AT&T and Polycom ink deal on cloud-based videoconferencing

Deal reflects intense competition between Polycom and Cisco in immersive telepresence market

AT&T (NYSE: T) is teaming with Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM) to offer cloud-based videoconferencing services, the firms announced Tuesday.

As part of the agreement, AT&T will incorporate the Polycom RealPresence platform into its AT&T Telepresence Solution service, enabling the telecom giant to offer on-demand virtual meeting room capabilities and collaboration with business customers, partners and suppliers through AT&T Business Exchange.

The AT&T Telepresence Solution creates an immersive "in-person" video conferencing experience. The service enables multipoint intercompany connectivity, so businesses are able to interact and collaborate via high-definition video and spatial audio, AT&T explained.

Prior to this agreement, AT&T had been working exclusively with Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) for its Telepresence Solution service, according to Tim Stone, vice president of European marketing for Polycom. "Being one of the world's largest service providers, AT&T historically only used Cisco, so this is a strategic win," Stone told

Polycom and Cisco have been battling for top position in the declining immersive telepresence market. Research firm IDC found that the immersive telepresence market has posted declining revenues over the last couple of years.

As part of the partnership agreement, customers who use the AT&T Telepresence Solution will have access to the RealPresence video platform in 40 countries. This platform will include immersive and multipurpose rooms and personal video conferencing systems as part of a managed service bundle that includes equipment for a monthly fee.

Polycom has selected AT&T to become its preferred wide area network service provider using AT&T's multiprotocol label switching VPN service.  

Reflecting a growing move toward mobile videoconferencing, the partnership will also enable AT&T to offer mobile access to its Telepresence Solution customers. According to Wainhouse Research, mobile applications will soon outpace other offerings in the videoconferencing market.

For more:
- see the AT&T/Polycom release
- read the article

Related articles:
Cisco and Polycom dominate declining immersive telepresence market, says IDC
Videoconferencing market moves away from telepresence, toward mobile