The big ticket news in the video communications world is the effective sale and leaseback of HP's Visual Collaboration products and services to telepresence specialist Polycom. A move which clearly benefits Polycom by giving it access to the networking muscle it lacks when competing against rivals like Cisco and Avaya. HP meanwhile HP gets to match Cisco's Tandberg video acquisition - without the up-front investment.

But that's not all. On the same day that it announced the HP deal, Polycom publicly unveiled the Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), which it claims will be "the first global visual communication exchange based on open standards".

According to the press release, one of the big ideas here is to provide customers with alternatives to closed, proprietary exchanges by enabling interoperability and global business-to-business (B2B) connectivity for telepresence and video conferencing.

To put it another way, the aim is to make it easier for companies of all sizes to communicate using video. However it's very much a Polycom-led initiative and, although not explicitly stated, looks as though it will be largely based around the company's UC technologies and products.

Fair enough if it does what it claims and makes video communication more ubiquitous and easy to access, but for that to happen the consortium will need a critical mass of members beyond those already signed up. Moreover, history tells us that initiatives like this, led by one not so impartial vendor, rarely achieve their aims, often serving to polarise and fragment rather than unify the market.

This article is written by Alan Stevens and sponsored by Avaya. The opinions reflected in this piece are solely those of Alan Stevens and may not reflect those of Avaya management