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Polycom video conferencing gets tighter integration with Skype for Business

Polycom video conferencing system RealPresence provides better content sharing in Microsoft Skype for Business.

Polycom Inc. is tightening ties with Microsoft by improving its collaboration services for Skype for Business and...

Office 365.

Polycom said this week that it upgraded the RealPresence Group Series video conferencing system to include a better content-sharing application for Skype for Business. "On a couple of fronts, we are getting tighter and tighter with Microsoft," said Chris Thorson, senior director of product marketing at Polycom, based in San Jose, Calif.

Two people using the Group Series platform will now be able to share and edit content through Skype for Business -- even if one person doesn't have a laptop, Thorson said. All that person has to do is plug a keyboard and mouse into the Group Series hardware.

"I can edit your document using native Microsoft Lync [recently rebranded Skype for Business]," Thorson said. RealPresence will also have calendar integration with Office 365.

Companies combining Polycom and Skype for Business

Polycom is not the only unified communications (UC) company integrating its products with Skype for Business, said Irwin Lazar, analyst with the Nemertes Research Group Inc., based in Mokena, Ill. However, Polycom video in Skype is the "most prominent" in many companies.

"Polycom offers native support for many of its products, without the need to traverse a gateway like with Avaya [Inc.], Cisco, etc.," Lazar said. "In our research, we are seeing that mid- and large-size companies consolidating onto Lync and Skype for Business for voice and UC are largely using Polycom for video."

Polycom announced two other products this week. Its OTX Studio allows for medium-sized group conferencing, with high-definition (HD) displays, graphics and voice. The price tag isn't cheap, though, costing approximately $100,000, according to Thorson.

"Immersive really comes into play for those executive-level meetings, when you want to impress and look someone in the eye," he said.

Additionally, Polycom announced a new tablet-style interface for its Group Series, called RealPresence Touch. It provides speed dialing, control over content and other features. It retails for $1,749.

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