End in sight for telepresence rooms?

End in sight for telepresence rooms?

AS MORE video companies find ways to let users chat with each other on small devices, one has to wonder if those deluxe, dedicated high-end, high cost telepresence rooms will be relegated to fancy toys that companies don't use anymore.

Last week, Polycom announced a way for its customers to host multi-party video conferences within a browser window.

Polycom hosts can invite users outside of the company (and the Polycom world) to chat, as long as they have a browser and webcam.

The software platform is called RealPresence Cloud Axis, and the company said iPads and Android tablets are welcome to join the party.

In fact, Polycom expects more mobile devices to come in on video conferences, and has been angling towards supporting mobile devices in recent years.

Last year, for example, it released iPad and Android apps to allow tablets to join conferences with other Polycom users.

The big difference with the new announcement is the breaking out of the disparate "islands" of video calling, said Andy Miller, Polycom CEO.


He told BizIT that the main barrier that video calling has faced when it comes to being used more commonly is that systems don't talk to each other.

For example, a company using Cisco's WebEx line won't be able to connect with Polycom, and so on. And it's not easy to switch over, after companies have invested serious coin in their video conference equipment, which includes front end gadgets and back end servers.

To deal with that, Polycom customers can invite other users to click on a link and participate in a chat through a browser window.

Polycom also released a software plug-in that will allow the chat host to send chat invites through the instant messaging clients of other software.

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