There are an ever increasing number of cloud-based interop videoconferencing vendors in the spacing vying for attention and market-share. How is Videxio managing to stand out, and continuing to grow globally, despite the competition?
To find out, I spoke with Videxio CEO and Co-Founder Tom-Erik Lia, and President-Americas Karl Hantho. We discussed Videxio’s development since my last briefing at InfoComm, including the details of today’s press release, as well as their unique vision to ensure adoption and growth among their user base.
There are many elements to a successful cloud based video service. It is up to the service provider to decide whether to develop some, or all, of these pieces internally, or build upon an existing platform. Videxio is striving to be one of the broadest and deepest platforms available, by addressing many of the elements that service providers usually wouldn’t get from the VC platform itself. For example, Videxio provides QoS for all but the “last mile” of its internet traffic by routing traffic through its own protected network. The result is global communications that are not subject to the hiccups of the public internet. This is the type of feature that a service provider should be including with its video service, and would have to address separately if using a typical interop VC platform.
But there is a lot more to Videxio than interop VC supported by a QoS network. It is loaded with service provider friendly features, so that it can be white-labeled and sold as a service, without the usual lag time typical to turning up these types of new services at scale.
Last time I wrote about Videxio, my big takeaway was that, unlike some of their competitors, they are looking to provide a complete platform for service providers. This time, my takeaway comes from comments Tom-Erik and Karl made about the way they view their existing customers as being as important to growth as new customers.
Unlike competing platforms, which may consider the sale over once the infrastructure is turned up, Videxio sees additional opportunity by empowering their existing users to become “Superusers” who then can turn on their colleagues to video.
Videxio realizes that most initial deployments of video are to the early adopters of an organization. Their success could lead to viral growth within that organization. With this in mind, Videxio does not want to leave anything to chance. Rather than leaving responsibility for adoption to the service provider, Videxio is getting it right at the platform level. This philosophy explains both the comprehensive nature of their platform (see the provisioning video, below), and their high touch support after sale.
Videxio has experienced a tripling in traffic on their service in the last three months. Part of this is due to new sales in this growing market, but a good portion of it is due to viral adoption among existing customers. They could probably do well by simply selling their services as a toolkit and hoping that the service providers put it all together into a successful service. But Videxio is attempting to address every aspect of the video experience under their control to maximize user satisfaction and foster viral adoption. Another example of the types of tools they provide to meet this goal is their network assessment test (see video below). By identifying issues before the first call is made, Videxio hopes to avoid even that one bad call, which could make a user give up on VC and go back to the phone for another few years.
Today’s press release announces the new MyVidexio Portal, which has both an admin, and user facing, UI. Please see the video at the very top of this article for details on the admin portal and tools, and the video below for a look at the user side of MyVidexio. Both views provide both meeting scheduling and management, as well as usage data. However, the admin portal enables the management of all user subscriptions in the organization, as well as more robust metrics and the ability to manage and support all meetings in real time (which is more than some competitive diagnostic toolkits are capable of).
This is now my third article since I predicted the trend of pushing cloud VC diagnostics down to the user. While it appears that Videxio is moving quickly to jump on this trend, the fact is they have had these tools ready in their kit for over a year and are simply pushing them down to the user as part of their new MyVidexio portal experience. I initially reviewed these tools back in November 2013, when I said…
What I found even more interesting is that the Videxio service can use its network monitoring data to track problems, even in that “last mile” on the public internet. Tom-Erik showed me some behind the scenes data in their administrative UI, and their excellent diagnostic tools. This type of information can allow a service provider to proactively troubleshoot network issues before they hinder adoption
The time is right to push these tools down to the user admin, the actual customer, and first level of support, for videoconferencing. The “guy on the ground” needs these tools to make the most of his video deployment. Again, by empowering the user to enable adoption, Videxio is floating its own boat.
I took this opportunity to take a good look at the new MyVidexio user portal, which shows a lot of thought on Videxio’s design team. Keep in mind, they intend this portal to be white labeled and pushed down to users from 60+ service provider partners on a global basis, so it has to have universal usability, and address all user needs, without being cluttered or confusing. The portal is also key because it provides a focal point for the service, helping users understand what they actually have, and helping service provider sales teams explain the value of the offering. The portal is, of course, rebrandable for white labeling (in fact, even their Outlook plugin, and mobile app, are rebrandable).
One thing I really like about the workflow is that the link I use to manage my meeting room is the link I send out to invite others. I don’t have to fuddle with invite instructions. I just send everyone the same link that I use and they can join the meeting from there. The two pictures above show what I see at my MyVidexio link, and what guests see. We both have the ability to join the room with one click via WebRTC, or get the address to dial in via phone or traditional VC system. The main difference is that I have the option to manage the meeting (lock, mute, kick, etc.), and create outlook invites for additional guests.
After all, what each user actually gets is a Virtual Meeting Room (VMR), an imaginary room in cyberspace. By structuring a portal around that space, and giving it a permanent URL, it helps the user (and his/her guests) visualize the service and use it properly. Videxio isn’t the only vendor to support this workflow, in fact, Cisco’s new WebEx shares a similar vision, of a permanent link to serve as the user’s online office. Regardless of whether guests want to connect by PC, traditional VC, or the phone, (see options, above) that one URL will get all your guests into the meeting. The permanent, and personal, VMR model is a trend we strongly approve of at LDV. Users just take naturally to the workflow/callflow and don’t resist the meeting invite (the old “can’t we just use the phone” problem).
Videxio is poised to enjoy another wave of growth, due to a recent expansion of their footprint in China, based off of some pretty impressive partnerships. Videxio needed to make China a priority, as their existing European and American customers are doing more and more business there, and need for their VC meetings with China to be the same quality as their local VC meetings. This meant Videxio had to expand their QoS network, and setting up shop in China. But now that they are there, they are ready to address the 800 million internet users in China. When you are talking about that kind of scale, the old arguments about videoconferencing reducing travel and helping the environment start to make sense again.
Tom-Erik and Karl had a lot more to talk about, as Videxio has a lot planned for the near future. Unfortunately, that is all I am allowed to share at this time. But I will keep checking in with this fast moving company to bring you their latest developments.