Polycom buys ViVu for Web videoconferencing

Polycom says the deal will help it extend video meetings to more participants

Polycom has acquired ViVu, a provider of software for embedding videoconferencing in websites, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition extends Polycom's portfolio of videoconferencing and UC (unified communications) capabilities to the additional platform of PC and mobile Web browsers. The company hopes to use ViVu's technology to add Web-based videoconferencing to sites and Web-based applications for customer service, health care, enterprise collaboration and other purposes. The cash acquisition closed on Friday, Polycom said.

The software is capable of delivering HD video sessions with resolution as high as 1080p, depending on the capabilities of the client device and network, said Tom Carhart, vice president of business development at Polycom. Along with the company's recent agreement to buy HP's high-end managed videoconferencing business, Polycom will be able to bring together participants through a range of video platforms including room-based telepresence systems, desktops, laptops, mobile devices and browsers, Carhart said.

Once limited to expensive, specialized hardware and software systems, videoconferencing is rapidly expanding to platforms that make it more portable and accessible. In the latest round of rollouts, Polycom, Radvision and Logitech announced video products for Apple iOS devices. On Monday, Vidyo announced VidyoMobile for the Apple iPhone 4S, software that can deliver calls with as many as four participants on screen at once and includes a pinch-to-zoom feature for increasing the size of a speaker's face on the screen.

ViVu, founded in 2008, only has about 25 employees but supplies its technology to customers including Tibco and Thomson Reuters. Last year it announced a plug-in for Skype that adds multipoint videoconferencing for as many as eight users to the Internet-based service. Based in Cupertino, California, ViVu also has offices in Bangalore.

To start with, Polycom will continue ViVu's business model of selling its software to customers who operate it under their own names. Later, the company will integrate the technology into RealPresence, the Polycom software platform intended to span all types of clients.

ViVu's software lets a customer on an e-commerce site click one button to start up or join a video call with a sales or support representative, without even launching another browser window, Carhart said. It could also be used direct doctor-to-patient conversations, he said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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Tags Mergers and acquisitionsinternetbusiness issuesvideopolycomInternet-based applications and servicesTom CarhartViVu

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