While many people (although certainly not all), agree that ubiquitous video communications are inevitable, there is still little to no agreement on how it will be ultimately productized and consumed.
As the technology has become more flexible and powerful, the options have dramatically increased over the last few years. In other words, there are plenty of ways to get your videoconferencing these days. One option that may provide a certain level of comfort for end users would be to get their videoconferencing from their existing communications service providers. There is an inherent logic to bundled communications from the billing, management and usage standpoints. From the service provider perspective, the choice is simple. They can find a way to support VC, or watch their customers buy it elsewhere.
I recently spoke with Daryl Hutchings, CEO of Collaboration Squared, whose Ubiety offering (powered by the Acano interop platform) was just released today and is designed to help service providers fill the video gap in their portfolios. For more information on the underlying platform, please see my recent deep dive into the Acano solution as I covered their partnership with AVI-SPL. While Ubiety is available directly to end user organizations, and has a very consumer friendly pricing model, Daryl has worked to ensure his offering is particularly attractive for resellers and partners in terms of commitment required, commissions available, and ability to maintain control over the final customer relationship.
In my opinion, today’s interop cloud services, such as Acano, are a smart choice for service providers looking to offer video, for a number of reasons. Most obviously, the interop aspect of these platforms mean that not only are you enabling video, but you are tying together existing communication elements to help unify toolsets, simply workflows, and allow for more connectivity, collaboration, and productivity. For example, the Ubiety offering can connect your team’s Lync users, H.323 video systems, desktop VC users, and people dialing in on the phone, etc., all into one interactive meeting.
Ubiety also offers traditional phone dial in and out of 38 countries at no charge and some users have adopted it as a replacement for the audio conferencing as a result. They also offer “Ubiety Room” bundles, combining Logitech hardware (such as the ConferenceCam CC3000e shown below) with their service to create an instant VC room system. In addition, partnering with them is a feel good proposition, as they are proudly carbon neutral and match conference minutes used by donating minutes to charity.
While Acano provides a good example of an interop cloud solution being leveraged by a variety of service providers, to hit a wide range of target markets, I feel it is part of a larger trend. Videoconferencing is no longer a novelty for the business elite. We are using it at home and looking for ways to use it at work. One of the places we will be looking to make it happen, is the service provider arena. Whether these service providers build their own VC solutions, or leverage available platforms, they need to answer the increasing demand for video.