: H.264 video codecs, Siren codecs, session initiation protocol, native 1080p high-definition cameras and displays, native 720p and 1080p high-definition encoding/decoding, low-latency architecture and low bandwidth utilization, wideband advanced audio coding with low delay (AAC-LD), multichannel spatial audio with echo cancellation and interference filters to eliminate feedback from mobile devices, and inter-operation with legacy video conferencing. In March 2018, it was announced that Polycom would be acquired by Plantronics.
Polycom was co-founded in 1990 by Brian L Hinman and Jeffrey Rodman, who were colleagues at PictureTel Corp. In 2016, telecommunications executive Mary McDowell was named as its chief executive officer.
Polycom's development occurred both by internal means, and by the acquisition of other companies.
|Acquisition date||Company||Acquired company business||Reference|
|January 1998||ViaVideo Communications Inc.||appliance-based video communications systems|||
|December 1999||Atlas Communications Engines, Inc||integrated access device and DSL routers|||
|February 2001||Accord Networks||provider of next-generation rich-media network products|||
|April 2001||Circa Communications||IP telephony products|||
|October 2001||PictureTel||PC-based video communications systems|||
|December 2001||ASPI Digital||installed voice systems|||
|June 2002||MeetU||web collaboration software|||
|January 2003||VCAS software from AGT||video scheduling and management software|
|January 2004||Voyant Technologies||voice conferencing and collaboration network solutions|||
|August 2005||DST Media||China-based video networking company|||
|January 2007||Destiny Conferencing||immersive telepresence|||
|March 2007||SpectraLink and KIRK telecom||workplace wireless telephony|||
|March 2011||Accordent Technologies||rich media streaming and management solutions|||
|October 2011||ViVu Inc||video collaboration software|||
|January 2018||Obihai Technology||VOIP audio solutions|||
Note : 1 June 2011 – HP and Polycom, announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Polycom will acquire the assets of HP's Visual Collaboration (HPVC) business, including the Halo Products and Managed Services business of HPVC.
On April 15, 2016, Polycom announced that rival Mitel Networks would purchase them, for $1.96 billion. Mitel, a smaller company based in Ottawa, Canada, pays a lower tax rate. The acquisition may be an example of tax inversion, where a smaller company purchases a larger company in order to provide the combined larger corporate entity with the tax benefits of the smaller company's location.
In July 2016, the Mitel deal was scrapped, and instead the company took an all-cash offer from NY City-based private equity firm Siris Capital Group.
On March 28, 2018, Plantronics announced that it would acquire Polycom for approximately $2 billion.
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Polycom's first products to market were audio conferencing speakerphones. Soon after, the company added content sharing, video conferencing, and video network and bridging products.
Polycom entered the video conferencing market in 1998. Polycom introduced the ViewStation product line which included models with embedded multipoint capabilities, content sharing capabilities, and support for the emerging H.323 IP network protocol. In 2000, Polycom introduced a personal desktop video conferencing appliance called ViaVideo. The compact device was essentially a web cam with inboard processing capabilities, to offset the compute limitations of most desktop and laptop computers at the time. As computer processing power increased, Polycom transitioned the desktop solution to a software-based client called Polycom PVX.
In 2006, Polycom introduced its first high definition video conferencing system. Soon after, it announced the Polycom RealPresence Experience (RPX) immersive telepresence solution, a room-within-a-room telepresence environment based on the design by Destiny Conferencing (formerly TeleSuites) which Polycom acquired  in January 2007.
In February 2007, the firm introduced a new bridge platform called RMX 2000 designed to support high definition and telepresence applications. It also expanded its telepresence and HD video product lines in 2007 with the Polycom Telepresence Experience solutions, and new executive desktop solutions, expanded its line of room-based conference rooms.
In 2008, Polycom delivered the Polycom Converged Management Application (CMA) a video network and system management application for provisioning and managing video networks. The CMA includes an application for broadscale desktop video called CMA Desktop. Later that year, the firm introduced the Distributed Media Application (DMA) 7000, a network-based application that manages and distributes multipoint video calls within an enterprise network environment.
Toward the end of 2008, Polycom also announced its plans to support higher resolution – 1080p and 720p at 60 frames per second (same frame rate as TV) – across its visual communication product line (endpoints, telepresence solutions and infrastructure solutions).
During 2010, the firm introduced a new immersive telepresence solution, the Polycom Open Telepresence Experience (OTX 300) providing collaboration including 1080p, using half the bandwidth of other comparable systems.
The first SoundStation conference phone shipped in 1992. The original device was followed by versions offering extended performance (SoundStation Premier, Premier Satellite, SoundStation EX). The SoundStation first shipped internationally (to the UK) in 1993, followed by other products and an expanding list of countries.
The SoundStation was superseded by the SoundStation 2 in 2004 when AT&T discontinued its DSP16A processor on which the original machine was based. Due to technological advancements during the nearly 10-year period, the SoundStation 2 exhibited more features and sound transparency, although still limited to 3 kHz audio bandwidth due to its conventional analog POTS connection. It was supplemented by the SoundStation 2W wireless speakerphone, which was a DECT system (WDCT in North America), and by the SoundStation VTX1000 wired speakerphone, the first such speakerphone capable of 7 kHz audio operation over conventional telephone lines.
In December 2001, Polycom acquired ASPI networks, a company specializing in installed voice systems. Polycom worked with a large number of audio visual integrators offering its Vortex product. In 2007, Polycom introduced the Vortex successor, the Polycom SoundStructure series.
In the first quarter of 2001, Polycom introduced its first voice over IP conference phone, the SoundStation IP 4000. In 2008, the SoundStation IP 6000 and SoundStation IP 7000 models were introduced, both offering Polycom’s HD Voice and Acoustic Clarity technology. In 2003, the firm introduced its first HD Voice product, the SoundStation VTX 1000 conference phone. Polycom HD Voice is wideband audio (audio bandwidth extension to 7, 14, 20, and 22 kHz) offering more than twice the clarity of narrowband voice (3 kHz). In 2006, Polycom introduced its Communicator, the C100S, which was the industry’s first wideband speakerphone for a PC.
In 1998, the firm entered the circuit-switched desktop phone business with a line of its SoundPoint phones. In the third quarter of 2001, it entered the IP desktop phone business with the SoundPoint IP 500. Because it does not manufacture its own call server, Polycom phones use session initiation protocol (SIP) to connect to more than 25 different call control platforms. Today, the firm offers a full line of desktop IP phones from the entry level to a color display, full-featured, HD Voice (first introduced to the SoundPoint line in 2006), applications-enabled phone.
In 2007, Polycom acquired SpectraLink Corp., whose product lines consisted of Wi-Fi and proprietary wireless telephone systems as well as the KIRK digital enhanced cordless telephony (DECT) product line.
In 2008, Polycom added applications enablement to its SoundStation and SoundPoint IP phones. The first product to market was the company’s Productivity Suite, which the company currently offers an open API for third-party developers.
In 2009, the firm introduced two video-enabled products. The VVX 1500 business media phone, which combines a personal video conferencing system with a voice over IP (VoIP) telephone with Polycom HD Voice and an open application programming interface (API) and Web browser for real-time delivery of personalized Web content and integration with business applications. It also launched the CX5000 unified conferencing station by licensing the distribution rights for Microsoft Roundtable.
In 2011, Polycom announced the VVX 500, a VoIP business media phone with a gesture-based touchscreen interface, and the capability to play full-screen HTML5 video embedded in web pages. The VVX 500 has a 320x240 3.5-inch display, making it smaller than the VVX 1500 in screen size, but also in desktop footprint.
Also in 2011, Polycom announced that they had shipped their 4 millionth conference phone.
In 2012 the Wi-Fi and DECT products were divested to a new company called "Spectralink"
...Mary McDowell named CEO of Polycom effective as of the closing of the acquisition of Polycom by affiliates of Siris....
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