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

MEDIA 7 | November 21, 2019

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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Media 7 | April 15, 2020

Tara Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer at Incorta has over 25 years experience and success in global marketing for technology businesses in ERP, mid-market, SMB, security, industry offerings and has driven fast growth for multiple SaaS , IPO and public companies.  Ryan works with executives and board on planning, creation and execution of global branding, communications, sites, field programs, public relations, investor relations and demand generation. MEDIA 7: When did you first start working and what was it? TARA RYAN: My first job for a real paycheck was at 15 when I worked at a deli in Fresno, CA where I grew up. M7: With over 25 years of experience in global marketing for technology companies, how has the demand generation for tech firms evolved, and how do you see it changing in future? TR: Marketing used to be a stand alone, unautomated function and in all honesty, a bit of a mystery. Now marketing is threaded through every single thing we do in business and with technology innovations, there is a real understanding of it, the programs we run, the expected outcomes and even the real time analysis of successes and failures. We used to plan a campaign, process out the creative, media and execution and wait to see effectiveness – now we do all at once. I see the future going back to simplification and less is more. We have added so many tools and ways to analyze.

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MEDIA 7 | December 5, 2019

Andrea Lechner-Becker, Chief Marketing Officer at LeadMD is an experienced Marketing and Sales Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Skilled in Business Process, Marketo, Sales, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and IT Service Management, Andrea is also a strong business development professional and a storyteller. MEDIA 7: What inspired you to get into marketing? ANDREA LECHNER: Frankly, not having better options. I originally attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse thinking I’d major in Archaeology. I wanted to be Indiana Jones! But, after visiting the archaeology building – i.e. the cold, dark basement of the science building – where a girl sat to piece together pieces of an old Native American vase, I knew archaeology was not going to be the right path for me. And so, without being good at science and a major in art or art history was unlikely to pay my bills, I decided to go into “business”. I originally registered as a management major, but took my first marketing class and thought it was more interesting and switched my sophomore year. That was pretty much it. I’d never been involved in business classes or DECA in high school – I didn’t really know what to do or what jobs in marketing were even possible. I dumb lucked myself into it really. M7: As a storyteller, do you relate the brand to a story or story to the brand? AL: Both? Neither? I think there are stories in every brand, because there are people working on the brand and people engaging with the brand and people using what the brand creates. People, most often a single person, are at the heart of great stories. You can start with the “point” of the story you’re trying to tell. Say you have a software that help accountants better create reports for board meetings. It’s likely you’ll want to tell a success story about an accountant getting promoted to CFO in part because your software helped better communicate their work product to the board. You could have the idea for that and go looking for that story in your customers. OR, you could hear that story, and say, “That’s amazing!” and share it with customers, partners and internal people. Stories are all around us – the most important thing is to keep your ears and eyes open for finding them.

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Media 7 | April 15, 2020

Tara Ryan, Chief Marketing Officer at Incorta has over 25 years experience and success in global marketing for technology businesses in ERP, mid-market, SMB, security, industry offerings and has driven fast growth for multiple SaaS , IPO and public companies.  Ryan works with executives and board on planning, creation and execution of global branding, communications, sites, field programs, public relations, investor relations and demand generation. MEDIA 7: When did you first start working and what was it? TARA RYAN: My first job for a real paycheck was at 15 when I worked at a deli in Fresno, CA where I grew up. M7: With over 25 years of experience in global marketing for technology companies, how has the demand generation for tech firms evolved, and how do you see it changing in future? TR: Marketing used to be a stand alone, unautomated function and in all honesty, a bit of a mystery. Now marketing is threaded through every single thing we do in business and with technology innovations, there is a real understanding of it, the programs we run, the expected outcomes and even the real time analysis of successes and failures. We used to plan a campaign, process out the creative, media and execution and wait to see effectiveness – now we do all at once. I see the future going back to simplification and less is more. We have added so many tools and ways to analyze.

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MEDIA 7 | January 9, 2020

Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder & Chief Evangelist at Terminus is also an author and host of the podcast FlipmyFunnel. He is one of the leading minds in B2B marketing. MEDIA 7: What are you passionate about? SANGRAM VAJRE: Three things: Lead professionally. Grow personally. Love family. M7: Terminus has been recognized as one of Georgia’s 40 fastest-growing companies by ACG Atlanta. What factors contribute to this pace? SV: One of our core values is #OneTeam – which means we think and act as one team and know that if we treat our team right, they will treat our customers amazing. There are no great companies, only great people that make those companies.

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Q&A with Andrea Lechner-Becker, Chief Marketing Officer at LeadMD

MEDIA 7 | December 5, 2019

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H3C AD-WAN Solution Helps LiveCom's Global SD-WAN Operation

H3C | December 07, 2022

According to Omdia's report, the compound growth rate of the global SD-WAN market will reach 11.9% from 2021 to 2027, and the market size will exceed USD 10 billion by 2027, continuing to lead the enterprise network service market. In recent years, as the epidemic accelerated the digital transformation of the industry, more and more enterprises have chosen cloud, and the demand of enterprises for campus networks, data centers and wide area networks has increased rapidly. The SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) has attracted the attention of more enterprises and service providers because it helps enterprises to achieve quality cloud in a more flexible connection mode, while reducing the cost of WAN. Although the SD-WAN has a broad market prospect, in fact, the existing SD-WAN solutions cannot fully meet the customer demands. Presently, in Chinese market, most manufacturers lack the capability to optimize end-to-end network resources, so it is difficult to provide a complete set of solutions. In the international market, the solutions of some manufacturers are realized through mergers and acquisitions, which causes problems such as high prices, difficult operation and maintenance, long development cycle, etc., which greatly affects the deployment progress of the SD-WAN. Based on the insight into the industry pain points, H3C AD-WAN solution, with the concept of "application-driven network", carries out innovative explorations around technical architecture, business experience, security protection and control, operation and maintenance management, business model and other fields, offers new features such as new service modes, WAN optimization, multi-cloud connection, end-to-end SRv6, SASE business automation, etc., and helps the customers build full-scenario, whole-domain and full-lifecycle intelligent WANs, which can better meet the requirements of the operators in the "post-epidemic" era for end-to-end control, operation, and maintenance for SD-WAN construction. This solution has now been applied to overseas market. H3C and LiveCom Cooperate Closely to Explore New SD-WAN Modes In March, 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Action Plan for Coordinated Development of the "Double Gigabit" Network (2021-2023), proposing to adopt the SD-WAN technical solution to optimize network transmission quality. As encouraged by this policy, the three major domestic telecom carriers have invested in the research and development of SD-WAN intelligent dedicated lines, and the WAN architecture has also turned to SD-WAN in an all-round way. LiveCom is an international carrier that has long been dedicated to cross-border communication information services. With the global business expansion of LiveCom, the number of POP nodes deployed overseas and the volume of business carried by the backbone networks increase. Therefore, the forwarding delay, site deployment, network resource optimization, business operation and maintenance management of its global network are facing greater challenges. In order to further enhance its competitiveness in the global market, LiveCom needs a powerful partner to help upgrade its SD-WAN services in an all-round way, and it is just the right time to cooperate with H3C. After testing SD-WAN products of several manufacturers, LiveCom made a long-term cooperation decision with H3C in less than three months due to the strong advantages of H3C, such as advanced and steady products, professional technicians, and comprehensive service coverage. In the cooperation mode in which H3C provides overall solutions and products, and LiveCom provides lines and technical support, both parties have finally provided customers with high-quality bandwidth operation services based on SD-WAN solutions. 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H3C AD-WAN Solution Helps LiveCom's Global SD-WAN Operation

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According to Omdia's report, the compound growth rate of the global SD-WAN market will reach 11.9% from 2021 to 2027, and the market size will exceed USD 10 billion by 2027, continuing to lead the enterprise network service market. In recent years, as the epidemic accelerated the digital transformation of the industry, more and more enterprises have chosen cloud, and the demand of enterprises for campus networks, data centers and wide area networks has increased rapidly. The SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) has attracted the attention of more enterprises and service providers because it helps enterprises to achieve quality cloud in a more flexible connection mode, while reducing the cost of WAN. Although the SD-WAN has a broad market prospect, in fact, the existing SD-WAN solutions cannot fully meet the customer demands. Presently, in Chinese market, most manufacturers lack the capability to optimize end-to-end network resources, so it is difficult to provide a complete set of solutions. In the international market, the solutions of some manufacturers are realized through mergers and acquisitions, which causes problems such as high prices, difficult operation and maintenance, long development cycle, etc., which greatly affects the deployment progress of the SD-WAN. 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At the application level, in the headquarters and branch scenarios, H3C provides hardware products and SD-WAN controllers for deployment, which help LiveCom to establish multiple POP points around the world and deploy branch routers for enterprises. In addition, through the northbound API interface of the SD-WAN solution provided by H3C, LiveCom can customize the display interfaces according to the actual needs of customers, and comprehensively improve the customer experience in operation and maintenance. During the cooperation, both sides have gradually formed a benign and interactive cooperation mode through joint efforts. In the early stage, with deep experience in hardware and solutions, H3C organized pre-sales and after-sales training for LiveCom's technicians in operation, troubleshooting, and calling northbound interfaces of the routers, so as to help them enhance their experience in operating large and medium-sized SD-WAN networks. 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Nokia deploys next-generation fiber technology for a smarter, faster and greener Australian National Broadband Network

Nokia | December 05, 2022

Nokia and NBN Co today announced the deployment of Nokia’s next-generation broadband platform and its Altiplano Access Controller to deliver a smarter, faster and greener nbn® network. The deployment is the first for the Lightspan MF-14 in the Southern Hemisphere. With unmatched capacity, space efficiency, low latency, intelligence, reliability and power efficiency, the MF-14 will help nbn address Australia’s broadband needs well into the future and help the company realize their Toward Zero Carbon Ambition. Nokia’s Altiplano Access Controller is a software-defined (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) tool used to drive greater automation and virtualization. It enables innovation in the way the network is managed with an open API to automate and program the network. nbn recently welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment to invest an additional $2.4 billion to roll out more fiber to communities across Australia. The new investment will enable an additional 1.5 million homes and businesses currently served by Fiber to the Node (FTTN) to upgrade to Fiber to the Premises (FTTP). Coupled with the additional homes and businesses connected by fiber, nbn is evolving the FTTP technology platform to enable higher speed services and has recently successfully completed lab evaluations of 25Gbps FTTP technology. Full fiber connections will help deliver faster broadband speeds, better reliability and energy efficiency , as well as support additional data capacity for the nbn network. These upgrades will help ensure eligible customers can more effectively work from home and operate online businesses, participate in online education, engage in telehealth consultations, stream entertainment and connect with friends and family. nbn will be the first operator in the Southern Hemisphere to adopt the MF-14 platform following announcements by US and UK operators in October 2022. Deployment will commence in 2023. Stephen Rue, CEO at nbn, said: “Rapid technological advances will play a critical role in driving the economic prosperity of our nation and in enabling our transition to a smarter, digitally enabled economy. By leading the deployment of this next-generation technology, we can help meet our nation’s data demands now and into the future. “Together with our network investment that is pushing fibre deeper into communities and extending fixed wireless and satellite coverage and capabilities, we are helping unlock social and economic benefits for households, businesses and communities across Australia. “More than 8.5 million households and businesses are connected to services over the nbn network – this equates to approximately 20 million people relying on our network every day.” Nokia and nbn have been partners for more than 10 years and we’re excited to continue to support nbn in this next technological evolution, deploying more advanced and energy-efficient networking technology. Using Nokia’s advanced fiber technology coupled with our network optimization and automation capabilities, Nokia and nbn can meet customer demand for a faster, smarter, greener broadband network today and well into the future.” Ricky Corker, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Nokia About Nokia At Nokia, we create technology that helps the world act together. As a trusted partner for critical networks, we are committed to innovation and technology leadership across mobile, fixed and cloud networks. We create value with intellectual property and long-term research, led by the award-winning Nokia Bell Labs.

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VPN

Turbo VPN Allows Access to Worldwide Content and Endless Entertainment for Global Users

Innovative Connecting Pte Ltd | November 25, 2022

Turbo VPN, developed by Innovative Connecting, a Singapore-based VPN provider, is providing worldwide access to content and endless entertainment for global users. Reputable for its super-fast and secure connection, this VPN service was established in 2018 and is trusted by 300 million users. Featuring a new tagline of "VPN for Everyone," Turbo VPN has quickly expanded its reach and is ready to serve internet users in more than 150 different countries. Turbo VPN uses an ultra-fast VPN to facilitate live streaming and gaming in high definition. Using secure, military-grade encryption and a no-logs policy, Turbo VPN is able to protect online data and minimize risks. Users can watch worldwide entertainment with just one click with Turbo VPN, including social media, streaming, and gaming. With Turbo VPN, users can hide their address and location while being able to access streaming platforms cross-regionally. The VPN service also offers data security when connecting to mobile hotspots and public WiFi sources. By featuring a strict no-log policy and high-level encryption protocols, Turbo VPN offers a service that users can trust. Additionally, users will find this application simple to use, offering a one-tap connection to the desired VPN server. Headquartered in Singapore, the company that developed Turbo VPN, Innovative Connecting, is a fast-growing technology company, trusted by over 300 million users globally. Innovative Connecting makes its customers the top priority, offering 24/7 customer care service and the utmost privacy. Innovative Connecting was founded with the vision to create a high-quality network that is accessible to everyone. It wanted to create a safe place for entertainment of all genres to be easily available to people of all ages. Founded in Singapore, a global hub for innovation and technology, Innovative Connecting focuses on connecting the world with technologies and believes in the power of the open web. When using Turbo VPN, users can protect up to 5 devices at once while also freely streaming their favorite shows, regardless of whether they are abroad or at home. Users can access websites, apps, social media networks, and other online services without any slowdown. Turbo VPN is also practical for gamers who wish to minimize a game's latency and accelerate mobile game speeds. Turbo VPN can improve the gaming experience for users of many gaming apps and websites. A Chrome-compatible version of Turbo VPN was released in June 2022. Turbo VPN is also compatible with iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows. This user-friendly application makes stable and fast VPN servers accessible to internet users worldwide. Turbo VPN is available for purchase for as little as $4.17 per month. One-month plans are available for $11.99. Subscribed Turbo VPN users receive unlimited access to over 21,000 fast and secure servers from over 45 countries without having to pay any extra download or usage fees.

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