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Plantronics Wraps up $2B Polycom Deal – Sees “Habitat Soundscaping” Sales Opportunity

Access to Polycom's sales channels will help the company push its "habitat soundscaping" product

By CBR Staff Writer

Audio communications specialists Plantronics has wrapped up its acquisition of rival Polycom in a $2 billion (£1.5 billion) deal that shrinks an already contracting unified communications market.

Among other benefits, access to Polycom’s sales channels will help Plantronics push its emerging “Habitat Soundscaping” product suite, the company believes.

The deal was made for $1.638 billion in cash and 6.352 million Plantronics shares. Triangle Private Holdings II, LLC, which was Polycom’s sole shareholder, now owns approximately 16 percent of Plantronics as a result of the acquisition.

Joe Burton, Plantronics’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “Plantronics now offers an unparalleled portfolio of integrated, intelligent solutions that spans headsets, software, desk phones, audio and video conferencing, and cloud services. This combined offering empowers people with the tools and flexibility they need.”

Waterfalls in Your Office?

In the company’s 2018 annual report the CEO emphasised that the closing of the deal will allow Plantronics to use Polycom’s sales channels to make a further push on its new “Habitat Soundscaping” intelligent acoustic management services; a product designed to help block out ambient office noise.

The product intelligently monitors workplace acoustics, with “distraction sensors” detecting changing noise levels and dynamically adjust speaker volume in surrounding areas to pump out sounds like that of running water, alongside visuals intended to improve collaboration.

“While it is still early days for this solution, we are making measured and steady progress as enterprises look for ways to manage the challenges of the global transition toward open work spaces. We have several engagements underway with large enterprises, including Microsoft, and believe the closing of the Polycom acquisition will provide an opportunity to advance Habitat Soundscaping as we integrate and leverage Polycom’s expertise of audio-video channel sales and deployments.”

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A report by consultancy Frost & Sullivan earlier suggested: “In particular military applications such as naval vessel sound mitigation, installation environmental management, and other high noise environments would benefit from soundscaping. Additionally, futuristic applications of this technology include such areas as space habitat sound mitigation and deep sea habitats, where noise pollution from fans and other life support systems is a serious concern.”

The deal comes as the global unified communications market size is expected to reach $143.49 billion by 2024, according to a May report by Grand View Research, Inc., exhibiting a CAGR of 16.8% during the forecast period. Expansion of organizations in international markets and growing need for real-time and efficient communication systems is expected to augment industry growth over the next few years.

The acquisition has resulted in a sweeping shake-up of the Plantronics leadership team, with many Polycom executives joining Plantronics. Former Polycom CMO Amy Barzdukas joins as executive vice president, with Tarun Loomba, Navin Mehta and Shantanu Sakar also among those making the move to Plantronics.


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