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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LOGISTICS

RSI Logistics Inc and Transtar LLC Enter into a Strategic Partnership

RSI Logistics Inc | January 23, 2023

In a recent development, RSI Logistics, Inc. has announced a strategic partnership with Transtar, LLC as well as with its operating companies. As part of this agreement, RSI Logistics will manage the Zug Island transloading facility for Delray Connecting Railroad Company within Transtar's rail network. At the same time, the two companies will work together to promote the facility. Zug Island bulk terminal, within Detroit (Michigan), is a significant shipping location for a wide variety of goods, along with Toledo (Ohio) and Detroit markets. The partnership between RSI Logistics and Transtar will help rail shippers because both companies put customer service at the top of their priorities. Kelley Minnehan, Vice President of RSI Logistics, Inc., said, "This partnership between RSI Logistics and Transtar brings together two organizations that care deeply about providing quality in rail shipping. We are ready and excited to begin working with Transtar to provide more opportunities for transloading. Transtar is all about providing rail transportation services and satisfying customers, and we foresee a successful journey together." (Source- GlobeNewswire) The following are some of the advantages that will result from this newly-formed alliance: Access to growing markets and prospects for truck and rail freight via Transtar's position in Detroit and Zug Island, which is convenient for rail shippers; the ability to develop new opportunities by upgrading equipment and personnel and extending track capacity; and opportunities for future collaboration between Transtar, LLC and RSI Logistics, Inc. are possible at some point in the near future. About RSI Logistics, Inc. RSI Logistics, Inc., a leading rail logistics provider, has helped clients in every major industry improve rail transportation efficiency. RSI Logistics offers various services to meet each client's specific requirements. These services include logistics, rail management software, and transloading solutions. Since 1984, RSI Logistics has helped organizations improve rail shipping with over 20 locations in 14 states. Its range of solutions includes rail management software, logistics services, transloading solutions, etc. The organization learns the client's business and customizes transportation services accordingly.

Read More

SUPPLY CHAIN

OMP Organizes Think Tank to Research Outside-in Supply Chain Planning

OMP | January 30, 2023

OMP, one of the prominent providers of supply chain planning solutions, has recently launched Spark Initiative, a think tank, to research supply chain planning from an outside-in perspective. It will use massive external data and high-level technology to improve the decision-making of its customers. The primary objective of the Spark Initiative is to provide the OMP community a platform to learn, share and test the outside-in capabilities. It will use data regarding weather and climate patterns, holidays, political and economic factors, consumption trends and data from smart devices to study the factors affecting the supply chain. In addition, it will collect real-time business feedback from customers and insights from a few selected companies for research, and its findings will be made public. The advisory board of the initiative comprises of leaders, academics, industry professionals and OPM experts, led by Lora Cecere, CEO of Supply Chain Insights, they will devise the conceptual framework and keep an eye on the pilot tests. Dave Winstone, Global ISC Director at Dow and Spark Board Member, said, "I'm excited to participate in the Spark Initiative because it's the next frontier in supply chain planning." He added, "How do we harness all these signals out there? How do we identify which ones matter most to our business? What do they mean to us and to our ecosystem partners? In the end, it's not companies that compete, but the ecosystems around us. We have to make the ecosystems more effective to be able to stay competitive. And I believe this initiative will bring us one step closer to that goal." (Source – Globe Newswire) Philip Vervloesem, Senior Vice President of OMP USA, said, "Now is the time for supply chain leaders to redefine their planning processes. The active participation of Fortune 500 companies like Dow, General Mills, Nestlé, and Land O'Lakes confirms the need to explore groundbreaking ways of planning. I look forward to deep-diving into this fresh pool of possibilities together with our valued customers." (Source – Globe Newswire) About OMP OMP is a software company providing customized supply chain planning solutions. Its global clients include ArcelorMittal, BASF, Michelin, Procter &Gamble, Dow, Shaw, Yoplait, Shell, Smurfit Kappa, and Shell. Headquartered in Belgium, it has a vast network of partners needed to optimize supply chain performance for clients anywhere. It renders industry-specific solutions from consumer goods to metals. Its digitalized supply chain planning solutions helps companies to channelize their excellence and growth.

Read More

PROCUREMENT AND SOURCING, LOGISTICS

Wagner Logistics Now Offers Warehouse Management in Portland

Wagner Logistics | January 27, 2023

On January 26, 2023, Wagner Logistics, a warehousing and logistics management provider, announced that it is expanding its distribution space into Portland, Oregon, bringing its total distribution space in the United States to over 7 million square feet across 24 markets. The most recent warehouse has 82,556 sq. ft. of dedicated distribution space and can be converted into a multi-customer facility. Wagner Logistics collaborated with Newmark Zimmer, one of the Midwest's leading commercial real estate firms, to obtain the warehouse lease for the Portland space. This distribution space serves as a vital distribution point for the customer Bridge Industrial/Modlo to manage the supply chain overflow of finished household products. As global economic uncertainty persists, the need for efficient distribution is increasing. As a result, Wagner is taking warehouse cost optimization to a new level by sharing facilities, equipment, and personnel to address the distribution and storage needs of multiple shippers and manufacturers. Brian Smith, President and CEO of Wagner Logistics, said, "From handling lightbulbs to ten-thousand pound roles of paper, Wagner's warehouse and management expansion into more U.S. cities is evidence that our trained and experienced team is safely handling a variety of products successfully at lower costs and at faster work rates." He added, "Finding and securing the one available warehouse space in the market to serve as an overflow facility for our client is testament that our team consistently has a finger on the pulse of the industry and is committed to solving distribution challenges using a lean manufacturing team, the accompanying innovative equipment and automation." (Source – GlobeNewswire) More than 550 team members work for the supply chain management company in major cities such as Kansas City, Indianapolis, Dallas, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Detroit, and others. The company's top priorities remain exceptional customer service and employee morale, and the latest warehouse is close to several employees' homes and includes bike storage. About Wagner Logistics Based in North Kansas City (Missouri), Wagner Logistics operates an extensive network of warehousing facilities in the U.S. It is recognized as a leading provider of third-party logistics services, including warehousing, distribution, contract packaging, and transportation. The company's clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as small and medium-sized businesses. Wagner uses exceptional technology, offering visibility and execution, and a team of highly skilled associates provides clients with unrivaled service.

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Spotlight

Poly

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, a...

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