From 1962-1968 the New York Mets were a last place team. In 1967 the team signed Tom Seaver – who would turn out to be a franchise player. They won the World Series in 1969.
The Boston Red Sox were suffering from the Curse of the Bambino, with many believing they’d never win another championship. In 2001 they brought in Manny Ramirez and then in 2003 they added “Big Papi,” slugger David Ortiz and pitcher Curt Schilling. They won it all in 2004.
Sports history is full of examples where teams have turned around their image by making small tweaks to their line-up. So is the history of technology.
In 1997 Apple Computer was at the brink of declaring bankruptcy. Steve Jobs returned to lead their rebirth, creating industry defining products in the desktop and then personal device space. Apple is now one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Dominance in sports, technology and other industries doesn’t come out of nowhere and doesn’t happen overnight. It happens when an organization’s leadership creates a vision, and rebuilds their roster and/or portfolio – often one step at a time – until the success finally becomes obvious.
Not everyone recognizes this while it’s happening. In 2003 Boston lost to the Yankees in the playoffs, and in 2004 they were down three games to none in a best of seven playoff series. Many people thought the curse was still in effect and they would lose again. They didn’t. They won.
I selfishly bring-up all of these examples because I just (four months ago) joined a championship team and not very many people realize it. Plantronics – the global leader in audio headsets and endpoints – and Polycom – one of the pioneers in video collaboration – recently combined into a new entity called Poly. We’re on our way to a championship – even if you haven’t noticed it yet.
Both ‘teams’ have experienced plenty of past glory. It was a Plantronics headset that brought us the famous words from the moon “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” almost exactly 50 years ago. When NASA (and really any organization) knew their communications was mission-critical, they turned to Plantronics for the best and most reliable technology. No slouch itself, Polycom’s iconic triangular speakerphone is now in the Smithsonian Museum, standing as a monument to how it changed the nature of business communications.
As cheap headsets became available at the grocery store and expensive headsets were suddenly judged more by their fashion than their quality, it was a little easier to mistakenly look past Plantronics. As office politics and business controversies came to light, it was a little easier to look past Polycom.
What has changed? Everything.
In 2016 Joe Burton took over the CEO’s chair at Plantronics. In 2018 Plantronics purchased and combined with Polycom. Joe, just like those historical sports teams, has slowly and methodically improved the roster.
Tom Puorro – who led the Unified Communications team at Cisco – came on board to help guide and manage the technology vision. He and many others –people who truly understand the changing nature of enterprise communications – have joined the team at Poly. Our vision of the future of collaboration is now more on-target than any other firm in the space.
The roster however is not just the people, it’s also the solutions that are emerging.
- In 2017, Habitat Soundscaping for open office areas was introduced. It is a visionary noise control system using biophilic technology that lets nature images and sounds reduce distractions. There is nothing else like it on the market today. For an in-depth look, check out Tony Harvey and Jeff Dershem’s session at InfoComm 2019.
- In early 2019, Poly jumped into the exploding huddle room space with the Polycom Studio. It stands way ahead of the other speakerbar solutions on the market with better images, automatic framing built in to the camera (not in any attached computer), superior audio (using Polycom NoiseBlock and Acoustic Fence) and manageability, all at a lower price than the others. The Studio was recognized as the industry leader at Enterprise Connect, where it won the “best communications / collaboration device” award, showing its superiority over Cisco, Logitech, Crestron and all the others in the space.
- Now, at InfoComm 2019, Poly is introducing the next generation of solutions that combine superior audio and video. We’ll have some of our star line-up like Tony Harvey, collaboration architect at Poly speaking to our codec and API control and integration of our products.
If you’re at InfoComm please stop by our booth (#3461) and take a look at these solutions.
And don’t forget to catch panel sessions Wireless Presentations Systems and BYOD Implementation (Wednesday) and Future of Workspace Design (Tuesday), both of which include Poly panelists. If you’re not at InfoComm, reach out to us at www.poly.com (or just email me or ping me on social media. I love chatting with customers and partners about where the collaboration industry is headed.) But whatever you do, don’t think that our roster of people or solutions is now complete. The collaboration industry is changing rapidly, with new services and partners emerging and evolving every day. I can happily report that I’m on the team that sees the future better than any of the others, and will soon win the World Series – even if you still mistakenly look at us as if we were the 1968 Mets. I wouldn’t bet against us.