Video collaboration vendors show off early versions of their room-based solutions at Microsoft conference

Polycom, LifeSize to make room systems for Lync

Organizations that use collaboration solutions from Polycom Inc or LifeSize along with Microsoft’s Lync unified communications suite will soon have a new way to meld them together for video conferencing.

Polycom and LifeSize said Tuesday they are creating dedicated room-based systems for the soon-to-launch Lync 2013 that will be delivered in the second half of the year. No pricing was announced.

Both are showing off early versions of their systems this week at the Microsoft Lync 2013 conference in San Diego. Microsoft has established a room systems program to encourage manufacturers to leverage the capabilities of the latest version of Lync.
Also on the first day of the conference, Tony Bates, president of Microsoft’s Skype division, said in a blog that Lync-Skype connectivity for presence, IM and voice will be available to all Lync users by June. Also, Lync 2013 mobile apps for Windows Phone 8 and iOS will be available early next month, with Android in early April. There was no word on BlackBerry 10.  The moible apps will include VoIP and video over IP. iPad users will be abel to view shared desktop and application content in a Lync meeting.

According to a news release, the Polycom-Lync 2013 room solution will include high-end camera and microphone options for front-of-room cameras and center-of-table 360-degree cameras, touchscreen monitors, and a tabletop touch controller.

Lync will be leveraged to allow presence capabilities, contact search, instant messaging, white boarding, application sharing and editing.

It will also include several features that specifically take advantage of Lync 2013 such as built-in multi-party video, Polycom said.

The solution will also be able to use the open standards-based SVC (Scalable Video Coding) protocol, which Polycom announced last fall.

 
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“We have long worked with Microsoft to ensure our solutions are interoperable and we’re excited to do so again with Lync 2013,” Ted Colton, Polycom’s global vice- president of strategic alliances, said in the release.

“Today our mutual customers are benefiting from the ability to eliminate the barrier of geographic distance between employees. The combination of Polycom and Microsoft software gives employees greater flexibility and a seamless UC solution for video, voice, conferencing and collaboration, from anywhere, anytime. And with our new dedicated room system purpose-built for Lync 2013, it’s only going to get better and drive more value for our mutual customers.”

To remind customers of how close the partnership is the release noted that last month Polycom said it will buy Sentri Inc., a Massachussets-based Microsoft partner with expertise in integrating Lync with Polycom solutions.

Separately, Polycom also announced its RealPresence Content Sharing Suite is available now, which allows Lync users to share content back and forth with standards-based video collaboration devices such as room-based video solutions or mobile apps.

Lync users have always been able to view content as part of the video stream but the new software allows Lync users to view and share documents and presentations in a separate content video stream, allowing for high-definition display of content (up to 720p HD), larger display of participants, Polycom said.

Meanwhile LifeSize announced the LRS1000 for Microsoft Lync, which natively runs Lync 2013 optimized for meeting rooms.

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