Q&A with Amy Barzdukas, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Poly

Amy Barzdukas, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Poly is a marketing and communications leader with extensive experience in setting strategy, shifting perceptions, advising customers, digital marketing, revenue marketing, integrated marketing communications, and public relations in highly competitive product arenas.

Amy is known for her ability to create and execute winning turnarounds on a global scale.

MEDIA 7: What inspired you to get into marketing?
AMY BARZDUKAS:
I was always destined for marketing, even if I didn’t know it. As a child, I collected promotional brochures. I was fascinated by how the words and pictures were used to drive action. My first job was as an advertising copywriter, and I’ve never looked back.

M7: How is Poly redefining the video conferencing experience for modern businesses?
AB:
 We’re in an unprecedented time of change in our industry. Voice and video services are moving to the cloud, and companies are changing how they approach their communications needs. Poly is the largest provider of the devices – video conferencing, audio conferencing, headphones and desk phones – you use to connect to these services so you can collaborate with your colleagues. That uniquely positions us to shape the video conferencing experience, and we’re doing so in four ways.

First, Poly has made both the Zoom Rooms and the Microsoft Teams video conferencing experience better than ever with our radically simple Poly Studio X video bars that deliver these experiences with no PC or Mac required. We’ve got decades of experience in understanding what makes meetings more human – for everyone in the room and those dialing in from other locations – and we’ve packed all of that into easy-to-install, easy-to-manage, and easy-to-use all-in-one powerhouses.

Second, we are bringing the world of AV and video conferencing into the modern app economy. Our Studio X series and Poly G7500 video conferencing devices run a common platform that can be updated and enhanced through a series of regular software updates. This Poly platform, built on Android, can run applications like a smartphone does today.

Third, Poly has introduced innovation that makes any video conference better. Our new Poly MeetingAI features use AI and machine learning to address the distractions that hit your senses in a meeting. We make it easier to hear what’s being said by blocking out the annoying noises that people make while talking, and we make it easier to see what’s going on in the room with the most advanced speaker tracking and framing, and our built-in production rules.

Finally, we are pricing our solutions in a way that completely resets the calculations on what it costs to outfit a room. The Studio X30, for huddle room and smaller spaces, costs just about $2,100, including the Poly TC8 touch controller. All you add is the cloud service and a monitor, and you have a room up and running for under $2,500. That’s easily under the cost of other solutions and with better audio and video quality.


"Baby Boomers and more than half of Gen Z say they are most productive when they were working around noise."

M7: As the CMO of Poly, what were the major challenges in rebranding and transforming two separate organizations (Plantronics and Polycom) under a single brand Poly?
AB:
One of the greatest challenges of bringing together Plantronics and Polycom was doing so in a way that honored their brand equity, history, and positive associations while establishing a new story for the new company. Plantronics was already an audio pioneer– the first headset that transmitted Neil Armstrong’s famous words during the first moon landing. Polycom was the leader in audio and video conferencing – the conference phone used by business leaders and industry captains.
We had to figure out how to build a stand-out narrative in a crowded space for the general market. For customers and partners, we found a way to carry through the legacies and histories of both companies into the new brand. And for our employees, we had to inspire them to believe in the new brand and the new combined mission. These different challenges with different stakeholders took different approaches to confront, but in the end, we brought everyone to the same conclusion that Poly was moving forward, unified and stronger.

And like any acquisition, integration takes time. We’re proud of our accomplishments since rebranding to Poly in March 2019. Since then, we’ve refreshed our video conferencing line of products, broken new ground with a mobile phone station called Elara 60 Series and showcased our continued commitment to expanding the ecosystem with partners such as Zoom, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and more. As Poly, we bring a new level of quality, simplicity, and flexibility so that every communication can easily become a place for collaboration and innovation for the enterprise.


"Gen Z and Millennials came up in an era of digitization, so they are more accustomed to the tools and technology to deal with distractions in the workplace."

M7: A recent study by Poly reveals that employees prefer noisier open offices to closed, quiet spaces. What do you think is responsible for driving these unique demands in the workplace today?
AB:
Our research shows that Gen Z and Millennials tend to prefer open offices compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers and that more than half of Gen Z say they are most productive when they were working around noise. What we’re seeing is that Gen Z and Millennials came up in an era of digitization, so they are more accustomed to the tools and technology to deal with distractions in the workplace. For example, they’re used to wearing noise-canceling headphones to block out the background noise, and similarly at home with video. They’ve been doing it all their lives!

Now that we can work from anywhere – coffee shops, airports, waiting rooms – we are more accustomed to dealing with distractions and working through them. We take that mindset into the office along with the tools we may use to address distraction, from a pair of comfortable headphones with ANC to deciding to do different types of work in different settings.

M7: What features have made Poly Studio win the 'Best of Enterprise Connect' award in the '2019 Communication/Collaboration Device'?
AB: 
Poly Studio is our answer to the need for easy-to-use video conferencing devices for smaller spaces called huddle rooms. Poly Studio is a video USB bar with premium audio and video capabilities. Its standout features include NoiseBlock, which mutes distracting background noises, Automatic Group Framing and Speaker Tracking, which zooms in to focus on the speaking participant. This board-room like audio and video transforms small meeting rooms into a center for collaboration. We’re also pleased that it was recently certified for Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Teams. The device also works with Skype for Business, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx and Amazon Chime, and virtually any cloud-based video collaboration service.


"Poly combines legendary audio expertise with powerful video and conferencing capabilities to help our users overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance, making communication in and out of the workplace challenging."

M7: What traits make Poly a global leader in communications and a leading choice for every kind of workspace?
AB:
Our in-depth expertise, tireless innovation, and emphasis on partnership make Poly a global leader in communications and a leading choice for every kind of workspace.

Poly combines legendary audio expertise with powerful video and conferencing capabilities to help our users overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance, making communication in and out of the workplace challenging. When the world was on a race to space in the ’60s, NASA approached us—Plantronics back then—with a seemingly impossible task: create a headset that would equip astronauts to communicate with Mission Control from the earth to the moon, and back again.

Fifty years later, we share the same mission today: to create powerful connections that unify people the world over. We’re designing technology for the different ways people work – open offices, remote locations, mobile-first workers. We are the largest provider of headsets, video and audio-conferencing devices that you use to communicate and collaborate for your work, whatever that may be. And we continue to innovate with products like Poly Studio X that change how people collaborate.
Through partnerships with industry leaders like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Zoom, Poly takes an open-architecture approach that allows users to seamlessly connect across all the best technologies. Whenever and wherever people connect with these services, we will be there to provide the best-in-class audio, video and voice technology to make the experience that much better.

M7: What’s your superpower or spirit animal?
AB: 
My superpower is the ability to read amazingly quickly, thanks to the experimental elementary school I attended. I don’t know how anyone gets through their workload without it, honestly. My spirit animal? I told my husband the other day that I think it is Tom Petty. I’m a huge fan. If you have a problem, there is a Tom Petty song that can solve it, or at least make it more fun.

ABOUT POLY

Plantronics, Inc. (“Poly” – formerly Plantronics and Polycom) (NYSE: PLT) is a global communications company that powers meaningful human connection and collaboration. Poly combines legendary audio expertise and powerful video and conferencing capabilities to overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance that make communication in and out of the workplace challenging. Poly believes in solutions that make life easier when they work together and with our partner’s services. Our headsets, software, desk phones, audio and video conferencing, analytics and services are used worldwide and are a leading choice for every kind of workspace.

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Dremio Partners With Carahsoft to Bring Modern Data Infrastructure to the Public Sector

Dremio | January 05, 2024

Dremio, the easy and open data lakehouse, and Carahsoft Technology Corp., The Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider, today announced a partnership. Under the agreement, Carahsoft will serve as Dremio’s Master Government Aggregator®, making the company’s complete cloud and software portfolio for Government, Defense, Intelligence and Education available through Carahsoft’s reseller partners and NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V, Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – Software 2 (ITES-SW2), National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) ValuePoint, National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) and OMNIA Partners contracts. This collaboration paves the way for Public Sector organizations to harness cutting-edge data analytics capabilities which empower them to make smarter decisions and significantly enhance operational efficiency through lightning-fast data access. Dremio propels agencies into the future by embracing a state-of-the-art data lakehouse architecture in Public Sector organizations. By transitioning to Dremio's solutions, organizations can enjoy sub-second query performance and a remarkable 10-fold improvement in price performance. The new environment eliminates costly and complex legacy data lake solutions and implements a flexible, highly modern architecture. Dremio provides cost-effective self-service analytics and data management, simplifying data pipelines and ETL complexity while accelerating insights across diverse storage locations. With a proven track record of modernizing legacy Hadoop environments and implementing the modern data lakehouse solution, Dremio and Carahsoft aim to transform Public Sector data management by breaking down data silos. Embracing a data mesh concept enables efficient handling of various data sources, fostering cross- collaboration and decentralized data control. Dremio’s expertise supports Public Sector agencies in implementing these principles, eradicating data silos for a more collaborative and efficient approach to data analytics. "Public sector organizations face a range of data infrastructure challenges, many of which are common to both Government and non-government entities. These issues often hinder effective data management, analysis, and decision-making,” said Roger Frey, Vice President of Alliances at Dremio. “Dremio's mission is to make data easily accessible and analyzable for all users, regardless of where it resides. We are excited to partner with Carahsoft to bring our state-of-the-art data analytics solutions to the Public Sector." “Within the Public Sector’s intricate data landscape, complexities often impede efficient data management and decision making,” said Laura Howton, Sales Director who leads the Analytics and Data Management Team at Carahsoft. “By adding Dremio to our AI and Machine Learning portfolio, our reseller partners can now provide modern, cost-effective and easily accessible data analytics tools to Government customers, bolstering their modernization efforts.” Dremio’s solutions are available through Carahsoft’s SEWP V contracts NNG15SC03B and NNG15SC27B, ITES-SW2 Contract W52P1J-20-D-0042, NASPO ValuePoint Master Agreement #AR2472, NCPA Contract NCPA01-86 and OMNIA Partners Contract #R191902. For more information, contact the Carahsoft team at 571-591-6430 or Dremio@carahsoft.com; or register for a complimentary webcast, “The Key Steps in Decreasing Costs and Improving Performance Through Data Lake Modernization,” Thursday, January 25, at 2p.m. About Dremio Dremio is the easy and open data lakehouse, providing self-service analytics with data warehouse functionality and data lake flexibility across all of your data. Use Dremio's lightning-fast SQL query service and any other processing engine on the same data. Dremio increases agility with a revolutionary data-as-code approach that enables Git-like data experimentation, version control, and governance. In addition, Dremio eliminates data silos by enabling queries across data lakes, databases, and data warehouses, and by simplifying ingestion into the lakehouse. Dremio's fully managed service helps organizations get started with analytics in minutes, and automatically optimizes data for every workload. As the original creator of Apache Arrow and committed to Arrow and Iceberg’s community-driven standards, Dremio is on a mission to reinvent SQL for data lakes and meet customers where they are on their lakehouse journey.

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