The way we work has changed drastically since I started my engineering career 30 years ago. Today, the open office defines the modern workspace – meant for in-person collaboration and communication – but often introducing noise and distractions. And as more people work from home offices, coffee shops, co-working spaces, or anywhere else on-the-go, their ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues, customers or clients can be a distinct challenge.

The key enablers of the open office and on-the-go work style are the incredible changes in our industry. The shift to mobility and cloud communications changes everything.  As we transition from an on-premises world of technology to the cloud, we talk a lot about how the cloud shifts expenses from capex to opex, how it can save money and speed innovation.  But the impact on work communications and productivity is even more profound.

As I write, the tyranny of the PBX is being overturned.  What do I mean by that?  Until very recently, your desk phone was stuck in the 1990s, subservient to the old-world call platform (the private telephone networks used within organizations). Replacing that antique call control system is, instead, a collaboration platform, born in the cloud.

Rich media with more intelligence is coming into our offices, conference rooms, and meeting spaces – offering more collaboration opportunities than with a voice-only solution. Now you have voice, video, and content sharing with an incredible and growing array of features.

Systems that were vertically integrated are being disrupted.  We are breaking down silos and the call control no longer dictates or limits what your endpoints – headsets, video and audio conferencing solutions, desk phones – can do.  The user has all the control.  Software in the cloud and software on smart devices offers a variety of experiences.  This empowers end users more than ever to choose a solution that works best for them. We are entering the era of democratized communications – users select the experience that works bests for their needs and preferences.

Welcoming Our New Future: Meet Poly

It is against this backdrop that I have the honor of introducing a new company. Today, we are bringing Plantronics and Polycom together as one new company: Poly.

This is so much more than the renaming of Polycom or Plantronics. Poly will have DNA from its ancestors, but like any offspring, it will be more than the sum of the parents, it will be an entirely new entity with a mission to create new ways to see, hear, work and work together. To make every call as rich and natural as in person.

There is no better time to bring our breadth of all our smart endpoints that connect across and between unified communications platforms to reduce the distractions, complexity, and distance in the modern workspace. Of course, the challenge with empowering users in enterprise communications is that IT tends to get cut out of the picture, but we are looking at a world where IT benefits just as end users do. We believe that the two are not mutually exclusive in today’s new world.

As we chart our path forward, Poly will focus on four distinct areas of innovation:

  • Making workspaces intuitively work for everyone. The modern open office has introduced distraction and noise into the work place, leading to lower productivity and employee satisfaction. Poly offers solutions today to address audible distraction in open spaces as well as technologies that make huddle rooms as powerful as traditional board rooms.
  • Helping people collaborate, their way. People are now using three or more collaboration solutions in any given day and need endpoints that work with and across those solutions. Poly offers a wide range of solutions to meet this growing need.
  • Designing solutions that are mobile-first for the modern workforce. Whether it is using a personal smart phone as a “business phone” or navigating through a day where personal and business blend, workers need voice and video capabilities that move with them. Poly’s new Elara 60 phone recognizes this is the new normal and joins Poly’s award-winning mobile headsets to give people high quality tools to be productive from anywhere.
  • Advancing cloud services that help IT pros and users get more out of their devices. As the macro trend of end user empowerment continues, IT pros are more challenged to know what is being used, and where. Poly is focused on making easy-to-use solutions also easy to manage.

We see tremendous potential in the ways people communicate and collaborate today.

With advancements in AI, machine learning and new technologies, we see a future where Poly will make the connection, then quietly step out of the way to become the one thing you don’t notice in the meeting.  With our heritage in endpoints, we are uniquely suited to be the best partner provider for communicating in many ways, from one to many.

Welcome to our future. Welcome to Poly.