Polycom announced recently that it had been chosen by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to become the main unified communications (UC) provider for its Active Network Infrastructure (ANWI) project. It will update NATO headquarters with modern communications technology for its employees and with deployed military operations.
Brussels, Belgium-based NATO was originally formed in 1949 as a result of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. One of the main provisions of the treaty’s charter, Article 5, states that military aggression towards one member state will be considered aggression towards all member states. The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. marked the first time in NATO history that Article 5 had been invoked.
In 1999, NATO decided that it was time to construct new headquarters. The current headquarters, which have housed the organization since 1967 and intended to be temporary, have several problems. These include inadequate meeting space, poor security from having too many access points, and a crumbling foundation. Ground broke on the new facility in 2010 and it is expected to begin operations next year.
In 2013, three major contracts for projects were awarded by NATO. Siemens/Putman was awarded an electronic security project known as ESS. Televic was selected to provide audio/visual infrastructure through the AVI project.
This also marked the beginning of ANWI, which was awarded to Lockheed Martin. One of the project’s biggest challenges was the ability to support more than 4,500 users at the new headquarters and 1,500 conference visitors. In addition to being a secure, military-grade network, ANWI also had to support different devices and applications.
As a reputable provider of enterprise-level UC solutions, Polycom plays a very critical role in NATO’s modernization. Anyone who can recall 9/11 can appreciate how important communications were for first responders and shutting down the nation’s airport system.
Unfortunately, the threat of future attacks has only increased since then. In the event of another attack, having a state-of-the-art UC system like the one provided by Polycom will allow NATO members to respond quickly and limit the number of casualties.