Polycom knows the next big market for video collaboration -- and unified communications in general -- is the almighty SMB. The consumerization of IT, coupled with a plethora of cloud and premise-based offerings designed to bring collaboration capabilities to companies of any size, are creating a perfect storm of opportunity for the channel to equip their SMB customers with UCC offerings previously only available to the big boys.

Now Polycom is grabbing its surfboard to ride that SMB wave with its RealPresence Ready video collaboration platform and new cloud-based solutions built on Polycom's UC Intelligent Core backbone. And knowing solutions are only popular if companies can afford them, Polycom has focused hard on making sure the price tag is within reach of SMBs.

Indeed, Polycom RealPresence Ready squeezes the cost-to-value ratio as tightly as it can by offering a price-conscious solution platform featuring high-quality video collaboration and forward- and backward-compatibility with existing communication systems, said Jim Kruger, senior vice president of Polycom's Global Solution Marketing.

RealPresence Ready hardware package includes two Polycom HDX 6000 room system, one HDX 7000 and 5 m100 Telepresence software packages, with assorted services. Polycom is delivering H.264 encoding and compression to promise "50 percent less network bandwidth" than competing products, Kruger said.

With RealPresence Ready, he said, Polycom aims to provide channel partners specific tailored solutions for the SMB market in an effort to both push partners deeper into that marketplace and offer SMBs a quality video solution.

Polycom is also continuing its commitment to the cloud model, partnering with 8x8 Inc. to create a "Virtual Room" service built on Polycom's UC Intelligent Core. It's a simple solution that creates a video collaboration "room" in the cloud where any interoperable video devices can join up and chat. Even video-enabled smartphones can join in the fun.

What's more, Polycom's UC Intelligent Core is also being leveraged by BroadSoft's BroadCloud hosted UC cloud services, which SMBs and other Polycom partners can purchase and/or resell on a subscription-level service based on customer needs.

RealPresence Ready is available today, with a three-room and five-desktop solution retailing for $17,999. "Leasing with some preconfigurations I've seen can be about $500 a month," Kruger said. "When you think about [the cost of] business travel, there's a high ROI if you take one trip cross-country out of the equation."

Kruger noted Polycom has developed a program around RealPresence Ready to get partners trained and up to speed with the technology. "We're reaching out to our top 40 channel partners to make sure they have all the materials they need," he said. "They'll also have some campaigns on this." Kruger added Polycom plans to ensure all its partners have opportunities with this technology as the company builds out its pre-sales group to pass on leads channel partners.

With Polycom's latest demo of the CX7000 full room system, in addition to the RealPresence Ready package, Polycom is further pushing its ethos of UC Everywhere and is firmly cementing its position in the UC marketplace.