Polycom to Unveil VoIP Conference Phone

BOSTON (05/01/2000) - U.S. broadband communications specialist Polycom Inc. announced that the company intends to demonstrate its VoIP (voice-over-Internet-Protocol) conference phone platform at the Networld+Interop (N+I) 2000 event in Las Vegas next week. Polycom claims that the new product, known as SoundStation VoIP, is the first of its kind in the market.

The VoIP phone platform is an enhancement of the company's existing SoundStation technology used to facilitate corporate teleconferences, Polycom said in a statement issued today.

"The audio conferencing product line has competitors, but none (of them) have done a VoIP conference phone platform yet," Gordon Simmons, vice president of Polycom's marketing/business communications division, said in a phone interview today.

SoundStation VoIP is designed to interoperate with most network protocols such as H.323 and SIP -- a signaling protocol aimed at simplifying Internet conferencing -- and allows the downloading of client protocols and features from a call management server, according to the company. It plugs into a LAN (local area network) jack. The forthcoming model will require server software, but future versions will operate on a peer-to-peer basis.

Other features include Polycom IPriority to enhance voice delivery over the Net and an integrated keypad that eliminates the need to use a separate phone line to receive and make calls. SoundStation VoIP also gives users access to a multilingual digital phone book via a graphic display.

Simmons expects that the upcoming N+I event will provide a perfect forum for the company to gain some feedback on SoundStation VoIP.

SoundStation VoIP is scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter of this year when the product will be integrated with IP-based communications systems.

Product pricing for the new platform is not yet available, but it's likely to be similar to that of Polycom's existing product line, according to Simmons.

Different prices will apply to differences in the features available on a particular SoundStation VoIP model, he added.

Polycom, based in Milpitas, California, can be reached at +1-408-526-9000, or via the Web at http://www.polycom.com/.

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