Plantronics rebrands as Poly, unveils new product and strategic initiatives

Poly is designed to provide a new joint identity for the Plantronics-Polycom combination. In addition to new pipeline product announced at Enterprise Connect this week, the company also emphasized new and expanded strategic partnerships which have more joint offerings on the way.

This week, at the Enterprise Connect event in Orlando, Plantronics made a series of announcements highlighting the broader strategic initiatives that are the consequence of their acquisition of Polycom a year ago. First, the companies have rebranded, with the new entity being known as Poly. Secondly, Poly has announced a series of product initiatives with other vendors, both extensions of relationships with long-time partners, as well as net new. The company also promises that more are on the way, as part of an aggressive plan to forge a new and united identity for itself in the marketplace.

“The name is a nod to the Polycom side, but we think that it is fresh,” said Tamara Lane, Director of Global Product Marketing at Poly. “It is meant to be hipper and more cool. It’s like a brand new company.”

When the acquisition of Polycom was announced a year ago, Plantronics CEO Joe Burton emphasized that it created a one-stop shop, which would provide customers with an integrated experience across headsets, software, deskphones, audio and video conferencing, analytics and services. Unsurprisingly, that is the same theme that the rebranding stresses.

“Poly means ‘the power of many’ and refers to us bringing all these communications products together and to the power of open office meetings and management,” Lane said. “It’s a one-stop shop. No other company in our space can claim that. We also work with everybody else, and plug-and-play with different platforms.”

The new corporate logo – three Ps representing Plantronics, Polycom and Poly – in a shade that Poly calls lava but which most of us would call orange, looks back as well as forward.

“When it animates, it shows spinning propellers moving clockwise, which goes back to Plantronics’ aviation heritage,” Lane stated. The company originally began almost sixty years ago, making specialized headset electronics for aircraft.

Plantronics and Polycom had been close strategic partners for many years before the acquisition, so their products already worked well together. Poly is emphasizing however, that they will be able to drive forward faster in four key areas of innovation, while still maintaining both the Plantronics and Polycom brand for specific products.

The first area of innovation is making workspaces intuitively work for everyone. At Enterprise Connect, Poly highlighted advanced in their Habitant Soundscaping immersive technology for open offices, which Plantronics first introduced almost two years ago.

“This is a key on the innovation side for us,” Lane stated. “It’s based on the concept of biophilia, where the majority of people would choose to be outdoors. Designed for an open office environment, it provides audio and visual blocking around element like a waterfall.”

In this vein, Poly also unveiled the Plantronics Status Indicator, a wired presence indicator in a small cube form factor that sits on a desktop. Integrated with Skype for Business, it shows people in an open workplace environment if a person is busy or on a call.

A second area of innovation is helping people collaborate, their way. The new product offering here from Enterprise Connect is the Eagle Eye Cube, a video conference camera with 4k sensors and a 5x zoom for meetings in huddle rooms and small meeting rooms.

The third area, mobile-first solutions for the modern workforce, featured the newly announced Blackwire 7225, a new corded boomless UC headset with active noise cancelling designed for loud open offices.

The fourth focus area is new cloud services to enhance devices. Improved product announced at the event included the latest versions of Plantronics Manager Pro, v3.13, and Polycom Device Management Service for Enterprise, which now supports and manages Polycom Studio, and adds new API functions.

Poly also made three strategic announcements with vendor partners. The first, the result of a new strategic alliance with Google, leverages Google’s turning Google Voice into a G Suite product. While Google initially emphasized the applicability of this on the Web and smartphone, it also works on traditional desk phones as well.

“We are announcing the first IP phones certified for Google Voice,” Lane said. These are the Poly VVX x50 and OBi 250, 350 and 450 Edition desk phones, and for now at least, they are the only IP phones certified for Google Voice. While the phones have been generally available, the actual interoperability with Google Voice for G Suite will become available when the Google offering does.

Poly also announced the new CCX 500 and CCX 700 Series business phones, with leverage their long-standing relationship with Microsoft. The new phones are designed to pair with native Microsoft Teams solutions for premium voice quality. They will also support Skype for Business, and will be available in the third quarter in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

The announcement stemming from a strategic relationship is with AWS. Two AWS solutions – Amazon Chime and Alexa for Business – are being integrated with the Trio conference phone, and will be available next month. Poly Voyager 4200 UC headsets will also feature Alexa Built-in.

“This partnership, like others we are announcing, is really focused on incorporating intelligence into devices,” Lane said. “These are a lot of very exciting partner integrations and there will be even more.”

Lane also said that Poly will be working aggressively to get the attention of the market around its new initiatives.

“We will be working with our strategic alliance partners to get the message out, and are also launching a new marketing campaign around Poly,” she said.