Poly Company Brief

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Company Brief

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00017847

Publication Date: 2109

Report Type: VENDOR


Poly is a global communications technology provider that was established
following the 2018 merger of Plantronics and Polycom. The company offers a
collection of videoconferencing and unified communications products and
services, with a revamped portfolio that includes headsets, video conferencing,
phones, and services. This brief explores Poly’s operations in greater depth.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: Poly
345 Encinal St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 420-3002
(800) 544-4660
Web: http://www.poly.com/
Type of Vendor: Communications technology
1961 (Plantronics); 1990 (Polycom); merged 2018
Service Areas: Worldwide
Stock Symbol: POLY (NYSE)


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"Poly" was established out of the 2018 $2 billion acquisition of Polycom by
Plantronics. The combined company offers global communications technology to
power "authentic human connection and collaboration." To date, more than 450,000 companies and institutions worldwide leverage
video / voice / content technology from Poly or one of its predecessors. The former Polycom was founded in 1990 and initially engaged in research and
development. The company shipped its first audioconferencing
speakerphone – the SoundStation – in 1992. By 1993, the SoundStation became the
market leader. Other milestones have included:

  • 1998 – Expands into the videoconferencing market with
    acquisition of ViaVideo, a developer of appliance-based group video
  • 1999 – Completes the purchase of Atlas Communication Engines, a supplier of
    interactive access devices (IADs) and DSL routers. Atlas’ product line
    becomes Polycom’s NetEngine Internet access product line.
  • 2001 – Buys Circa Communications, Accord, PictureTel, and ASPI
  • 2002 – Acquires Web collaboration software supplier MeetU.
  • 2003 – Sells network access business to Verilink to
    better focus on core services.
  • 2004 – Acquires Voyant Technologies.
  • 2005 – Acquires DSTMedia
    Technology, a video systems firm based in Beijing, China.
  • 2006 – Releases the Polycom Communicator, a co-branded (with Skype) USB speakerphone
    … Begins integrating products with platforms from Microsoft, Cisco, Nortel, Avaya,
    and IBM.
  • 2007 – Acquires Destiny
    Conferencing and SpectraLink.
  • 2008 – Enhances its SoundStation and SoundPoint IP phones with
    application-support features.
  • 2009 – Rolls out its business media phone and unified conferencing station.
  • 2010 – Names Andrew Miller – the former head of rival
    TANDBERG – as CEO … Enters into
    deals with Microsoft, HP, and Juniper, among others, for unified communications
    interoperability … Co-founds the Unified Communications Interoperability
  • 2011 – Purchases HP’s
    Visual Collaboration business, including its Halo videoconferencing products
    and managed services, as part of a broad partnership for unified
  • 2012 – Partners with IBM to develop cloud-based video services

    Launches its public sector organization.
  • 2013 – Teams with Google for data mining capabilities … Names
    Peter A. Leav as President and CEO.
  • 2014 – Eliminates the COO position and hires a new CFO and three
  • 2015 – Introduces Skype for Business Webconferencing,
    in partnership with Microsoft.
  • 2016 – Is acquired by affiliates of Siris Capital Group …
    Names Siris
    Executive Partner Mary McDowell as its new CEO, replacing Peter Leav.
  • 2017 – Unveils its DaaS (Device-as-a-Service) pilot program for
    service provider and end-user voice subscribers.
  • 2018 – Is purchased by Platronics for $1.638 billion (cash) and
    6.352 million Plantronics shares … Unveils its Polycom Cloud Services and
    Device Management Services … Signs a merger agreement to purchase Obihai
  • 2019 – Gains a victory against GN Netcom in Appeals
    Court, after the company’s request for default judgment was denied in their
    antitrust case.
  • 2020 – Appoints Dave Shull as President and CEO … Sees Siris
    Capital Group sell 4.1 million company shares, representing 57 percent of
    its stake and 10 percent of Poly’s outstanding shares.


Poly looks to achieve "incredible things" through collaboration. The
company’s aim is to blend its audio expertise with powerful video- and
screen-sharing capabilities to "take the friction out of collaboration." On a basic level, Poly’s strategy is to inject verbal and non-verbal cues
into audio / video communications to "replicate the face to face experience." On
a corporate level, Poly seeks to bring together its team of "the brightest minds
in technology" from both companies, and to "use that force for good." Poly also
makes use of the former Polycom UCC (unified communications and collaboration)
ecosystem to expand on its coverage areas.

Also critical to the Poly strategy is the establishment of Poly "Experience
Centers." These locations provide access to video, voice, and content
collaboration solutions; integrated partner offerings; and its own
open-standards approach to unifying communications, business, and social
networking applications. Visitors can specifically trial Poly products,
services, and use-case scenarios, and consult with senior leaders and "solution


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Top Poly executives include:

  • President and CEO – Dave Shull
  • Chairman – Robert Hagerty
  • EVP, Chief Operating Officer – Warren Schlichting
  • EVP and Chief Financial Officer – Chuck Boynton
  • EVP and Chief Revenue Officer – Carl Wiese
  • EVP, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer and Corporate
    – Lisa Bodensteiner
  • EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer – Anja Hamilton
  • EVP, Chief Supply Chain Officer – Grant Hoffman
  • SVP, Public Affairs – John Goodwin
  • Chief Transformation Officer – Gloria Loredo

Major Products

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Table 1
looks at Poly’s major products.

Table 1. Poly’s Major
Product Lines
Product Line Description


Mobile headsets, office headsets, call center headsets, wireless stereo
headphones, sport headphones, aviation and specials, headset webcam kits, and

Video Conferencing

Room systems, desktop systems, cameras, infrastructure, cloud services, and


Desk phones, conference phones, portable speakerphones, mobile phone stations,
installed audio, VoIP adapters, and accessories.


Cloud services, professional services, managed services, customer support
services, and training

Major Competitors

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Top competitors for voice, video, and content collaboration include Cisco,
Avaya, ZTE, and Logitech, among others.

Recent Activity

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Poly announced results for its fiscal year ending April 3, 2021. Total revenue increased one percent with video and professional headsets up 50 and 20 percent, respectively. Voice and services, on the other hand, declined 41 and 9 percent for the year. Poly’s consumer business, which it largely exited in 2020, was down nearly 80 percent. In the earnings conference call, CFO Chuck Boynton noted, “If you remove consumer, our revenue was up six percent. And excluding services, total product revenue was up nine percent in fiscal ’21.” The global semiconductor chip shortage has the company expecting supply chain issues with
its ability to fulfill the demand for its video and headset products being subject to the availability of components.

Appoints Warren Schlichting as executive vice president and chief operating officer effective June 14, 2021. Schlichting,
who reports directly to president and CEO Dave Schull, will oversee the product and services business units, product and alliance marketing, corporate strategy, and business development. He will also serve as executive sponsor of Poly’s Low Carbon Solutions pillar under the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility work to reduce emissions. In
a previous executive move, the company hired Grant Hoffman in January as executive vice president,
chief supply chain officer, replacing Alejandro (Alex) Bustamante, who announced his retirement after 26 years with Poly. Bustamante will serve as a senior advisor to Schull.


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