The distribution deal is the first of its kind for Avnet and will provide the distributor’s partners with access to Polycom’s personal devices, unified communications systems and the RealPresence platform. This marks Avnet’s first foray into the UC video space, and as Gavin Miller, vice president of marketing, solutions and sales acceleration at Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas, told ChannelBuzz.ca, market changes have increased the number of meetings businesses are conducting, but they need to save costs on travel.
“There’s different aspects coming up from the market. In the past, the market used to drive a lot of what we saw in consumer behaviour, but as far as some of the things we’re seeing, that trend is starting to change,” Miller said when asked why Avnet chose now to dive into the videoconferencing space.
Video communications are largely being driven by consumer behaviour, and the technology is now readily accessible to almost everybody on a variety of devices. Six to seven years ago, Miller said videoconferencing was an unnecessary “nice to have,” but now it is an accepted element of personal and, increasingly, business communications.
The distribution agreement with Polycom also complements many of Avnet’s existing UC strategic vendor partnerships. Polycom has partnerships in place with three of Avnet’s key UC vendors — HP, IBM and Microsoft. Miller said Avnet plans to leverage those partnerships to help solutions providers find new opportunities in some of the distributor’s key verticals, including health care, government, finance and energy. Avnet plans to work with partners to develop specialized solutions capabilities in its high-growth market areas through its SolutionsPath vertical practices.
The value proposition for partners is in providing products to customers that will help reduce costs, increase collaboration, improve operational efficiency and productivity, educate and train employees, and enhance security for video collaboration. With products from HP, IBM and Microsoft in addition to what Polycom has to offer, Avnet expects partners will be able to offer customers a complete UC solution.
“Polycom was looking for a little bit of a different distribution channel like we were doing from a full solutions aspect,” Miller said. The vendor is looking to gain new partners through Avnet to expand its reseller base, but Miller said Polycom was also attracted to the “full solutions” element of hardware, software and services that Avnet delivers.
According to Miller, Avnet has many partners in the UC space that will benefit from the distribution agreement with Polycom, but so far, he is unaware of any Canadian partners that are ready to sign on as a Polycom videoconferencing partner. To be fair, though, only a handful of partners were given a sneak peek at the news. Most learned about it when it was officially announced.
“Together, we’re delivering UC solutions that power richer conversations and higher productivity by transforming the way business is conducted,” said Ron Myers, senior vice president of global channels at Polycom, in a statement.