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Video Release -- 8x8 Redefines Video Conferencing With New Cloud-Based, Flat-Rate Virtual Room Service

July 19, 2011 | William Zimmerman
8x8 logo.JPGSUNNYVALE, Calif., Jul 19, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- 8x8, Inc., provider of innovative cloud communications and computing solutions, today announced the launch of 8x8 Virtual Room, a new cloud-based video conferencing service offering businesses of any size an easier, more flexible and significantly more affordable way to collaborate using voice, video and content. Based on 8x8's voice and video IP service platform and industry-leading unified communications (UC) solutions and Polycom's UC Intelligent Core software platform and video collaboration solutions, this new service is designed to seamlessly and reliably interoperate with the largest number of participants at the lowest cost.

8x8 Virtual Room is one of four innovative cloud-based services -- VoIP, Video, Contact Center and Hosting - being offered by 8x8 to the small and medium sized business (SMB) market, in conjunction with its channel penetration and growth as a single source provider of multiple, mission critical communications and computing solutions. While the use of video conferencing has typically occurred at the larger enterprise level due to service and infrastructure expenses, 8x8 is enabling SMB adoption by introducing a very affordable way businesses can purchase and utilize video conferencing with flat rate pricing.

"We are excited to collaborate with Polycom to bring our next-generation, cloud-based video conferencing solution to market with so many cutting-edge differentiators, including increased accessibility and reliability, ease of use, and of course, cost savings," said Bryan Martin, Chairman and CEO of 8x8. "The Virtual Room solution makes powerful visual communication a new reality for thousands of businesses who previously lacked the technical and financial resources needed to integrate the technology into their operations. Now, with our flat-rate pricing structure and cloud-based delivery model, any business can conduct worldwide video conferencing across multiple locations using 8x8's web-based unified communications portal and Polycom's state of the art HD UC and video collaboration solutions with continuous presence video and voice from all locations."

8x8 Virtual Room moves video conferencing out of the conference room and into the cloud, enabling up to 20 participants to join from any location just by clicking on a web page or dialing a regular 10-digit phone number, eliminating the need for expensive capital investments in infrastructure as well as the ongoing operational costs of managing an in-house system. In a Virtual Room conference, everyone can see and be seen by all other participants in the same Virtual Room. This groundbreaking cloud service combines the technologies of two of the industry's leading businesses communications companies, marrying 8x8's advanced, SIP-based communications services with the Polycom UC Intelligent Core software platform (enables unsurpassed reliability, scalability and interoperability for cloud-based UC services) to deliver enterprise-class quality and superior reliability at flat rate pricing that small and medium businesses can afford.

"Polycom is committed to delivering compelling, cloud-based video collaboration solutions like 8x8 Virtual Room to SMBs. Powered by the Polycom UC Intelligent Core(TM) software platform and using Polycom video collaboration endpoints, Virtual Room is a great example of a Polycom partner solution that offers SMBs affordable, secure, open-standard and high-quality video solutions on demand," said Susan Hayden, executive vice president, Polycom. "Tailored for the tighter budgets and leaner staffs of emerging companies, cloud-based solutions are integral to Polycom's strategy to offer SMBs a fast on-ramp to the benefits of video collaboration and a flexible expansion path in line with their business growth."

The 8x8 Virtual Room services are enabled by the Polycom UC Intelligent Core software platform, which seamlessly handles all of the video collaboration management behind the scenes. Unlike video conferences where participants sit in fixed locations equipped with video conference equipment, Virtual Room allows individuals to access the conference from any location over the public Internet using any web browser, plug-and-play Polycom(R) VVX(R) business media phones or Polycom(R) HDX(R) video solutions. No software downloads are required to use the Virtual Room service.

"Cloud-based services, like 8x8's Virtual Room, are making video conferencing more accessible than ever before," said Ira M. Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research. "Thanks to the cost-effectiveness and scalability of hosted platforms, small to mid-size businesses can now afford the same collaboration tools used by large enterprises to improve teamwork and enhance communications with partners and suppliers. The combination of 8x8's IP communications service and Polycom's video conferencing products gives end-users a visual communications solution that is not only easy to buy, but also easy to deploy, manage, and use."

8x8's advanced virtual conferencing technology eliminates the need for companies to configure firewalls, open ports or utilize public IP addresses. Participants simply dial a phone number or click on a web link and enter a meeting ID number. Subscribers utilize 8x8's unified communications technologies to easily schedule, initiate and manage multi-point conference meetings that anyone can join via audio or video. And, the new cloud service features a fully redundant architecture and 8x8's 24x7x365 support, making it much more reliable than standalone room-based systems, with no need for specially-trained IT staff to support, maintain and setup conferences.

"When we witnessed a demonstration of the Virtual Room solution powered by Polycom, we were amazed at how easy it was to schedule and initiate a video conference and how excellent the video quality was," said Jonathan Rusk of Chromis Technology, a Polycom and 8x8 channel partner. "As a Value Added Reseller of Polycom voice and video equipment, 8x8 voice and video service offerings are the final piece of the puzzle in being able to offer our customer base a complete end to end solution without breaking the bank. The simplicity, reliability and cost effectiveness of Virtual Room will go a long way toward speeding the adoption of video collaboration in the SMB market space."

Virtual Room is available to subscribers in an attractive new pricing model that features a low, flat rate for unlimited videoconferencing with up to 15 participants, with no per minute or special Internet charges. The 8x8 service is available in three tiers supporting low, standard and high definition telepresence video, starting at $199 per month. Customers who subscribe before September 30, 2011 are eligible for special introductory pricing of $99 per month for the first year of service.

About 8x8, Inc.

8x8, Inc., a pioneer in the development of cloud-based VoIP, video, mobile, and unified communications solutions, leverages its patented software technologies to

deliver industry-leading SaaS applications to businesses of any size with employees in any location. We offer integrated business communications and cloud computing services that are designed to meet the highest levels of availability, reliability and scalability. Increasingly, businesses are finding they can reduce costs, improve productivity, and be positioned competitively for the future by choosing 8x8 for their mission critical, cloud-based communications and computing needs. For additional information, visit , or connect with 8x8 on Facebook and Twitter.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, 

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