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Recession hits Polycom profits as video sales hit new high

Alex Scroxton
Quarterly net profits at telepresence, video and voice vendor Polycom have slipped 38% year-on-year to $5m as the firm battled through the recession, but sales powered to a new record of $276m - up 23% on the same period last year - as businesses continued to jump at video solutions in a rush to slash costs.

Perhaps surprisingly the product mix remained relatively constant over the first quarter of 2009, with video solutions accounting for 69% of sales and voice comms for the remaining 31% during both periods.

Nevertheless, chairman and CEO Robert Hagerty hailed an "improving growth trajectory", pointing to sequential growth in both sales and profits.

"We have already gained significant traction with our go-to-market initiative, recruiting top talent and increasing productivity at higher than anticipated rates," he said.

"Also, although early in the cycle, we are beginning to see positive results from our new strategic partnerships. We see the Polycom Open Collaboration Network as a key mechanism to galvanise the growth of our integrated and unparalleled solution," he added.

Polycom has lately been cosying up to Cisco rivals including Avaya, HP, Juniper and Siemens Enterprise Communications following the acquisition of Tandberg, which has effectively left Polycom as the last major independent video specialist still standing.

The vendor has previously welcomed the acquisition, saying that Cisco's interest in the video space merely validates its own strategy, and professes to not be worried by John Chambers' approaching network juggernaut.

It is also one of several comms vendors to have been out making hay while the Icelandic ash cloud lingers. In recent days Polycom claims it saw use of its solutions hitting an all time high. 

Major customer Regus, which operates 2,500 publicly available video-conferencing suites and a growing number of immersive telepresence rooms based on Polycom technology, saw usage increase by 108% over the past week, with footfall particularly high in the Heathrow area.

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