Halo Announcement Underscores Shifts at Both Polycom and HP

Last week Polycom issued three announcements that underscore its commitment to being a global videoconferencing and collaboration player. This blog focuses on one of those product-related announcements: Polycom’s acquisition of HP’s dedicated videoconferencing products, related managed services and customers (the high-end Halo line).

Through this sale, HP exits the dedicated videoconferencing system arena. Halo is a terrific product and managed service, but its focus on the very high end of the market, which limits market penetration/reach. I think this announcement signals something much broader than a decision on videoconferencing-it implicitly underlies HP’s strategic decision to focus on broader reach/market opportunities.

Given what I see as a strategic decision by HP, it makes sense for HP to focus on core competencies – (1) multi-functional, general purpose systems and personal devices like servers, PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones; (2) operating systems (specifically, its new multi-device webOS);  and (3) of course, its substantial work in the professional services/systems integration arena.

It also makes sense for Halo customers. It’s hard to imagine a better home for Halo customers than Polycom – especially when combined with its two other announcements regarding the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC) and new collaboration tools that are being co-developed by Polycom and Microsoft.

Polycom clearly plans to support existing Halo installations, managed services and customers going forward. Still, it’s prudent for Halo customers to obtain specific commitments from Polycom on the level and length of support they require, on long-term interoperability plans/development with other Polycom and partner (Microsoft, Juniper) systems, and ultimately on migration plans to standards-based videoconferencing platforms.

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