During the course of my regular briefings with industry professionals I often come across information that I find newsworthy. We have created this recurring feature as a way of sharing these items with you. Below are notes and thoughts from a few of my most recent briefings.
Vidyo announced another big win as they were selected by Bloomberg to power their in-house Nexi solution. Vidyo continues to redefine itself as a technology company in a product-based world. Despite the difficulties inherent in their very unique position in the industry, new CEO Eran Westman just keeps racking up these massive new partnerships and successes. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a briefing hosted by Vidyo and the Bloomberg team where they described the Nexi solution, the level of support and customization offered by Vidyo, and the incredible initial uptake and adoption of the solution. With 150 offices in 73 countries supporting 17,000 global employees, the communications solution choice for Bloomberg is no trivial matter. In the first few months of Nexi deployment they can already boast the following adoption stats.
- Total Number of Calls : 636,366
- Total Number of Minutes: 25,462,200
- Highest Call Concurrency: 922
- Number of Nexi-Enabled Conference Rooms: 850
- Number of Desktop Users: 12,140
- Dedicated Video Conferencing Support Staff: 0
I questioned the Bloomberg team about their reasoning behind choosing Vidyo. While the advantages of a software based solution over the old school hardware deployments have been clearly established, I was curious about how Vidyo beat out the many new software based competitors on the market. The answer was (among other Vidyo benefits) that they appreciated Vidyo’s maturity and experience. In other words, Vidyo is in a bit of a sweet spot. Featuring the flexibility and agility of a software upstart, Vidyo is able to quickly adjust and customize a product for Bloomberg – all while having the pedigree of a company with over a decade in the space.
It wasn’t that long ago that videoconferencing was a hardware-only business. As part of the big software/cloud revolution, the big three in the space (Cisco, Polycom, and Lifesize) had to transition. Cisco is clearly all about Spark. Polycom has some cloud developments, but they’re still working on a cohesive and clear cloud message. Alternatively, Lifesize completely reinvented itself as a pure cloud infrastructure company. No doubt, the Lifesize Cloud offering is a solid market contender. It’s a regular in my testing rotation and it provides reliable, high quality, video calls without fail while boasting a competitive feature set. However, this transition has not been painless as it required significant belt tightening, restructuring, and downsizing. The final step in turning Lifesize from a lumbering hardware company to an agile “re-startup” was its separation from Logitech. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, we can just say the potential synergy between Logitech and Lifesize was never realized. I was fortunate enough to speak with CEO Craig Malloy recently about the completed spin-off. The bottom line is that they are past the hard part of the transition and now exactly where they want to be; on an even playing field with the other lean and fresh cloud videoconferencing start-ups, but with the benefit of a decade in the industry and a well-established brand name.
Having weathered the tough work of a difficult transition, Lifesize is really in a good position. They have a strong, enterprise-ready cloud videoconferencing offering with an already impressive customer base, and the market for cloud videoconferencing is continuing to grow massively. It is hard to see how they can do anything but grow in 2016. I had intended to write more about the Lifesize spin-off, but I really can’t improve upon the excellent article by Roopam Jain of Frost & Sullivan. Please check it out for the rest of the details, stats, and numbers on this news.
After the $700 million purchase of Acano by Cisco, all eyes are on Pexip which has been Acano’s most obvious counterpart since inception. I reached out to Pexip VP Eddie Clifton for some insight. Obviously, this is a mixed bag for Pexip, as their primary competitor is now backed by Cisco muscle, but on the other hand the ABC (Anyone But Cisco) field has significantly diminished. Pexip will clearly be taking the Acano purchase into mind for their 2016 strategy. Most of our conversation was NDA, so for now all I can say is don’t believe any of the rumors swirling around Pexip, but don’t discount them either. That may not be much help for now, but stay tuned as I will be relentlessly prodding my friends at Pexip for more news. One thing Eddie made very clear, Pexip still stands out as a truly virtualized solution (from day one). That is a major strength that they will be sure to leverage whether they continue on their own, or entertain potential suitors.
Cisco / Intercall
Speaking of the Acano purchase, I also had the opportunity to speak with Ben Friswold, InterCall/West’s Senior Director of Business Development. As a Cisco partner and the world’s largest conferencing provider, InterCall has unique insight into how video is continuing to become a key workplace connectivity tool. While it is too early for details on how the Acano purchase will effect Intercall’s offerings, I did learn about how the company is on board for Cisco Spark in a big way. As I have recently reported, Cisco is going all in on Spark. Intercall is looking to be a leading Spark partner. In fact, Ben has a Spark phone on his desk already. As Cisco’s largest WebEx selling partner, and a massive seller of audio conferencing services, Intercall is in a great position to introduce conferencing users to the new world of Spark.