Polycom Vaporware Announcement?

My friend Jeff Urdan, honcho of VeaMea (a friendly competitor of ours that uses a client-server architecture), sent me an interesting email yesterday with the title “A laugh for your blog?”  Apparently the big guys, realizing they’re a little behind in desktop videoconferencing innovation (read: not optimized for ad hoc workflow), are using the ‘ol “vaporware” approach to slow the startups down.  (Microsoft was king of that approach back in the day.  Guess who’s part of this?)

Jeff was kind enough to let me publish his email in full.  Make sure to read the bolded stuff. (Note: The text formatting is mine.)

Polycom just finished up a major UC announcement webinar.  They are partnering with Microsoft to make HD UC Telepresence ubiquitous, create a cloud offering, create a global open directory exchange, have a software solution that traverses firewalls, and work on mobile devices (which is to say they are going to do what companies like ours are trying to do, but they are announcing vaporware that will be available at some future point).

Here is how the CEO [CTO?] of Polycom ended the webinar:

“On a following note, I would like to mention the statements we made today and prepared comments and the response to Q&A include forward-looking statements with the Safe Harbor provision of the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding future events, future Polycom products, product futures and functionality and product demand.  And future benefits to be realized from Polycom solutions.  Actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements, based on a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are discussed in Polycom’s form 10-Q for quarter ended September 30, 2010, and other reports filed by Polycom with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Polycom disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Finally, Polycom reserves the right to modify future product plans at any time.  Product and related specifications referenced during this event today are not guaranteed and will be delivered on when and if available on that basis.

So in summary, I’d like to say, have a great day, a great evening, thank you so much for attending and thank you for all you’ve done.

Have a great day.”




Thanks Jeff!

Comments ( 2 )
  • admin
    Chris says:

    Given all those promises – high def, unified, ubiquitous, global, open, in the cloud, on all devices – I’m surprised he didn’t hedge even more on when we will finally be taken to this Promised Land.

  • admin
    Rich Griffin says:

    I love the Safe Harbor disclaimer. Seeing is believing. Make it available, implement it *outside* of the demo-space or lab. Let people evaluate the solution under real world settings. Further, let people make comparative evaluations with competing solutions.

    SVC is very cool technology, but it is not a silver bullet. Minimizing the use of bandwidth is the surest strategy to maintain user satisfaction of video conference sessions over un-managed networks. The panoply of packet-loss concealing techniques are akin to closing the barn door after the cows have escaped.

    The one real advantage to layered quality slice approaches like SVC is seen in room-based VC setups where a camera has to capture the faces of all the participants in the room. More resolution is need to convey facial cues versus what is required from a desktop setup with one to two participants within the camera’s view. This is better explained in this posting http://www.nojitter.com/archives/2010/01/how_much_video_1.html

    Although VSee now offers 720p sessions, I would bet that most multi-participant sessions will be at lower resolution to accommodate more users on commodity residential ISP feeds. Keeping the bitrate low and the resolution adequate to clearly discern facial cues will go a longer way to ensuring the perceived value and quality of video sessions more so than all the other delay-inducing algorithms commonly used to mask the artifacts caused by packet loss and over compression of video required to push that much data through commodity ISP connections.

    I’ll take excellent lip-sync, smooth-motion and adequate resolution all at low bitrate any day of the week.

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