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Polycom, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that develops video, voice and content collaboration and communication technology. Polycom was co-founded in 1990 by Brian L Hinman and Jeffrey Rodman. In 2018 it was acquired by Plantronics. In 2014, it was the largest pure-play collaboration company in its industry.
|Headquarters||Santa Cruz, California, U.S.|
|Joe P Burton (CEO)|
|Products||Collaboration, video, voice and content, teleconference, telecommunications, telepresence and infrastructure software, hardware and services|
|Revenue||US$1.2 billion (2018 Q4)|
|US$203.9 million (2018 Q4)|
Number of employees
SoundStation and ViewStationEdit
Polycom was co-founded in 1990 by Brian L Hinman and Jeffrey Rodman, who were colleagues at PictureTel Corp. The startup was based in San Jose, California, with Hinman using $400,000 of his own money and $100,000 from friends as seed money. Oak Investment Partners and Accel Partners then contributed an additional $3 million in venture capital. 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.
Its first product as SoundStation, a speakerphone with duplex audio allowing both parties to simultaneously speak and be heard, with SoundStation become the leading brand in the market in the 1990s. In April 1996, Polycom went public. In 1997, the company had revenues of $47 million and lost $1.1 million. In January 1998, Polycom then acquired ViaVideo for $54 million to acquire its videoconferencing product ViewStation.
Andy Miller became CEO in May 2010. In 2011, Polycom posted $1.5 billion in revenue.
The firm employed approximately 3,800 employees in 2014. In 2015, Polycom cut 15% of its workforce after posting large dips in sales. Polycom reported revenues of $1.3 billion for the year of 2015. Peter Leav at that point was both president and CEO, and Laura Durr was chief financial officer and executive vice president (EVP). In 2016, telecommunications executive Mary McDowell was named as its chief executive officer. On April 15, 2016, Polycom announced that rival Mitel Networks would purchase them for $1.96 billion. As Mitel, a smaller company based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, paid a lower tax rate, the acquisition would have been 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 New York City-based private equity firm Siris Capital Group. Sirirs acquired Polycom for $1.7 billion.
In 2017, it had revenues of $1.1 billion. On March 28, 2018, Plantronics announced that it would acquire Polycom for approximately $2 billion. On December 27, 2018, Plantronics agreed to pay $36 million to settle a bribery investigation connected to Polycom, which it had freshly acquired. The United States Justice Department declined to bring criminal charges for misconduct that reportedly occurred between 2006 and 2014, citing Polycom's voluntary disclosure.
Timeline of acquisitionsEdit
|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.
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.
Polycom entered the video conferencing market in 1998 with the ViewStation for videoconferencing. It sold at the time at $6000, and was relatively lightweight compared to competitors.
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), a room-within-a-room tele system 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 video networks. Later that year, the firm introduced the Distributed Media Application (DMA) 7000, a network-based application that manages and distributes multipoint video calls within a network. 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) . In 2010, the firm introduced the Polycom Open Telepresence Experience (OTX 300), using half the bandwidth of other comparable systems.
Polycom audio and voiceEdit
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. 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 different call control platforms.
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 API and Web browser. 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.
Also in 2011, Polycom announced that they had shipped their 4 millionth conference phone.
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- Polycom Inc: (September 7, 2016). "BRIEF-Mary McDowell named CEO of Polycom effective completing acquisition by Siris". Reuters. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
...Mary McDowell named CEO of Polycom effective as of the closing of the acquisition of Polycom by affiliates of Siris....
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- Luke Stangel (December 27, 2018). "Plantronics-owned Polycom agrees to pay $36M in Chinese bribery settlement". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
- Samuel Rubenfeld (December 26, 2018). "Plantronics Unit Agrees to Pay $36 Million in FCPA Settlement". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
- Polycom Announces Agreement to acquire ViaVideo Communications. June 11, 1997
- Polycom to Acquire Atlas Communication Engines Cambridge Telcom Report, Nov 22, 1999
- Polycom Purchases Accord Network LTD. December 18th, 2000
- Polycom Purchases Circa Communication Ltd. April 2001
- Polycom To Acquire PictureTel Corporation. May 2001 Archived 2010-12-04 at the Wayback Machine
- Polycom to Acquire ASPI Digital . December 2001
- Polycom to Purchase MeetU. June 2002
- Polycom to Acquire Voyant Technologies. November 2003
- Polycom purchases DST Media. August 25, 2007
- Polycom purchases Destiny Conferencing. January 8, 2007
- Polycom purchases SpectraLink and KIRK Telecom. March 26, 2007
- Polycom acquires Accordent video content management technology. August 25, 2007
- "Video Collaboration Software Maker ViVu Acquired by Polycom". 2011.
- "Polycom Announces Agreement for Strategic Acquisition of Obihai Technology". PolyCom. January 4, 2018.
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- "Polycom Unveils New Multimedia Desktop Phone". TMCnet. 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
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