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Polycom Enhances Unified Conferencing Bridges To Drive Increased Organizational Efficiency And Productivity

  • 21 November, 2006 00:00

<p>Polycom MGC/MGC+ bridges now feature enhanced On-Demand, simplified dialing, extensive user management options, and enhanced security for government networks
Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM), the world’s leading provider of unified collaborative communications solutions, today announced significant enhancements to its industry-leading line of MGC™/MGC+ unified conferencing bridges (voice, video, content collaboration), including expanded on-demand conferencing capabilities, easier conference initiation and access from inside and outside the organization, simpler and more efficient use of video conferencing for users, reduced management requirements for system administrators, and enhanced security for government networks with FIPS 140-2. The MGC/MGC+ Release 8 also expands the range of Polycom’s UltimateHD™ infrastructure options, with the support for the Polycom RSS™ 2000 HD Recording and Streaming server, high fidelity HD Voice with the SoundStation® VTX™ 1000, and the new Polycom HDX™ 9000 series of HD video collaboration systems.</p>
<p>“MGC Release 8.0 adds value and improves the effectiveness of conferencing for our MGC/MGC+ customers by greatly simplifying use and management,” said James Anderson, Polycom’s Country Manager, Australia and New Zealand. “Polycom bridges were the first to support HD video, and we continue to set the standard for the industry. This latest release includes powerful new features for on-demand conferencing that make it easier and more convenient to use video communications for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and decision making.”</p>
<p>Expanded On-Demand Conferencing Helps Users and Administrators
Polycom on-demand conferencing places the full resources of the unified conferencing bridge in the hands of users while reducing the need for administrator assistance. For example, MGC+ Release 8 allows administrators to pro-actively manage on-demand conferencing and eliminate the redundancies associated with creating and managing meetings, making collaboration more viable throughout the organization. Administrators can create and save Meeting Room and Entry Queue profiles based on variables such as bandwidth allocation, application content, meeting duration, access levels, meeting time and more.</p>
<p>End users can then initiate the pre-configured conference at the touch of a button, from either an audio or video endpoint, on demand. End users can also easily manage conferences themselves with extensive IVR and DTMF features for personal layout control, chairperson services, and even on-demand recording and streaming of the conference with the Polycom RSS 2000 HD Recording and Streaming Server. Users can also add new participants into an on-going multipoint call themselves, using the video remote control. (Previously, this required the use of MGC Manager or other network administrator tool.) A real-time visual dashboard provides end user security by graphically illustrating for the chairperson all audio and video participants, as well individuals entering and exiting the conference.</p>
<p>MGC/MGC+ Release 8 also enables users to dial directly into the bridge without registering to a gatekeeper or the MCU, or dialing a gatekeeper code (IP plus extension). Users outside the organization can dial a single number to reach the MGC directly, and then use DTMF codes to access their conference. The existing integrated firewall gateway on the MGC provides the security needed to make this possible.
Improved Voice, Video, and Content Quality
MGC+ Release 8 also introduces support for high fidelity, Polycom HD Voice with support for the Polycom SoundStation VTX 1000, in both audio-only and unified conferences. This feature provides best audio quality for all participants based on the technology in use. For example, if a user dials into an audio-only conference with a wideband SoundStation VTX 1000, they will send and receive wideband audio from all other wideband-capable participants, while those in the conference with regular PSTN phones will receive the best quality based on their phone’s capabilities. This functionality also applies to unified conferences with voice and video participants.</p>
<p>For customers using the internet for video calls, MGC+ Release 8 introduces enhanced video error concealment with support for DBC-II, enabling Polycom VSX endpoints to experience quality video despite moderate packet loss on the network. Administrators can also optimize the conference experience by allocating additional bandwidth to H.239 content in a video call when high quality content is required, such as high resolution applications or DVDs. Education, healthcare, and other mission critical environments also benefit from increased conference reliability with MGC+ Release 8.0 “IP auto redial” feature, which automatically redials participants who are disconnected for any reason.</p>
<p>Security For Government Networks
MGC+ Release 8.0 security features also include support for FIPS 140-2. FIPS 140-2 validation of the Polycom MGG+ bridge will provide users with a high degree of security, assurance, and dependability.</p>
<p>The Federal Information Processing Standards Publications (FIPS) 140-2 is a requirement for any cryptographic product that will be used in a U.S. government agency network. The FIPS 140-2 standard is a joint effort by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) under the Canadian government. The Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CMVP), headed by NIST, provides module and algorithm testing for FIPS 140-2, which applies to Federal agencies using validated cryptographic modules to protect sensitive government data in computer and telecommunication systems. FIPS 140-2 provides stringent third-party assurance of security claims on any product containing cryptography that may be purchased by a government agency. The FIPS standard, which is mandated by law in the U.S. and very strictly enforced in Canada, is also currently being reviewed by ISO to become an international standard. FIPS 140-2 is gaining worldwide recognition as an important benchmark for third party validation of encryption products of all kinds.</p>
<p>Pricing and Availability
The Polycom MGC Release 8 is now available at no cost for MGC customers on a maintenance contract.</p>

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